Hopes, Dreams, Survival


Last night, I re-read this quote on the header for a new Tumblr, Sharing Hopes and Dreams, created by the National Network of Abortion Funds in honor of the third anniversary of Dr. George Tiller’s assassination.

I clicked to this in the midst of an evening jamming session (the strawberry kind, not the music kind). I thought: I am living my dream. I stirred the strawberries, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar. I enjoyed the company of my teens (you read that right, a pleasant evening). I let the third grader stay up to play chess on the computer. I’d returned from a meeting at the cooperative preschool where a group of determined, smart, hopeful adults are cooperatively endeavoring to solve a problem.

This is to say that plain old my life is my dream.

I’d have completely different dreams had I become a parent somewhere before the end of my first year of college that wouldn’t have been my first year at college, or at least not the college I’d dreamed of and planned to attend. You can say, rightly, my hopes and dreams would have changed. And they could have been, would have been great hopes and dreams. I know this, in my case (in very large part, because my family would have supported me and had the means to do so). But I don’t want anyone to presume it’s okay that I, as a young woman, should have had to change my dreams because I couldn’t opt for an abortion.

That’s why I can say the jam my kids put on their toast is a sweet homage to Dr. Tiller’s valiant contribution to women’s equality, and as he said, our survival.


What the National Network of Abortion Funds often focuses upon is this: that women come to the 100+ funds in desperation, because the financial realities of obtaining an abortion require these impossible choices, like rent or an abortion or food or an abortion. It’s a sudden, unexpected expense. In Massachusetts, there’s a bill proposed to require paid sick time for all workers. The reality is women predominantly care for sick children and sick parents (and other family members, too). Without paid sick time, the financial realities require similarly impossible decisions between caring for a sick child and keeping a job.

Quite honestly, it should not have to be a dream to work and care for one’s loved ones. That should simply be an attainable goal, one our society supports because it’s better for us all.

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Author: Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser's work has appeared on the New York Times, Salon, and the Manifest Station amongst other places. Find her on Twitter @standshadows

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