Roe v. Wade: A Call to Stand with Our Herd

by Nick GiallourakisBrother and AdvocateAugust 25, 2022View more posts from Nick Giallourakis

Roe v. Wade: A Call to Stand with Our Herd

By now many of you are aware of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and the amount of backlash from the cancer community.

The Steven G. Cancer Foundation and Elephants and Tea initially took to social media asking people to listen to the stories of those individuals impacted by Roe v. Wade.

Was that enough? No. Can we do more? Definitely.

That said, let’s not sugar coat this; it is a very emotional topic to discuss and one that some folks have no problem diving right in to speak up, while others cautiously approach the subject. For better or worse.

As an executive director, I have struggled with how to best address Roe v. Wade.

I’m not trying to make excuses for the lack of speaking up, as my personal philosophy has been to steer clear of politics when running an organization that supports people impacted by cancer, regardless of their political views.

But when our audience, our writers, our family, our Herd, are literally shouting from the rooftops about a very important topic, we must take a stand with them—no matter the risks.

I’ve had several conversations with our Herd, and here are just a few words that have stuck out to me:

Scared.

Angry.

Afraid.

Confused.

People are terrified at how the overturning of Roe v. Wade will impact them. For example, what if someone is pregnant and they find out they need to start chemotherapy and radiation? And, if they live in a state that completely bans abortion, what do they do? Flee their home? Their hospital? Their safe space?

We must speak up and help our community. Period.

Our dear friends at b-present did a wonderful job laying out the facts on several ways the overturning of Roe v. Wade impacts our AYA cancer community. I highly recommend everyone check this article out for more information.

Trigger Laws and Parenting

According to Dictionary.com, the term “trigger law” is an informal name for a law that is written to go into effect when a specific event or condition occurs. There are several abortion ban trigger laws being put into place across the United States. Because Elephants and Tea and the Steven G. Cancer Foundation are based in Ohio, we are in a state that is impacted by an abortion trigger law.

According to the NIH, “many AYA survivors who received chemotherapy had problems with infertility and reproductive function that were thought to be associated with ovulation disorders, and the rate of survivors who gave up on bearing children was significantly higher in comparison to that of healthy AYAs.”

Keep that in mind as you read the next few sentences.

In the state of Ohio, House Republicans are introducing a bill that some physicians are worried could potentially ban in vitro fertilization (IVF). The way this bill is being worded is leaving a great deal of “what if” scenarios that are scary for people that want to become parents in the future.

If IVF does in fact become banned in certain states, cancer patients and others with severe diseases that impact fertility, will not be able to produce a child: parenting becomes a lost hope.

“But Nick, why can’t cancer patients just adopt?”

It is not that simple. Adoption agencies are hesitant to allow a cancer patient to adopt due to the possibility of the patient not surviving or being in ill health while caring for an adopted child.

This is one of many examples of how these new trigger laws could impact AYA Cancer patients.

In closing…

To my friends representing nonprofit organizations reading this…

Many organizations in the cancer community have done stellar jobs at emphasizing the significance of the overturning of Roe v. Wade and its negative impact on our AYA cancer community. Some organizations have not been vocal.

For those that work for nonprofit cancer organizations within the cancer space—I’ve been informed that survivors are keeping tabs on who is or isn’t speaking up.

We need to find a way to support our people during this crisis.

To those that work for a hospital or clinic reading this…

Pay attention to what is going on with your patients who are your customers. Is your hospital releasing generic statements that fall short of supporting the patients? Are you concerned that cancer patients, survivors, and their families will select a hospital based on their public statements related to Roe v. Wade?

And, if IVF ever becomes illegal in your state, how will that impact your fertility clinic once that law is passed? Think about that.

To our sponsors, grant givers, and donors…

I’d be lying if I didn’t say what has held me back from speaking up on such a controversial yet important issue, is the fear of losing what little money we get to run our organization. I struggle with this conundrum; however, the existence and mission of the Steven G. Cancer Foundation and Elephants and Tea is very important to me!

Our organization is dedicated to AYAs to help them feel less alone, to stand with them, and speak up for them when their voices cannot be heard. We believe it is our responsibility to use our voice and step up to be responsible advocates.

So, to all my friends associated with nonprofit organizations, hospitals, advocacy groups, and our sponsors, grant givers… Stand with our AYAs! Stand with our community! We are one Herd and we need to be there for each other, through the overturning of Roe v. Wade and beyond.

Join the Conversation!

Leave a comment below. Remember to keep it positive!

One Comment

  • Rachael Walker says:

    Nick, things like this are exactly why E&T is my absolute favorite cancer organization. E&T was the first org that I saw making a public statement when the draft opinion was leaked, which meant the world to me. To have you now publicly taking this stance calling on other orgs that have been silent just fills my heart. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    And this is the kick in the pants I needed to submit my Roe v. Wade piece. 🙂 Keep your eyes peeled.

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