This piece is part of our 21 Local Innovators To Watch roundup in the August 2022 print issue of District Fray. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Takina Wilson is the chief operations officer at Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C.
District Fray: Why Planned Parenthood
Takina Wilson: I’ve been a Planned Parenthood patient in my past, so I know how much it’s needed. It’s close to my heart, which helps keeps me driven to make sure we can provide those services for other patients. Given where I come from, seeing people in circumstances where they aren’t able to afford healthcare makes it just so important. I would never want to do anything else but community health services. I know this is my purpose and is fulfilling. I feel I’m part of something bigger than myself. With everything happening, I feel a lot of mixed emotions. I can’t believe it; it just can’t be real. [But] we have to start accepting what’s going on, because we’re trying to figure out how to help patients. I feel privileged to be in the District where abortion is still legal. Feeling like I can help people brings me a lot of happiness. I can help my colleagues and my patients. I can continue to fight the fight. It makes me excited and happy to be able to continue to be able to serve the mission.
Protest, protest, protest
I think everyone should continue to protest. I would love to see more men — heterosexual men, especially — standing up with women about this issue. I feel if that particular group did a lot more protesting along with women, it would make a big difference. It impacts everyone. We’re certainly looking for ways to engage supporters, and people who want to get active in different ways. We want to make sure it’s thoughtful and don’t want to get anyone in trouble. I never thought that this would be possible — who would have thought the Supreme Court would overturn another Supreme Court judgment?
We knew rights are restricted all the time, but there’s been an increase from the time I started 12 years ago — especially for abortion rights. We’ve had a lot more legal and procedural matters being put in place that make it very difficult to get an abortion. For instance, you have a 24-hour wait time or mandatory counseling sessions, and there are restrictions on how we can work with our vendors. It’s very stressful because it’s a new fight every year.
I feel like I have a fight, and continue to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves. I have an 8-year-old daughter and 21-year-old daughter; I don’t need an abortion. Childbearing isn’t an issue for me, but I worry about all the other young ladies. When I look at my daughters, I feel like we’re going in reverse.
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