Note by Note: Hear Our Voices | No. 40 | 9.16.23

Like many women, my experiences around reproduction are complex. 

I am a mother and sister by birth and adoption and also a stepmom in a blended family. My friends have had abortions as well as easy and challenging pregnancies. Assistive technology helped many become pregnant. Some friends have chosen not to become mothers; others became foster or adoptive parents. Postpartum hemorrhages led to my emergency hysterectomy and later surrogacy attempts. As a social worker, I facilitated support groups for parents whose baby had died and women with postpartum adjustment issues. 

When I learned Roe v. Wade had been overturned, stories of despair and desperation rang in my head. How could this exceedingly complex and personal issue become a simplistic ruling for all women and girls? How could we ignore their voices and distrust their experiences and needs?  

“Hear Our Voices” implores us to listen. 

Wishing the world were different—no unplanned pregnancies, no rape or incest, no families without adequate resources to support their children, no mental health issues or addiction, no domestic violence, no life-threatening pregnancies for mothers, no contraceptive failure, no medical conditions leading to fetal death or devastating abnormalities, no lack of effective sex education—doesn’t make it so. We must see the world as it is and work to make it better. 

Each person demanding that all pregnancies be carried to term regardless of circumstance will not adopt or foster a child, contribute to food programs and college funds, or vote for candidates who support the affordable childcare, housing, and medical care needed for every child and family to thrive. 

Can you hear the voices of women and girls? Their unique and complicated stories demand empathy, action, and options they choose for themselves. 

In August 2022, voters in my home state of Kansas overwhelmingly rejected an amendment aimed at restricting abortion rights. In the first individual state vote since Roe v. Wade was overturned, voters acknowledged women's voices and demonstrated their nuanced understanding of this issue. 

With gratitude for those who speak out, sing out, tell their stories, and advocate for each other, 


P.S. I’m thrilled that Erin McGrane, Danielle Anderson, and Eboni Fondren added their beautiful, important voices to this song! "Hear Our Voices," originally released as a single, was remixed for inclusion on “Where the Light Lives.” 


A folk & acoustic roots singer-songwriter with a clear, honeyed voice, Joy Zimmerman believes in the power of music and community. At home on guitar and violin, Joy’s most recent album, “Where the Light Lives,” debuted at #6 on the FAI Folk Chart .

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