Tonight I Weep.
The Supreme Court’s leaked ruling makes it clear Roe vs. Wade is over, but I’m not giving up the fight—and neither should you.
Like the rest of this country, I saw the news tonight (May 2, 2022) of the leaked Supreme Court decision that makes it clear that Roe v. Wade will be overturned.
At first, I was numb. I knew this was coming.
Slowly, anger took hold. How the fuck can this be happening?
Then, I had an ugly cry. I can’t believe it’s real.
I told my husband that he’ll never understand how it feels to be told that your country is now declaring you a second-class citizen. He’ll never understand how it feels to make it your life’s work to dismantle patriarchy, only to have it thrown in your face that you won’t succeed (not in your lifetime anyway).
[And I cried even harder for Black, brown, trans, gay, disabled women who’ve received this message for the entirety of their lives … and for knowing that my privilege has spared me from this experience until now.]
I doom scrolled on Twitter, shared on Instagram, and watched MSNBC.
Then, I decided I just needed to breathe and to sleep.
After 30 minutes of my brain spinning, tears filling my eyes, and my heart racing with anger, though, I realized I can’t sleep right now.
I told my husband, “I have to go write.”
He said, “I’m surprised it took you this long.”
My abortion story
If you’ve been around here for a while, then you know that I had an abortion two weeks before my 18th birthday.
My accidental pregnancy was the result of low self-esteem, which is a common consequence of living in patriarchy.
In my state, Missouri, anyone younger than 18 must have parental consent for an abortion. I didn’t feel safe asking for that, and I couldn’t wait 2 weeks or I’d be in my 2nd trimester and face new hurdles, so I had to travel across the border into Illinois to get my abortion.
The $600 procedure was unbelievably expensive for a high-school student with a part-time job, but I managed to scrape together the funds and get a ride.
I had to go to work only a few hours after my abortion.
For the next 25 years, I told only a few people about my abortion. I didn’t even tell my doctors.
I felt ashamed.
I bought into the narrative—which religious extremists made mainstream—that only irresponsible, slutty, uneducated people get abortions.
It wasn’t until the election of Trump that I decided to tell my story. I saw the writing on the wall, and I knew that my silence (and that of all the other women like me who had abortions and kept them secret) allowed people to continue to believe that great lie about abortion.
[Read the complete story, “A Tale of Two Abortions” here]
The truth about abortion
In fact, 25% percent of people with uteruses will have an abortion by the end of their childbearing years.
That means almost everyone knows someone (or many people) who’ve had abortions. And the typical person who has an abortion is in their late 20s, has some college education, is unmarried, poor, already a parent, and having a first abortion.
Not that it matters.
We should fight for everyone’s right to have an abortion, not just those society deems “worthy.”
Abortion is a medical procedure. Plain and simple.
It should be no more politicized or legislated than chemotherapy and vasectomy. In other words, it should be accessible to anyone who needs or wants it.
The scary stuff
In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled (Roe v. Wade) that states couldn’t pass laws that create an “undue burden” to access to abortion. Yes, that’s unclear and has been tested, but it’s maintained at least some degree of abortion access in all 50 states.
This new Supreme Court ruling (Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization) removes that precedent and sets us back by 49 years. It will allow each state to establish its own abortion laws, and 26 states are ready to ban or drastically limit access.
This new landscape represents a slippery, scary slope. How do we now define abortion? In 2015, I had a DNC following the miscarriage of a very wanted pregnancy at 10 weeks. It’s the same procedure I had in 1993 to end my unwanted pregnancy. In this new America, would I be forced to carry that dead fetus until it self-terminated? What if it didn’t? These are questions without clear answers, and issues anyone who claims to be “pro-life” must confront.
Many of the extremist laws set to go into effect next month do not allow abortion in any circumstances, not even rape, incest, or to protect the life of the mother. And not only will states ban abortion, many will make it a crime (as is happening in Oklahoma).
This will all happen immediately after the ruling comes down, which is expected in June. (There’s still a slim chance this leaked ruling will change, but that seems very unlikely.)
Abortion will still happen in states where it remain legals. Medical refugees will flee Republican-led states to get abortions in other states.
Except in Missouri—and likely other states—where a law is coming to make it a crime to get an abortion in any state.
Just as happened pre-Roe, rich people will still be able to afford abortions, while poor people won’t (or they’ll be forced to choose dangerous alternatives that will risk their own lives).
And abortion isn’t only about individuals. Legalized abortion lowers poverty and crime, so we can expect those go up in the years ahead.
Also, this ruling, as currently written, loudly opens the door to ending other “non-enumerated” rights. That means marriage equality is not safe. Even things we take for granted—travel, privacy, and voting—could be in question based on this precedent.
This is the first time a Constitutional right is being taken away from a group of people, let alone the MAJORITY of people. There is no way to frame it that’s not terrifying.
What you can do
It feels dire because it is. That does not mean we can quit.
We cannot give up the fight for our rights and our lives.
There are still many things that you and I can do—and that we MUST do. As angry and sad and overwhelmed as I feel tonight, I know that there is hope.
“When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” Audre Lorde
Your voice matters. Use it and join the fight.
• Tell your own abortion story. The more of us who put a face to abortion, the more we humanize this issue and destroy the blame, shame, and stigma that silences and oppresses us. It takes courage to share, I know, but I promise it is also liberating and empowering.
• Give your money. Help people continue to access abortion by donating to abortion funds. The work of the National Network of Abortion Funds is more critical than ever, helping people who need but can’t afford an abortion (especially if they are now forced to travel for one).
• Write your representatives. The Women’s Health Protection Act prohibits governmental restrictions on abortion services and may be the only way to preserve abortion access nationwide. The House of Representatives passed it last fall, and the Senate must do the same. Write your US Senator (and tell everyone you know to do the same) so they understand how many of their constituents want to see this become law.
• Exercise your right to vote. I cannot overstate the importance of the mid-term elections this fall. If Congress flips, Republicans are already planning a nationwide abortion ban (which would undo the Women’s Health Protection Act even if it passes). Vote Democrat, even if you don’t love the candidate. It matters.
• Volunteer your time. Help those Democrats win this fall by volunteering for a candidate or for a political organization that supports progressive candidates (NARAL, Emily’s List, etc.).
Make no mistake—not since our mother’s and grandmother’s time have our rights been at greater risk. We cannot sit on the sidelines. We cannot be silent.
The fight begins today.
Yours in resistance and liberation,