Today SCOTUS overturned Roe v. Wade, a legal precedent that had ensured women's rights to abortion access for the last almost 50 years. In an instant women and people with a uterus were reminded that their autonomy as human beings and their rights to make decisions about their very bodies were not sanctioned by this government. It is has always been ludicrous to me that there was even legal precedent required for abortion access. I've never been pro-life or pro-choice; I've been pro-how-is-it-any-of-your-business. Yet, here we are.
While I hold several marginalized identities, I also hold a great deal of privilege. In as such, I've never needed an abortion. Yet, I know, love, and respect women who have. I know the fear and trauma of having a difficult pregnancy, labor, and delivery as a Black woman in the US. I know that this ruling will mean more heartache, hardship, loss, death, limited futures for so many marginalized folks but especially Black, Native, poor, and trans folks. I know that white supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalism loom over and infect every part of this country and that abortion access, reproductive justice, maternal health, and childhood poverty are all inextricably linked.
The United States thrives in its hypocrisy. It is nothing if not a country whose ideals are woefully disconnected from its reality. We are living in a time when that gap is being revealed and shoved in our collective faces with increasing intensity and frequency. We are in an inflection point: "a moment when significant change occurs or may occur" (Merriam-Webster, 2022). We are in a moment where neutrality or lack of clarity about where you stand on central issues of right/wrong, equitable/inequitable, good/evil is no longer affordable.
I believe that you have a choice right now. Either lament and wring your hands or stand in the full weight of your personal power and empowerment for action and begin to do something to turn the tide. No matter your position of privilege or oppression, you have the power to exercise choice. Frederick Douglass (1857) said:
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.
This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress." Full speech here.
I am actively and deliberately asking of myself every day, "what is my part?" I want the answer to be on the right side of struggle. To be one that affords my child a chance at a sweeter, softer, more humane, equitable, compassionate, and communally whole and healthy world. Just a chance. She and her generation will do with that chance what they will but isn't it my responsibility to do everything I can to set them up for success?
My call to action to you is to begin, every day, to ask yourself the same: What is my part? The answers might be:
Inner healing work for your own evolution and sustainability.
Collective work with others who are life-minded and equally committed to liberation and justice.
Donating time and money to organizations, ideas, collectives, and coalitions that are already doing the work.
Learning about generative processes that lead to creativity, equity, sustainability practices.
Writing, creating art, creating content that serves to enlighten others and spark new ideas/reframe ways of thinking.
Prioritizing spiritual practices that facilitate enlightenment and clarity about your purpose and work in this life.
Owning your positions of privilege and practice by decentering and listening to make room and amplify the work of underresourced and marginalized folx.
Make time for pleasure, sex, love, and joy. You need to be reminded what you're fighting for.
Eat well. Rest well. Move your body. Strengthen your mind. Strengthen your body.
Consider ways you can divest in some way every single day from the oppressive structures we are so embedded in.
I am challenging myself to do these things as much as I am asking you to do so. At this point, it will take all of us committed to the light and struggling against the dark to ensure we end up whole and healthy on the other side of this inflection.
For specific work regarding reproductive justice and abortion access consider the following sources and donate when you are able: