Updated: May 6
Terminating a pregnancy is a difficult and deeply personal decision but, for most of us, even talking about abortion is uncomfortable. We don’t discuss it outside the family, and it is not the first thing that comes to mind when making political decisions. Some of us even associate the word “abortion” with shame and stigma, as if it is only the provenance of “bad girls” and can never happen in our families.
Unfortunately, the leaked Supreme Court decision to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade case has brought this personal matter to the public gaze. The ruling in 1973 gave pregnant women the right to decide on the outcome of their pregnancies. Fifty years later, a hyper-partisan Supreme Court is taking the unprecedented stand of taking back a right given to American citizens.
But why should you care?
Because banning abortions does not reduce abortions. It just takes abortions from clinics to back alleys.
Because banning abortions means children will be born out of rape and incest. Children will be born to children.
Because banning abortion will lead to increased crime rates.
Because banning abortions is an unprecedented assault on the rights of 50% of American citizens and effectively reduces the status of women to second-class citizens.
Because banning abortion goes against the wishes of the majority and is profoundly undemocratic.
Because a right-wing Supreme Court empowered to disregard the wishes of the majority could next come after gay marriages, contraception, and inter-racial marriages.
Even the most apolitical of us should be deeply worried by the activism being deployed by an institution that may have lost its pristine reputation, but wields enormous power to affect the lives of ordinary citizens. If we don’t rise up in unison to protest and claw back the rights under threat right now, there is a real danger that other rights that we have taken for granted in this pluralistic country will be under siege from a tyrannic, evangelical, and deeply fearful white minority.
What can you do?
NOW: In the immediate term, find a march or a rally or a protest near you and show up in numbers to let this Supreme Court know how unpopular their decision is. Check this link to see if there is a rally near you.
NEXT: The Women’s Health Protection Act, passed in the House but was rejected by the Senate. This bill codifies protection of women’s rights over their own bodies into law. In the wake of the Supreme Court decision, Senate Majority Leader plans to bring the House bill up for a vote, so Senators can go on record with their stance. Find out where your Senator stands. Passing this bill would give the federal law precedence over the terrible, no-exception, anti-abortion laws being passed by Republican-led states safeguard the rights of women in these states.
NOVEMBER: Given that the makeup of the Supreme Court is not likely to change in the near term, our best bet is to elect more Senators to create a filibuster proof senate that will codify these rights. If we can find a way to tap into the energy of 2020 and register and mobilize voters, we have a small chance. Otherwise, we will be silent spectators as 5 men and 1 woman drag America 100 years back into the past.
Do it for your daughters. Do it for your grand-daughters.
Have those uncomfortable conversations with your family members and your friends and tell them how important it is that they don’t check out of the political process just because there is no President on the ballot during the midterms. There is a President on the ballot – President Trump. It is the justices he appointed who are making it possible for Americans to lose rights, and if you stay home this November, you are letting him win for a generation to come.
Here's Pete Buttigieg to show you how to have that conversation: