Jul 15, 2022

Urgency Has Spiked!

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Photo by Ian Hutchinson on Unsplash

by Maggie Sacra

On June 24th, there was a massive trauma inflicted on women in America when the Supreme Court rendered its decision on Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization. It actually has taken me more than a week to be able to even sit down and write something. I had to put into perspective the decades of work, marches, events, fundraisers, etc. that I’ve helped with or attended to maintain and improve bodily autonomy for women. It was, and is, crushing, and the rage that I feel is palpable.

This overruling of the almost 50-year precedent of Roe v. Wade put into jeopardy the right of bodily autonomy for every potentially pregnant person in our society. The 6-3 decision, with only Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan dissenting, undid years of established precedent. Roe was a ruling that most of the Justices had said established a precedent when they raised their right hands and swore to truthfully answer the questions of the Senate before their confirmations. The ruling, and several other rulings that came within a few days of each other, all put into question the independence and validity of the Supreme Court and further undermined the checks and balances put into place by our founders. All of us should be gravely concerned that this activist and regressive Supreme Court is ruling based on far-right Christian theology as opposed to ruling based on law and the Constitution. We have just stepped way out onto a clearly slippery and dangerous slope where a number of individual rights are in danger of falling.

There are immediate ramifications for people of childbearing age. Those that can become pregnant carry the painful, expensive, life-changing burden of possibly dealing with a pregnancy that, whether planned or unplanned, may need to be terminated. Will they be able to get the health care that they need? Will they be denied a procedure that may save their lives or their ability to have a child going forward? Will they be forced to travel long distances at great expense out of state to a strange place away from loved ones to undergo a procedure that they should have access to in their own hometowns?

Every pregnant person and the potentially pregnant person faces a fear they have not had to experience in their lifetime. We are on the precipice of stepping back to a time when dangerous back-alley abortions maimed and killed tens of thousands of women, in the years before Roe v. Wade was the law of the land.

There are also long-term ramifications for so many other rights. Justice Thomas clearly stated that he wanted to have cases before him that may lead to the undoing of marriage equality and that would reverse sodomy rulings directly impacting loving relationships for LGBT people. He also mentioned cases that could impact in-vitro fertilization for straight and gay couples and even reverse access to birth control for unmarried and married persons. Already some women have started sharing stories of their own experiences with pharmacies not filling morning-after pills or even birth control pills. They’ve had to go without, jump through hoops to contact providers and have prescriptions resent to other pharmacies, or fight at their pharmacies to speak to someone that finally filled the prescription. This simply should not be happening, but far-right extremists see an opening to dictate their beliefs to everyone, and we will certainly hear of more of these situations.

What can we do? We can get involved. And I don’t mean just register to vote, make a plan to vote, and then actually vote! The days of most of us being able to passively involve ourselves with politics are now gone!  This is an inflection point in history, and it is now all-hands-on-deck, batten down the hatches, and prepare for a protracted fight. All of us need to rally, march, get involved with campaigns, make phone calls, and door-knock. We need to talk to our friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and even people in line at the grocery store, about being involved. No one can be complacent until we have gotten the political advantages at the federal and state level that allow us to enshrine our rights into law.

We must pass the Equality Act, we must codify Roe, we must confirm the Equal Rights Amendment, and we must never again let the country slip towards theocracy and fascism. Our lives and the freedoms of our children and grandchildren depend on the next few elections like never before, and frankly, we have no time to waste. There is no time to complain about where we find ourselves now or point fingers and blame; we simply don’t have time for that. We need to work and make sure that everyone has a say in how they will live their lives, who they really are, and what their families will look like. Today and every day going forward, we have an urgency that we didn’t have just a month ago and frankly haven’t felt in decades.

I challenge you to get involved now! Work like you’ve never worked before, and let us make a country where there is equality and equity for all!