Surviving the End of Roe
We can do this. We have to.
I know I’m not the only woman who burst into tears last night after hearing that the Supreme Court plans to overturn Roe v Wade, ending the right to abortion. My first wail was for my 11 year-old daughter, who will somehow, unthinkably, grow up with less rights than I did. The second was for my 73 year-old mother, who has spent decades—more than half of her life—fighting to make sure that this moment never came. The thought of having to break the news to her in the morning literally took my breath away.
We knew this was coming, but that doesn’t make it feel any less like a punch to the gut. We’ve been strategizing over what to do when it happened, but that doesn’t make the reality any less fucking terrifying. Can you ever really be prepared for your country to tell you that you’re less than human?
Because let’s be clear, that’s what the end of Roe means. It means that pregnant people are second-class citizens, unable to enjoy the same rights as others—their personhood secondary to a zygote. It means that everything feminists warned you about is coming (and has already started): Hospital workers calling the police over ‘suspicious’ miscarriages; women being arrested for failing to deliver healthy babies; prosecutors digging through women’s Google searches to find evidence of abortion pills being ordered; teenage incest survivors being forced to bear their fathers’ children; rapists suing their victims who seek abortions; prison sentences for mothers who couldn’t afford more children.
It will not be as bad as we thought—it will be a thousand times worse.
We know who will bear the brunt of all this. It will be women without enough money to travel to a pro-choice state who are forced to carry unwanted pregnancies; women of color who will be arrested, profiled and targeted by law enforcement; immigrant women who will be afraid to seek care, trans and nonbinary people who are denied it. That said, all of us will suffer; privilege can only do so much, and the point of banning abortion is to punish and control all women. It is misogyny enshrined.
I don’t know what to do with the fury and despair. I know a lot of you feel the same way. We’ve written and marched, voted and donated. The idea that any of us were complacent before this point is just false—most of us have been fighting for years. And today it may feel as if it was all for nothing.
I need to remind you that it wasn’t. We have tools today we didn’t have just a few years ago. We have new organizing strategies, the power of social media, and on-the-ground organizations who know exactly what to do to help their communities.
Take a moment for your sadness and pessimism—we all need to sit with the soul-sickening knowledge of what this country really thinks of women. And then remember that we are in the right. That we have the moral high ground and the political will to stop these motherfuckers, or at least to make their jobs as difficult and unpleasant as possible.
Those of us with money need to donate as much as we can. Those who have the ability to be arrested without fear of police violence should be putting their bodies in front of those more likely to be attacked. There are ways to wield your privilege that are helpful.
Look to local activists who have been doing this work for cues; show up where and when you can, and never stop talking about it. Tell everyone you know your abortion story, or what you think about the attack on our freedom. Remind people that the vast majority of the country does not want to see Roe overturned, and how efforts to do so aren’t just about abortion—but every single progressive win we’ve had. They are coming for marriage equality, for birth control, for anything that doesn’t uphold white supremacy and hetero-patriarchy.
There is so much more, and you will hear it all from the smart, engaged activists who fight for us every day. I will do my best to highlight their work and voices over the days, weeks, years—however long it takes.
In the meantime, please know I’m with you. I am mourning and raging alongside you. It’s reasonable to feel devastated—but we should never feel alone.