I’m an old woman now—certainly post-menopausal.
So why am I so angry about the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade?
There are certainly several answers to that question, but I’ll share this story:
When I was very young and recently married, when the diaphragm was the primary option for birth control, just after our first wedding anniversary, I gave birth to a healthy and beautiful baby girl. Nineteen months later, my second and healthy and beautiful daughter was born. Both pregnancies were unplanned and due to a faulty diaphragm.
Unwilling to give birth every nineteen months, I pled with my doctor to prescribe a birth control pill, which had very recently been made available. Reluctantly, he prescribed Enovid.
Six years later, we (my then-husband and I)—after many conversations and consideration—chose to have a third child. I went off the pill. Our healthy, dear son was born.
I am proud to say all three of my children thrived and have grown into amazing adults—in spite of their too-young mother. We had completed our family and so their father chose to have a vasectomy…which begs the question: Where are the men/fathers in all this? Have they no interest? And why are the rapists, the incestuous progenitors, the horny teen-aged boys hardly mentioned? Have they no responsibility?
My story could have been very different…not that I would wish it so, but for many women the story is very different.
I recently read an article in the New York Times, “Abortion Didn’t Feel like an Option. Neither Did Motherhood.” I can’t imagine having an abortion even though “motherhood didn’t feel like an option.” But what about the other women, those who are too young, too poor, or have had too many or just enough children already?
What of the women who now have to travel great distances for their reproductive health care?
What of the women who have no resources?
There are women who must drive hours or days to another state, with their children, because they have no childcare available.
There are women who have never been on an airplane, who may have been financially aided by a women’s center, but, inexperienced, find themselves overwhelmed, confused and afraid of the lines and people and how to navigate it all…
What about the woman who has driven from her home state, has the cash for an overnight stay at a discount motel, but doesn’t have the credit card required to secure the room?
And what of the young girl who’s consumed by the shame of being molested by her mother’s brother? What is she to do? Who can she tell? Where will she go for care and support?
For me, the process of choosing to have a third child was a very precious one; my pregnancy was an equally precious experience. I was free to anticipate and participate with my unborn son; I was more confident, more mindful, because I had been allowed a choice.
It only took six well-placed zealots to prevent millions and millions of us from being allowed that same choice. Only six people to restrict our agency to decide what happens to our own bodies.
The potential implications of overturning Roe v. Wade are chilling. The extent of the harm done may not be revealed for some time.
However, one thing has become clear: the struggle, the work we feminists have pursued for fifty years, the work we have done to create a place at the table, is being dismissed and dismantled.
And, if the Supreme Court acts on the threats contained in Thomas’s concurring opinion, these six people have only just begun to eradicate any notion of justice and equality for those who do not share their priviledged ideology.
Not only do we find ourselves subject to an overreaching and intrusive government, indeed, it’s starting to feel like we are living in Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale.