Tuesday, May 17, 2022
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What Is Going on With Abortion Rights?


reproductive rights protest

reproductive rights protest

Last night, a Supreme Court draft opinion, which would overturn Roe v. Wade, was leaked. When I write news pieces, I usually try to strip emotion out of them. But I can’t stop my hands from shaking. This would be catastrophic.

Here’s the deal: The Supreme Court draft opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito in February (and published last night by Politico), would overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that has federally guaranteed the right to abortion for nearly half a century. The opinion, of course, could change by its official release, which is expected by early summer. But! If the court’s final opinion is similar to this draft, each state would now decide whether and when abortions would be legal.

Here’s a chart showing what that might look like:

Abortion would likely remain legal in half of states, but many states in the Midwest and the South would make it unlawful to end a pregnancy. In those places, many people – especially young women, poor women, and black and brown women – will not have the time, money or resources to travel out of state to get abortions. And the Mississippi law – the law that this opinion is upholding – has no exception for rape or incest. I’m appalled to write those words.

Therefore, “many women, disproportionately those who are poor, would unwillingly carry their babies to term and rely on a social safety net that is thinner than in most other rich nations, and thinner in some states than in others,” reports the New York Times.

A thin social safety net is a soft way to put it. Another way is: “forced birth in a country with the highest maternal mortality rate, no paid maternity leave, no universal, subsidized childcare, no continued birth parent care, and frequently inaccessible mental health care,” says writer Tocarra Mallard. Plus, shrinking birth control access, a teacher and caregiver shortage, and an overall dearth of support.

And abortion is only one part of a terrifying larger movement to take away rights for women, LGBTQ + folks, and other communities. The draft opinion criticizes Lawrence v. Texas (legalizing sodomy) and Obergefell v. Hodges (legalizing same-sex marriage). Alito says that, like abortion, these decisions protect rights that are not “deeply rooted in history.” If reproductive freedom isn’t federally protected, what else will happen? What – or who – comes next?

So, what can we do? Protests are happening all over the country. New Yorkers can meet at Foley Square, at Washington Square Park, or outside Barclay’s Center. (My family will be at Barclay’s!)

And if you are able, please join us in donating to support reproductive freedom. Cup of Jo will match up to $ 6,000 of reader donations. We will be donating to Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and the National Network of Abortion Funds. Wherever you choose to donate, simply email your receipt to [email protected]

“I will choose what enters me, what becomes flesh
of my flesh. Without choice, no politics,
no ethics lives. I am not your cornfield,
not your uranium mine, not your calf
for fattening, not your cow for milking.
You may not use me as your factory.
Priests and legislators do not hold shares
in my womb or my mind.
This is my body. If I give it to you
I want it back. My life
is a non-negotiable demand. ”
– Marge Piercy

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.

PS Why abortion needs to be legal, and thoughts on sexual harassment.

(Photo of protesters outside the Supreme Court on Monday by Kenny Holston for The New York Times.)





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