Imagine being a woman and being told that your feminine products are not exempt from taxation because it is considered a "luxury."
Imagine being a woman who is denied public office because her "emotions" will get in the way of tough decisions.
Imagine being a woman who is neglected being given the same pay as her male co-worker, despite working the same job.
Imagine being a woman and no longer having the power to say what happens to your body.
For 125.9 million adult women in the United States, including myself, those scenarios do not have to be imagined, because it is an unfortunate part of our reality. And truth be told, because of this, being a woman is exhausting.
Every day, we must fight for to be free from sexual violence, to hold public office, to have equal rights to work, to fair wages or equal pay. And now, we must fight for yet another thing. Something that we had already won the right to have: reproductive rights.
45 years ago, in 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized a woman's constitutional right to an abortion in the decision of Roe v. Wade. The momentous ruling legalized abortion nationwide but has received scrutiny ever since.
Recently, the decision of Roe v. Wade has been placed in greater jeopardy, due to the nomination of U.S. Court of Appeal for the District of Columbia, Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
What is Roe v. Wade?
The case of Roe v. Wade was filed by Norma McCorvey, who, at the time, went by the anonymous pseudonym "Jane Roe." In 1969, McCorvey, who lived in Texas, was looking to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. But she couldn't due to the strict anti-abortion laws in Texas and nearly every state at the time.
The laws proclaimed abortion as a crime unless a woman's life was at risk. Nevertheless, seeking to safely and legitimately abort her pregnancy, McCorvey sued Henry Wade, the Dallas county district attorney, in 1970. The case later traveled to the Supreme Court.
After three years, on January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court announced the defining ruling, with a 7-2 decision that a woman's right to make her own medical decision, including the choice to have an abortion, is protected under the 14th Amendment.
Why Kavanaugh's Nomination is Significant
The Roe v. Wade decision has never been overturned, but in the years since, state laws have been passed to restrict access to abortion. Nonetheless, with Judge Kavanaugh's nomination, women might be facing the greatest risk to the future of reproductive rights in the United States by placing the power of abortion legality into the hands of the states.
In 2016, during the presidential election, President Trump promised that he would only appoint Supreme Court Justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, and with the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh, it can only be assumed that Trump made good on that promise.
Reversing the historical case would not automatically make abortion illegal across the country. Instead, it would return the decision about abortion legality to the states, where a patchwork of laws already in place render abortion available, largely depending on individual states political leanings.
As the Washington Post, Guttmacher, and The Center of Reproductive Rights report, some states have pre-Roe abortion laws on the books, while others have passed laws intended to take effect if Roe is ever overturned. But other states have passed laws specifically to keep abortion legal in that case. So, the legality of abortion would depend on which states you live in:
States with "trigger laws" that would automatically ban some or all abortions:
Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota
States with pre-Roe abortion bans still on the books:
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.
States with laws that describe an intention to pass anti-abortion laws:
Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, North Dakota, and Ohio.
States with laws that explicitly protect abortion:
California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, and Washington.
Check out the Center of Reproductive Rights Website to find out more.
How Can You Help Keep Abortion Safe?
Seriously, your voice is important and your opinion matters. Vote in the primaries and midterms, In local elections and in 2020. Vote early and often, and vote for pro-choice candidates.
Call Your Representatives
The damage to abortion access is already being done at the state level. So, it's about time you call your representatives and tell them what you really think about their policies.
Donate to Planned Parenthood and Other Groups
If you can, donating to Planned Parenthood helps the organization fight laws and policies that assure women's access to the reproductive health they require. You can also donate at the National Network of Abortion Funds, which help women who can't afford the procedure by paying for abortions and helping with services with transportation, translation, childcare, and a place to stay.
Become More Knowledgeable on Abortion
Abortion usually has a negative stigma due to miscommunications. Become informed and talk to your family member and friends.
Featured image by Getty Images
- Women fear abortion rights under threat - BBC News ›
- Susan Collins: Won't support SCOTUS pick hostile to abortion rights ... ›
- Abortion Rights FAQs - FindLaw ›
- Opinion | The threat to abortion rights is bigger than you think ›
- Trump's Values and the Fate of Abortion Rights - Bloomberg ›
- States' ballot measures target abortion rights - POLITICO ›
- Abortion rights : NPR ›
- Opinion | To Save Abortion Rights, We Have to Think Beyond Roe ... ›
- State of abortion rights ›
- Abortion-rights movements - Wikipedia ›
Taysha Robinson is a writer and high school English teacher, based in metro-Atlanta. A self described philomath, you can find her reading books and articles of every genre, attending educational conferences, and hiking wherever the terrain will allow.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Many have wondered if one time is ever enough to see Queen Bey. Some argue yes. However, many of us on the opposite end of the spectrum, including myself, would disagree. Beyoncé's "Renaissance World Tour" is a universal yet varying experience for everyone who attends. In the words of Oprah Winfrey, the concert is "transcendent." For millennials, we have over two decades of her catalog that has served as the soundtrack for many of our lives and painted a personal portrait of our most coveted thoughts. Her music provides mental clarity and self-expression by serving as a universal language that has united fans from all walks of life through community, fashion, self-acceptance, and healing.
With a multi-layered approach to her artistry, just as she did on that winter day in December 2013 with the infamous digital drop of her self-titled album, she changed the game again on February 1, 2023, when she announced her world tour in support of Renaissance, her seventh studio album. Her cultural impact set the internet ablaze, with everyone trying to gather their coins, barter for presale codes, and figure out which cities to attend. The group chats were lit, and the Beyhive was stressed trying to get their hands on tickets.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
Unfortunately, I was in that number. As the concert dates passed by and the one in my city drawing near all roads led to disappointment. With time ticking on the day of the Miami show and less than two hours to spare, my wallet bit the bullet, and I purchased three last-minute tickets, costing roughly $700.00 a piece (including fees) for me, my 9-year-old and 16-year-old nieces in Section 121 at the Hard Rock Stadium. With 10 minutes before showtime, we eagerly awaited the Queen to take the stage. A sea of metallic fringes, cowboy hats, disco fans, and western boots were in full effect and filled the entire stadium.
As the lights dimmed, a flood of emotions instantly overtook my body. It continued with each note she belted, along with nearly 50,000 roaring fans. The reverberating sound of the music through the stadium transported me from one era of my life to the next. As a teen girl in her bedroom daydreaming about her first love to blossoming into an unapologetic Black woman who is still on a road of self-discovery while learning to lean into the power anthem of "You won't break my soul." For over two hours, and with each set, I felt joy, love, peace, and a commanderie with fellow concertgoers. It was therapeutic as I danced like no one was watching and sang as if I were alone in my bathroom mirror.
There were no bars held, and I realized at that moment, "Nobody can judge me but me." The "Renaissance World Tour" proved to be so vast, and my Black girl joy was re-invigorated. It was magnetic and liberating, and I had to attend again, but this time, I needed to be up close and personal; I needed to be on the floor. In the days that passed, I watched more social media clips in different cities and asked myself if I would really splurge again to attend another Renaissance show.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
After all, this would be my thirteenth time (maybe more because I lost count) seeing Beyoncé live, whether she was on tour with Destiny's Child, as a solo artist, or doing a live appearance. I contemplated for a while, but it worked itself out on its own. I was gifted two tickets and the next thing I knew, I was off to LA to attend another Renaissance show with floor seats at SoFi Stadium during Beyonce's 42nd birthday weekend! This time, things were different: no kids were allowed. It was adults only this go round.
Although the energy at the Miami and Los Angeles shows was empowering, infectious, and a celebration of life, happiness, and identity, they each provided their own unique experience. However, both concerts were what I needed for my well-being, leaving me with sore feet from dancing the night away, on vocal rest for the next few days from screaming at the top of my lungs, and on an indefinite high on life.
My introduction and love for Beyoncé began in 1996, while my older sister lived in Houston, TX, right before Bey hit the scene in 1998 with "No, No, No" as a budding R&B member. Her evolution twenty-seven years later as an international superstar and into womanhood has been an incredible journey to witness. As Mrs. Carter reminds each of us in the audience every night before the curtain closes, "I want you to remember this moment, where you're standing, who you came with, and take it with you. I hope you feel inspired."
I truly felt inspired, so thank you, Queen Bey. You awakened my inner child, and I will definitely remember these moments and take them with me.
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Feature image by Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood