Updated: Friday, June 24, 2022: The Supreme Court has officially overturnedRoe v. Wade. And I'm tired.
Like so many of us, I'm sad, I'm heartbroken, I'm angry. When news like this is delivered, I see people on my timeline immediately propelled into righteous action, as if acting off instinct. And I’ve been the same way many times when a tragic reminder of just how little control we have over our bodies is delivered to us. But right now I just feel numb with anxiety.
Restricting access to abortion has just been one of the numerous ways in which this country has told us our bodies are not ours to control. From forced sterilizations of poor Black and brown women to forced breedings during slavery to rape and incarceration, our bodies are battlegrounds for policymakers to keep us under their rule.
Fortunately, there are Black and brown reproductive justice activists and radical organizations like the National Network of Abortion Funds and the National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda who have been doing this work for years and have been preparing for this outcome. What they have long since understood is what Justice Alito has made plain in his draft opinion attacking the legal precedents for marriage equality and the right to your sexuality along with abortion: everything is connected. It’s what legal scholar and founding practitioner of Critical Race Theory Mari Matsuda means when she implores us to “Ask the other question”:
“When I see something that looks racist, I ask ‘Where is the patriarchy in this?’ When I see something that looks sexist, I ask ‘Where is the heterosexism in this?” Matsuda challenges us to explore.
Likewise, fighting for abortion rights involves us contending with a number of things. Fighting for abortion also means fighting for a world in which prisons and police no longer exist. When even so much as having a miscarriage can lead to your incarceration especially if you are Black or brown, we need to collectively grapple with the true functions of prison as not a means for safety but one for subjugation. Fighting for abortion means fighting for transgender people. It’s fighting for the trans men and the nonbinary people who can also get pregnant.
Fighting for abortion means fighting for free access to healthcare. Abortion is healthcare, but something being healthcare in this country is not enough when our healthcare system is not accessible to everyone and can leave people in crushing debt. It's fighting for immigrants and for the disabled and the poor. When we understand the interconnectedness of our struggles, we can be more equipped to fight back and win.
I’m not pro choice, I’m pro abortion. There’s nothing morally wrong with wanting one or getting one. There doesn’t need to be any other reason to terminate a pregnancy other than a pregnancy not being wanted. Abortion access is just one of the ways we remove the chains this world has on our bodies. For today, I’m sad. I have no hope in the cowardice and cruelty of our elected officials. It’s the radical organizers, the ones who have compiled lists of abortion funds in every state if you need one or know someone who does– that’ll lead us into the direction of freedom. As abolitionist Mariame Kaba always says, “Hope is a discipline.” A new world where we are free is possible.