It was 48 years ago when the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued a 7-2 decision in the case of Roe v. Wade. This single case granted women in the United States the fundamental right to choose whether or not to have abortions without excessive government restriction. And it was four months ago when Texas state Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill into law that makes abortion procedures illegal six weeks into a pregnancy. Thus, making it one of the nation's strictest abortion measures.
How? Most women don't even know they are pregnant at six weeks.
At the bill signing ceremony, Governor Abbott stated:
"Our creator endowed us with the right to life and yet millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion."
And recently, SCOTUS ruled in support of the Texas abortion ban.
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The Supreme Court justices once ruled Texas abortion bans as unconstitutional and now, they have ruled Texas's newest abortion ban as constitutional. If this doesn't scream contradictory, I don't know what does. I want to clarify that abortion is not illegal in the state of Texas nor is it illegal nationwide. But abortion is becoming less accessible.
Other states can regulate and limit the use of abortion. States with"trigger laws"or unenforced pre-Roe abortion bans written into their laws include Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Utah. If Roe v. Wade was overturned, these laws can take immediate effect, making abortion illegal within the first and second trimesters.
What is even scarier is the Supreme Court is scheduled to consider the constitutionality of abortion in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. This case concerns a Mississippi law that bans nearly all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. This same case can ultimately upend Roe v. Wade, leaving abortion rights unprotected in 34 states and five U.S. territories.
What The Texas Abortion Ban Means
The Texas abortion ban, also known as Senate Bill 8, almost prohibits abortion completely, as 85 to 90 percent of abortions happen at the sixth week of pregnancy in Texas. The law states if a doctor can detect a heartbeat, then they cannot perform an abortion. The only exception is for women with medical emergencies. However, Whole Woman's Health, a clinic in Texas reports 90 percent of women who come into their clinic are more than six weeks into their pregnancy. This also means that a woman has six weeks from the first day of their last period to end their pregnancy. This leaves women with at least one to two weeks to make a difficult and emotional life decision. But we all know biology doesn't work that way.
What is different about this specific law is the way it is structured. It was designed to make it difficult to fight abortion cases in court. It also incentivizes abortion providers to comply with the law. According to theTexas Tribune, Senate Bill 8 relieves the government from enforcing the law and allows private citizens to sue abortion providers or anyone who helps someone get an abortion after a fetal "heartbeat" has been detected.
And here is the plot twist: the law doesn't require the person suing to be someone who is connected to the person who had the abortion or connected to the provider. So, basically, anyone who is anti-abortion can sue anyone who is in support of abortion.
Yes. You read that correctly.
Because of the broad language of the bill, family members, abortion funds, rape crisis counselors and medical professionals could be open to a lawsuit. What this also means if an abortion case is brought to court, and a judge sided with the plaintiff (the person suing), he or she would be awarded at least $10,000 and costs for attorney's fees. While Senate Bill 8 doesn't allow rapists to sue, it shows no mercy to victims of rape or incest.
Women who are victims of rape, sexual assault, and/or incest are equally subjected to this law too. But the problem is most women do not report rape or any type of sexual violence when it happens.
In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Senator Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responded to Abbot's comments about eliminating rapists and allowing women reasonable time to get an abortion.
"I'm sorry we have to break down Biology 101 on national television, but in case no one has informed him before in his life, six weeks pregnant means two weeks late for your period. And two weeks late on your period ... can happen if you're stressed, if your diet changes, or for really no reason at all. So, you don't have six weeks."
The Texas abortion ban would also require doctors that are sued to report the lawsuit upon renewal of their medical licenses. And 24 hours before the law went into effect in Texas, patients were waiting five to six hours to have their procedures done at one of the Whole Woman's Health Texas locations.
The Supreme Court’s Decision
We should all be able to make our own decisions about our health & future. We have to fight for everyone’s reproductive freedom. Join me in standing with the women of Texas, sign the petition https://t.co/7A7e6TokUw #BanOffOurBodies pic.twitter.com/kNLkXksdW5— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) September 1, 2021
"The applicants now before us have raised serious questions regarding the constitutionality of the Texas law at issues. But their application also presents complex and novel questions antecedent procedural questions on which they have not carried their burden."
The written opinion goes onto explain:
"And it is unclear whether the named defendants in this lawsuit can or will seek to enforce Texas law against the applicants in a manner that might permit our intervention. The state has represented that neither it nor its executive employees possess the authority to enforce the Texas law either directly or indirectly. Nor is it clear whether, under existing precedent, this Court can issue an injunction against state judge asked to decide a lawsuit under Texas's law."
Translation? It means that the case brought before the Supreme Court did not strongly meet the burden requirement so that SCOTUS can intervene.
The dissenting justices also filed opinions. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote, "The court's order is stunning. The court has rewarded the state's effort to delay federal review of a plainly unconstitutional statute, enacted in disregard of the court's precedents, through procedural entanglements of the state's own creation." Justice Sotomayor further stated, "The court should not be so content to ignore its constitutional obligations to protect not only the rights of women but also the sanctity of its precedents and of the rule of law."
Chief Justice Roberts wrote, "The statutory scheme before the court is not only unusual but unprecedented. The legislature has imposed a prohibition on abortions after roughly six weeks, and then essentially delegated enforcement of that prohibition to the populace at large. The desired consequence appears to be to insulate the state from responsibility for implementing and enforcing the regulatory regime."
Chief Justice Roberts did not deny the constitutionality of the Texas law either. He explains, "Although the court denies the applicants' request for emergency relief today, the court's order is emphatic in making clear that it cannot be understood as sustaining the constitutionality of the law at issue."
Justice Elena Kagan points out that the court's practice of deciding important issues in rushed decisions is problematic. She states that the court's shadow docket decision-making is "unreasoned, inconsistent, and impossible to defend." For context, shadow docket decision-making is when the court believes an applicant will suffer "irreparable harm" if the request is not immediately granted. This means decisions are at least a paragraph long, unsigned, and without a full briefing or oral arguments.
Can you imagine a court deciding an issue without hearing oral arguments? Because I cannot, but it does happen.
On a positive note, the Supreme Court's ruling is provisional.
According to theNew York Times, challenges to the new Texas law is pending in the lower federal courts and they are able to work through complex issues of the case. I find it interesting that a 1973 abortion case that protected our abortion rights originated from Texas. Now a 2021 Texas abortion case limits access to abortion. And soon a Mississippi abortion case may overturn the same landmark case.
I asked a friend of mine, a local prosecutor, who wants to remain anonymous, their thoughts on the Texas abortion ban. This is what they had to say, "It's mean-spirited nonsense that should be found unconstitutional." My friend wasn't too sure on the procedural questions that the Supreme Court decided on, but agrees that their recent decision "definitely violates their precedent."
I have so many words, yet no words at all. Throughout our country's history, women have fought for their rights in multiple systems, industries, and spaces. We have fought for equality and our voices to be heard. And now in 2021, we are still being told what we can and cannot do with our bodies not only by men but by a system that does not understand the biology of a woman's body or respect a woman's bodily autonomy.
In the words of Tupac Shakur, "Since a man can't make one, he has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one."
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Camille is a lover of all things skin, curls, music, justice, and wanderlust; oceans and islands are her thing. Her words inspire and her power is her voice. A California native with Trinidadian roots, she has penned personal essays, interviews, and lifestyle pieces for POPSUGAR, FEMI magazine, and SelfishBabe. Camille is currently creating a life she loves through words, self-love, fitness, travel, and empowerment. You can follow her on Instagram @cam_just_living or @written_by_cam.
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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I won’t lie to y’all — one of the most challenging things about being a marriage life coach is the fact that, a lot of times, people wait until their marriage is literally on its last leg before seeking any type of professional help. It’s like they are pretty much saying, “My marriage is a complete dumpster fire. Now get it back healthy in five sessions or less.” It’s another message for another time that therapy and/or coaching don’t exactly work that way. For now, though, let’s briefly discuss how so many unions get to that point in the first place.
Feeling (or being) taken for granted. I can’t tell you how many calls, emails, or texts I’ve received where a husband or wife is totally at their wit’s end because they feel like their spouse is not grateful for the things that they do. And when you keep on giving, and the other person isn’t appreciative, that really is the beginning of a downward spiral, one that can be hard to come back from if you let too much time pass by.
So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving being just a few days away (where is this year going, y’all?!), I asked 12 wives to share with me some of the not-so-immediately-obvious things that they proactively do to let the number one man in their life know that they see him, they love him, and they are oh so very thankful for him — each and every day that they “do life” together. May it inspire you to stay the course (if you’re already doing something on your own), follow suit, or come up with a way to love on your boo thang in a similar fashion as well.
*Middle names have been used so that people can speak freely*
Diane. 37. Married for 11 Years.
“If a lot of women were honest, they’d own the fact that most of the dates that they go on with their boo consist of things that they want to do more than what he does; at the most, it’s a compromise on his part. My husband and I try and go on two dates a month: he plans one, and I plan one. What I try to do on mine is either come up with something that I know he will enjoy or at least ask him if there’s something that he would like to do. Not all of his answers are things that I like, but it has expanded my world a lot. I’ve learned about soccer. I’ve gone skydiving. I’ve definitely tried some new foods. And he feels like I care about what he cares about. He feels appreciated, so it works.”
Wychelle. 42 Married for 15 Years.
“Around every six weeks, I have a DIY pamper day at home. It’s not for both of us, it’s for my husband only. I will give him a facial, rub his feet, give him a manicure, run him a bath with some lavender oil and Epsom salt, and prepare his favorite meal while his favorite music plays. He really looks forward to those days, and I’ve found that we have the most intimate conversations then. He said it’s because his guard is totally down because I make him feel cherished during those moments. That’s why I like doing it so much.”
Astrid. 37. Married for 10 Years.
“I wish I could do it more than this, but I try to let my husband stay in bed, all day, at least once a season [four times a year]. Between our kids and our hectic schedule, even that’s close to impossible, but I will get the kids over to somebody’s house for at least a night, if not a whole weekend, so that he can sleep in, I can make him breakfast in bed, he can have sole control of the remote, we can have some what we call ‘loud sex,’ and he can take long naps. He literally lives for those days, and I’m happy to do it!”
Oakland. 25. Married for One Year.
“One of the ‘wife mentors’ in my life often says that being a Black man in this country is a very thankless position. So, I try and send my husband random thank-you texts throughout the day: ‘Thank you’ for cooking dinner last night; ‘Thank you’ for being cool about my breaking the budget on my Target runs; ‘Thank you’ for just being yourself. I usually get an ‘I love you’ reply afterwards. I love that.”
Eve. 31. Married for Six Years.
“My husband is an extrovert. I am anything but, so a way that we had to strike a compromise was to do some day or weekend trips since I’m not the biggest people person or traveler. We will take a major trip once a year, but in between those times, I’ll look for a town or city that is no more than 6-8 hours, and we’ll tour that. It helps to keep him not feeling so antsy about always having to stay close to home; plus, he says that he loves that I am willing to step out of my comfort zone that way — because he knows that, if it were up to me, I’d be home all day, every day.”
Larissa. 46. Married for Eight Years.
“I took a big leap of faith and quit my job this year to follow my passion. Our kids are in college, and we saved up enough money for the past three years for me to do it. It’s still a sacrifice on my husband’s part because he’s remaining in a position that he’s not thrilled with so that I can make my dreams happen. One way that I show him how grateful I am for the sacrifice is I purchase things that feed into his own passion projects which are all music-related. I get equipment when I can. I’m constantly sending him podcasts and videos about it. I get him concert tickets. I try to do things to let him know that this is only a season — he will be able to do his thing too…soon.”
Yvonne. 24. Married for 11 Years.
“At the end of every month, I jot down at least 15 things that I really appreciated that he did that month and I post it on the fridge. I think it’s important that he sees it and our children because they need to know that their mommy sees their father. They also need to get used to seeing what happens ‘behind the scenes’ that they might not know about — things that keep the ball rolling around here.”
Serenity. 46. Married for 21 Years.
“I don’t nag my husband, and it’s as simple as that. How many times have you heard that a man just wants some peace? In my over 20 years of marriage, I’ve learned that the best way to show a man how much you care about him is to give him what he needs, and no man needs to feel like he’s always being hounded about something all of the time. A lot of you won’t listen, but I’ve got some experience under my belt. Give that man peace, and he’ll feel like you’re thankful for him.”
Chayla. 27. Married for Three Years.
“One of the best things that I ever did for my marriage is actually something that you recommended. Remember how, during our first year, I was in some serious marriage culture shock, and you said that I should try the ‘respect challenge’? I grew up in the Church, and so I knew about what the Bible says about respecting your husband but no one really explained what that looks like. Once a year, I will do the challenge, and it’s like ‘pushing reset’ in a lot of ways. He feels more appreciated, and he goes out of his way to indulge me during those times.”
Lynn. 33. Married for One Year.
“Something that my parents and grandparents did is put a gratitude journal on their nightstand: one for the husband and the other for the wife. They committed to put something that they were grateful for when it came to one another, no less than twice a week. Both [couples] are still married. My husband and I are carrying the tradition.”
Athena. 33. Married for Five Years.
“I cook four nights a week, my husband cooks two, and we either go out once a week or order in. My husband is gonna eat whatever I prepare, but we’re both foodies. That’s why, once a week, I ask him for his personal request and make that. He loves that. It’s my way of showing him that I ‘see’ him, and since I haven’t grocery shopped in over a year now, it’s not stressful to do at all.”
Thalia. 50. Married for 30 Years.
“My husband and I have been going on ‘I thank you walks’ after dinner for the past 27 years or so. In the beginning of our marriage, we both were resentful because we weren’t raised to apologize or show gratitude. One day, I read an article about a couple who took thank-you strolls in order to get some quality time in and to tell each other why they were thankful for each other. They said it changed their marriage, and it improved ours too. We do it every night. It’s a tradition and, sometimes, the very best part of our day.”
Author Brené Brown once said, "I don't have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness—it's right in front of me if I'm paying attention and practicing gratitude." Just imagine how much more awesome marriage would be to so many, if they applied this to, not only being grateful for their spouse but expressing their gratitude to them. Not just on Thanksgiving but every day. I hope this inspires you to do just that.
Good husbands are a true blessing. Make sure that they know that you know it. Often.
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