Are We Really Handmaids?
Today’s Supreme Court decision was a stunning blow to women’s rights in this country. As the decades battle for women’s equality over the course of my life continues, I was comforted that our right to make decisions regarding our bodies was validated in the highest court in the land in 1973. Over the years following that decision, there has been significant backlash and a slow whittling away of those rights in states across the nation. This attack on Roe v. Wade intensified over the past few years as states were empowered by the increasing majority of conservative justices. Today they had the audacity to remove this federal protection from us. According to a Gallup poll taken earlier this month, 55% of Americans are pro-choice. The highest level in decades. Obviously, this did not deter the conservatives on the court. They have put in place government mandated pregnancies. Thus, the battle not only continues; it escalates.
I am the mother of four daughters and the grandmother of two extraordinary young women. My family, my personal sea of women, has weathered many obstacles and challenges over the decades, but none come close to what lies ahead. This act nullifies our ability to own our bodies. We are now subject to the whim of those who want to disempower us, to negate us, to reduce us to vessels of procreation and weaken our ability to autonomy. I am not pro-abortion; I am pro-choice. I support the right for any individual to make these intensely intimate decisions for themselves.
Are we now properties of the state? I could argue that we are, and that we are headed to more court actions that remove other protected rights such as contraception, gay marriage, and interracial marriage. These are the issues conservatives have earmarked as abominations, that require their interference and intrusion into the personal and private choices made by citizens. There are flaws in their opinions and beliefs, too many to dissect here, but they woefully underestimate the power of women to rise-up and fight. The Women’s March in January 2017 gave the world a taste of our ability to organize and make our intentions loud and clear. It is believed to be the largest single-day protest in American history. There were more than 670 events held on seven continents. Close to five million people marched in the U.S. alone. It is my belief that this number will pale in comparison for what is to come.
So, in answer to my original question: Are we really handmaids? We are surely on that path. I am not willing to venture forward to any place that limits my hard-earned rights and freedoms. It’s time to gather, organize, protest and vote. Our votes are crucial to determining our future and the future of generations to follow. We must vote for those who are willing to dig deep into this battle. We must not accept less that every right afforded to men. We cannot let our guard down. There is immense power in this American sea of women. Let’s get to work.
We are stronger together,