What is supposed to be a day of barbeque, day drinking, fireworks, and celebration of our country’s independence is overshadowed by a sense of dread for many citizens and allies alike; the realization that just 10 days ago, the Supreme Court voted in a landmark decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which will (and has already) strip millions of women across the country of their fundamental right to choose.
The ruling came just under two months after a leaked draft opinion was made public, raising suspicions of the court’s stance against abortion but still providing a beacon of hope for pro-choice advocates in advance of the official decision—a hope that was quickly shattered the morning of June 24. In an opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito for the court majority, the 1973 Roe decision was shot down, returning the determination of abortion legality to the states.
To justify his position, Alito stated that the original ruling of Roe was wrong, weak, and "an abuse of judicial authority." Alito was joined in his vote by four others: Justice Clarence Thomas, appointed under the Bush administration, and Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, all appointed by Trump. Dissenting the opinion was Justice Stephen Breyer, appointed by President Clinton, and Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, all appointed by President Obama, who wrote "with sorrow — for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection — we dissent."
For many, a state of shock ensued upon public announcement of the ruling, the reality of bodily autonomy no longer being a constitutional right perhaps too much to process. Protests and marches unfolded across the country, their efforts met with condolences from international leaders including New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister. Ramifications of the overturning of Roe proved immediate with at least eight states banning abortion instantly and thirteen set to impose a ban within 30 days of the court’s decision. In all, 26 states are either guaranteed or likely to ban abortion without the protection of Roe.
For a country with no universal healthcare, no paid family leave, no gun control, a broken foster care system, and zero indication of change, it’s pretty bold of SCOTUS to force newborns into this world who will be but another statistic immediately following the birth they wanted so much to protect. And, as perhaps one of the biggest regressions in recent history, threats to other fundamental rights remain steady as the nation prepares for the implications of a Supreme Court with a conservative majority. Justice Clarence Thomas explicitly referenced three cases which protect the rights to contraception, same-sex sexual intimacy and same-sex marriage, stating that “in future cases, we should reconsider all of this court’s substantive due process precedents.”
With the brunt of the overturning of Roe falling on poor, marginzalized communities, now more than ever it is important to consider ways you can help. Whether it’s showing up to a rally, donating even just $5, or educating yourself and passing that knowledge on, everyone can do their part to come together against the restrictive forces of our government.
Alongside donating to big organizations like Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights, you should consider sending your money to an abortion fund. Positioned at the center of racial, economic, and reproductive justice, abortion funds are largely nonprofit and volunteer-based organizations that provide direct and immediate assistance, both financially and resourcefully, for those unable to afford an abortion. Not only do they help offset procedure costs, they also assist with travel, lodging, child care, doula, and translation services. Check out the National Network of Abortion Funds for information on how to donate and get involved at a local level. You can also reference here for a list of abortion funds by state.
We will not be complacent as this nation takes us back to a time where bodies are controlled based on gender, race, and sexual orientation. Now, the fall of Roe gives us even more of a reason to rise.