It’s been one month and I’m still processing the overturn of Roe V. Wade
I’d been preparing myself for the overturn of Roe V. Wade since the leak in May, but when the news alert flashed on my phone screen I didn’t want to believe it. I still don’t.
It’s been nearly a month now since SCOTUS struck down the landmark decision; since the first states with trigger laws ruled abortion bans or restrictions into effect. I’ve spent a lot of time since thinking, talking and listening to others about what this means for many of us. I’ve read countless articles; listened to numerous podcasts. But 30 days isn’t enough to process it all.
Even as I write this, I’m struggling to boil down all my feelings into words. There is so much I want to say and compiling it all into complete sentences is proving to be a more tedious task than expected. But here it goes.
Considering the implications – Initial thoughts
At the top of my list of concerns is how the overturn of Roe V. Wade will worsen health inequities and reduce access to reliable health care services and information.
In the U.S., sexual and reproductive healthcare is already difficult to navigate. Our healthcare system is full of vast inequities and new challenges continue to arise. Now, with the overturn of Roe, experts are predicting health outcomes to worsen, maternal mortality to further increase and healthcare deserts to grow even more desolate as providers move out of states where abortion laws are most restrictive.
These repercussions will hit marginalized communities the hardest, especially those in places where accessing abortion, or any form of healthcare for that matter, is already difficult. But the impacts will also be widespread.
What about women’s health?
As a woman and a person with a uterus, I gotta say that things really suck right now. I wish I could put that into a more poetic line, but honestly, I’m just too tired.
While scrolling through Instagram recently, I came across a post from @betches_sup that sums up the clusterfuck of conundrums that women in the U.S. currently face fairly well.
Yep, that’s where we’re at. No matter which direction you go, it seems you’re screwed either way. But this chart also just scratches the surface.
There’s the matter of infertility and the impact that overturning Roe V. Wade could have on IVF and other fertility treatments. Plus, there’s the historic lack of funding for the research and treatment of women’s health conditions, including sexual and reproductive issues that can complicate pregnancy.
There should arguably be another box at the bottom for people who are experiencing menopause (which, again, lacks significant research). Better yet, let’s go back to the very top of the chart and add boxes for all the layers of internalized gendered norms and patriarchal nonsense that trickles through each of the subsequent boxes. I could keep going but hopefully, you get the point.
The burden of protecting our bodies
The thing I’m struggling with most right now are the questions of what else – what else may they try to take away? What consequences are still yet to be realized?
The conversation around how phone and internet data could be used to prosecute individuals charged with having an abortion or miscarriage I find especially alarming. Everything from social media, to browsing history, to geolocation records to fertility and period-tracking apps could all potentially be fair game in the court of law.
Admittedly, I have downloaded tons of apps and typed all sorts of things into Google without ever giving it a second thought. Up until now, data privacy hasn’t been a huge concern for me, but realizing how my data could be weaponized against me is scary to say the least. I have trouble even believing this is real. It seems like something you’d read in a dystopian novel, but in reality, it’s happening already.
I feel a bit naïve admitting my ignorance to this threat. Like I should have known better. But then I realize this is victim-blaming behavior. I haven’t done anything wrong and already I am placing myself at fault. Perhaps this is because the burden of policing our bodies and behavior has always fallen on women. Don’t wear a tight dress or you may look like you’re asking for it. Don’t walk home alone at night. This list, I realized, is just a new chapter in the book.
Closing thoughts for now
Perhaps out of my own doomed optimism, I thought there would be a transition period once the Supreme Court’s decision was announced. Something as significant as this feels worthy of time. And yet, in the few seconds that the alert lit up my phone, so much changed. It’s heartbreaking to hear stories about the women and girls who are facing the consequences of the overturn in full force. It’s hollowing to imagine this type of pain, the uncertainty, and fear that they must be feeling.
I think it’s important to end by recognizing that abortion access is not only about abortion – there is so much more that the overturn of Roe v. Wade is and will impact. Whether you’re pregnant or not, a person with a uterus or not, the overturn of this constitutional right will affect us all.