The Anguish of Losing Roe
By Andrea Flynn, Senior Director
Today the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
Like many, I’ve been anticipating writing that sentence for the last two months, but really for the last decade, since the Tea Party won the 2010 midterm elections and elevated attacks on reproductive rights.
And despite nearly a dozen years passing since, I still feel shocked.
I want to say something profound in this moment; to be articulate and smart and meaningful. I want to put something on paper my kids will be proud of and that will resonate with others who feel the weight of this decision. But I keep getting stuck in my rage, sadness and fear.
I’m filled with rage. At the men who are obsessed with controlling our bodies and our lives and futures and have amassed the power to do so. At those who dismissed the palpable fear so many of us had on November 9, 2016, during the Supreme confirmation hearings in 2018, and when we learned of RBG’s passing in 2020, and all the moments in between. I’m angry at the women — many of whom look like me — who thought this day wouldn’t really come. Who thought they would always be safe and have options and access. Who were privileged to think of a dystopian future as an unthinkable nightmare, not the here and now that has been slowly unfolding before our very eyes for decades (for many women, it’s long existed).
And in the spirit of spreading my rage around, I am angry at the Democrats. For not fighting for those of us who will live with the ramifications of this decision and those who are sure to feel it most acutely. For not fighting for those who have been suffering in the wake of anti-choice legislation for the last decade. For being too afraid to say the word abortion and to talk about reproductive health and justice in ways that reflect women’s actual lived experiences. For siloing our fundamental rights and pretending bodily autonomy isn’t the lynchpin of safety and dignity and economic security and freedom. As if we can have any wins if we are shouldering that loss.
I’m angry about how broken the whole system is, about what a vicious cycle we have been pushed into. It’s a real sign of the times that women are fighting for control of their bodies while they’re facing a diaper and formula shortage, while they’re facing rising costs of menstrual products and everyday life goods. While they’re being pushed into insecure, unsafe jobs that pay too little and offer few benefits. While they’ve been abandoned by a government that won’t deliver affordable child care, paid family leave, universal healthcare, safe housing, and affordable college. I’m angry knowing how extensively the lack and loss of access to reproductive healthcare will exacerbate economic inequities, particularly for Black and brown women.
I’m heartbroken. For my daughter and sons whose generation will carry on this fight, whose decisions and futures will be shaped by it. For the generations that came before mine. For the women — mostly women of color — for whom those previous wins were woefully incomplete who never were really promised or granted bodily autonomy. And for the women who have shouldered the burden of the most recent slate of restrictions. Who have traveled hundreds of miles to access care, who have gone into debt doing so, and who have given birth to children before their time. I’m heartbroken for the women who will die, who will face injury, whose lives will not be what they dreamed because (mostly) men have snatched their choices from them.
I’m scared. Scared about what that unraveling of abortion access will mean for so many other issues. For contraceptive choice and access. Over the last decade we’ve seen attacks on IUDs, on Title X, the federal planning program, on Planned Parenthood. I fear for LGBTQ rights and protections that have been newly won and are now facing hateful attacks in state houses and school districts across the country. Eviscerating Roe will only fuel these and other fires. Our fears of what’s to come are valid.
I always want to find a sliver of hope, but today I don’t have any. We voted in the supposed pro-choice leaders who couldn’t do what we needed them to do (or they chose not to) and here we are. I just want us to matter enough for people to spend down their power to fight for us, even if it means they end up losing. I want to live in a world where our policies are shaped by the voices and dreams and desires of women, and particularly those who have been pushed down and shoved aside and silenced. And that world feels really far away from the one we live in today.
Tomorrow I will keep fighting with others who are leading this fight. But today, after I donate to abortion funds and reproductive justice orgs, I’m gonna cry some angry, sad tears because that’s about all I can do.