Our Bodies, Our Fight
The world we had before Roe cannot become the world we have after Roe.
I scheduled this morning’s newsletter yesterday, and then went to bed early, just before Politico obtained Justice Alito’s draft majority opinion striking down Roe. So yeah, we can talk about kids and social media another day.
Because I woke up this morning and the world had changed.
Except we’ve known, all along, that we were headed here. We’ve known it since the 2016 election and some of us have known it much longer than that. This was always the plan, as Lyz Lenz wrote this morning.
It’s still shattering. As an elder millennial,1 I’m one of the sweet summer children born into a world with safe, legal abortion. But I’m also a daughter of the women who fought for that right.
In 1970, my step-mother, Mary Summers, joined forces with three other Boston activists to make a documentary about illegal abortion. The film tells their own stories and explores how illegal abortion hurts everyone, but especially poor folks, and people of color.
Once word about the film got out, women from all over the country sent in audiotapes recounting their own harrowing experiences of obtaining illegal abortions. Blind folds. Back rooms. Stigma. Worse.
These women were among the first people to shout their abortions—and to show that access to safe, affordable abortion is crucial, and part of the larger struggle to win reproductive justice and health care for all. We need to hear their stories again right now—because we need to look back, in order to know how to move forward. I hope you’ll watch and share the trailer above, and the full 28-minute film here.
We’ve always known Roe wouldn’t be enough. My own daughters, like all children born today, are not guaranteed safe and legal abortions because we’ve been watching that access erode for decades. We’ve seen abortion doctors shot, clinics closing, and reproductive healthcare denied to trans people, Black people, Native Americans, the incarcerated.
But: The Supreme Court’s draft opinion is not final. Abortion is still legal today. And even if the court’s decision doesn’t change, there is much we can do at the legislative level to protect abortion. Democrats in Congress can end the filibuster and pass the Women’s Health Protection Act. And just as the religious right has worked to undermine Roe state by state, we can fight state by state to protect abortion.
One piece of good news there: The Burnt Toast Giving Circle broke our $10,000 goal this morning! That money will go directly to progressive candidates in state elections identified by the States Project as key battlegrounds for protecting choice this year. It’s not too late to join us! Here’s the Burnt Toast episode where I announced the campaign, and the link to donate.
If, like me, you need to do some more rage donating today, Mary and the other filmmakers have put together an amazing list of resources here.
We can do this. But we have to do it now.
Post-publication note from Virginia: I want to recognize that people of all genders require safe, legal access to abortion. I’ve made a few edits to this post to shift towards more inclusive language. The film does focus on “women,” as an artifact of its time, but the filmmakers certain support abortion rights for all.
Who is also white and financially privileged, and has always lived in blue states.