soon as the Supreme Court announced its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson
Women’s Health Organization, a decision that allowed states,
not the federal government to legislate women’s bodily autonomy
and right to choose, those who support abortion rights took it to the
streets. They gathered with an enthusiasm fueled by outrage that a
right established nearly fifty years ago has been snatched back. They
gathered outside the Supreme Court, and at state capitals and state
courts, angrily chanting “we won’t go back.” They
have pressured the White House, imploring President Biden to do
something to preserve abortion rights at the federal level. They have
rightfully excoriated Maine Senator Susan Collins (R), who voted to
confirm all three of the most recent conservative justices, Gorsuch,
Kavanaugh, and Coney Barrett, saying that she believed them when they
asserted, under oath, that they believed that Roe was a precedent
that could not be overruled.
agree that the Dobbs decision was wrong and infringes on women’s
bodily autonomy, and yet I wonder what those who took it to the
streets expected when the terrible trio joined the Supreme court.
Rabid Republicans have been trying to overturn the Roe decision for
decades, falsely describing themselves as “pro- life.”
They support life in the womb but not in the world, failing to fund
Medicare expansion, the child tax credit, affordable and quality
housing and education, and other things that support a quality of
life for children and their parents. Taking it to the streets after
the fact may be emotionally satisfying and movement-galvanizing, but
it is too little too late. As soon as the three conservative joined
the court, Roe was bound to be overturned. Instead of acting and
strateI gizing, activists are impotently reacting. The only way Dobbs
can be reversed now is to both expand the Supreme Court and elect
people at the state level that will support women’s bodily
Dobbs decision has racial reverberations. Black women are lower
income than others, and more likely to have abortions, mostly for
are mothers of several children and simply cannot afford one more.
The removal of their bodily autonomy has economic consequences for
women when unwanted pregnancies can cause interruptions in education
laws exist to prevent discrimination against pregnant women, these
laws are often unevenly enforced, and women of modest means often
lack the resources to bring this discrimination to court. Women of
modest means may also face barriers in traveling to get an abortion
in a state that allows them. Missing work, paying for services and
paying for transportation can cost as much as a thousand dollars.
Some employers, like Starbucks, Yelp, Microsoft, and PayPal say they
will pay up to $4000 for employees who must leave the state to get an
abortion. But do women really want their employers to know the
details of their health status?
has consequences, which seems to be why the Senate has been so
opposed to passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. Instead, states
have passed legislation to chip away at voting rights, passing new
restrictions, gerrymandering, and worse. What if the outcry of
outrage about finding for Dobbs had been directed, months ago, toward
the Senate’s failure to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act?
Then, perhaps, we might be in a better position to preserve abortion
rights, and other rights.
the same women who decry the loss of their bodily autonomy thought so
little of voting autonomy that they failed to turn out in droves when
both the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act
failed in the Senate. Now, Democrats are hoping that the Dobbs
decision will motivate people to get out and vote for Democrats. But
Democrats have been asleep at the wheel, trying so hard to mollify
Republicans in the name of compromise that they’ve turned off
those who want more immediate action. President Biden has been
leading the party since January of 2021. Why has nothing been done
since then to take action on abortion rights, especially since we
could have expected the Dobbs outcome?
on voting rights is directly connected to the Supreme Court action to
reverse our abortion rights. And Clarence Thomas has indicated that
they won’t stop at abortion rights. In his concurring opinion,
he has indicated that the court could reverse decisions about
contraception, marriage equality, and same sex relationships. The
GBLTQIA community is alarmed, but really, what should they expect
from a court packed with sexual abusers and perjurers who have pledge
to take our country backward?
many Democrats have been too silent for far too long. Taking it to
the street in outrage is fine. But we should have been in the streets
before votes to confirm Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Coney Barrett. We
were silent and they have been strategizing to take away our rights.
What did we expect?