Woman holding a sign "My Body, My Choice

Post-Roe America

Six months after the extremist Supreme Court took away bodily autonomy for millions of Americans by overturning Roe v. Wade—we’re marking the 50th anniversary of Roe with a conversation about the ongoing battle for abortion rights in our country.

AS:

Abortion access typifies so many societal struggles about women’s place and power in our world. It says a lot about how we think of women’s roles in their own lives and in society. What’s really telling is how abortion is an emotional minefield that people use to manipulate others for their own gain. That’s why it’s been used as a powerful tool to hook people by the nose and lead them to political centers that strip away so many of their other rights.

FBK:

Thirty years ago, I was marketing director at NARAL Pro-choice America and the battle for abortion rights was all about access and exposing violence in the anti-choice movement against doctors and clinics. Those were tough fights, but now it feels like we’re back at square one. 

DR:

Those days were awful. When I worked at Planned Parenthood in the 1990s, the anti-choice organizations had us in defensive mode on everything, but most especially late term abortions. They described a procedure almost correctly but with horrific and callously inaccurate details. We, the pro-choice movement, tried to correct the facts rather than address the emotions they were playing on. And we are still debating when abortion is acceptable rather than the right to have one.

FBK:

Late term abortion was a key part of the right wing’s messaging in their 50-year battle to overturn Roe. And politically, they’ve been systematically chipping away at abortion rights since then: putting anti-choice zealots on school boards, city councils, state judiciaries, state legislatures, Congress…and most importantly, the Supreme Court. And at the same time, passing parental consent laws, blocking clinic access, setting up fake reproductive care centers, bombing clinics, and killing doctors. The bottom line: It worked.

DR:

Very true. Back in the 90s, Barbara Boxer and a small handful of women were the unabashed champions of reproductive rights. They never gave up rights for political gain and they never stopped fighting. But now, there’s a lot of real and dedicated support from many, many elected officials at federal, state, and local levels thanks to the work of a lot of organizations, but I think EMILY’s List can take a lot of the credit.

AS:

After my home state of Texas reversed its abortion access a billboard popped up along the highway I often drive: Right-Wing Women: You Lost Your Rights Too! I think that really summarizes this question that’s been running in my mind lately: how do you get to the point of convincing a woman to vote against her own interests?

FBK:

What really infuriates me is the mis-named “pro-life” community. They’re all about protecting “life” in utero, but anti-choice Republicans have no plans to help people who are now forced to carry pregnancies to term against their will. They all voted against extending the Child Tax Credit in Congress; many Republican governors have refused federal Medicaid money; and they seem to believe that private social services and places of worship will help women who have no safety net.

DR:

Speaking of semantics, all of us seem to be much more comfortable saying the word abortion now. After Roe, in our personal lives, we didn’t really change the way we talked about abortion. We continued to speak of it in hushed tones among our closest friends. I think that’s why the Republicans seemed so gobsmacked when voters turned out to say—no way! And now we see that we should talk about abortion for what it is: a common medical procedure and a common decision that people make for a wide variety of reasons. And not the business of politicians.

AS:

I’ve seen first-hand how abortion saves lives, whether literally or figuratively, in the way of opportunities to create or provide a better life. And I’ve been led by many women’s example to be open about this whole conversation: so much of what fuels anti-choice debaters is this undeserved stigma that surrounds abortion that needs to be gone like yesterday.

DR:

My boss at Planned Parenthood asked women who were too young to remember life without Roe (like me) what made us so adamant about our support for abortion rights. I don’t know exactly why but it infuriated me that any man would tell any woman she had to have a baby. Alex, you’re much younger than me but you’re an abortion rights activist. What got you motivated to this issue?

AS:

I think it’s the same as what led me to intersectional feminism in general. When you believe women have the inherent right to make autonomous decisions about their lives, including their bodies, it’s pretty natural to be pro-choice. But what always fascinated me about this whole debate is how it’s really a philosophical struggle, beyond the obvious. I think that also continues to motivate me in this issue—as this Roe reversal shows, the pro-choice conversation is not outdated, nor over.

FBK:

It’s hard to believe the Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe ever thought holistically about women’s lives, and the real-world ramifications of their decision, and how so many areas of women’s lives are affected by it. Millions of women have been relegated to second-class citizenship, and the realities of miscarriage, for example—a devastating situation that is, medically speaking, the same as an abortion—will be compounded when state governments make grieving parents somehow prove they had a miscarriage and not an abortion.

DR:

Republicans, apparently, believed their own spin. They seemed genuinely shocked that people believe abortion is a fundamental right and that when it’s on the ballot, we will show up to vote.

AS:

As much as there is to despair, there is still hope, and we have to keep choosing hope. People’s lives literally depend on it. The ease of social media has brought this conversation to a new generation who, unfortunately, is coming of age just as their rights are being stripped away. But it empowers them to fight back. I’ve heard of networks of volunteers driving people to other states to have a safe abortion or mailing medication abortion pills. And I see more women becoming advocates, activists, and attorneys to fight the decisions right at the center where it’s happening. There is hope, and it’s because we’re creating it. I say let’s keep pushing—our daughters deserve to live in a world where this whole debate is an outdated relic of the past and not one they have to worry about any longer.

FBK:

Yes, Republicans don’t fully get that the backlash from the Dobbs decision is only going to get stronger. EMILY’s List is such a powerful force for changing the face of our government to reflect all of America—and they’re the political organization to make Republicans pay for what they did. They give me hope for the future of abortion rights!

Women’s History Month – Part 2

As we continue to celebrate women’s history month, we are taking a moment to celebrate the women who made history when they were elected to Congress last November. Many of these women are representing groups that deserve a seat at the table but didn’t have one before, and they bring valuable perspective to Washington.

This Earth Day, Join the Fight

At a young age, I found it imperative to learn about and appreciate nature. As a kid, I remember going on field trips to our local marsh to plant trees and joining environmental clubs at school to raise awareness and participate in clean-up events. Environmental issues have always and continue to be significant to me because although our society continues to make significant progress in securing for ourselves a better future, it will only go so far if we don’t have an inhabitable planet in the future.

Did You Know….

 greg=Kim Cubine, our president, navigates the fast-paced culture of the District like a native born Washingtonian. As comfortable as she is in the Washington D.C. metro area, did you know that she grew up in a setting much different than where she currently resides and works?