This morning I woke up to the news that Roe v Wade has been overturned by the US Supreme Court. Not only that, but Justice Thomas seems to think this is a good start to overturn other rights like marriage equality and access to contraception.
There are states who have trigger laws, just waiting for the day this might happen. Women’s lives are in danger – not only from life-threatening pregnancies, dangerous and illegal abortions – which will still happen – but also from their partners. The number one cause of death for pregnant women in the United States is homicide.
Many of those who survive their pregnancies and births – the US maternal death rate doubles the next highest in what they call developed countries – will live in poverty for the rest of their lives. Because these people who call themselves “pro-life” have no interest in the actual babies that are born nor the mother.
Last night I was reading bell hooks’ essay on Lorraine Hansberry, the award-winning playwright.
hooks included a quote from Hansberry that caught my attention: “We have to find some way with these dialogues to show and to encourage the white liberal to stop being a liberal and become an American radical.” (You can hear more of her speech here)
What Hansberry says here I understand: it is up to those of us with privilege to fight for the rights of those whose rights are at risk.
That is our responsibility.
We have to fight at the same level that the privileged on the other side are fighting to strip those rights. Harder.
We have to show up for our fellow human beings and say no.
hooks talks about the feminist movement, the civil rights movement and the gay rights movement and how they all came together to fight for each other (except white women are sometimes problematic, we know this). They can’t pit us all against each other because the point is that we are all human beings who should have access to equal rights.
A very good point I heard made during a Twitter Spaces event (I believe it was Kristin Raworth who made it): the people we are fighting against say anything to make their point, and they make it in a quick and easy way. The people at the top of the centre-left try to explain. They talk to their audience as though they can’t understand how complicated it is. They try to be nice and not stoop to the level of the other side.
It’s not working.
Michelle Obama says ‘when they go low, we go high.’
Except they keep winning and people are going to die. Women’s lives are being put at risk, trans kids are being sacrificed. We have to start punching back.