With everything so overwhelming, what are things we can do to handle and fix it?
So, in light of current events and after having my head spin for the last three days, we need to talk. Let’s talk about the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade and what that means.
For those that might be unaware, the Supreme Court in the United States recently voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, which allowed any pregnant person the ability to legally receive an abortion nationwide. This vote changes that in which it’s no longer a federal right, but rather it’s up to each state and how they decide to treat abortions. We’re already seeing the effect of it because of trigger laws already in place for some states and as a result, abortion was immediately banned that same day.
This has already been stated countless times by others but I’m saying it anyway. Banning abortion won’t stop it from happening, it just makes it harder to have the procedure done safely. Please understand this. Abortions will still continue because in the end, a pregnant person will choose what to do with their body. So rather than needlessly put someone’s life at risk, we must ensure that they have the access and ability to get what they need. How do we do that?
What can we do to help?
It’s that simple, to be frank. With many states cutting off abortion, people will need to travel to other states where it is still legal, and the expenses can be costly depending on how far they have to go.
Supporting local abortion funds and reproductive healthcare clinics are those in need of support as some can’t fully operate with the new restrictions in place.
Do note that some abortion funds are temporarily suspended in terms of paying for out-of-state travel for the states that have abortion bans currently in effect due to fear of legal ramifications. This article from the Texas Tribune goes into more detail about the immediate aftermath from Friday’s ruling and the effects it has on such clinics. So if you’re trying to help people with the main goal of providing donations for their travel expenses, be sure that organization or fund is still capable of assisting with that in those particular states. Otherwise, GoFundMe is an option or again, find and support your local abortion funds and clinics for general donations.
Join Community Organizations
Of course, not everyone is in a position to donate and that’s understandable. That’s why the other most important thing is to listen and be supportive.
Community activists have been out there fighting to ensure these crucial rights stay in place and remain protected. This decision has been coming, even before it was leaked to the media last month. Listen to what these groups have to say. Learn and understand, spread the word and their stories. Help however you can because working together is key, not just for the rights of pregnant people, which a majority of whom will be negatively impacted and most likely also a part of marginalized groups such as those with low-income, BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and disabled, but also because this won’t be the only loss of rights to come.
In regard to the three cases Griswold v. Connecticut, Lawrence v. Texas, and Obergefell v. Hodges, Justice Thomas wrote ‘that the court “should reconsider” all three decisions, saying it had a duty to “correct the error” established in those precedents,’ as seen in this New York Times article.
As if people shouldn’t have a right to contraception (Griswold v. Connecticut), be capable of legally engaging in same-sex sexual activity (Lawrence v. Texas) or be allowed the right to have an LGBTQIA+ marriage. This is ridiculous. The fact that some of the Justices are blatantly admitting to having these rights struck down next on their theocratic agenda is telling and they won’t stop. We can’t let this continue.
The disabled community is also concerned that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will be next as well. There’s already been discussions of eugenics and sterilizations, a process or act that renders an individual incapable of sexual reproduction, which isn’t always consensual.
Let it be a reminder that Buck v. Bell, which states “laws mandating the sterilization of the mentally handicapped did not violate the Constitution,” as described in this ThoughtCo article, is still in place and hasn’t been overturned.
This was from 1927, almost a century ago, and it’s still there. I don’t believe they plan on overturning this anytime soon at all considering they have other oppressive plans in the works.
In this same article, there’s a quote from then Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes who wrote that, “It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind.”
That is what they said of disabled people back then and I know the argument for eugenics still stands. Even if it isn’t explicitly stated, it’s still heavily implied. And while I don’t have an intellectual or developmental disability, I’m still disabled and there are people who don’t want us disabled people to be given the ability to have kids of our own.
So even if you don’t actively participate in an organization pertaining to reproductive rights, join another organization or help a community as an active member and ally. Not in a sense of performative activism, but with true intentions to provide support and assistance in the long run. Take the opportunity to learn as you grow.
And know that fundamental human rights have already been relinquished as we saw with the variety of anti-trans bills and laws passed earlier this year. It was only after this particular ruling involving reproductive rights that people actually started paying attention. We can’t just let this go and lose focus when so much is already at stake.
Both of these options require a bit of research because it depends on you. Not sure where to start? Check local chapters for organizations and clinics in your area where you’re interested in helping whether that’s through donations or volunteer work. Or if you’re not in the best position at this time, listen, do research, share useful information. The first is especially crucial, let people with multiple marginalized identities be heard.
What can you do to take care of yourself?
This isn’t an easy situation to deal with, even if you’re not being directly affected in this moment, it’s still horrifying to watch these rights be forcefully stripped away. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Maintain Anxiety to the Best of Your Ability
You can do this by:
- Practicing breathing exercises (Inhale for 4 seconds, Hold for 7 seconds, Exhale for 8 seconds or whatever variation works best for you)
- Ensure you get some fresh air from time to time, even if it’s for a few minutes
- Talk with others you know you can trust and will listen (Family, Friends, Therapists, etc.)
- Take breaks from social media and the Internet in general because it’s a mess and can easily get overwhelming
Be Mindful of Period Tracking Apps
For those like myself who may rely on period tracking apps to log and track their menstrual cycles, know which apps are safe as most have already sold or will sell your private data. Not only is this an invasion of privacy, but it’s also concerning and dangerous if law enforcement tries to use this against you.
If you’re uncomfortable by this, here are a few things you can do.
- Before you delete the app, ensure that your data will also be permanently deleted as well because they may still keep you on file. This will probably require you contacting them and asking them to do so.
- Reverting to pen and paper or manual logging via spreadsheet, while possible options, aren’t feasible for everyone, so ultimately find the method that works best for you.
Some alternative apps that store data locally and don’t involve third-party trackers include Drip, Euki, and Periodical. Consumer Reports did a study involving multiple period trackers and also provided helpful information to better protect your privacy, so I highly suggest giving it a read.
And maybe all this seems straightforward or obvious, but for those that want to help and are lost or confused, this can at least be a starting point. We all have to start somewhere, even in my case. Thank you for reading and stay safe.
We all have rights and we’re not letting them go this easy. Fight like hell for them. ~So Says The Disabled Dryad~
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