This November, many voters sent a message to politicians on reproductive rights. It’s clear that in today’s environment, a single decision can have a life-changing impact on millions of individuals—across various aspects of their lives.
Since the overturning of the rights and protections earned in the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, we at Wallace Turner Law have had sincere conversations considering the overarching impact of the Supreme Court’s shocking decision on many lives—including our own. Yes, it has set a terrible legal precedent by rolling back hard-earned reproductive rights for women across the country; unraveled significant progress concerning women’s health; and worsened economic and societal conditions for those most in need of support.
But Kim and I can’t look at this issue solely as attorneys. We’re also women—ones whose rights have been gained laboriously over the past 200 years.
From voting rights to gender equality, women of all ages and ethnicities have fought for women’s rights to be understood and accepted as basic human rights. It’s been a struggle, but generations of brave individuals have made great sacrifices to make sure those who follow would have a less arduous journey toward self-empowerment. Control over our role as procreators is included in this journey, and this matters to us as driven, independent women who’ve forged our own path.
According to a recent report from the reproductive rights-focused Guttmacher Institute
, a future without codified reproductive right protections could leave women living in more than 20 U.S.states without access to safe procedures. This will likely lead to a strain on services of neighboring states, as well as a return of dangerous, unregulated procedural risks for those in desperate need. That same Guttmacher report noted that new restrictions will lead to negative long-term health effects and economic hardships for those denied these reproductive procedures—especially women of color.
The removal of reproductive rights on a state and federal level is an unjust attack on the safety of women and on our freedom to make choices when it comes to our well-being.It has taken decisions away from many of us, the people who live with the results of these choices, for better or for worse. These decisions can define who we are as women, as professionals—and oftentimes, as mothers.
The births of my two children were the greatest moments of my life—but the decision to carry through with each pregnancy wasn’t easy. I suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum during both pregnancies. I was severely ill during the first trimester with my son, which caused excessive weight loss, debilitating fatigue, and intense nausea. Some days rendered me so sick, I was unable to walk. To remain healthy and endure through both pregnancies, I had to take multiple medications and receive twice-weekly intravenous infusions. It was terrifying, but ultimately, I made the choice to risk my overall health and, fortunately, have two beautiful and healthy children.
But what if I had not had the freedom to make my own decision? If I was, as many now find themselves, stripped of my constitutional right to women’s liberty and didn’t have the chance to choose my own health over the pregnancy deteriorating that health? If the decision of whether I could continue to live the life I’d strived so hard to build was in the hands of strangers?
These questions are ones that we hoped girls and women would never have to ask again. But now, we must do everything in our power to make sure we retain control of the answers.These protections and services were enabled by women who understood the importance of our liberties, and now, we need to make sure their work was not in vain. Call your political representation
and demand action and support organizations protecting women’s health
. Our ability to make critical choices—ones that determine our future and fate—is paramount to our progress not only as women, but as a society.
These decisions affect us all, and together, we should recognize how restricting them has impacted the lives of so many, all while desecrating an essential element of women’s rights and freedoms.