July 27, 2022
Dear White Women,
Better Buckle Up. This is gonna be a long and bumpy ride.
It may seem harsh, or even not well placed to target white women in the United States when discussing the fallout and now overturned constitutional right of all women to make choices about their own bodies. However, I hold US most accountable for this egregious and traumatic loss of autonomy and the potential for heart piercing holes to be placed into our Constitution around the basic human right of privacy. There are a few fundamental issues at hand, but at the very depth of overturning of Roe versus Wade (1973), lies in small white minorities need to maintain power and control. Many are not remotely aware of the consequences coming for ALL of us, and it was our job, white women, to stop attending to the fragile ego of primarily white men. By the time many white women woke up to what was ACTUALLY at stake, donned their pink pussy hats and marched on the 2016 inauguration day, it was already too late.
So, as I began; Buckle Up and Plan to get to Work.
We are joining the movement late and may need to be clear;
it cannot be our voices taking center stage.
Black and Brown women across this country have long been
working the front lines, so we must get behind them.
With our money and our time.
Follow the leaders.
On the morning of the ruling, I was in L.A. After having dropped my daughter off for an immersive film experience. I laid quietly in a hotel room, white sheets and warm light, breathing in an accomplishment towards the future for my only child. Window cleaners had lowered themselves down onto my floor and I curiously waved at them as they slopped water on and off the 17th floor view. I flipped on the television and there, in a rhythmic rush, channel after channel, the news Raged. I was initially confused, but never surprised. The constitutional right, the federal law to protect women’s access to autonomy over their bodies and make decision for themselves to have an abortion if needed, was OVER.
Unfortunately, we have witnessed an increasing assault on access to women’s health care, contraception and especially access to legal abortions for decades. Erroneous laws have rained down on all women, further reducing our access. We have made Planned Parenthood the devil himself despite the continued reality that abortions are only a small fraction of services provided.
From that once light scene in a far away hotel room, I stumbled in a long daze back to Georgia. Although this state is my home now, it felt as if I were flying back into the hot, burning belly of Hell, knowing this place will remove the basic right to privacy from ALL female bodies; no longer a personal decision between themselves and their medical professional. I will not bother with the nonsense of pinpointing abortion as right or wrong, except to say that I personally believe what was once said; ‘all abortions are a failure’. A failure does not mean a person’s choice should be removed from them. They are a failure of OUR systems to provide the necessary means to have safe and consensual intercourse without the fear of pregnancy.You do not get to blather the words ‘abstinence’ out of your mouth and expect me to take you seriously. We have been having sex in adolescence since humans existed. What would give us the thought that somehow our Christian morality would save us now? Perhaps if we actually spoke from a place of honesty and accountability, every human could exist on a healthier moral code.
Instead, let us create context in the complexity rather than continue to spoon feed us simplicity. This is our lives at stake and we cannot be so dumbfoundly ignorant as to believe any of this has ANYTHING to do with abortion. So, let’s begin to attempt to create the contextual complexity that exists inside the nuance rather than rigid and simple answers.
First and foremost, there is potentiality for the overturning of this law to diminish the basic human right to privacy that has been outlined in several of the Amendments to the Constitution along with historic legal precedence, including Roe v. Wade that has informed us on how the right to privacy works in our every day lives. When every female had their federal rights to make decisions about their bodies removed from them, it left a gaping hole for many other privacy rights to also be removed. Of course the first and already mentioned by Clarence Thomas is removing the right to marry who you choose and the access to contraception. You may personally look at these and believe it won’t effect you, but that is where we are ALL wrong. The problem is now, you have undeniably allowed for a crucial thread that binds this basic right to be tugged at and eventually fully unraveled. The laws may not come for you today, but they will. If you continue to remain under the bizarre belief that immunity washes over you, I have no empathy for what your future may hold.
This right to privacy already extends into the current overturning of this federal law. There are an abundance of rumors that law enforcement or those with legal precedence to uphold an abortion ban can and WILL use your personal data. There are discussions of tracking searches, using data from Apps and even attempts to ban federally approved medications in some states. To be clear, there is no evidence of these things occurring yet, however, with no clarity on what the actual privacy of a human being looks like, how are we to know what may or may not be allowed? And if the specific 4th amendment is now in jeopardy, how will we ensure that our right to not be searched without a warrant will hold steady in our future? If you are a gun owner, how can you be sure this diminished right to privacy will not effect you?
What appears effortless to assume in the loss of autonomy for all women, remains in our consistent treatment as citizens who will never qualify as equal to men. Again, white women, as long as you continue to be under the ridiculous belief we stand behind white men and prop them up, we will somehow get the trickle down benefits of power. I promise you with every fiber of my white body, men will gobble up power with the greed and stealth of a malnourished animal. There is nothing left for you, not even the crumbs left behind on the table.
So, perhaps for a moment, look behind you and see who else may be waiting for their turn to have a voice and create their own table.
These terrifying systems of power have once again decided that all females are to be treated like infants. We are now too developmentally stunted to make our own decisions and need EACH STATE’S government to be involved in the future of our bodies, our family planning, our decision to not carry a pregnancy that will create a legacy of trauma. There will be no help for our young daughters to not carry a fetus they are not physically, emotionally or spiritually capable of.
This is about a kind of dishonesty and lack of integrity on the part of those who decide the laws and those who have to live out the consequences. It is so readily apparent the Supreme Court has lost its way and lied about their belief in the precedence of Roe v. Wade and even lied about how early leaks of this ruling got into the public. Members of this Supreme Court have lied about their involvement not once but TWICE (Thomas and Kavanaugh), of sexual assault and sexual misconduct while we gladly ushered them into the highest court in our country. We continue to have such obvious disregard for women that even consistent and considerable testimony on behalf of women is irrelevant and discussed in the minds eye as either lies themselves or just things women understand are going to happen and just ‘Shut up and live with it!’ If I remember correctly, one of the main correlations to public mass shootings is the consistent hatred of women. I wonder what it would be like to actually be taken seriously?
Above all else, the end of the federal protections for women remain about white supremacy. We all know who will still have access to an abortion, morning after pills, Plan C or even basic contraception….and WHO will NOT. We are clear that as a whole, white women both obtain and retain more wealth in this country than any other, leaving black and brown minorities with far less resources and access to changing their socioeconomic status. With that, if more marginalized women in this country are forced to complete a pregnancy against their will, two important things will occur. First, it solidifies another likely poor generation, fueling the work force in the service industries that underpay and undervalue its human beings. Second, it ensures a continual trap for every generation of zero upward mobility simply by deleting their decisions on family planning. We are currently in a country where we are more likely to inherit our families socioeconomic status before the color of their eyes. How about taking a good look at those saucers and decide if our our consistent and endless cheap work force to serve us is worth this kind of indignity?
I am edging onto 47 years old, and I have retained the dignity to make my own decisions about my body for all these years. I once believed that my country and government had my back, at least on this very important issue of privacy of my own body and decisions around it. Now, I have to stand witness in the very state I have raised my daughter and potentially beg her to leave. It is unimaginable that my own daughter will be told, as if she were a child without her own beliefs, thoughts, fears and desires for her OWN life; that she cannot make decisions for herself any longer.
Who will look my daughter in the eye and say, “We believe you are not smart enough, not thoughtful enough and certainly incapable of making such a decision on your own— so WE need to do it for you.”
It seems like just moments ago I witnessed thousands of people across this country protesting against wearing masks, signs very clearing stating the obvious, “My Body, My Choice!” Where are you now as I have to look at my daughter in the eye and tell her that her government has failed her? Where are you when I have to tell her to find another place to move and settle her life, because here may be too dangerous?
I have worked at an extremely intense clip for more than a decade in therapy and perhaps most of my adult life focusing on changing intergenerational patterns that have been passed down to me. I did this primarily for me, but more importantly, I did it for her. I was clear, I would NOT have children if I could not break the toxic legacy that was laid at my feet on the day I was born.
Despite the controversy, my mother gave birth to me at the age of 17 years old, the same age as my own baby girl is today. My mother left me with the burden of the intergenerational cycles of trauma to change. She seemed bright and spoke of plans to attend college before she became pregnant. I would have wanted her to end the pregnancy and create a career and life she loved instead of what has become of her. An early retired prison guard, left following severe PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) who lives inside the toxic relationships that are familiar to her. I would have wanted her to take on this assignment of ending a toxic legacy —- and NOT ME.
So YES, I would have wanted her to opt for an abortion.
I believe I would have made it into the universe in some other fashion, left the burden of multiple lifetimes of trauma to her and perhaps even had the potential to be born into a family that knew how to love and truly show up for people.
As a therapist…..
I have the privilege of being deeply embedded in hundreds of stories of women who have also carried the legacy of trauma.
I witness the stories of women who are the product of rape. They are often outcasts and shunned by their own family of origin. When we cannot find a place to belong inside of our own family, we will often sabotage or even self destruct in our attempt to just fumble around with existence; never quite touching happiness or even contentment. It sometimes feels like life is barely a consolation prize and most often a burden.
I witness stories of sex trafficking, a terrorizing experience that occurs inside of families more often than we are even willing to be honest about. Victims, most often young women (but certainly boys) have had to face the challenge of an unwanted pregnancy at young ages that was perpetrated upon them during a pedophilic sex orgy where their parent was either a participant or a known villain in the process. This criminal behavior continuing without the protection of legal abortion will only lead to young women being forced to have illegal and unsafe abortions; further traumatizing the young woman from what has already been unimaginable crimes against them.
I witness the stories of women going out and enjoying themselves in public, only to be drugged and raped by an acquaintance, their abusive partner or on occasion, a first date (these are just a few possible scenarios). Men have taken advantage of their forced vulnerability through drugs and raped them. This has occurred with the help of male bartenders at times, or through a small group networks of men that have a silent pact, allowing this criminal behavior to continue. Women often have little or no memory when the drugs are forced into their system and some become pregnant, creating a new and often devastating trauma in conjunction with the rape they endured.
What happens now when my clients have had their dignity stripped only to be further told by their government they also CANNOT decide for themselves their next steps in their own lives? Are we honestly going to look them in their petrified and completely undone faces and tell them this RAPE IS A GIFT? From who? Even just writing the words makes me feel a kind of emotional danger that even I have yet to witness. How could this kind of personal hell end well? I am going to loose my very own people to suicide because their ability to make their own decisions about their lives has been stolen from them. How do we hold the concept of being raped as either a female child or adult as something to form gratitude around when we are then forced into a lifetime of pain in having a child?
Sometimes, I think I have heard most every story. Not something to boast about, just facts in the world of a therapist specializing in trauma. But this; This will be new. Twenty-two years now as a clinical practitioner and I understand that in this state, I will be asked to walk along this type of horrific journey, if the woman ever makes it in for help.
I do know that the first two weeks following the law being overturned, EVERY client spoke of the fear of the potential consequences. On repeat, the law being overturned alone felt like a personal violation to their already abused and broken bodies. The violation was so encroaching, it inhibited their ability to breathe and they repeatedly told of experiencing a feeling of being trapped and strangled by our own government. I witnessed the belief and ongoing social structure of ‘women as less than’ in action. Perhaps so below men, that even the men not in agreement but complicit with their silence, are the ones themselves tying the noose around all of our necks.
If my words have had any bearing on your understanding of the truth of how this will negatively impact people who can bear children’s lives, I hope you are asking the question as to what do we do now. I have spent some time deciding where I want to put my energy and of course invite you to do the same. From what I do understand, it appears that PlanC, an FDA approved drug that allows a woman to end their pregnancy up to 12 weeks is readily available and easily accessible. Initially, to obtain this medication, a face to face visit was required in order to receive a prescription, however, this changed with the age of Telemedicine and the combination of the worlds COVID-19 pandemic. The FDA decided to allow a telemedicine session to occur with a prescribing physician and then medication to be sent to the person. It appears this is a cost effective and safe way to end a pregnancy, even in states that will or have implemented a full ban. I suggest educating yourselves on PlanC and the most recent executive order the president has put into place to protect this right regardless of what the state has decided.
With every ounce of education you receive to support those in need of making their own decisions about their bodies, please share with everyone you know; especially in marginalized communities who may have less access to clear information or confirmation of what is being learned. It appears PlanC has not had a high level of traction in our female communities and perhaps more knowledge will ensure everyone, especially marginalized communities, are provided with access to PlanC or any other ability to decide for themselves. As I have stated, marginalized communities did not create nor are sustaining this nonsense. It is time to stop telling ourselves the lie that white women will somehow obtain power if we stand behind and hold white men up.
Although education and empowerment through information is important, it is not enough. If you want to start a movement, you are going to have to break the law. It is not enough to be pretty, obedient allies in the corner wearing shirts of controversy or waving about flags of pride. We will have to be willing to be arrested and give zero fucks about what consequences could await us. We must choose to be an accomplice to change and have the courage to do what is right in the face of death.
Women are going to DIE. More abortions will occur, not LESS.
Stop telling me and everyone else those fucking lies.
And Do NOT tell my green GREEN eyes, I am not worth it.
That my daughter, all our daughters, are not worth it.
I will return again to what was once said by a past president of Planned Parenthood, ‘Every abortion is a failure.’ And it is — it is a failure of people, communities, states and our entire government to NOT act in the best interests of women and children. We are considered expendable commodities, easily tossed out after being used up, like a trash bag liner….only this time, it’s our uterus. It is so easily seen in the multitude of ways our government already fails us, on purpose. I will name just a few of the things women and children do not have in this country but readily deserve to illuminate our inequity.
We deserve free and easily accessible (beginning in adolescence) birth control that includes condoms, birth control pills, shots, IUCs (intrauterine contraceptives) and implants. If we want these things and are not adults, we deserve the right to the same legal protections of privacy to make our own decisions about how we want to prevent and plan for children. This was once allowable until rights were slowly stripped away.
We deserve consistent and repeated sex education by a professional beginning at early ages. As stated before, we sit on our irresponsible and ludicrous value of Christian morality and therefore the extremely fake concept of abstinence, as if it were actually an honest possibility. We do not increase the number of young people having sex when it is a consistent, open and honest conversation. We significantly decrease the likelihood of unwanted pregnancies. When past administrations have attempted to mandate adolescence compliance into abstinence, it only increased the number of unwanted pregnancies. I am just not sure how it is not getting into our brains as human beings that our transparency as parents and adults in young peoples lives is the ONLY way we will ever have a chance to influence them in a healthy manner. It strikes me speechless when I witness adults under the disgustingly stupid idea that we have any power over teenagers and sex.
We deserve accessible and affordable gynecological medical and primary physician care. I am personally a working professional with a partner who has been working in academia in Georgia for the last twenty years. I would not qualify for any health care individually, at least not anything affordable and our current healthcare matches that of a deductible so high that it basically would only serve us if we had a major accident. Essentially, all our health care does for us is reduce the amount of costs because the insurance plan gives itself a hefty discount and then passes everything to us.
We deserve federally mandated paid maternity and paternity leave. We are the only first world country that offers zero paid maternity leave and instead forces us to take FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) and then speaks to us like we should be lucky we cannot get fired while caring for our new infant.
We deserve affordable and accessible Child Care. NOT DAY CARE. We need well trained, well paid people who have taken the time and energy to understand the developmental needs of infants and children. We deserve to know that our children are being taken care of by those that are interested (and paid accordingly) in a healthy supplementation of developmentally appropriate care to increase our children’s chances of easy and consistent transitions between parent(s) and child care providers. Not to mention, when another set of well trained eyes are focused on our children, we may be able to learn and spot areas of need and possibly test to ensure the best outcomes for our children’s future. What we have now are mostly lousy, poorly paid babysitting facilities.
Had we made the decision to not touch the federal law as it stood just a month ago and instead made commitments to all of these things outlined above, were made available throughout our country; we would have actually reduced the numbers of abortions. It is a given fact, when abortions are accessible, the number of abortions reduces. It seems a rather interesting thought as to how much more abortion may be reduced had we acted like a country that saw women and children as equals.
So, let me repeat this…….
THIS CANNOT BE ABOUT SAVING BABIES.
To all my pro-life, ‘we want to save the babies’ people out there…Say What You Mean and MEAN WHAT YOU SAY!
If you are going to bullhorn your save the babies slogans– then let’s get clear and be honest about your intent.
Need Some Help Here.
Let me translate.
What you are actually saying is, “We want white people to continue to have the most power in this country and one important way we can make that happen is to restrict marginalized communities from safe access to not only abortions, but also healthcare, birth control and childcare. This will allow us to ensure we continue the intergenerational process of poor minorities. This will allow us to continue to walk on the backs of black and brown people. We will continue to get our cheap labor AND maintain our white power, even if we remain the minority in this country.”
SAY THIS, and I will believe you. Hell, say anything about the actual truth and I may be willing to discuss this topic.
Behind every pompous and egregious lie, comes down to one thing. Women retain magic. We are the creators and sustainers of life. We OWN the power to create human life and for all of time, men have been attempting to have power and control over it. In the end, women, all women, have more power than any man ever will. Why would our bodies need to be legislated if that were not THE TRUTH?
Some men remain afraid of the fact that outside of a few sperm, we do not need you.
– And they know it.
Until that fact is realized, I suppose I will have to continue to consider how best to inform, rail against and even break laws to ensure women have the right to make their own choices.
I can only hope YOU will intend on joining me.
March For Women’s Lives 2003