After nearly 50 years, Roe V. Wade has been overturned by the Supreme Court. This leaves abortion up to individual states and their elected officials giving the opportunity for roughly 20 trigger states, which are states with laws set in place in order to act on abortion bans given the opportunity, to criminalize those who seek and follow through with abortion as well as the doctors who provide them. Having gone through this numerous times throughout American history (some of us being alive long enough to have known the country before Roe V. Wade), we have a good idea of what’s ahead of us and it is bleak. “Criminalizing abortion does not get rid of abortion. It gets rid of safe abortions,” a common slogan used in pro-choice protest and advocacy.
Criminalizing abortion highlights a few of America’s most unfavorable cultural feats; sexism, classism, racism, ableism, and homophobia. These things tend to exist upon one great big venn diagram. Bans on abortions are a direct attack not just on women but on trans men and the genderfluid community. Due to the lack of federal law, people seeking abortion in states that have established restrictions will now have to travel out of state to receive these services. This means taking off work, keeping up with the rising costs in gas, child care, and in some cases even paying for the operation if insurance doesn’t cover it as universal health care is not available in the United States of America. In this, communities of color are heavily affected by abortion bans and that is without taking into account the fact that Indigenous/Native American and disabled women experience the highest rates of sexual violence and are closely followed by the Black and Latinx community (see Jacquelyn’s post on True Crime Journalism for some other sobering statistics). This battle is all hands on deck.
In this, it is important that we as feminists be mindful of the intersectionalities of feminism and take time to learn how violence against us affects us as a whole. This strengthens our communities and how we organize around the fact that “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house”. For this reason I am recommending the following books:
Jane Against the World: Roe V. Wade and the Fight for Reproductive Rights by Karen Blumenthal
A thorough and chronological history of abortion in the United States leading up to Roe V. Wade. (CW: sexism, medical content, medical trauma)
Hood Feminism: Notes From the Women a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall
This book paints a picture of what feminism looks like in communities of color covering everything from food politics, to education, to reproductive justice, a previous FBC Member Pick. (CW: racism, sexism, misogyny, gun violence, miscarriage, domestic abuse, abortion, sexual assault, police brutality)
Disability Visibility: First Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century Edited By Alice Wong
Taking in account race, gender, and sexuality, “Disability Visibility” gives voice to a community often silenced by prejudice and a lack of representation. In the forms of memoir-like essays, members of the disabled community share what it is like being activists, lovers, survivors, champions, and creatives, a previous FBC pick and you can read a book review here. (CW: ableism, chronic illness, medical trauma, sexual assault, racism, body shaming)
The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee
In conversation with active members of the community, educators, and recent studies, McGhee shows us how the whole structure of our country is built upon a zero sum mentality and how that has negatively affected every single aspect of our lives as Americans through all our intersectionalities and communities. (CW: racism, police brutality, violence, racial slurs, slavery, xenophobia)
These books were selected to provide not only perspective but a clearer picture of our community as a whole as well as what lies ahead. But what all of these books ultimately do is connect us, unite us, and empower us to go out there and advocate for ourselves. The overturning of Roe V. Wade has opened the gates for same sex marriage and contraception to be targeted and/or overturned. Use these tools to organize, to create strong communities, and give them hell. Our bodies. Our choices. Our country.