In one of my recent newsletters, I expressed my…how shall I say this?…displeasure/fear/dismay/sadness about the path our country has taken. On many levels but, specifically, with regards to the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
My Take (from my newsletter):
“I’m reflecting on an angry, divisive culture that I identify with less and less. I’m reflecting on how we got to this place and how we, the people, are so powerless (or at least feel so powerless) to do anything to right the injustices in our country.
I’m reflecting on how we could possibly think the answer to protecting school children is to arm teachers. And in the case of SCOTUS’s recent decision, how the streets of NYC will become less safe. I’m reflecting on the future of the #MeToo movement in the wake of the Heard/Depp trial and, most importantly, reflecting on the absolute blow to women’s reproductive rights with the overturning of Roe v. Wade (and what this signals for HUMAN rights in the future).
Some of you may unsubscribe from this newsletter because you don’t agree with my viewpoint. That’s OK. I know in my heart that my beliefs come from a place of wanting to empower women, to inspire them to live a more fulfilling life, and to become the best possible version of themselves.
That cannot happen if we continue to be oppressed, controlled, hushed, quieted, afraid, undereducated, underpaid, and underrepresented.
We entered a dangerous era in November 2016. I was foolish to think that this ugly era would begin to reverse itself with a new president: that the harsh treatment of people of color would improve; that my LGBTQ+ friends would be treated more–not less–fairly; and that the hard-fought-for rights of women would get better.
I’m not sure what all this means in terms of how I’m going to respond. But I will find ways–big and small, public and private–to help progress the rights of women.”
Why We Should All Care
With the Supreme Court stacked with right wing conservatives who gave an impression at their confirmation hearings that they would uphold the 50-year-old law of Roe v. Wade, and then went on to overturn it, it is truly a terrifying time for women, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and any other marginalized peoples.
If they lied about this issue and their intent to uphold what was assumed by most to be a law that would not be rolled back (this is the ONLY SCOTUS decision to ever roll back rights), what else is in store for this country?
What other protections of human rights will be overturned with the current Supreme Court that does not reflect the will of the people they serve?
I’m fired up. I’m concerned. And I’m sickened.
Why do I care and why am I talking about this?
First, because I’m a woman. And though I’m not of child-bearing age, the implications of what this means for the treatment of women ultimately affects me.
Second, because I have always been about inspiring, empowering, emboldening women, in whatever path they choose to follow. This absolutely affects those in my community and beyond.
This is NOT just about access to an abortion–or as we may soon see, access to Plan B, abortion pills, miscarriage care, etc.–this is about women maintaining rights over our own bodies, to make decisions for ourselves that may affect us for a lifetime, long past the day the sperm donor has walked away from a situation he’s done with.
And why should you care?
Female, male, non-binary…you may think this doesn’t affect you, but I can guarantee you that THIS AFFECTS SOMEONE YOU KNOW! Whether you believe it does or not, it does.
The responses I received to my newsletter were absolutely heart-warming and well worth sharing. Here are some of those responses:
- “Sharing our stories not only educates our sisters but inspires them, as well.
We are not alone. We are sisters, partners, mothers, and friends. We have a singular and collective voice. We are worldly, educated, and financially independent. We are everything our mothers and grandmothers hoped that we would become. We are also an inspiration to the next wave of brave women.
When we travel, we are ambassadors, not of our country but of ourselves. Beth, you have given us reminders time and again to “go for it.” Years ago, women needed permission; to vote, to own property, to control their own bodies and health. Now, those rights are well established and no party…political, religious, or otherwise is going to rescind that.
Yes, women not only hold the family together but the heart and soul of mankind. Just think, our grandmothers and great grandmothers were not allowed to vote: now they are in Congress, running huge corporations, been in outer space, and run for President of the United States. Oh yeah, don’t underestimate us, we’re running HOT.
We’ve been strong all along. We just didn’t get credit for it.
My grandmother was extraordinary but nobody heard her story. She was a licensed boat captain. She was qualified to bring the Queen Mary into New York Harbor. She was not allowed to wear a uniform and was not allowed to be photographed. There are so many stories out there, we need to hear them. Inspirations, every one of them. Beth, thank you for opening the doors to the world.” Glenis C.
- “You are as fired up as I am about all of this. Honestly, the hope I have is through my girls. They are as outraged as I am (even more so), which gives me incredible hope (and pride) that their generation will take action, be energized, and demand change. With the composition of the Supreme Court right now, I personally feel hopeless. But if enough people raise their voices and act accordingly, I’m hopeful that collectively we can drive change.
It’s a very strange time we are living in, and my girls don’t have the benefit of history/years prior to this time. But, they are educated enough and astute enough to realize that what is happening right now is just plain wrong. So, I hold onto hope.” SCD
- “Amen, sister. I thought our generation had won this battle for women’s reproductive rights in the 60s and 70s, and now we have to roll that rock up the mountain again!!?? Devastated, angry, fired up, too. My support of Planned Parenthood will be greater and more frequent. My family and I will continue to vote in every election–never missed one. I’ll continue demonstrating as I did the day after T was inaugurated, with 175,000 women, men, and children in Seattle. But the burden is crushing. We have lost so much ground, and our Supreme Court is so packed with originalists, 3 of whom lied during their hearings about supporting Roe v. Wade if they were confirmed. Hypocrites. It’s maddening and exhausting to have to refight this fight.
I may not live to see all this damage reversed, so you and those younger than you will have to continue to carry that torch.” Meg E.
- “I think you are already doing a lot. I think that travel is often the catalyst that cracks open our world view and gives us the ability to see others with more humility. It also gives us the space to realize that there are a lot of wonderful people, cultures, and ways of doing things that we can learn from. And, concentrating on women’s travel is also good–the sharing that goes on in one of your groups enhances the learning in a way that I doubt would happen as freely in a mixed group. There may be more you can do (I hope there is!), in this weird time but you already have a wonderful structure to build around.” Susan T.
- “Vote, vote, vote! And talk with young people about values and caring for others.” Nancy F.
What To Do Next
Some people think I should “stay in my lane,” meaning I should stick with travel. But this IS my lane. You eff with my human rights, I’m going to fight back.
You’re damn right I’m going to continue to travel. As Glenis (above) said, “When we travel, we are ambassadors, not of our country but of ourselves. Years ago, women needed permission…”
NOW WE DON’T, at least to travel. And we’re going to do just that…
We’re going to continue to travel. We’ll spread our wings wider. We’ll build bigger businesses. We’ll make millions more. We’ll run for more positions in office. We’ll captain more boats. And we’ll fight harder.
The good news is that representatives across the country ARE becoming more representative of our population. That will continue, despite gerrymandering and systematic suppression.
If it takes us the same 50 years it took the conservatives to overturn Roe v. Wade, so be it. But rest assured, we’re going to fight the fight and see to it that the people who have somehow managed to hold on to their power (oh yeah, by LIMITING OUR RIGHTS!) are gone for good.
What can you do??
Here’s How To Education Yourself On This Issue
- Check out out this episode of Science vs called Abortion: The Science and the Supreme Court which highlights some of the text in Justice Alito’s opinion that are just plain wrong–in other words, NOT science-based. (How a Supreme Court justice could cite untrue information in a ruling is beyond me.)
- For a bit of background info on how Roe v. Wade came about in the first place, The Daily has an episode called An Abortion Rights Champion of the 1970s on Life Before and After Roe. And if you need to hear a supporting voice and want some actionable items, listen to the We Can Do Hard Things episode called Abortion: Family Meeting on Four Things to Do Next.
- Follow people on social media in order to help them amplify their voices. Start with Dr. Jennifer Lincoln on Instagram and Heather Cox Richardson on Facebook. (If you have other suggestions, please leave them in the comments.)
What have I done so far? After a deep dive of educating myself (including listening to the pods above), I signed up for Vote Forward, a letter writing campaign to encourage voting across the country. I then joined a seven-day workshop on crafting and honing my speaking skills. My goal here is to reach more women, to encourage and inspire them to BE BOLD, and help them stand up for themselves–whether it has to do with travel, championing our human rights, or living a better, healthier, more fulfilling life.
Paula Cipolla says
Thanks for being bold enough to speak up & out! I’m sure all (or almost all) of my friends are in the same camp so why do we have to continue to reassert our voices? It’s sickening & disheartening. Thanks for pushing us to continue traveling as ambassadors of who we are, so much more than any visual expectation. Having recently traveled to both Morocco & Scandinavia I see vast cultural differences, awareness, & expectations. Where’s the USA? Once a world leader. Not any longer! We need to up our game! We can do significantly better!
Lydia Weigall says
Hi I live in Australia.I have spent lots of time in America as my daughter lived there for many years and am deeply saddened by what I read about your liberties being taken from you/and the lives lost to gun massacre.
When we had the Pt Arthur massacre in Tasmania our government changed the gun laws making our country a very safe place to live.
My husband and I were farmers and due to the above laws we had to keep our guns in a locked gun cupboard /the ammunition in another locked cupboard and we also had to have a gun licence. The only time we used a gun was to put stock /wild life out of their misery if they became stuck in fencing or hit on the roads near us.
Even though Im sure that some religious groups would like to see this changed women here can have abortions and the morning after pill. We have a choice which I am so grateful for/we also have a form of euthanasia which is tightly controlled but possible.
I am deeply saddened that some religious and other groups promote control over women’s bodies when they themselves have an acute history of abusing young people world wide.
We now have gay marriage which is great but we still have problems getting the balance right for the aboriginal people here. I hope this will change.
As women we need to stay strong and keep voicing our thoughts so that there is change …after all behind every man there is an exceptional women!!!.
Glenis C. says
Beth, you have inspired me yet again at a much higher level. I have been a professional artist for over 50 years. My accumulative knowledge on the power of women have been recorded in my memory and now it is time to devote the remainder of my life to sharing these images. Women are powerful, physically and mentally. They are also cunning. They understand loyalty to each other, sharing life and emotions, and how to dispel or neutralize a threat. I want to paint all of it, I want to make a female moment visual, to hold for a long moment and inspire others. This project has begun. Thank you for the inspiration, the courage to put it out there for criticism, and the guts to say, “we are here, deal with it”. Baby is never going back in the corner again.