Keep your (c)laws off my body

// by Jackie Bangle and Emily Kissinger

On May 2nd, 2022, a draft of a SCOTUS proposal written in February to rescind Roe v. Wade was leaked to the general public. With the recent conversation about reproductive rights in America, this news came as a shock to some, but to many it was a visceral confirmation that the United States Government dismisses the well-being of those with uteruses in favor of conservative fear mongering and ideology. This proposal would result in 26 out of the 50 U.S States either banning abortions in their entirety or strictly limiting access to them. Roe v. Wade was a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court made on January 22nd, 1973 in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.

In light of this news, The Revivalzine felt it necessary to report the facts as well as our own opinions on the matter. 

While the focus of conversations about Roe v. Wade concerns abortion access, the original ruling also includes protection of one’s right to privacy. This means the government is not entitled to a private citizen’s personal information such as medical procedures or sexuality. 

If this is overturned, as proposed by this leak, there is an imminent domino effect that could negatively impact all oppressed groups in the United States. ‘Reinstating states’ rights’ is a smokescreen meant to hide the fact this is a targeted attack on those who do not adhere to the white upper-class cishet vision conservatives have for America. So, as usual, minority groups will endure the bulk of the consequences if Roe v. Wade is overturned. This is due to an already biased system that ensures the struggle of marginalized communities and makes equal access to basic required resources few and far between.

On May 6th, we attended a UCSB student-led organized tabling for abortion access and information to discuss this leak with those who are dedicated to protecting the rights this ruling is endangering. Students for Reproductive Justice, Planned Parenthood Generation Action, and Sex Info Online were the three organizations these students represented while handing out free sexual health supplies (including flavored condoms) along with pamphlets on safely managing abortions. 

The curiosity as to how the leaked draft affected the sense of security and emotional wellbeing of UCSB students motivated us to conduct interviews. This was in an attempt to find out what toll the threat to reproductive rights was taking on our campus and how unsettling this issue truly is. The first interview took place with Teannae Owens. She is an SRJ member who was responsible for leading this tabling event.

Interviews:

Question 1: What was the first emotional response you had when the news broke?

“It was a very complicated set of emotions I would say, it was funny as earlier in the day we [SRJ] had a meeting﹘so we were talking about abortion access on campus. We were talking about this sort of stuff earlier and then [the news] comes out. I knew this was coming but I’m still sad, upset, and so tired too. It was a weird complication, you didn’t want to think it would happen but it is happening.” -Teannae Owens

“It’s not entirely surprising because people have been passing abortion bans and restrictions left and right. Pro-life people have been trying to do this for decades trying to get Roe v. Wade overturned, trying to make abortion basically impossible. It’s devastating to hear, that even if abortions are not legal people are still able to get them. There are still self-managed abortions, abortion pills are- the FDA made it so abortion pills can be mailed to all 50 states. Even though surgical abortions may become illegal abortions still will be available, it will just be significantly harder to access. Reproductive justice is all about how even though abortion is legal it’s not accessible to everybody and as we know marginalized groups have significant barriers and obstacles to accessing healthcare in general but especially abortion care. Those are the people who are going to be impacted the most. Wealthy white women will always be able to access abortions regardless of legality. They always have and always will. It’s going to be marginalized groups who are most impacted by this and that is absolutely devastating.” – Peyton Chambers

“Emotionally, just shock. I mean shock in a way where you think about Roe v Wade and that being such a Monumental decision and that you just expect that it’s going to be there for a long time and that this is going to protect women’s autonomy or people with vulvas autonomy over their bodies but it is just incredibly shocking to see that like we’re still like regressing and that this is only the first step of many for conservative agenda to take away the rights of marginalized people. Yeah, it was just shock- I’m still just shocked”. -Eduardo Vazquez

Question 2: Do you believe because of this attack on bodily autonomy and abortion rights it’s going to cause a domino effect placing other vulnerable groups in danger?

“They’re already attacking LGBTQ+ rights in a lot of the states that are also attacking abortion access. So I think it’s important to note it’s not a domino effect, this is already happening, and this is a culmination of conservative organizing that has been happening for the past fifty years or so. But I do think it is stressful in terms of what it sets the precedent for especially because a part of it is they want to reinstate states’ rights to choose and that is overarchingly broad in terms of all legislation. I also have fear about the fall of Roe v. Wade as part of it is about privacy and that opens a lot of doors for what is no longer private.” -Teannae Owens

“It’s absolutely devastating, they’re seeking to control people however possible. It’s not just limited to abortion obviously, they’re trying to attack trans people, the queer community, in general. To take away people’s rights is absolutely horrible. It might be a domino effect which is incredibly scary but we will do whatever we can and reproductive justice organizations, in general, will be doing whatever they can to stop that. We’re in California which is why we didn’t choose to do a protest today because ultimately it’s going to be fine here, we feel for the other states.” -Peyton Chambers

“They are coming for the right to privacy and it is just really scary because they are going to use this precedent to establish the fact that they are going to outlaw sodomy and also outlaw the right to marry for same-sex couples, just really scary the domino effect. This being the first step is just horrifying because this first step is just incredibly scary for every marginalized community ever and bodily autonomy for women, or people with uteruses. Reproductive rights are one of the most fundamental rights for any society. It starts with reproductive rights and then it goes into so many follow-up effects, domino effects where reproductive rights help protect and keep people safe. Promotes the general welfare of people and people in general, it’s just really scary.”-Eduardo Vazquez

Question 3: How do you feel about democrats in power saying to ‘just keep voting’?

“I don’t like it. It’s not preferable, especially given the fact Joe Biden just now said abortion this week and he’s only said it once. I get the intergovernmental affairs updates from the White House so when I woke up on Tuesday I got his first statement through that newsletter which didn’t even say abortion in it either. They want to use these things as kind of ‘oh we’ll dangle it here if you vote for us and maybe we’ll give it to you, maybe not, but at least the Republicans won’t be in office.’ I think it is weak-willed.”  “There has been some pushback as a lot of people are recognizing this [behavior]. Texas is currently trying to vote out the Democrat that is anti-abortion in favor of another candidate. I’m hoping people realize voting is not the only or even the best way to achieve abortion access. It’s things like working with local organizers who have been doing this work for so many years and are so knowledgeable and that’s where the power rests.” -Teannae Owens

“Democratic politicians ran, especially Biden, on protecting reproductive rights. They’ve had plenty of chances to codify Roe v. Wade into law and strike down these abortion bans and whatnot. But they didn’t, And that is very disappointing﹘but it goes to show the power is with us and our communities. To build collective power and fight against this because they’re clearly not going to. They just used it as a way to get more votes and clearly didn’t care enough about it to actually protect abortion rights/access.” Peyton Chambers 

“We have been told this for a while now, just to vote harder. It’s just a little sad, I believed Biden when he remarked in 2019 that he was going to codify Roe V. Wade, and then that not happening and him just being like “oh well, vote in the midterms, and we’ll be fine.” Unfortunately, I don’t think that is going to do anything, but yeah it’s up to Congress to codify it I guess, but we will see if that’s going to happen. -Eduardo Vazquez

We hope the readers of this article absorb more than just information about Roe vs. Wade. Hopefully, they felt the same ineluctable anger and lingering discomfort regarding the threats to reproductive rights as we have. Activists from the past spent lifetimes battling for bodily autonomy. To watch these rights be seized from our hands without an ounce of retaliation from our allies is shameful.

These rights allow individuals with uteruses to control their own bodies, and to make their own decisions. We should be making a scene, doing all we can to draw attention to the political corruption within the United States. Let’s look back and be proud of the messages we spread, the connections we made, and the people we helped. As opposed to a silent bystander who simply observed as human rights, access to abortions, and even personal privacy were denied to those who needed it most. 

Abortion Resources: 

Planned Parenthood Generation Action

Students for Reproductive Justice @ UCSB

Sex Info Online @ UCSB

Citations:
https://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/377/bmj.o1122.full.pdf

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