Overturn of Roe V. Wade is a setback for gender equality and civil rights; we must take action now
YWCA Evanston/North Shore is distraught and outraged regarding the Supreme Court’s decision overruling Roe v. Wade. This is an egregious decision that turns back 50 years of a woman’s right to choose, have autonomy and agency over her own life and body, and access to free and safe abortions. While we knew this outcome was a strong possibility, the formal ruling affirms the direction of the Supreme Court and the potential to dismantle other civil rights.
This decision is devastating for all people who can become pregnant, but it disproportionally impacts women of color, LGBTQ persons, young women, people with disabilities, immigrants, low-income people, and survivors of domestic and sexual violence—all of whom face barriers in accessing affordable and safe reproductive health care. Black and Brown women already have unprecedented mortality rates in this country from pregnancy and childbirth due to disparities in health care access, and now those who live in states that ban abortions will face even higher risks for pregnancy-related complications.
This decision is devasting to the countless generations of people, who have fought for and protected this fundamental civil right. It is devasting because it puts at risk many other basic civil rights that have been fought for and won over decades of struggle. It is abundantly clear that this may just be the beginning—access to contraception, marriage equality, and other rights for women and marginalized communities are now at risk. And it is devasting to so many of us who work in these communities and know the severe impact it will have.
This is an assault on all we value and work toward in our mission to eliminate racism and empower women, and represents the will of the few to turn back the clock on not just women’s rights, but human rights. Since 1967, the YWCA had been a staunch and tireless advocate on this issue, and now we must figure out how to go forward. We must use this moment to call us into deeper movement and not just despair—turning our outrage into action.
Below are some efforts we all can make now to ensure abortion care, healthcare, our dignity, and autonomy remain intact.
- Spread the word: Abortion is still legal in Illinois!
- As Illinois abortion advocates expect an influx of patients from out-of-state, we encourage you to volunteer and support local reproductive health organizations, including:
- Ask all of your elected officials – local, state, and federal (search here) – what they are planning to do to protect and expand access to abortion care. Having a legal right to abortion is not the same as having access to it.
- Tell Your Member of Congress TODAY to immediately pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) (S.4132), which protects the right to safe and accessible abortion, free from burdensome and often medically unnecessary restrictions.
- Share stories of how abortion access impacted your life with everyone you know, everywhere you can. You have the power to change your community’s perception, to influence lawmakers and companies, to fight disinformation, and to end the stigma around abortion. This will be essential to passing proactive abortion policies and changing the political landscape that made this decision possible. Our words and stories have immense power. We have to use them.
- Join nationwide demonstrations. Communities across the country are rallying to say #WeWontGoBack and support abortion rights. Use this map to find a demonstration in your area. Make a plan to stay safe: hydrate, go with a buddy, and let your family know your timeline and transportation plans.
YWCA Evanston/North Shore stands in solidarity with nearly 200 local YWCA associations and YWCA USA in the belief that women and other childbearing people should have control over their own bodies. We will rise together, we will hold space for the losses that are sure to come in our communities together, and — most importantly — we will continue to fight for the nation YWCA envisions; one free of racism and sexism, and one in which women and girls — particularly women and girls of color — can reach their full potential.