As I have been learning and figuring out, here are some of the impacts of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization which overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey:
- Jewish people will be will be denied freedom of religious practice
- Muslim people will be will be denied freedom of religious practice
- Christian people whose beliefs include reproductive justice will be denied freedom of religious practice
- Any religious or non-religious people who believe in reproductive justice and/or disagree with life beginning at the moment of conception will be denied freedom of religious practice
- Pregnant people or new parents who use substances, ignore doctors orders, play sports, or engage in strenuous activity will be discouraged from participating in society or seeking medical care or rehabilitation for fear of being reported to police and facing criminal prosecution
- People experiencing domestic abuse will be less likely to escape and more likely to die at the hands of their abusers and those facing reproductive coercion will have fewer legal strategies to resist
- People who use medicines such as methotrexate to treat conditions (rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, severe psoriasis, certain cancers, Crohn’s disease, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy) will have less or no access to these needed medications because they are considered abortifacients
- Doctors and health care professionals (including obstetricians and gynecologists) will be discouraged from or “punished, fined, or sued and face imprisonment for delivering evidence-based care“
- Rights to contraception, LQBTQ+ rights, and tribal sovereignty could become more challenged than they already are and fall along similar lines of reasoning that deem bodily autonomy as not a constitutional right and “the domestic supply of infants” as a commodity to increase
There are more, but that’s plenty, right? Too much. It’s a dangerous and unjust decision based on a court crafted through decades of politicking with a single-minded focus by a segregationist movement that opportunistically embraced anti-abortion to protect tax exempt status, and all based on a document most of us have had little to no say in shaping or changing.
It’s a tough pill for many to swallow, but we, the living people, and ideas to genuinely improve our lives have to be more important than that document and (mis)readings of it and what has flowed from it. Constitutional disobedience – which constitutional scholar Louis Michael Seidman notes has been practiced and advocated even by “Founding Fathers” and other figures throughout history – is a necessity for good. Thomas Jefferson, who we all know owned slaves, even said this:
On similar ground it may be proved that no society can make a perpetual constitution, or even a perpetual law. The earth belongs always to the living generation. They may manage it then, and what proceeds from it, as they please, during their usufruct. They are masters too of their own persons, and consequently may govern them as they please. But persons and property make the sum of the objects of government. The constitution and the laws of their predecessors extinguished then in their natural course with those who gave them being.Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, September 6, 1789
In the grand scheme of things, this means we form and support policy and actions based not on what the constitution says but on what is actually good for living generations. Right now, if you agree with the decision, you’re probably thinking of continuing to do what you’ve been doing since the long game of shaping the political system to your religious beliefs worked. It has been a highly effective strategy.
If you disagree with the decision, you might think that looks like guarding your internet privacy and security as you search and using physical in-person space to talk to friends. You might think that looks like getting involved with, supporting, and connecting people to abortion funds in their area such as those listed on the National Network of Abortion Funds. You might think that looks like supporting Black-led reproductive justice groups and organizers. You might think that looks like not complying with the law or ignoring certain aspects of mandatory reporting that violate your profession’s code of ethics and duty to patients/clients. You might think that looks like gathering SAFELY with a few friends to make some people who are comfortable with oppression less comfortable with it. You might think that looks like behind the scenes work with experienced organizers using whatever gifts and abilities you have to support people doing those things already mentioned.
I don’t know what that looks like in your head, though, and I’m not going to tell you to do those things. I’m just practicing my clairvoyance for when my mutant powers fully kick in. I know I listed several terrible impacts at the start, but try to find hope and joy in the face of the negativity that confronts us.