My thoughts on Dobbs v. Jackson

a woman holding a placard

My heart has been heavy about the turmoil created by the Dobbs v. Jackson decision, and I’ve been talking with several of my most trusted colleagues over this subject for a few days now, while pouring over the court documents in hopes of better understanding it. First and foremost, I am a woman, a mother, and an advocate. I don’t resonate with cornering myself into one side or the other. Things are never that black and white. Dobbs v. Jackson has created a headwind of collective emotions, and I’ve felt every single one of them over the past days.

When something as universal as bodily autonomy comes into the conversation, everyone has a strong and very emotional opinion. When emotions are high, it’s so easy to get stuck in the weeds of political leanings. I am for MEDICAL CHOICE. My beliefs on this subject have no standing on what someone else chooses for themselves. Regardless of our stance, it’s imperative that we all keep a level head and focus logically as we move through the unforeseen repercussions of this historic moment, so that we can rebuild in the right direction.

According to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Roe was faulty from the moment it was decided:

“‘My criticism of Roe is that it seemed to have stopped the momentum on the side of change,’ Ginsburg said. She would’ve preferred that abortion rights be secured more gradually, in a process that included state legislatures and the courts, she added. Ginsburg also was troubled that the focus on Roe was on a right to privacy, rather than women’s rights.

Roe isn’t really about the woman’s choice, is it?’ Ginsburg said. ‘It’s about the doctor’s freedom to practice…it wasn’t woman-centered, it was physician-centered.’”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg Offers Critique of Roe v. Wade During Law School Visit

When we have poor foundations, they are bound to crumble eventually. Fifty years later we are at a crossroads. As clearly disruptive as this has been for so many of us, this is also a unique opportunity to bring advancement in the areas of informed consent and bodily sovereignty. The truth is that within our country’s medical system, those rights have been slowly diminished, which is why I am in the work of advocacy to begin with…

Whatever our beliefs are on this subject, we must continue to educate ourselves, and pay attention. Think critically. When feeling triggered about new information, we need to dig a little deeper into the details and educate ourselves on the facts. We must also remember that so many of us are feeling our own trauma bubble up from this outcome. Every single word spoken or written on this subject has potential to cause harm, and it’s important that we remain mindful in how we choose to approach it.

I’m saddened and infuriated. This decision directly affects nearly every aspect of reproductive-centered work, and we no longer have the luxury of sliding under the radar on something so heavy and uncomfortable. I resent those who are causing more harm to others by mocking the opposing viewpoint. This only creates further division. If you have not been affected by the trauma of difficult decision and loss surrounding pregnancy, you need to sit down and practice holding space. Be kind. If you are feeling this decision deeply, it is absolutely ok to listen to your body and rest.

Today we have a massive opportunity to bring our focus back to what we intended it to be from the very beginning: bodily sovereignty. Those of you who are discouraged, I want to encourage you. This moment is only temporary and we will grow from it. Now more than ever, it is important that we make logical, educated decisions about every aspect of our healthcare.

I don’t have answers. This is a very grey area and not one person is right or wrong here (because we are all individuals with unique perspectives and needs). We must look at the broader picture and understand that we can’t cherry pick what applies to bodily sovereignty… If Roe v Wade was physician-centered, we need to bring the focus back to patient-centered advocacy.

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