When the Roe v. Wade decision was leaked, and again today when the Supreme Court voted to ignore precedent, public health, privacy, personal rights, and the will of the people, I felt it in my body. The reaction is visceral. There is something about knowing that in the eyes of the law, to your own government, you don’t have full rights. You have less autonomy than you did when you woke up yesterday. It is hard to explain, but quite simply when they put bans on our bodies, we feel it in our bodies.
It is true that this ruling will affect those who have always faced barriers to accessible abortions the most. These are our low-income, Black, brown, and Indigenous friends. It is also true that no matter your gender identity, your ethnicity, your race, or your income level — losing the right to choose affects you.
I think that this visceral, bodily, survival mode feeling is why abortion rights have become “pop culture” without any kind of pop cultural push. There was no song, movie, or celebrity leading the charge today. There was a Supreme Court decision, the vast majority of which go unnoticed, I might add. And then thousands of people across the world joining together in protest, in grief, in the streets, and en masse on social media. It was a horrible one, but it was undeniably a cultural moment.
As a climate activist, the rapid response to abortion news always shocks me a bit. Of course, I show up. I am thankful. I know that bans on abortions and climate change are all part of the same system of oppression and that any power built by one supports the other. But I am also left wondering, when is everyone who cares about our right to choose going to show up for our right to a future? And yet, I understand how it feels different. Even as someone who knows climate science, who has seen the world changing firsthand, who thinks about this issue daily… it is rare that I really feel the gravity of the climate situation in my body the way I did today with Roe.
The truth is, though, that the climate crisis is coming for our bodies too. It is bringing along extreme weather — heat, droughts, wildfires, floods — that can literally be deadly. So, I am working to think more about how we can acknowledge this in the climate movement and use it as fuel. At one point, we had a right to a livable future, and just like our right to choose, it’s being relentlessly attacked.
It is an all the more of the moment conversation, because next week the Supreme Court is likely to send down it’s decision on West Virginia vs. EPA, a case that could completely undercut the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. You can learn more from Bill McKibben’s Substack today. In short, it would be disastrous.
After the unelected Supreme Court gutted gun control yesterday, and did away with Roe today, it feels like the hits just keep coming. The decisions of the few are unrelenting, unwanted, and undemocratic. If you’re wondering, what do we do? I’m with you.
Being a young person has made clear that voting is not the whole answer. I have voted since I turned 18, and yet, things have only gotten worse. If you’re disillusioned — I hear you. Nevertheless, we MUST continue to vote for candidates who respect us and our planet. But we must ALSO organize all year-round. We must work together. We must strategize and plan to win. THAT is hope, not sitting around “hoping” for the best. If you are ready to take the next step to get involved year-round check out our Climate Action Explorer, because our bodies are on the line. Everything is.
I got to feel the support of my community at a protest this evening. I hope you have been able to find comfort in yourself, your loved ones, or your broader community as well. We are living in the harshest of times, but I believe in you, and I believe in me, and above all — I believe in us.