For a long time I have basked in the musty, technicolor glow of the mid-20th century and nearly all it had to offer. I filled my closet with 50s shirtwaist dresses and 60s polyester shifts, jewelry boxes with Bakelite and rhinestones, furnished my home with Heywood Wakefield, dined off of Franciscan Starburst, watched countless episodes of I Dream of Jeannie and The Brady Bunch, and had the tunes of Elvis and the Rolling Stones blare from my record player. But I have never once had a true desire to live in the past. Yet last week I find myself unwillingly transported back in time, as the Supreme Court overturned the landmark decision Roe v. Wade which in 1973 ushered in a new era of reproductive rights, guaranteeing access to abortion on a federal level. With the reversal of Roe, access to abortion is left up to the states, and many states are ready and willing to end abortion access, and some clinics have already shut their doors.
I woke up the news via a message from a friend, and within a couple of hours Patrick and I found a nearby protest to attend, and followed up with another one yesterday along the beach. My love for nearly all things vintage inspired me to take this grim moment and put a somewhat humorous spin on it, with a sign reading “I love the 60s & 70s but not THIS much!” Implying I don’t want to be living through the same struggles to guarantee access to reproductive rights. The outpouring of support was reassuring and a reminder that the majority of Americans do support access to abortion.
It’s easy to say I’m “safe” in California. Governor Gavin Newsom plans to enshrine the right to an abortion in the California constitution, and has banded together with Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Washington Governor Jay Inslee in keeping the West Coast a safe haven for those in need of an abortion. But I do not doubt that if the Republicans take over the House and the Senate that they will seek a federal ban on abortion.
Additionally, this really isn’t just about abortion access. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas expressed a desire to overturn over rulings as well, including the 1965 ruling of Griswold v. Connecticut that allowed for married couples to obtain contraceptives, the 2003 case of Laurence v. Texas, establishing consenting adults to a private sexual life, and 2015’s Obergefell v. Hodges, allowing for same sex marriage. Thomas argued that access to abortion, was not “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.” Well, I’m here to tell him if he wants to talk about history and tradition, then this country has a longer history of keeping Black people out of places of power, so according to his own logic, he shouldn’t even be on the Supreme Court.
America loves to say that it is a country that has “religious freedom” but seemingly only leans on Christian faith to validate things, including denial of abortion. However, access to abortion is something that is integral to the Jewish faith, and one that the Supreme Court seems to be unaware of, or if they are aware, they simply do not care, and fail to recognize that freedom of religion is actually “deeply rooted” in America’s history. I mean, it’s only part of the First Amendment.
On yet another level of how unfair this whole situation is, let’s discuss how many of us now have less rights than a corpse. A religious argument against abortion is that it is considered “murder” even though a fetus is not a person by any legal measure. Yet Americans let thousands of fellow citizens die every year because of lack of organ transplants. In the United States it is unlawful to harvest organs from a corpse unless that person gave explicit consent while living, which is done by checking a box when getting a state issued ID, that then places a red dot reading “Donor” in it. If we really cared about saving lives, we would do away with this process and harvest all viable organs from the deceased. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a donor, please visit this website. Speaking of donating and saving lives, earlier this year the Red Cross announced its first ever “Blood Crisis” and it’s always a good idea to donate blood, because unlike banning abortion, donating blood actually saves lives. Learn more about donating by visiting the Red Cross’ website.
How did we get here anyway though? Well, it kind of all goes back to that awful election a few years ago, when people apparently didn’t see much of a difference between an overly tan oaf and a competent woman, oh and the outdated Electoral College. Despite the oaf losing the Popular Vote (the actual will of the people) he won the Electoral College vote. Then, in the short span of four years the Supreme Court lost three justices, and he got to appoint all of them, making the court extremely conservative. So look, your vote fucking matters. If you don’t turn out, we get fucked.
It’s not all doom and gloom though… like I said, the majority of Americans support access to abortion. And there are a few things you can do to make the future brighter. Please note, this is by all means not an exhaustive list.
If you are financially able, you can help those seeking abortions by donating via the National Network of Abortion Funds. Recently we have donated a few times to this organization. You can also keep an eye out for various artists and companies that have been donating profits to this organization.
You can also help by donating to and/or volunteering with Planned Parenthood. We currently donate monthly to Planned Parenthood. Like with the previously mentioned organization, many other artists and companies donate to Planned Parenthood. One of my new favorite brands, Love All Co, donates ten percent of every purchase to Planned Parenthood.
If you are in a state that has or is planning to ban abortion, and want to seek an abortion elsewhere or looking to purchase abortion pills, it is recommended you search with privacy. You can enable a “New Incognito Window” on Chrome via the “File” tab. Other browsers may label it as “Private Window.” You can also make searches with private search sites such as DuckDuckGo.
Speaking of privacy, it has been recommended that those who use period tracker apps delete the app or switch apps, as the data could be subpoenaed in attempt to prove an abortion has taken place.
Lastly, it’s important to build a community both where you live, and outside of where you live, especially if you live somewhere that seeks to remove your access to abortion. The fact that states where gambling is illegal do not prosecute those who travel to and gamble in places such as Las Vegas, should be precedent enough protect abortion seekers. But honestly, anything feels like fair game at this time. But you need to know who you can trust if you find yourself in need. Having tough conversations with friends and family will help build a safe place for you in the future. Remember it is okay to cut people (yes, even family) out of your life if you feel unsafe.
I want to reiterate some things I said in my Bans off Our Bodies Rally post about what are truly “pro-life” things… Common sense gun laws, universal healthcare, parental leave, clean air, clean water, housing, proper funding for education (including after school and free food programs), supporting science (including getting vaccinated), proper sex education (studies show states that push abstinence-only sex ed have higher teen pregnancies), supporting the LGBTQ+ community (suicide rates are higher among LBGTQ+), supporting our veterans on their arrival home (like the LGBTQ+ community, vets also have a higher than average suicide rate), and food assistance. Speaking of food assistance, often the states that rally against abortion are also actively cutting food assistance programs. If you think that certain people aren’t worthy of things like healthcare, housing, food, etc., then you are not pro-life, you are pro-birth, your caring for that fetus ends the second they no longer meet your level of acceptance. So please, if you value life, then you should be acting on and voting on things that pertain to the above mentioned things.
I also want to talk about language here. It’s easy to say “women’s rights” and use feminine terms when talking about these issues, however there needs to be a shift, because non-binary people and trans-men can also become pregnant, and we need to be inclusive, and “reproductive rights” is a suitable replacement. I’m trying to be better about this, and I hope that if I fail in some way that supportive friends and readers will call me out on it.
So, as with any huge event, what does this mean for the blog? Well, I’m not exactly sure. See, even though I’m relatively “safe” in California, on a federal level, I am a second class citizen (but let’s face it, women always have been, as we continue to earn less than our male counterparts and are less likely to be hired for jobs) so I’m not really feeling any sort of patriotism, which leaves me less enthused to be documenting “Americana” because honestly, I don’t feel like I’m considered an American anymore. Also, it is incredibly difficult to smile or be happy lately, so posing for a picture and pretending to be happy feels impossible right now. So I certainly have an internal struggle that may result in less blogging. But, like I came to terms with back when the overly tanned oaf entered the White House, and I faced a similar struggle, I realize the need for joy. This blog has brought me and you the readers a lot of joy, and I hope to continue to do that. I still have plenty of San Francisco posts lined up, so stay tuned for those. But after that…I’m not entirely sure what’s on the horizon.
To those who made it all the way through this post, thank you so much for reading and your continued support.