My mother was wrong about Roe v. wade


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We may have made a lot of mistakes, but at least we gave you deer. I can’t even count the number of times my mom told me a version of it. It was her way of explaining an earlier generation’s approach to feminism, and what she was telling me when she was trying to make sense of her own heritage. Maybe it wasn’t normal for a mother to tell her daughter, but my mother is not a normal mother. She is Erica Jong, a second-wave feminist, celebrated novelist, and woman who throughout her career has constantly struggled with what she and her cohort had achieved and what they hadn’t. not done.

They had failed to pass the equal rights amendment. They had failed on fair pay. The overly long list of things that once seemed possible would continue to sting for decades. During the Reagan and Bush eras, my mother was completely in despair at the way conservatism rebounded politically and culturally. She said she was part of the whiplash generation, “raised to be Doris Day, aspiring in her twenties to be Gloria Steinem, then doomed to raise our middle-aged daughters to Nancy Reagan and of Princess Di”, as she said in her memoirs, Fear of fifty.

Keep in mind that my mother, like some other second-wave feminists, had huge blind spots because she grew up rich and white in a blue city in a blue state. Sometimes she would get really drunk at dinner and complain about all the things feminists couldn’t do for their daughters (i.e. me), but she always comforted herself with the reality that they had done well an important thing. My mother and all the women who fought alongside her gave my generation Roe v. Wade. They gave us the bodily autonomy that we should have already had. They gave us the ability to choose what happens in our own womb. It was an essential and irreversible gift. Or so we thought.

Americans now see that we will not always have the right deer devotes. Indeed, according to a draft Supreme Court opinion leaked last night, originally published by Policy– we may not have deer for much longer at all.

(Kevin Dietsch/Getty)

I always believed that the three judges appointed by Donald Trump would move to overthrow deerbut to see it actually unfold, to read the words of the draft decision, caused a kind of generational shock: “We hold that deer and Casey must be cancelled. Every line is like something out of my mother’s generation’s worst nightmare. Forty-nine years after the greatest feminist victory of the 20th century, Samuel Alito writes:deer got it completely wrong from the start. His reasoning was exceptionally weak and the decision had damaging consequences. And far from achieving a national settlement of the abortion issue, deer and Casey inflamed the debate and deepened the division. It’s worth pointing out here that in 1973, five years before I was born, when women had far fewer rights—when they couldn’t even get a credit card without their husband’s or father’s permission—deer was decided 7–2, with five Republican-appointed justices in support. The world has become profoundly more pro-choice than it was in 1973; even Catholic countries like Ireland have legalized abortion. Yet here in America, the clock is ticking backwards with astonishing and terrifying speed.

It’s not that my mother’s generation didn’t fear this outcome before. Six days after President George HW Bush was sworn in in 1989, my mother wrote in the New York Times“Now that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear an attack on Roe v. Wade, it is painfully clear that two decades of feminist achievement can be swept away with a single wave of the judicial or presidential hand. Women and men who thought this was all long settled, who naively assumed that women’s bodies would never again be a political battleground, had to wake up and realize.Sixteen years later, in October 2005, Bush’s son would nominate the man who will write the draft opinion that proves how naïve we have been.

“The inescapable conclusion is that the right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the history and traditions of the Nation,” writes Alito. But that’s not really true. Forty-nine years encompasses a lot of history and tradition. I am 43 years old. I have never lived in an America without deer. I have never lived in a country where more than half of the population has no power over their own bodies. It looks like I will be living in this world from June, just like 167 million other women.

And now ? The internet is a sea of ​​rabid comments. Online activism can be powerful, but it’s not enough. A CNN poll from January shows that only about 30% of Americans want deer reversed. The vast majority of Americans don’t want that. And now is the time for them to exercise a right we always have: the right to peaceful protest.

Those who support deerProtections should show lawmakers and judges that they are about to do something very unpopular. Last night peaceful protesters gathered outside the Supreme Court sing, “Hey hey, ho ho, Sam Alito has to go.” Around 11 p.m., hundreds of people had assembled. But hundreds of people cannot do it alone. This leaked document should become a rallying cry. The opinion is still only a draft. We don’t know for sure where all the judges will land. Democrats still control Congress and the presidency. There are still things they could do. Congress can legislate; President Joe Biden can use his executive powers.

My mother is 80 now. She doesn’t write much anymore. But the term whiplash generation feels more fit than ever. She is about to watch her granddaughter grow up in a world without the rights she has secured for herself and her daughter. Today we get a glimpse of the history not yet written. A seismic shift in America is coming, and it is coming fast. But it’s not too late. Not yet.

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