Anger is like gasoline. If you spray it around and somebody lights a match, you’ve got an inferno. [But] if we can put our anger inside an engine, it can drive us forward. ~Scilia Elworthy
A huge part of being a feminist is giving other women the freedom to make choices you might not necessarily make yourself. ~Lena Dunham
The party that has been promising to take away your constitutional rights for the last 30 years is poised to do exactly that.
In 2016, a presidential nominee made a transactional promise: SCOTUS justices for his victory. A party sold its soul to feed its base – so important to that small sliver of America was the mythos of being pro-life.
A few tens of thousands of voters in a handful of states was all it took. Suddenly the existence of the constitutional right to make decisions about your body without government interference hung in the balance.
One stolen seat on the Court was filled. The next, a retirement.
And the final, the most tragic.
And now, with the opinion that will strip away our constitutional rights in the final drafting stages, the reality of the 30 years of Republican dismantling is upon us.
Public outcry was immediate.
Protests erupted at Justice Kavanaugh’s home. They were organized by his neighbors. They were loud, but peaceful.
A vigil was held outside Justice Alito’s home. Organizers brought safety marshals, medics, de-escalators (in the event of counter-protestors), and a designated police liaison. One reporter covering it was given wine, cheese, and key lime pie by neighbors.
Unscalable fences went up around the Supreme Court – the very same Court that has struck down buffer zones around abortion clinics and even around clinic employees private homes, reasoning they impermissibly infringed upon protesters’ First Amendment rights.
Last night, in response to these peaceful protests, in response to the anguish that is being deservedly laid at the Justices’ feet, a bill passed by unanimous consent through the Senate to further “protect” the Justices. The Washington Post published an editorial denouncing protests in front of the Justices’ homes. Critics chastised these peaceful protesters, admonishing them: be civil.
Because of course the Justices are now made uncomfortable. And that just won’t do.
They’ve sentenced untold numbers of women to direct physical, psychological, and financial pain. And now that they must witness the pain, the rage, the resentment, the passion that comes with having the ability to make decisions about your own body and life ripped away from you up close and personal … well.
Sh*t’s getting real.
And the blowback makes it hard for you to drink your coffee in peace.
Someone printed a message to Senator Susan Collins in sidewalk chalk outside her home: “Susie, please, Mainers want WHPA [Women’s Health Protection Act] —–> vote yes, clean up your mess.”
In cheerful, pink block letters, the dot in the “i” in Mainers was drawn to look like a uterus.
Susan Collins responded to this “harassment” by calling the Bangor police. She later issued a statement thanking the police department for responding to the “defacement of public property in front of our home.”
It’s uncomfortable to see your hypocrisy laid out before you, out your front window. I imagine it made her “deeply troubled.”
Republicans, looking on nervously, see the passion that has erupted from constitutional rights being ripped away from half of the population for the first time in American history.
They want to hide it. In fact, they must hide it. Because courage is contagious, and if everyone knew that everyone else was upset too, then where would they be?
Trouble, that’s where they’d be.
Painting protesters as violent, crazy, unhinged, histrionic man-haters – that has worked before. Why not try again? So the response to these peaceful, respectful protests suggests they’ve crossed a line: Protest is fine, they say. In the right places. In the right ways. Not in front of Justices’ homes.
They don’t see the irony of saying Justices have more privacy rights in their houses than we have in our uteruses.
But here’s what I want to know: How did they think the American people would respond, when overturning Roe became reality?
That people will not respond meekly to having constitutional rights stripped away should not come as a surprise.
Honestly, I question whether they thought this day would ever come. I think they assumed they’d be able to run their mouths off about Roe for decades longer without danger that they would actually succeed.
Hence the focus on the “leaked” opinion, and the focus on the Justices’ “safety,” and the paternalistic editorials telling us to “be civil.”
They got exactly what they have wanted and promised their voters for 30 years, and they are frantically, desperately, burying that part of the story.
There is no banner on Fox News announcing: Roe is doomed! We win! or Promises Kept! Abortion Bans Legal!
So, what should this tell us? What’s the lesson?
“I hope Democrats don’t run on abortion, though,” a political consultant confided to me in a casual call. “That’s not going to work here.”
The hair on the back of my neck stood up.
“You don’t think we should point out that Republicans are taking constitutional rights away from people? Or that they just sentenced people to years – if not a lifetime – of financial, physical and emotional labor? Or that while they force people to go through the intensely, intimately physical act of pregnancy and labor that they don’t provide healthcare, child care, or early education?”
She was quiet for a moment. “Well, people want to talk about what’s impacting them.”
“Like gas prices,” I said.
I could hear her nodding.
I am tired.
There is no compromise in this space.
There can be no compromise on democracy.
And there can be no compromise on constitutional rights.
If the focus of the last week – which Republicans have tried to make about literally ANYTHING but the substance of the Supreme Court decision – has taught us anything, it’s that stripping constitutional rights away from people is deeply, intensely unpopular. Shying away from protecting constitutional rights is never good strategy.
Republicans caught the bus.
Eating the chrome bumper is uncomfortable.
Let’s get to work.
Actions for the Week of May 10, 2022
Today: Call Your Democratic Senators And Ask Them to Support WHPA
Today is the Senate Caucus lunch. So it’s a good day to call your Democratic Senators and tell them you want them to support the Women’s Health Protection Act, that would codify Roe. Manchin has already said that he was going to wait until after this lunch to decide how to vote (yes, I am angry too). There are 47 cosponsors to this legislation, so if you have a Democratic Senator or two, they are almost certainly supporting it. (https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/1975/cosponsors)
That does not mean you should not call. The bill will not pass without a change to the filibuster, but that has not been put on the table.
A good talking point is one set out by Bernie in a tweet on Monday night: “If Republicans can end the filibuster to install right wing judges nominated by presidents who lost the popular vote in order to overturn Roe v. Wade, Democrats can and must end the filibuster to keep abortion legal and safe.”
Script: Hi, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent at ____. I’m calling to ask the Senator to support the WHPA and codify Roe. The filibuster should not keep Congress from enacting law that a majority of Americans support and that codifies a longstanding constitutional right that may be stripped away because two republican presidents who didn’t even win the popular vote have been allowed to pack the Court. For God’s sake – this is a senate procedural rule, not a mandate from God. Please tell the Senator to pass the WHPA and support eliminating the filibuster.
Tonight: Get Local With Vote Save America
When it comes to reproductive justice and more, progressives have historically made a mistake in focusing on federal races at the expense of what is happening in our states. So tonight Vote Save America is setting us up with actions to take right away to start growing our power.
Tonight they will be talking about state power with Jarvis Houston, Organizing and Political Director at Sister District Project, Rep. Mari Manoogian, Michigan State Representative (40th House District), and Nourbese Flint, Senior Director of Black Leadership and Engagement, Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
To join, go to their mobilize link here:
This Saturday: March
This Saturday, May 14, Supermajority is joining forces with Planned Parenthood, Women’s March, MoveOn, and Ultraviolet for the Bans Off Our Bodies Rallies — because we all deserve a world where our bodies are respected.
Rallies are taking place all across the country. Go to https://www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/rightfully-ours/bans-off-our-bodies#events to find your closest rally.
Support Brigid Alliance
Brigid Alliance provides travel and logistical support to people seeking abortion. Since beginning operation in August of 2018, The Brigid Alliance has provided travel and logistical support to nearly 2,000 individuals. Sadly, their services are going to be in even more demand in the coming years.
To date, they have helped clients travel an average of 1,200 miles from 45 states and six countries to providers in New York, New Mexico, Colorado, Washington, DC, and Maryland. Brigid supports on average 100 clients per month, with an average travel and service cost of $1,000 per client.
WHEW! GO TEAM!
P.S.: Why don’t you make someone’s day and send this pep talk to a friend or two? I bet they need it.
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Thank you for reading. Thank you for writing. I read and respond to every email! We’re in this together. Don’t you forget it.