In Ethiopia, where I am from, abortion has been legal under a broad range of circumstances for 18 years, empowering women to take control of their futures and saving countless lives. I am so proud of the steps the government in Ethiopia has taken to expand access to abortion over the last two decades. Still, since the overturning of Roe v. Wade in the U.S. last year, these gains are looking increasingly vulnerable.
When my next assignment came for a work trip to Florida, I felt deeply conflicted. Saying no and cutting off half the country seemed like an emotional overreaction. Still, I also felt terrible about contributing to a state economy where my tax dollars could be used to fund hateful legislation, control women’s bodies, or ban books. My darling stepkid is exploring gender fluidity; this smart, thoughtful teenager would be having a very different, very dark high school experience if we happened to live in the Sunshine State.
And then I went on Etsy.
U.S. patriarchal authoritarianism is on the rise, and democracy is on the decline. But day after day, we stay vigilant in our goals to dismantle patriarchy at every turn. The fight is far from over. We are watching, and we refuse to go back. This is the War on Women Report.
This month: Iowa and Indiana abortion bans remain enforceable; LGBTQIA+ online hate and harassment has reached a record high; more women than ever are traveling out of state for abortion access; U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) introduced the Right to Contraception Act; President Biden issued an executive order to strengthen access to affordable, high-quality contraception and family planning services; and more.
Last summer, the Supreme Court overturned the longstanding precedents of Roe v. Wade, representing the largest blow to women’s constitutional rights in history. A series from Ms., Our Abortion Stories chronicles readers’ experiences of abortion pre- and post-Roe. Abortions are sought by a wide range of people for many different reasons. There is no single story. (Share your abortion story by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.)
“I want Greg Abbott or anyone who voted for this law to look me in the eye and tell me that I deserved what happened. That I deserve to be punished by the law for what I’ve gone through. I want them to look me in the eye.”
A year after Dobbs, it would be easy to say that things have gotten worse, that the future looks bleak. But it doesn’t have to be.
Dark money groups, far from standing down after they succeeded in abolishing Americans’ constitutional right to decide if and when to have children, have ramped up their efforts to further limit reproductive rights since the right-wing faction on the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade a year ago.
Behind this attack on our rights is a web of groups funded by ultra-rich donors and coordinated by far-right lawyer and longtime Federalist Society leader Leonard Leo.
Since the fall of Roe, at least 66 clinics have stopped providing abortion care. Many people have found essential care by purchasing abortion pills online and having them delivered by mail.
As we continue into the post-Roe future, we must address the inequalities that limit these innovations in states where telehealth is legal, but also in states where it is illegal.
I will never forget the overwhelming tide of anger, frustration and disbelief that washed over me when the Dobbs decision was announced on June 24, 2022. A year later, it’s safe to say those same feelings persist.
Who knows where we will be a year from now in 2024—an election year. We will not grow complacent, and we will not stop pushing for our rights.
(This story also appears in the Summer 2023 issue of Ms. magazine. Join the Ms. community today and you’ll get the Summer issue delivered straight to your mailbox!)
Former state Senator Martha Hennessey details her abortion experience, inspired by the first person she ever told—Gloria Steinem.
” I fell into the small percentage of those who become pregnant while on the pill. … I did not have to go to Sweden. I did not have to tell my parents. I did not have to tell anyone my reasons, because it did not matter. … I cannot fully understand why I let anyone keep me from speaking openly about doing the right thing for myself and my family, including our seven granddaughters, but that changes today.”
Over the last year, women, feminists and allies have marched, shouted, cried and organized together to have the right to our bodies solidified in law.
The nonprofit United State of Women (USOW) is helping people prepare to fight anti-abortion laws locally and nationally. This month, USOW is hosting a month-long virtual series dedicated to educating future and current organizers on how to rally around reproductive autonomy through digital organizing.