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It’s a Scary Time to be a Woman in America

It reminds me that I do not matter to my local government, just the potential tax revenue I could bring.

By Heather Cowan

Upon hearing Roe V. Wade was over turned, the first thing that came to my mind was a conversation I had had with my father in October of 2020, when I was worried about this very thing happening due to a new justice being added to the court. He proceeded to tell me that it would not happen, that wasn’t how the court worked, and that it was an unfounded fear.

Now what he called an “unfounded fear,” is the reality of women in the United States.

My once apolitical mother is now uncharacteristically worried, her once carefree and ease of worry around men suddenly changed, not wanting either of us to be anywhere truly by ourselves. Asking if I thought I might need a plan B or two on stand by, just in case the worst happens. Seeing my brave and airy mom develop this fear at fifty years old scares me more than I ever thought it could.

I currently live in Virginia, and while we have not taken immediate action towards banning abortion, our Governor, Glenn Youngkin, is talking about a 15-week ban, and as of right now, he just gave a statement that he would support a full abortion ban, with exceptions of rape, incest and health, as he vows to ‘protect life.’ Which means he is protecting something that cannot even survive in the world, not the woman carrying them inside her.

My state had always been in the front of others- legalizing marijuana last summer, along with being the first southern state to ban LGBTQ+ discrimination and adopt our very own voting rights act.

The idea of my state I have always loved and felt proud to be from, enacting something so restrictive, degrading, and sexist into law is utterly heartbreaking. It feels even worse to realize this is the actual reality of so many others in this country.

Having something so restrictive in place puts those who are able to become pregnant and give birth into so much danger. I have heard the horror stories of women waiting in agony and uncertainty, of waiting for three people she does not even know to give the okay for her abortion to save her life so she can be there for her family and other children.

The very real fear that next July, the month when most Virginia laws go into effect, it could potentially be me, regardless of my situation and what has happened to me. Hearing that my governor wants to ‘protect life’ makes me realize he does not want to protect my life, but whatever could be growing inside of me, a potential baby that could kill me, or a predator’s baby. It reminds me that I do not matter to my local government, just the potential tax revenue I could bring so they would make an extra buck, or an extra man whose supposed rights that they could protect, or secure the vote for in the potential future.

My life and my potential does not matter under these laws, but the clump of cells I could potentially produce on accident do, something I couldn’t imagine happening to me, or the worst case scenario does.

The other thing that is a worry of mine after this ruling, is what other Supreme Court rulings may be overturned, such as Obergefell v. Hodges, which gave us the right to gay marriage, and Loving v. Virginia, which is what gave us the right to interracial marriage.

Additionally, I’m concerned about upcoming decisions the court may make. This fall they are hearing about Moore v. Harper, which is a redistricting case that could lead to full power of state legislatures to oversee federal elections without any input of state courts, which could cause gerrymandering that leads to extreme sole partisan advantages.

Currently, as the court stands, my faith is not high in them to make a decision that best reflects what the country needs, or what we want.

As of right now, I know realistically the reality of our nation having abortion rights reinstated is not going to happen soon. It will take a few more election cycles, a new justice, a new case. Unless Biden decides to codify Roe, as Obama could have back in 2009. Our government has failed us, and they will continue to fail us unless it becomes codified, which I’m not convinced they will.

Roe has never fully left my mind since the overturning. The stares of men make me more uneasy than they used to, going places alone seems almost like a death wish, and the men around me do not seem to understand the grave severity of this decision to me and other women.

What hurts the most is that we did not even have a full lifetime free of worry and bodily autonomy, losing what our mothers and grandmothers had fought so hard for. But, most importantly, I want to end with this; we won this fight before, and we can win it again.


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