Roe v Wade and Pacing Ourselves for the Long Haul

I am thinking about my ancestors today. I have to. I am remembering that the U.S. Supreme Court handed down decisions that denied them their basic humanity many, many times.

I am remembering that the Supreme Court has often been wrong. I am remembering that the people are usually right and that this decision does not reflect the will of the majority of the people.

This ruling may seem like a victory to those who have weaponized their faith to limit women’s self-determination, bodily autonomy, privacy rights, agency, and lives. But this ruling is not a victory for anyone; it is a tragedy for everyone.

None of us are protected unless all of us are protected.

Some people will not be affected when abortion is no longer a protected and legal right. They will still have access. They will still have resources, medical access, agency, and the ability to travel to obtain care.

But others–Black, Brown, Indigenous, poor, young, and marginalized–will feel the brunt of the inequity and injustice. Already experiencing the difficulty of accessing contraception, comprehensive sex education, and adequate prenatal and pregnancy care–if they have access to abortion care, they now lose the choice for it. Valuing women’s lives and agency should not be subject to winning the lottery of geography as large swaths of the country prepare to become reproductive health care and abortion access deserts.

Harya Tarekegn of the Mississippi Center for Justice reminds us that, “access to basic needs and rights–including abortion, voting rights, education, health care, and more–continue to be determined by where we live.” She says, “It’s a reality that is particularly devastating for people of color, for whom freedom has always been illusory.”

Auburn Seminary affirms unequivocally that bodily autonomy and privacy are fundamental human rights. We believe and trust women and all who may become pregnant. We hold that access to comprehensive and affordable reproductive health services, including abortion, is a moral and social good. We lift up and stand with our Reproductive Justice leaders who work every day under deeply traumatizing, under-resourced, and often perilous conditions. And we refuse to cede faith and spirituality to those who would limit full agency.

As we were holding space with each other yesterday, Auburn Board member Katie Golieb reminded me: We are not alone. There are many, many others who are with us. I encourage us to express our outrage, to gather with our communities, to lament, and to process. I also implore us to pace and steady ourselves for the long haul.

And, when I close my eyes, I can hear my ancestors singing, “Walk together, children. Don’t get weary.” I encourage you to express your outrage, to gather with your communities, to lament, and to process. I also implore you to pace yourselves, to do what you need to do to take of yourselves for the long haul.

We have been doing more than just fighting the inevitability of this decision being handed down. We have been fighting for the world where we all can thrive. We have been proclaiming a vision bigger and bolder than the one that has delivered this injustice. This will not just be an election cycle struggle, friends. Let’s keep walking together. Don’t despair and don’t get weary. We are not alone and we will not leave women, trans and non-binary people now living in states that are racing to celebrate today’s decision by ending local access to abortion care to walk alone.

Rev. Dr. Emma Jordan-Simpson
President, Auburn Seminary

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