I took some time over the last few days to read. Millions of words have been written about the tearing down of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court and I am sure I but scratched the surface of what feels like a nightmare created by the reading of one too many dystopian novels. These missives were angry, pained, scared, devastated and resigned.
I claim to be a writer, but I feel inadequate for the task today. To directly address issues like pay equity and equal economic opportunities, I created Innovation Women and bought Lioness Magazine. I saw public speaking and visibility as a path to gender equity and equality. Now, it feels more like life and death.
How can we address economic gender equity if we are being stripped of our dignity, right to privacy and ability to make the most basic decisions about our health and our future? Like the worst of the movies in an apocalyptic film fest, we have lost the right to determine our own futures. We may lose the ability to save our own lives.
What this means
The overturning of Roe v. Wade means that policy around abortion is now in the hands of each state in the USA. Abortion remains legal or legal for now in 35 states. Abortion is potentially illegal or soon to be illegal in 11 states. In five states, abortion is illegal. Trigger laws, designed to go into effect with the overturning of Roe, are in place in several states. Estimates hover around 50 percent of states allowing abortion and the others severely restricting it or forbidding it.
Abortion is becoming criminalized. A miscarriage could be seen as a possible abortion and leave you facing an investigation or worse. Consider that online research or posts could be used against you. Be careful.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is also calling for the overturning of constitutional protections previously granted for the right to access contraceptives (among other important rights). In other words, there soon could be no federal protection for pregnant people who do not wish or should not be parents. There is no 100 percent effective birth control and there are many reasons why someone could get pregnant without deliberately trying, including rape.
Then there are the abortions necessary to save the mother: incomplete miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies. I had something called HELLP Syndrome. When I had my children 25 and 20 years ago, the only “cure” for HELLP was immediate delivery. If HELLP happened early in the pregnancy, that delivery would effectively be an abortion. I was lucky. My babies and I survived; many people and their babies didn’t. Abortion restrictions and abortion restriction-related delays will literally cost some their lives.
Speaking of cost, this is a direct attack on our most vulnerable populations, those without the socio-economic means to travel to get the healthcare they need. Yes, damnit, an abortion is healthcare. (My word processing package warns me that this word may be offensive to my readers—sorry, folks, and be glad you were not within earshot on Friday.)
What should you consider?
As an events manager or a speaker, you need to carefully consider your future and the future of other people. If you are a business owner, you need to carefully think through how you verbalize your feelings on this hot-button topic.
- Should you hold events in certain states where healthcare is criminalized for some? Are you putting your attendees and speakers at risk? Do you wish to support the economy of a place that devalues you, your rights and your life?
- If you are of childbearing age, will you be safe traveling to these draconian states? Early-term miscarriages or an ectopic pregnancy can happen before you are even aware you are pregnant. Emergency treatment could be necessary and if you are away from home, what happens next could vary tremendously depending on where you are in the United States.
- Do we let this situation keep us from the stage?
It’s more important than ever to make our voices heard and to normalize hearing from everyone. Without seeing women and other “non-dudes” (to borrow a phrase from my friends at Gender Avenger) in positions of leadership and power, our rights will continue to be stripped away.
Keep fighting for your right to determine your own future and to have your voice heard.