A Womban’s Strength (Featuring Article by Julia Stevens)
Updated: Sep 5, 2022
I was going to title this blog post: Roe v Wade, but I do not wish to sustain such a division between two sides. The truth of the matter is this is great cause for concern for all people, men, women, or however you may identify.
Book Recommendation (In The Flo - About the feminine cycle: You don't have to be female to learn and benefit from this book, plus, you can recommend it to women you know!)
This blog post features some wise words from my beloved friend Julia. Julia is incredibly bright and intelligent, and hilariously fun. She is one of the smartest people I know. Julia Stevens has a background in government relations and political consulting and previously worked for the Iowa Democratic Party. She now serves as a public relations expert for the renewable energy industry. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her partner and is an avid practitioner of meditation. Find her on Twitter @jcsstrategies.
I wanted to process & organize my thoughts before posting about this. I have just felt sick to my stomach. If you’re like me, having your heart open during this time is absolutely exhausting. You feel it all. And it hurts.
Obviously, it is a giant step back for human rights and for our society at large. This is something that my Grandmother and so many of our grandmothers have fought for. Women’s right to their bodies. Women’s right to choose and govern their own bodies. Women (and womb holders) everywhere have been stripped of their bodily autonomy. And it doesn’t matter if you are in a “red” or “blue” state. This is not an issue for the states. Collectively, WOMEN HAVE A RIGHT TO CHOOSE WHAT HAPPENS TO THEIR BODIES.
As I’m sure it is for many of you, the overturning of Roe v. Wade is very personal for me. Like Abby, I grew up in California, where I knew I would always be able to get an abortion should I need or want one. But after college, I moved to Iowa, a state where Republican leaders have been waging a decades-long effort to shred the right to an abortion.
For me and millions of people across America, abortion is a form of healthcare I may one day need, particularly because of my medical condition. For years, I have been taking heart medication to manage this medical condition. This medication has been crucial in helping me lead a normal life, work a full-time job, and make my pain bearable. But getting pregnant while on this medication is extremely dangerous—it causes fatal birth defects and threatens the life of the pregnant person. As a woman of childbearing age, I am actually required to be on birth control while taking this medication as a precaution against that scenario.
But in the real world, birth control sometimes fails, and should I get pregnant while on this medication, I would certainly need an abortion. For this reason among others, my partner and I had planned long-term to leave Iowa in anticipation of abortion eventually becoming illegal there. I also thought through contingency plans in case I ever needed to travel out of state for an abortion: how to take time off work, who could help me make the drive, and how to come up with the money. But millions of women do not have the finances, the free time, flexibility in their job, childcare, a supportive partner, or countless other things that make it possible to cross state lines or travel long distances to get an abortion.
Although the overturning of Roe negatively impacts all of us, and we should work to develop solidarity, part of building that solidarity and targeting help to those who need it most is recognizing that certain groups are disproportionately impacted. To get an idea of those who are most vulnerable, we can look at a state like Missouri, where abortion access has been severely limited for years. Women, LGBTQ folks, people of color, indigenous people, low-income people, disabled people, and especially individuals who fit multiple of these or other variables that have been historically oppressed will face disproportionate harm from this widescale rollback of abortion rights.
As Abby said, if you want to “do something” about this, it’s best to focus your time and energy on taking actions that can make a tangible impact. My recommendations for action fall into 3 broad categories: helping your loved ones, helping your community, and engaging in political action.
Pullquote from blog:
“Although the overturning of Roe negatively impacts all of us, and we should work to develop solidarity, part of building that solidarity and targeting help to those who need it most is recognizing that certain groups are disproportionately impacted.”
Pullquote from blog:
The key to maximizing your impact on your community is tapping into existing community organizations and helping to further their existing work. The easiest way to find these existing organizations is to look on the National Network of Abortion Funds’ local abortion fund list.
With regard to the first point, obviously, if a friend or family member comes to you and needs help obtaining an abortion, I would encourage you to help them. But I would also offer two additional recommendations. First, be cognizant of the security of your conversations about obtaining an abortion (ie phone calls are typically better than texts). Here is a helpful guide on digital privacy from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to defending digital privacy. Secondly, help your loved ones to learn about contraceptive options available to them, and if necessary, help them gain access to them. Planned Parenthood has an excellent guide to contraceptives that covers cost, effectiveness, and other factors.
The key to maximizing your impact on your community is tapping into existing community organizations and helping to further their existing work. The easiest way to find these existing organizations is to look on the National Network of Abortion Funds’ local abortion fund list. Once you find your local abortion fund, you can get involved in volunteering, donating to the fund, or engaging in other community actions.
I’m sure you’ve already been told to vote (and may be rightfully angry at the political leaders who told us voting for them would ensure the protection of abortion rights) so I am going to offer a different political action you can take. Do some googling to see if your state has an effort to enshrine the right to abortion into the state constitution or codify it via legislation. The AP’s overview of abortion policy efforts at the state level is a helpful starting point to see what’s happening in your state. If you find such an effort, find the organization behind it, and help their efforts, typically by volunteering your time.
If you’re having a hard time these days, it can be helpful to take actionable steps that give you a sense that you’re making an impact. But as the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup—so make sure you’re taking time every day to take care of yourself, be that by going for a walk, spending time with loved ones, or doing one of Abby’s meditation practices. Oh, and one more thing—stop doom-scrolling."
- Julia Stevens
I would like to restate, that although this judicial action affects us all; it does put black, brown, and indigenous womb-holders at a greater disadvantage. People who may not have the resources, or time, to travel to a state where it is safe to have such medical procedures concerning a person’s reproductive system and organs.
Riddle me this: it’s “pro-choice” and “pro-life” but in cases where things go wrong and the womb holder’s life is at stake, how can someone say that it’s “pro LIFE” to force this woman to complete her pregnancy term? Isn’t it in fact pro-life to let the *already* alive person decide what happens to them?
I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that if you care about this issue, it’s surely time to show it. Show up, and have those uncomfortable conversations if you have to.
What would RBG do?
Please please please, take care of your physical body, now more than ever. Staying informed does you no good if you don’t have somewhere to channel that energy. So stay vigilant, but make sure your mind and body have the rest and nourishment that they need, every single day.
Let your heart open, even if it hurts.
Book: In The Flo by Alisa Vitti
Serendipitously, recently I was guided towards this book, "In The Flo" all about the woman's 28-day infradian rhythm, and how to maximize the ebbs and flow of this cycle. I knew upon reading this book, I would learn more about my physical vesssel, and that it would be useful, but I didn't know how inspiring and inspirational this book would be. I think that everyone should read this book, women and men alike, and mothers and fathers.
The book also has recipes that you can use during the different phases of your cycle.
PS: Instead of commenting on people who you follow and insinuating that they aren’t doing enough or mentioning it enough: use that energy to raise each other up and educate instead. Lift each other up, and use your energy wisely.
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Thanks for reading! Sending you love ( :
- Abby at Blue Wellness