Commentary

Marching again for Roe

Americans must create a collective outcry against erosion of the right to abortion

People attend a “Fight4Her” pro-choice rally in front of the White House at Lafayette Square on March 29, 2019, in Washington, D.C. (Astrid Riecken/Getty Images)

By Marilyn Lori

Thirty years ago, I boarded a bus in Ann Arbor bound for Washington, D.C., to go to a massive protest in favor of a woman’s right to choose the fate of her reproductive life. A group of us drove through the night to march in support of the notion that a woman’s body is her own, not an entity to be controlled by laws. We chanted “keep your laws off my body” until we were hoarse. I was a freshman in college.

This past Saturday I marched again for a woman’s right to choose, but this time the stakes are much higher for American women. Yet, many of childbearing age are unaware of how the recent change in the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court has greatly endangered their reproductive future and how quickly laws could change to control their choice.

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On Oct. 2, I rallied at the Capitol in Denver in the latest mobilization of women and men to defend reproductive rights. This was a nationwide event in cities all over the U.S. and was dubbed “Women’s March.” It coincided with the start of a key hearing before a federal judge about the new restrictive abortion law in Texas. This federal hearing has significant consequences for the future of abortion rights of American women everywhere. Its outcome is a harbinger of how future challenges to Roe v. Wade will be handled in the courts as more and more states attempt to limit access to abortions.

The recent passage of the Texas six-week abortion ban is unacceptable in a nation that has firmly established the right to abortion in legal precedent. A woman’s right to decide what happens to her body is protected by the Fourth Amendment right to privacy, as outlined in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) and Roe v. Wade (1973), among other cases. Yet, the Supreme Court allowed for this highly restrictive Texas law to stand on Sept. 1 when it came before the justices. The Department of Justice then stepped in and asked the federal court to intercede where the Supreme Court had failed to protect the constitutional right to abortion. The current federal hearing will attempt to resolve this discrepancy and clarify the law’s shifting stance on reproductive choice.

Again, the stakes are much higher than in the early 1990s when I marched on Washington, D.C., as a college freshman.

It is imperative now that American women and men everywhere protest this restrictive law to create a collective outcry against eroding the right to abortion. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a Mississippi case, a potential challenge to Roe v. Wade, in December that could again impact more women’s lives by further challenging the legal precedent.

Marching, protesting and speaking out are how we must fight back against attempts to control women’s bodies.

Marilyn Lori lives in Denver.

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