Ms. Editors’ Letter: Feminists Have Long Fought for Abortion Access—and We’re Not Stopping Now


The struggles, setbacks and good points of the previous 49 years have solely strengthened and higher positioned the feminist motion to tackle this battle.

The  unthinkable has occurred: The U.S. Supreme Court docket has struck down Roe v. Wade, taking away a elementary constitutional proper from ladies and sending shock waves throughout the nation and the world. Let’s be clear: The Court docket and the Republican legislators and governors enacting bans and extreme restrictions on abortion don’t have any public mandate.

Throughout the nation, at rallies and demonstrations in Washington, D.C., and in each state, crimson or blue, the Court docket’s determination was met with outrage and with a deep dedication to battle again. Ladies are usually not going again. Thousands and thousands of girls—some one in four of all U.S. ladies—have had abortions and know the way essential gaining access to secure abortion has been for his or her lives. The battle for abortion is a battle for self-determination, dignity and autonomy. And make no mistake, we won’t cede this battle.

This isn’t the primary time the feminist motion has engaged on this battle, having organized and gained hard-fought modifications to abortion legal guidelines in numerous states within the Nineteen Sixties and early Nineteen Seventies, even earlier than the Court docket’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

Within the very first subject of Ms. in 1972, 53 well- recognized U.S. ladies signed a petition calling for the repeal of abortion legal guidelines and declaring that that they had undergone abortions—regardless of laws in most states rendering the process unlawful.

The unique “We Have Had Abortions” article that appeared in Ms.

The feminist motion is bigger and extra highly effective immediately than it was in 1973, and the struggles, setbacks and good points of the previous 49 years have solely strengthened and higher positioned the motion to tackle this battle. And what’s extra, the supply of medication abortion—abortion capsules that may be delivered to your mailbox—has basically modified the panorama of abortion entry, even in states which have applied bans.

This newest try to regulate ladies’s lives and switch again the clock on ladies’s progress won’t stand. Not like 49 years in the past, ladies possess super political energy. The gender hole—the measurable distinction between men and women in public opinion polling and in voting—has grown considerably, and on this November’s midterms will probably form the result of native, state and nationwide contests, favoring candidates who sup- port ladies’s equality and the suitable to abortion.

In a CBS News/YouGov poll carried out within the week following the Court docket’s determination, 67 p.c of girls in comparison with 51 p.c of males disapproved of overturning Roe, and ladies have been more likely to be offended concerning the Court docket’s determination (52 p.c) in comparison with males (39 p.c). And girls are saying the choice has made it extra probably that they are going to vote.

Driving the gender hole is the assist for feminism: Extra ladies than ever describe themselves as “feminist”—61 percent, in line with the newest Pew Analysis ballot, together with strong majorities throughout all generations, races and ranges of schooling. Amongst youthful ladies (ages 18-29) an excellent larger 68 p.c determine as feminist, proof that feminism remains to be a rising motion and a possible power for change.

And there may be the facility of girls’s collective rage, as captured in artist Barbara Kruger’s 1992 cowl for Ms. shortly after Anita Hill testified in nationally televised hearings concerning the sexual harassment that she endured by the hands of now Supreme Court docket Justice Clarence Thomas (see “Final Phrase” on Web page 48). We should work to prepare and channel the fad trig- gered by the Court docket’s Roe reversal to make sure ladies’s voices are heard on the poll field this November. Meaning overcoming voter suppression legal guidelines that particularly goal Black and Latinx communities and younger folks.

Ms., January/February 1992.

With bigger majorities of pro-equality members of Congress, not solely can we restore abortion rights however we will additionally lastly enshrine the Equal Rights Modification within the U.S. Structure, securing a nationwide, everlasting security internet for girls’s rights.

Leveraging ladies’s rage into actual good points would require sustained efforts. We’re already seeing huge organizing efforts by feminists to cross state legal guidelines and constitutional amendments to make sure abortion rights; file court docket instances difficult abortion restrictions as violations of state constitutions; present assist and funding to ladies and pregnant individuals who should journey from states the place abortion is banned as a way to entry healthcare; and provide data and entry to remedy abortion irrespective of the place an individual lives. There isn’t any approach the motion may be stopped.

As we start this newest battle within the lengthy battle for full equality—and for our very democracy—we at Ms. promise to be a trusted supply for correct, well timed and actionable data in print, on-line and thru the acclaimed podcasts and packages of Ms. Studios. We’ll meet this historic problem, and collectively we’ll assemble a approach ahead.

For equality,

Katherine Spillar, Eleanor Smeal and the editors of Ms.

This letter originally appears in the Summer 2022 issue of Ms.Become a member today to read more reporting like this in print and through our app.

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