PHILADELPHIA – Since May 3, 2022, Philadelphians have been on fire over the looming SCOTUS decision to strip women of their rights over their bodies. Dozens of protests have been held throughout the downtown area in the last few weeks, joining with women across the country to fight back against the impending post-Roe world.
Like the groundswell of protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, many of those coming to protest are doing so for the first time. Just like that summer, this summer is predicted to be a “summer of rage.”
“If you can’t decide what happens to your own body, if that’s not fundamental, what is,” said Brita Van Rossum, a 62-year-old landscaper from the suburbs of Philly. She attended her first protest at the US Capitol Complex this past weekend on a National Day of Protest for Abortion Rights.
The SCOTUS decision also allows for a host of other rights to be stripped from Americans, such as the right to same-sex and even potentially interracial marriage. Several states are already looking to ban contraception, and Texas’s Gov. Greg Abbott is seeking to challenge Plyler V Doe, which could lead to Texas excluding immigrant children from receiving a public education in the State.
“Contraception, the ability to get abortion, same-sex marriage those Supreme Court decisions, and even marriage, have been grounded in what they call an unenumerated right to privacy in the Constitution,” said Melissa Reed, President of Planned Parenthood Keystone.
“Republicans have long been at war with women, poor people, and people of color, if it’s a fight they want, they got it,” said Rachel Carmona, executive director of the Women’s March. “The right has really jumped the shark with this one and we’re coming for their seats.”
The recent rise in right-wing legislative and physical attacks on women, the working class, people of color, and the LGBTQIA communities has galvanized Philadelphia youth. During a coordinated walkout involving at least 5 local high schools last week,, students called for abortion on demand, Medicare for all, and investment in Philly schools and communities.
“We call for free abortion under a Medicare for All system with gender affirming care!” said Eric Jenkins to a raucous crowd of students.
“For women this will be a summer of rage, we’ll be ungovernable until this government starts working for us, until the right is done attacking our bodies, until the right to an abortion is codified into law,” Women’s March President Rachel Carmona said.
Women of color will be impacted the most by the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Black women are 3 to 4 times more likely to die during childbirth than white women.
Black women often aren’t listened to by their doctors and are believed to have higher pain thresholds than they do. This often leads to an increased likelihood of adverse health outcomes for the mother and the baby, including an increased mortality chance.
Women of color are more likely to live in poverty, which leads to higher rates of adverse economic health and social outcomes when abortions aren’t available.
The irony of all this is that for the Right, it’s not about the positive or negative impact on black and brown people. It’s about the absurd racist notion of some great replacement. White racists believe they are intentionally being replaced by nonwhite, non-Christians, with Jewish people orchestrating the whole thing, perhaps while using their space lasers to pick which Becky or Chad to replace.
We already understand we’re up against insane far-right fascism in America, so what do we do about it.
We organize in the streets, in our neighborhoods, in religious institutions, and at the ballot box at all levels of government for the rights of women, LGBTQIA people, communities of color, immigrants, poor people, and the incarcerated. All of the struggles faced by our communities are interconnected, and we need to view them as such.
We donate when, where, and how we can, you know what you can do and afford.
We take off the kids’ gloves and start fighting as dirty and strategically as the fascists have been and are while caring for and taking care of each other and ourselves.
We don’t give up, but pace ourselves. We understand that we are not in a sprint, but a marathon.