Laughs o' Mine
A Scary Vision of Our Future

Choose or Lose

This article on the potential effects of the rollback of Roe v. Wade is a good illustration of why the upcoming election, and the general mindset/ignorance of most of the American public, scares the living shit out of me. Until recently, the Supreme Court was not even raised as an election issue by the candidates, and it is certainly not in the forefront of most voters' minds, but it is clear to me that the composition of the Supreme Court is clearly at stake on November 2nd. The right to choose is, and always has been, my key issue when it comes to voting. Yes, I realize this is somewhat narrow-minded, but that's the way it is. After reading in college about the decades of struggle involved in making abortion safe and legal, I remember distinctly the day that the Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision came down. This was one of the decisions that permitted fairly burdensome restrictions on access to abortion, like 24 hour waiting periods and spousal and parental consent provisions. Essentially the Court held that all of the restrictions at issue were constitutional with the exception of the spousal consent provision and further held that the right to an abortion was not "fundamental," as it had been defined in Roe.

I sat on my bed crying out of sheer frustration, realizing that those nine people -- the Justices, sitting up on high -- had the power to determine whether or not I, or others like me, would have access to a safe, legal abortion if I wanted to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. I realized that they had the power to determine many things about my life, which is ultimately what piqued my interest enough to send me off to law school in the first place, but their ability to impact my reproductive freedom, or lack thereof, was devastating to me.

I spent the one summer in college and a year after I graduated working in a social service organization in Boston that offered, among other health services, abortions. I walked past protesters three days a week at the clinic around the corner from my apartment, my teeth clenched, wanting to scream at them to leave these poor women alone -- they were having a difficult enough time without being called murderers as they tried to walk into the clinic. I went to law school with hopes that I would someday run Planned Parenthood. And although my career path has shifted, my convictions have not. To me, this election is not primarily about terrorism, or even the war in Iraq, but about our day-to-day lives, the role that government can and should play in improving our society, and the impact that a more conservative court could have on the rights and freedoms to which we have grown accustomed.

BsipcvI'm no activist. Never have been. But I decided that given the issues at stake here, I might as well put my law degree to some practical use. I just signed up to monitor the integrity of the upcoming election through the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Election Protection Program. For all you lawyer types out there, it's easy. They provide you with training on how to staff a hotline; I'll be working a five-hour shift on November 1st or 2nd. It's the very least I can do. I am constantly impressed that people I know from all areas of my life are making the extra effort this time around -- what are you doing? Send a donation, go to a swing state, participate in a phone bank, convince someone to vote, just do something. Our future is at stake.

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