Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court case that overturned Roe v. Wade and the right to abortion, is a full-on attack on women’s autonomy, self-determination and safety—three values that the women of I Am Why hold dear.
At I Am Why we begin each meeting with a check-in question and this week we have focused on what each of us is doing to stay safe and healthy while our fundamental rights are under attack. Consultants talk about deleting their period tracking apps; wondering how a country that won’t invest in children’s education, housing or healthcare pretends to care about “children” before they are born; and wondering (darkly but not unjustified) if the system is trying to shore up the child welfare and criminal justice establishment by feeding it unwanted children. These reactions might seem extreme—but they are not. They come from our fear and from the sense of security and freedom that we, as women and gender expansive folks, lost last Friday.
As an I Am Why “advisor” (one of the older members of our intergenerational organization) I know it is my responsibility to model a positive and pro-social approach to trauma and challenge. But I am not there yet. I’m angry and sad, and so sorry that I am leaving my daughters and grandchildren and the brave young advocates at I Am Why with fewer rights than I enjoyed when I was their age. How is that even possible after all our hard work? And as a lawyer, I am outraged at the hypocrisy in a Supreme Court decision that is all about women’s rights yet barely even mentions women.
Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I hope that is true, and over the next months, we at I Am Why will continue to support each other, process this loss and figure out what we can do to move that arc toward the justice we all imagine and deserve.
Francine Sherman, President and Advisor, I Am Why