I am not old enough to vote. I can’t drive. But depending on my country of origin, I may be forced to be a mother.
My parents now have two teenage girls who are menstruating. They are more worried about the Supreme Court ruling that could overturn Roe vs. Wade than a fear of pregnancy, because with us, for our bodies, they are intrinsically linked.
My family raised me to be a feminist; I’ve said “my rights, my body, my choice” for as long as I can remember. Looking back, I had no idea what that meant.
I can’t imagine a life where I could be a teenager like I’m meant to be – sneaking around after curfew or spending a day at the movies. My friends are stocking up on plan B; the normal anxiety of going to Planned Parenthood is overshadowed by the implications of inaccessible birth control. Instead, I’m a hot (or cold – it’s unclear whether politicians care) body whose rights can be debated. My humanity is politicized in the United States. Here, my life is up for grabs. Living in Utah, my life is on the line.
The Dobbs decision is imminent, and this is only the beginning.
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Following the Supreme Court’s draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was leaked in May, I had two consecutive AP tests. I spent the morning switching between worrying about my right to my body and whether I would pass my AP psychology exam.
The next day, I stayed up until 1 a.m. studying at AP Environmental Science and making flyers about an emergency protest I co-organized.
The next day, I posted the flyers around the school an hour before my exam. After completing the two-hour exam, I finished writing my speech for the protest and rode straight from school to the Utah state capitol. I spoke candidly in front of more than 1,500 people – many of them my own age – about the terror I felt, the terror I still felt, and the terror I knew they had too.
I am a 16 year old girl with a uterus in Utah. Whether deer falls, my life is not protected for the benefit of a potential life which will not be protected either, once out of the uterus.
I don’t want to fight for my right to my body or my right to health care. I’m tired, exhaustion to the bone that nearly everyone with a uterus has experienced more intensely since the Opinion Draft leaked.
Growing up, the right to abortion was acquired thanks to deer. My mother and my grandmother saw that abortion rights were guaranteed, while they were granted their minimum rights. In recent years, however, I have seen states pass increasingly restrictive abortion laws, despite the protections of deer. Then I watched with my mother and grandmother the Supreme Court indicate that deer would fall – and the bare minimum was suddenly ripped from my hands.
Abortion never goes away. Safe abortion is restricted. Children will die, and it won’t be from abortion – it will be girls like me, children from low-income communities, black and indigenous girls who already have the highest maternal mortality rates.
In 1965, nearly a decade before the Roe v. Wade, about 17 percent of all deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth were due to illegal abortions. In 2018, it is estimated that globally, at least 22,000 pregnant women die each year from unsafe abortion. Reversal Roe vs. Wade, and the implementation of restrictions on basic human rights, puts the lives of millions on the line and the blood of thousands and thousands on the hands of the Supreme Court. The hands of the conservative super-majority: none of them will be personally affected, and one of whom is a rapist.
It’s also my life. The life of my mother and my grandmother, of my younger brother, of my cousins, of my friends.
The most awful part is that all of this terror comes when I hold immense privilege as an upper-middle-class white cisgender citizen. It could be so much worse, it is so much worse. We were fighting well before 1973, and well after.
We don’t need to go back – we’re already there: Immigrants say Immigration and Customs Enforcement is working involuntary hysterectomies. One in six American women has survived rape or attempted rape. Parental involvement in a minor’s abortion is required in 37 states, some with exceptions for medical emergencies, neglect, abuse, incest, or assault (because the choice of a person on his body must be violated before being granted). Sex education nationwide is sorely lacking, and in Utah, abstinence seems to be the full extent of our curriculum – my parents have to sign a waiver every time I learn the word “vagina”.
People in the United States do not have universal health care or accessible mental health care. The health care we have is largely inaccessible to low-income communities. The country also has the highest maternal mortality rate of all high-income countries. We are in the middle of a formula milk shortage. Communities that have been able to access safe abortion face increased restrictions every year. It’s not pro-life, it’s anti-choice. An agenda against women, trans people, and especially women and trans people of color, knows no bounds.
They don’t stop with deer.
We don’t stop either.
On May 14, people from across the country attended the hundreds of rallies held across the United States.
There have been weekly rallies and protests, often more, in Salt Lake City, the capital of one of the most conservative states in the country, a state with a trigger ban that will make most abortions illegal. with some exceptions.
Support for abortion care is also very popular—61% of adults support abortion in all or most cases, depending on the Pew Research Center survey. Young people – who will be most affected for the longest time – are most supportive of abortion, with nearly three-quarters of adults under 30 saying it should be legal in all or few cases, according to the survey. We are the majority. Our legal system has failed us and our representatives do not represent us. It’s infuriating, and it’s inspiring. We are the majority.
We are fighting tooth and nail not only for health care, but also for our right to choose. We are fighting for ourselves, our families, and for our collective brothers and sisters across the country who refuse to be pushed into alleys, bleach, and coat hangers. We fight for strangers in the grocery store and on the streets who have their basic human rights forcibly taken away as you read this. This fight is for us, and we are not stopping.
I don’t want to be a mother yet. I am an older sister, a student, an activist. I am applying to university next year. I want to learn three more languages and get my driver’s license. My life is worth fighting for. I deserve autonomy over my own body. I deserve better, and I deserve better than having to say I deserve better.
You are almost certainly affected by abortion restrictions – if you don’t have a uterus, then you love someone who does. From an unprotected girl: please protect us. Please protect each other.
You can start by familiarizing yourself with your local black and indigenous women activists; they are on the front line everythingand will be the first to die. If abortion does not affect you personally, or if you have structurally protected or empowered identities, you need to have difficult conversations in your community. Continue to learn about abortion laws in your area and how to help your unprotected local communities. Donate to your local abortion fund.
Remember that we are there for you and we are there for each other. Stay on the street. Invite your friends to demonstrate or organize a rally yourself. Keep the momentum going.
I am not a statistic of people who are likely to sign a birth or death certificate if I become pregnant. My name is Eve. My life matters. I will not stop fighting for my life. None of us are.