from 5/9/22 newsletter
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
—J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
I am unable to write this week’s newsletter without addressing the troubling events of the last week. In case you missed it, a draft opinion from the Supreme Court was released, suggesting that Roe V. Wade will be overturned. This means the right to abortion will no longer be protected at the federal level and states with trigger bans will likely immediately criminalize abortion if legislation is not passed at state levels to extend protection. Unfortunately, Ohio (my state of residence) has two trigger bans currently on the table and could become one of those states.
I am not here to preach to you or debate with you about the need for access to safe and legal abortions globally, or about the misogyny and hypocrisy of those who support forced-birth extremism. It also occurs to me that this devastating news was also leaked in tandem with the livestream (don’t get me started on the unethical nature of live-streaming this case) of Amber Heard’s testimony, where she shared the horrific details of her abuse at the hands of a powerful man who is too beloved to be demonized for his long and well-documented history of violent, unhinged, and predatory behavior towards people, especially young women. (If you are critical of this viewpoint, please refer to the information meticulously compiled by Clementine Ford in her instagram highlights. They pull from multiple trusted sources)
Women, and in fact, all people with uteruses were shown definitively that our communities and society at large still hate us and disregard our well-being and safety as part of their core values. Those of us who have relied on the right to manage our reproductive health ourselves, who have been abused or assaulted, or who have loved someone affected by any of these issues, were left raw and vulnerable in the wake of these compounding traumas. I know that my circles are filled with women, trans, and nonbinary folks who feel so fatigued, harmed, and hopeless that words cannot begin to express the magnitude and depth of the collective despair.
I don’t have a clear way forward or action steps for you to take in this moment other than to stockpile (within reason) reproductive health resources for the people who have uteruses in your life and, if you are based in Ohio, to follow activist groups such as Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, Women Have Options - Ohio, URGE (Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity), ACLU (national and Ohio), and Pro-Choice Ohio via email, social media, and their websites. I have had the opportunity to work directly with each of these organizations on the ground here in Ohio, but they all have chapters around the country if you are not Ohio-based. For my subscribers who live outside of the country, these organizations accept donations as well.
As for me, I continue to work in my activist circles, even as our work faces the threat of criminalization, but I am also committed to radical rest in the midst of such troubling times. The Nap Ministry founder, Tricia Hershey, says, “From the time you were born, every system in this culture has been telling you that you are not worthy as a human being unless you labor and produce and do. You had no choice in this matter. This deserves your grief and your rest.”
While we can not retreat and give up the fight, we still deserve to find rest and joy in community and in ourselves during these dark times. Remember that you have survived a Trump presidency, a global pandemic, widespread violence and demonization of peaceful protests during the BLM movement, continued attacks on trans folks and their rights, the prolonged destruction and desecration of facts and reason, and more. You have every right to feel exhausted and to stop and grieve. Prioritize your well-being and the well-being of your communities.
Reach out to me if you need it.
xoxo (from the bunker),