Madeleine Kunin: Repeal of abortion rights may be only the beginning

Protesters and flowers
Abortion rights defenders rally in front of the Vermont Statehouse in 2019, protesting restrictions imposed in other states. File photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger

I am surprised at my rage. Like most people, I knew the repeal of Roe v. Wade was coming.

But the leak of Judge Alito’s draft opinion came as a shock.

“This is it,” I said to myself and sucked in my breath.

“They’re taking away our right to live our lives as we think best. When legal access to abortion is denied, they" (mostly men) “will control us, keep us under their thumbs keep us barefoot and pregnant,” as the old crude saying goes.

I felt helpless, until I reminded myself that "we," pro-choice women and men, are in the majority. Sixty-nine percent of Americans want to keep the right to abortion, with some limits, according to The New York Times. Thirty percent are opposed.

We cannot permit a right-wing minority to dictate what we can and cannot do with our lives. We must find ways to translate those positive numbers into political power. 

For too long, we have stood quietly by while the extreme right wing planned and plotted for the results we face today. More than one generation of young people has lived under the rules permitted by Roe v. Wade. They, no doubt, believed that is how their world would remain forever. Now they must wake up.

It is time to organize like never before. There is no other way to fight back. We may or may not be inspired by the Biden presidency, but we must understand that a Republican presidency, combined with a Republican House and Senate, could wipe out access to safe abortions in every state, plus obliterate other rights we take for granted, like freedom to marry, and equal treatment of gays and lesbians, to name only a few rights that are law today and could be gone tomorrow.

It’s time to focus our attention beyond Vermont, on state legislative seats, state governor’s offices, and House and Senate seats, all the way to the top to the presidency.

Never has activism been more crucial. If we don’t want to live under government by minority rule, we have to mobilize and organize our majority and, with it, democracy itself.

We must jump into the fray with both feet at every chance we get.

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Madeleine May Kunin

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