After Roe vs Wade by Miriam Sagan

I have some advice for you. If you don’t like my approach, feel free to skip this post.
My advice is about action, not attitude. Like many women, I feel panicked and degraded by a loss of rights. However, I am almost 70 years old and I’ve learned that my emotional response is not that important in most situations. My ethics and actions are a better place to focus.
So I suggest not allowing your self-worth to be determined by a corrupt society. I may be in a minority in that I’ve never trusted the USA to be much more than a capitalist and nationalist country that supports oligarchy. Since I’ve always felt this way, I’m upset but not disillusioned.
Step 1: Accept that you live in a society that does not necessarily have your best interests at heart.
Step 2: Right now, social change and electoral politics are important but probably too slow to give you peace of mind. Do vote, but prepare in the meanwhile.
Step 3: Protect your fertility in your reproductive years with contraceptives and barriers to STD’s. Support your friends and family in this. Yes, contraceptives can fail, but lack of them really does. Is this anti-spontaneous? You bet. Try and stay awake to your sexuality and to communicating with a partner. The opposite won’t help you.
Step 4: Focus on self-help, in the older sense of mutual aid. I myself am setting up an affinity group for 2-4 women to fund raise and volunteer for reproductive rights.
Step 5: Have a plan for yourself and others. Is abortion still legal where you live? Investigate options before you need them. Perhaps most importantly, start an emergency fund for expenses. That way you can also help other women.
Step 5: Find an organization that supports reproductive rights and support it. Fund-raise, donate, volunteer.
Step 6: If you are comfortable protesting, march in the street.
Step 7: Don’t feel powerless. Contrary to Facebook memes, your only options are not handmaiden or warrior. Your real option is to be yourself.
Yes, terrible and unexpected things can happen in this as in any arena of life. You can be prey to assault, violence, accident. However, I would not catastrophize. Taking care of yourself and others–in a profound, even radical way–is worth doing, particularly in difficult times.
I’m a mom, and a grandmother. In high school I was part of a group that had an abortion fund–in cash, hidden in a sock. We used it once, then replenished it. My mother, and her mother, felt very strongly about reproductive rights. My approach is not perfect, nor does it address all eventualities. But I do know something about how to decrease suffering. And I know things go better when I am not alone.

12 thoughts on “After Roe vs Wade by Miriam Sagan

  1. Miriam, this is so amazing and uplifting. I was just talking to a group of friends who want to do exactly what you are talking about, in a group, where we can do positive things for ourselves and others. Thank you!! Lori, Ana’s sis. x0x0

  2. Thank you for this Miriam. My counselor friend advised exactly this—find a way to do something concrete. I add two more actions for myself–first, sending my small contributions (as possible) to candidates who will work for positive change; and second, self-care by staying off social media and news channels when I’m feeling overwhelmed and needing a break. We will stick together and get through this. Blessings to all.

  3. You nailed it!! Appreciate your sage wisdom on this, Miriam. The fallout from the Supreme Court decision on Roe is heartbreaking and divisive. I am pre-Roe and got septic from an amateur termination procedure. My young adulthood was shaped by ignorance and lack of access to birth control options – a family doctor advised against “that pill” and I was dumb enough to believe him!

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