Letter from Ms Editors: Feminists have long fought for access to abortion – and we’re not stopping now
The struggles, setbacks and gains of the past 49 years have only strengthened and better positioned the feminist movement to take on this fight.
The unthinkable happened: the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, taking away a fundamental constitutional right of women and sending shock waves across the country and the world. Let’s be clear: the Court and the Republican legislators and governors enacting harsh abortion bans and restrictions have no public mandate.
Across the country, at rallies and demonstrations in Washington, DC, and in every state, red or blue, the Court’s decision was met with outrage and with a deep determination to fight back. The women don’t come back. Millions of women – approximately one in four women in the United States – have had abortions and know how important access to safe abortion has been to their lives. The fight for abortion is a fight for self-determination, dignity and autonomy. And make no mistake, we will not give up this fight.
This is not the first time the women’s movement has engaged in this battle, having organized and won hard-fought changes to abortion laws in a number of states in the 1960s and early 1960s. 1970, even before the Court’s decision in 1973. Roe vs. Wade decision.
In the very first issue of M/s. in 1972, 53 well-known American women signed a petition calling for the repeal of abortion laws and declaring that they had had abortions, despite legislation in most states making the procedure illegal.
The feminist movement is bigger and more powerful today than it was in 1973, and the struggles, setbacks and gains of the past 49 years have only strengthened and better positioned the movement to take on this fight. . Additionally, the availability of medical abortion — abortion pills that can be delivered to your mailbox — has fundamentally changed the landscape of abortion access, even in states that have bans in place.
This latest attempt to control women’s lives and roll back women’s progress will not hold. Unlike 49 years ago, women wield enormous political power. The gender gap – the measurable difference between women and men in public opinion polls and in votes – has widened dramatically, and by November’s midterms is likely to shape the result of local, state and national contests, favoring contestants who support women’s equality and abortion rights.
In a CBS News/YouGov poll conducted within a week of the court ruling, 67% of women versus 51% of men disapproved of the reversal. deer, and women were much more likely to be angry with the Court’s decision (52%) than men (39%). And the women say the decision made their vote more likely.
Support for feminism is at the root of the gender gap: more women than ever describe themselves as ‘feminists’ – 61%, according to the latest Pew Research poll, including solid majorities of all generations, races and levels of education. Among younger women (aged 18-29), an even higher percentage of 68% identify as feminist, proof that feminism is still a growing movement and a potential force for change.
And there’s the power of women’s collective rage, as shown in artist Barbara Kruger’s 1992 cover for M/s. soon after, Anita Hill testified in nationally televised hearings about the sexual harassment she suffered at the hands of current Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (see “Last Words” on page 48). We must work to organize and channel the rage unleashed by the Court deer reversal to ensure women’s voices are heard at the polls in November. That means overcoming voter suppression laws that particularly target black and Latino communities and young people.
With larger majorities of pro-equality members in Congress, not only can we restore abortion rights, but we can finally enshrine the Equal Rights Amendment in the U.S. Constitution, ensuring a permanent national safety net for women’s rights.
Turning women’s rage into real gains will take sustained effort. We are already seeing massive organizing efforts by feminists to pass state laws and constitutional amendments guaranteeing the right to abortion; bring lawsuits challenging abortion restrictions as violations of state constitutions; provide support and funding for women and pregnant women who must travel from abortion-banned states to access health care; and providing information and access to medical abortion, regardless of where a person lives. It is impossible to stop the movement.
As we begin this final battle in the long struggle for full equality—and for our very democracy—we, at M/s. promise to be a trusted source of accurate, timely and actionable information in print, online and through the acclaimed podcasts and programs of M/s. Studios. We will rise to this historic challenge and together we will chart the course.
Katherine Spillar, Eleanor Smeal and the editors of M/s.
This letter originally appeared in the Summer 2022 issue of Mrs.Become a member today to read more stories like this in print and through our app.