The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade nearly a month ago, but for many people, including myself, the news hasn’t faded from my mind. The voices of those I’ve spoken with shortly after the news hit haven’t been lost on me either.
I was on vacation in New York when the decision was made. What was meant to be a weekend vacation quickly turned into me putting on my metaphorical reporter cap to take to the streets and ask people how they were feeling.
The short answer? Not well.
Welcome to “This is America,” a newsletter centered on race, identity and how they shape our lives. I’m Sara Moniuszko, a Lifestyle & Wellness reporter with USA TODAY and author of our mental health-focused newsletter “Keeping it Together.”
I spoke to a range of people – different ages, races and genders – who attended a rally in Manhattan’s Washington Square Park the Friday evening of the Roe overturn on June 24.
Some were devastated, anxious and appalled. Others were invigorated to speak up, take action and fight.
Selu Sky Lark, 26, called the court’s ruling “an attack,” one that put into question their own quest for gender-affirming surgery.
Chandra Mohanty, 67, called the news “completely outrageous.”
“Everyone needs to be here to protest and to be outraged,” the university professor said. “I was first completely enraged. And second, just devastated by this news, but it made me absolutely want to fight and get all of my students out here to fight.”
Piglet Evans, 58, realized that attending the rally sadly meant scrapping her old protest sign, “Keep Abortion Legal,” which was suddenly rendered useless since Roe v. Wade was struck down.
She said she was furious that the nation suddenly seemed to be backpedaling on a number of rights many thought were inviolable.
But taking the fight back to the streets is a way of avoiding victimhood, Evans said.
“We thought in the ‘90s that we were done, we thought we’d won, and we kind of quit pushing so hard, and now we’re here,” she said. “Now, we’ve got to come back.”
Gail Lewis, 71, said she was hopeful that the diverse makeup of the rally’s turnout would make things different than previous decades.
“The legacy of the earlier work that we’ve done, the political mobilization, is represented in the mix of people here: the number of men, the number of gay people and women of different ages. And that’s the legacy that will say, ‘(Expletive) you. You’re not having us.'”
Even a month after the decision, my colleagues and I continue to report on the aftermath of the SCOTUS ruling.
My colleague Jenna Ryu recently wrote about another component of the conversation: Americans scrambling to find safe and effective ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Contrary to popular belief, emergency contraception medications like Plan-B are not a solution for everyone, she explains.
And currently, I’m working on a story looking at the unique intersection of women in the military impacted by the Roe decision. Stay tuned for that and more. And as always, thank you for reading and subscribing!
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