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Overthrowing Roe is not about abortion

I was watching the January 6th hearings the other day, and I was astonished to hear that at least some of the men who worked at Trump’s Department of Justice—high-ranking officials—men who had refused to do Trump’s bidding to overturn the election, men who took seriously their oath of office to the Constitution, men who had been pressured by Trump and his minions to commit acts that they felt were unconstitutional—these men said that if Trump were to run again, they would vote for him. How is this possible? And what does this have to do with the overthrow of Roe?

I see a through line from one to the other. I am hardly the first person to note that for the Trumpites and the MAGA folks, America was great when the power of white Christian men of property was solidly intact; when Black and brown people, women, lesbians and other queers, stayed in our “place”---and our “place” is at or near the bottom of the power hierarchy. And who’s at the top of the hierarchy? The same folks who wrote the Constitution. The same folks to whom all deference is given in many recent Supreme Court decisions—white, Christian men of property. Many of these “founding fathers” were slave owners—they claimed the right to own and control the lives of other human beings. So, are we surprised that they now—and not for the first time--claim the right to control women’s bodies?

I have spent my life working towards my liberation. What that means to me is that I am free to be all of who I am, and that so is everybody else. I am a 76 year old white, Jewish, lesbian woman. I never have and will never need an abortion. But I am clear that the overturning of Roe is not really about abortion—although this is a cruel decision whose impact will have heartbreaking and tragic consequences for many thousands of women in the US. The overturning of Roe is about power and control—control over anyone who dares to challenge the racist, misogynistic, homophobic, greedy power of white Christian males. Name an issue and you don’t have to look too deep to see what it’s really about—voting rights, climate change, book-banning, prayers on the 50-yard line of public schools, “don’t say gay” laws, homelessness, workers’ rights, poverty, police terror—the list is long and underneath all the euphemistic language that’s used to define the issue—underneath it all are the patriarchs, desperately clinging to what they consider rightfully theirs.

It is heartening to me to see that so many people see and feel the connections. More and more people are coming out of their silos, are understanding that none of us are free until all of us are free. We are witnessing the convulsions of a dying system. The beast is cornered. The beast knows it is dying. It is fighting ferociously to stay on top. But it will fall. Probably not in my lifetime, but if we keep resisting—and if we keep building the world we want to live in—ultimately, we will prevail.

Ginny Z Berson

July 28, 2022

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