It’s been a hectic month, to say the least. If you’ve paid attention to the news headlines, you have probably heard about what’s happening regarding the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade.
If you haven’t, maybe you should pay closer attention if you haven’t, since it’s bound to affect us all, regardless of age or political stance. It will radically change our lives — especially for women of color. In short: we are at risk of being stripped of our right to abortion. It is a dark possibility that is murmured across the nation, adding to our endless worries and making us feel overpowered.
But perhaps all is not lost.
In a recent conference call, Vice President Kamala Harris gave us a glimmer of hope. BELatina was part of a group of journalists who had the opportunity to hear firsthand what is really going on and what the vice president is planning to do.
Here’s what Harris told us.
“I certainly believe strongly that women’s rights are under attack right now when we think about that draft decision and what it represents, and potentially for both,” the Vice President said in the opening of the conversation. “I think it’s very important to understand that all Americans should realize that this is a direct assault on the freedom of women, and it is an attack that can affect all Americans. Here’s what it means on a practical level: in terms of women and men — all genders — privacy rights are in jeopardy.”
Harris described Roe V. Wade’s decision as primarily made to “protect the ability of individuals to make personal decisions as their decision to make, not their government.” If it’s overturned then it will undoubtedly challenge our fundamental rights in yet another way.
Women’s rights are under attack. We must fight for the principles upon which this country was founded. pic.twitter.com/sIWFhivqGT
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) May 12, 2022
The Vice President then expanded the conversation, exploring how this could “jeopardize” other rights such as: “the right to obtain contraception” and “the right to marry a person of [the] same sex.” With this in mind, it would make us go decades backward rather than improve our womanhood in modern society.
Giving us hope as leaders should, she then reaffirmed her stance: “I also believe very strongly that there is another fundamental right at stake, and that is the right that all should be entitled to self-determination. Dignity comes with self-determination. [It’s] the ability of individuals and the power that all must have and should not be deprived of to make decisions about not only for a woman — her own body — but her life and how she chooses to make decisions about the course of her life; including the choice that she alone should be able to make about how she wants to plan her own family.”
After these opening remarks, Kamala Harris talked about what happened when she presided over the Senate to vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act. While it was an opportunity for the Senate to defend women’s rights to make decisions about their own bodies, they, unfortunately, did not defend those rights. Incredible, right?
The majority of the American people support a woman’s right to decide what happens to her own body.
We must elect more pro-choice leaders at the local, state, and federal levels. pic.twitter.com/zJ1KqDxltg
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) May 12, 2022
“The tragedy of it is that the majority of Americans are in favor of upholding a woman’s right to make these decisions. But the vote did not reflect where the majority of Americans are on the issue,” the Vice President added.
Kamala Harris then urged about the importance of voting — on all levels. Especially the local and state levels, since these are the representatives who will “have the powers of discretion to decide how some of these rules and laws will be enforced.”
Well, the final decision will be determined by the end of June. Without hesitation, the efforts of our leaders from now to that point are crucial. How will our leaders tackle this potential overturn? We took notes on the VP’s opening remarks live-streamed on the government’s official website during the following conference.
During this Livestream, this time our VP met up with abortion providers. While we didn’t get to sit in on the actual conversation, here’s what she had to state during its opening.
“At its core, this [Roe v. Wade] is about our future as a nation, about whether we live in a country where the government can interfere in personal decisions. This is about our future. Yet at the same time, we cannot deny that this decision will have real and immediate effects on women around our country.”
The strength of our country has always been that we fight to move forward. We believe in the expansion of rights, not the restriction of rights.
We cannot go backward. pic.twitter.com/KLzAfw3y6j
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) May 20, 2022
“So I am here today, joined by doctors, nurses, and leading advocates on the frontlines against this war on women’s rights. Just half an hour ago, in Oklahoma, the state legislature passed one of the most extreme abortion bans in the country — a ban that would outlaw abortion from the moment of fertilization.”
“Now, think about that for a second: from the moment of fertilization,” Harris continued. “It’s outrageous, and it’s just the latest in a series of extreme laws around the country. Several of the medical professionals joining us today see the impact of these laws designed to punish and control women.”
“Like many of you, I have spent my entire career fighting for women’s health, safety, and wellbeing,” Harris concluded. “The power a woman has to make decisions about her own body, I believe, is directly connected to her power to make decisions about her future.”
Kamala Harris then spoke to the medical professionals about reproductive rights. While we don’t have that transcript, we can hope that the VP and her team are sticking up for all of us.
As far as the extreme abortion ban in Oklahoma goes — can you process what that would mean for those who aren’t allowed to abort from the moment of fertilization? On the surface, that would mean that you will not have control over your body and be criminalized for having sex without the result of pregnancy.
To make things even darker, think of the lengths people will have to go to obtain an illegal abortion. As we’ve read in many articles and social media publications: abortions will not stop. The only thing this will do is make them unsafe.