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Dear Supreme Court Justices,
This morning, I—like so many others across the globe—woke up to the news that you had overturned Roe v. Wade while I slept.
I’m not an American citizen, and I’ve never lived in the United States, so I don’t feel I have any right to comment on how you run your country. But the U.S. is such a powerful nation (in so many ways it leads the world) that I do feel I have the right to an opinion. Just in case other nations decide to follow in your footsteps.
First, I’d like to talk about patriarchy. You know that outdated system whereby men rule the world and women iron their shirts. Back in the heyday of the patriarchy, women were denied education, the vote, a voice, and dominion over their own bodies. We’ve come a long way since then. Unless you decide to strip us of all these hard-won rights, you surely cannot expect us to accept this ruling. And you surely cannot expect to retain the respect of the world.
Make no mistake, esteemed Justices, women of the world are angry. We are furious! Is this what you intended?
I have read widely on this subject for months now. One thing I keep seeing is people claiming to be standing up for the rights of the unborn child. But tell me, esteemed Justices:
Does the unborn child have the right to be wanted?
Does the unborn child have the right to live in safety?
Does the unborn child have the right to be able to respect its parents?
Does the unborn child have the right to be loved?
Or, esteemed Justices, is our job over once the child is born?
Do we then leave it to its own devices survival not of the fittest, but of those who had the good fortune to be born to parents who wanted them? Parents who will love, honour, and nurture them?
Fathered by a rapist? Living in poverty? Homeless? Afraid? Child of alcoholics? Drug addicts?
Don’t whine, little one; we gave you the right to life.
Esteemed justices, not everybody sees it this way. There are many women (and men too) who care about their potential children enough to want the best for them, who want to have their children at a time when they are able to offer them the best that they can do. Would you deny them—or their children—this right? Is this an expectation that belongs only to the privileged few?
Now, a word about body sovereignty. Could you just remind me why it’s okay for a bunch of wealthy people with law degrees (no offence meant, esteemed Justices) to tell me what I can and can’t do with my own body? Can you tell me why my private, deeply personal decisions have now become the property of the State? Or are you telling me that my body is no longer my own, and I have no right to make decisions on its behalf? Because, esteemed Justices, this is bordering on the absurd.
While we’re on the subject of absurdity, should we carry your decision to extremes? Should we renounce all the rights people have fought for over the years? Should we throw Rosa Parks under her bus? Should we chain Emmeline Pankhurst back to the railings of No. 10? Should those of us who can afford it go down to Social Security and choose ourselves a slave or two from amongst the unemployed? Should we go back to the old days when homosexuality was illegal and nobody had even heard of marriage equality? Because, esteemed Justices, once you start overturning decisions made in the interests of a more just, compassionate, and equal society, there is no telling where it will stop.
Esteemed Justices, I am disappointed.
Disappointed that you can take such a retrograde step. Disappointed that you can make a ruling that so blatantly undermines the justice and equality you are supposed to uphold. Disappointed that you can so flagrantly ignore the wishes of the majority of American citizens. And most importantly, disappointed that you can have so little regard for your role as world leaders.
You have set an example that gives permission for so many injustices all over the world to continue unchecked. You have given permission for cultures worldwide to ramp up the subjugation of women and to revel in all their patriarchal glory.
Shame on you, esteemed Justices.
The women of the U.S. deserve better. The women of the world deserve better. All people who believe in—and strive for—liberty, equality, and fraternity deserve better.
Esteemed Justices, with this decision, you have let your institution, your country, and the world down. June 24, 2022, will go down as a sad day in history.