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Roe v. Wade Leaked Draft Stirred Emotions... Let's Stay Focused.

Our country is in emotional shambles due to a leaked draft of the Supreme Court's decision to overrule the former Roe v. Wade decision on women's reproductive health care. Every corner of the political apparatus has begun responding to this draft document without full context and validity. The Supreme Court of the United States later confirmed this was in fact a leaked draft document noting:

"Justices circulate draft opinions internally as a routine and essential part of the court's confidential deliberative work. Although the document described in yesterday's reports is authentic it does not represent a decision by the court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case". -SCOTUS

With the admission from the SCOTUS, here are a few thoughts as we contend with the possibility of #RoevWade being overruled.

1) Federal versus State Dissonance: There is a dark and sullen history in this country of stratification where Federal legislation and executive orders (i.e., the 14th Amendment equal protection clause) have been enforced to protect the marginalized from state regulations that subtly or overtly violated constitutional rights. In essence, the constitution establishes the foundation of what every citizen is to receive in this country as it pertains to government-related issues. If states want to build upon those laws and imbue additional reinforcements, that is viable so long as it does not rival federal law. States have jurisdiction to govern as they see fit. This is why we typically see laws differ from state to state. In this case, the outrage stems from the federal protection women have received to have agency and autonomy over their bodies, their rights, and decision-making which includes reproductive health care. If #RoevWade is overruled, as the draft document begins to detail, decisions about abortion will return to state jurisdiction - losing its foundation from the federal government. States could eliminate abortion care all together or ban abortion at any trimester of the pregnancy. Without federal protection in place, states have full range to discern reproductive health care.

2) The Lineage of Equal Rights and Protections: Oppression and classism of every kind has come to fruition in our country and leaves tangible vestiges that have taken decades upon decades to upend. Keeping it brief, the oppression lineage is patterns of creating inferiority and de jure segregation. Women's empowerment eventually rose in this country where Abortion Rights were primarily tethered to a women's rights to choose, hence Pro-Choice and Pro-Life arguments. There has always been a fear of regression looming as the SCOTUS has become more conservative, pro-life, and anti-abortion in the recent decade. The regression represents the government telling a woman what she can and cannot do, reminiscent of former decades where men held the keys to a woman's future in employment, homeownership, bank accounts etc. There's a general thought that if the government will undo #RoevWade among the Women's movement, it will open the floodgates to undo other movements such as civil rights.

3) The Concept of Freedom and Contradictions Therein: If you take a look at the political party lines, republicans boast pro-freedom, pro-liberty rhetoric while telling women what they do not have the freedom to do. Democrats boast pro-diversity, pro-choice rhetoric understanding that choice is a central part of freedom. The republicans contend that they are protecting the rights of unborn children, through their pro-life movement. Democratic voices seem to echo pro-choice necessities meaning it's a woman's right and freedom to choose what happens with her body - not the government, not men, not other women, and surely not the relics of an older American society. Still, America has contradictory concepts of what freedom actually looks like in 2022. It seems the only thing we presently agree on is that other countries (Ukraine) should have freedom and liberty from its perceived oppressors (Russia) because that is the fabric and the birth of our nation - gaining freedom from British rule. Funny how we know how to advocate for other country freedoms, but can't seem to get on one accord right here at home.

All this commotion around a decision that hasn't been finalized seems premature and at best misplaced energy that could be going toward the news of today and the decisions that are demanding our attention right now. Elections are underway, which is the single most important thing we can participate in as citizens in this country. Education issues need to be resolved concerning the cancellation of student debt, literature being taught in schools, Teacher Salary and working conditions, and improving the education system overall secondary and postsecondary alike. We have Border and Immigration conversations that need our attention. We have a brand new SCOTUS appointee who will need unwavering support. We have a governor's race in Georgia that has #StaceyAbrams name all over it, but citizens must do their part. We have redistricting happening in our local communities that need our voices. We have Covid-19 mandates being overruled and new landscapes to manage. There's enough to focus on today.

"All this commotion around a decision that hasn't been finalized seems premature and at best misplaced energy that could be going toward the news of today and the decisions that are demanding our attention right now."

While I completely understand the mixed feelings and disenchantment at this moment, the myopia surrounding a decision that has yet to be made should not deter us as we have real-time decisions that need our advocacy. Let's stay focused. In due time, we will have a final SCOTUS decision, and I suspect we will rise to the occasion when that time comes, as progression always has and will always prevail.

Jade M. Felder

Lifelong Learning; Spiritually, Intellectually, and Emotionally.

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