NOTE: This article was written by an anonymous source. We at Hercampus-conn are happy we can provide this person with a platform to tell their story.
For the past several weeks, I have been struggling with whether or not to write about Brett Kavanaugh. Any topic that is so politically contentious is, of course, challenging to write about. But my indecision stems not from my political beliefs but from my personal ones. I delayed, I think, with the hope that something would change. That Kavanaugh would not be appointed as a justice of the Supreme Court. But the FBI investigation of Kavanaugh has officially ended and his confirmation vote is planned for tomorrow. I guess this means it’s time for me to speak up.
I’m a survivor of sexual assault, but then again, 1 in 5 female college students are. I’ve been raped, but so have 1 out of every 6 American women. Of course, I don’t want someone who has committed such crimes to be a justice on the Supreme Court. But with sexual assault being such a widespread crime, I don’t doubt that our government is already full of perpetrators. For me, what is a more pressing (and less discussed) issue is what Kavanaugh’s appointment means for Roe vs. Wade.
The escalation of the Kavanaugh “drama” aligned with the start of the new school year. I was concerned, of course, but I was also swept up in my transition back to college. I was stuck in my little college “bubble.” I would think “wow, this sucks for our country,” but I still felt personally removed from the actual effects of Kavanaugh’s appointment.
All of this changed during my fourth week back at school when I realized that my period was a full week late after having unprotected sex. I had to walk half a mile to the nearest gas station to buy a pregnancy test, which was 5 years expired. Waiting for the results was perhaps the longest 2 minutes of my life. Time stood still as I wondered what would happen if I was pregnant. Deciding whether or not to get an abortion would probably be the hardest decision of my life. But I was also grappling with a second question, one that I never thought I would even have to ask. What if I decided to get an abortion but couldn’t? What if Roe vs Wade was reversed in the upcoming months?
Thankfully, the pregnancy test came back negative. Deciding whether or not to keep the baby would have torn me apart inside. And going through that while also struggling to find access to an abortion would just destroy me.
My test may have come back negative, but many other women and girls are not so lucky. And even if a later test does come back pregnant, I have the privilege to follow through with whatever decision I make. If I chose to get an abortion, my mom would drive me to Canada herself or buy me a plane ticket to Europe to make sure that it happened. But this is not the reality for most people in our country. Even with abortions being semi-legal, many women do not have access to this service. Women of color, members of the LGBTQIA community, people in lower socio-economic brackets, etc. will be disproportionately affected by the reversal of Roe vs. Wade.
October 3rd was the 40th anniversary of the death of Rosie Jimenez, the first woman documented to have died from an illegal abortion after the passage of the Hyde Amendment. This law, which is still in effect, denies abortion coverage to low-income Medicaid recipients. The number of women like Rosie, suffering easily-preventable deaths from a lack of access to abortive care, will grow exponentially if Roe vs. Wade is repealed.
In a memo by Kavanaugh from 2003, he acknowledged that the Supreme Court “can always overrule” Roe v. Wade. “I am not sure that all legal scholars refer to Roe as the settled law of the land at the Supreme Court level since Court can always overrule its precedent,” he wrote, adding that some conservative justices then on the court “would do so.”
I delayed writing this because my privilege allows me to stay silent. Deep inside I’ve known that, even if Roe vs. Wade is repealed, in the end, my life would hardly change. But this is fucked up. If I don’t use my privilege to take a stand, to say something, then what kind of person does that make me? If I allow myself to stay silent because I have the privilege to do so, then I am a rich asshole and a white supremacist.
“White supremacy isn’t just a white dude in Idaho
White supremacy protects the privilege I hold
White supremacy is the soil, the foundation, the cement and the flag that flies outside of my home
White supremacy is our country’s lineage, designed for us to be indifferent”
As an upper class, white, cis woman, it is my duty to society to stand up and say something. The reversal of Roe vs. Wade would have devastating effects for all American women, but especially for women of color, members of the LGBTQIA community, and people in lower socio-economic brackets.
My privilege allows me to stay silent, but doing nothing makes me an accomplice. What women like myself have to remember is that injustice anywhere is still injustice everywhere. What are you willing to risk, to sacrifice, in order to create a more just society?
“White Privilege II” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis