Reversing a Century of Progress (Letter to the Editor)

On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States abandoned 50 years of established precedent and took the truly unprecedented decision to strip American women of the reproductive rights that the court, regardless of its political configuration, had recognized and protected. for more than half a century. . In their impermissible decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the court’s conservative majority has proven to be a complicit partner in the long and well-orchestrated Republican campaign to reverse nearly a century of progress on civil rights, voting rights and equality, and deprive women, people of color and our LGBTQ+ community of their basic human rights and protections against discrimination and violence. We tend to view this Republican campaign as an effort to turn back the clock or return to the past, but it’s all about concentrating power in the future. In a country that refuses to provide affordable child care or health care or address issues like poverty or affordable housing in any meaningful way, there is no more effective way to disempower women than to take away their reproductive autonomy. We have to see it for what it is.

The United States has long had the highest maternal mortality rate among developed countries. We are woefully behind the developed, industrialized world in all areas related to women’s health care, and because of our lack of action on this issue, the number of women who die of pregnancy-related causes and Childbirth in America is increasing every year. The court’s decision further devalues ​​and endangers women’s lives.

We must expose the vulgarity of those who invoke the concepts of “freedom” and “freedom” as code words for the singular mission to deprive large segments of our society, based on gender, race and identity. sexual, of their most personal liberties and liberties. This horrific decision will have profound and devastating consequences for all of us, perhaps unforeseen even for those who right now think they have won. Empowering and emancipating all members of our society makes us a stronger, more stable, more productive and more prosperous society.

It’s hard not to be overwhelmed with despair and helplessness right now, but hope lies in our power as voters. Our lawmakers in Washington must step up and enact federal legislation to protect the health and safety of American women; our governors must follow New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s lead and take action to protect women’s health care and reproductive rights. If they don’t, we have to make them answer the ballot box. Elections matter. The court has just given us another urgent responsibility to act for our children, for future generations. We may not be able to hold the Supreme Court accountable, but we can turn our feelings of hopelessness and helplessness into hope and power through our vote.

Brendan Gill

Township of Montclair

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