We were both born after Roe, and we both realized today that one of our first real pathways to understand what abortion meant, especially what life was like before legal abortions, was the movie Dirty Dancing. In both our families, the movie was scandalous – both because of the sex scenes and because it portrayed a woman having an illegal abortion.
What wasn’t included in the conversation around the ‘scandalous’ parts of the movie was the risk the woman faced to have the abortion or how common that risk was for women for a long time. Because before Roe, it wasn’t that abortions didn’t happen. They just resulted in more women dying.
The arrival of Roe marked the end of that risk, at least on one level. But legal abortions don’t mean much if there aren’t any providers in your state or if they are outside what you can afford. Over the last 40+ years, legislators in many states have used various restrictions as a strategic move to make abortion inaccessible even if they couldn’t make abortion officially illegal.
The chipping away of abortion access over the last decades doesn’t mean that the leak about overturning Roe did not come as a blow yesterday. This decision will have major life-changing and life-ending consequences, especially for BIPOC communities and people with lower incomes. It’s incredibly painful for many, especially those who fought long and hard to see abortions made legal. For providers working in states where abortion will soon be illegal, this is devastating news for they know all too well how many people they will soon not be able to help.
However you are feeling, take a moment to acknowledge those emotions. Light a candle for all the activists and caregivers and providers who have fought for the right to choose. Make space for the grief of those now at even greater risk from this decision. Know your faith community is with you, lighting candles, making space.
And then, in the coming days, find a place in the larger response. It may start by grounding yourself in the values and vision that we are called to serve. The emerging organizing collective SACReD has put together this rich resource to help in this enlarging and grounding work.
We also encourage you to educate yourself – if you are not already aware – about the work for reproductive justice that has been ongoing even after Roe. Two incredible resources are Faith Choices Ohio and Abortions Welcome.
We are also imagining a few story-sharing circles in the coming weeks and months where we can have a chance to share our stories around abortion and to hear and witness each other in these often complex realities. Abortion can often be an isolating experience, and these days, we need community more than ever. More information to come about this soon.
Beyond this internal and personal work, get to know and send money to support local organizations on the front lines. There are many strategies, including legislative advocacy, organizing to get people from states without abortion access to states with access, creating access to emergency contraception, and providing support for self-induced abortions.
The organizations we are currently following include:
- Cobalt Colorado
- Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR)
- Soul 2 Soul
- New Era
- The Brazen Project (CSU-specific)
To begin, just start perusing their websites rather than reaching out directly. We don’t want to take them away from their work by having to attend to an influx of calls and emails! If you are interested in learning more about any of these organizations, we’d love to have your help collecting information on behalf of our whole community. Please hit reply or email Rev. Gretchen at email@example.com if you are interested in this work.
We also want to acknowledge that the most effective tool in this conversation is comprehensive sex education – a value and resource Foothills continues to provide through our K-1, 6th Grade, and 8th Grade OWL programs every year. Your support of our mission and ministry make this comprehensive, values-driven programming possible for over 60 children and youth (both from Foothills and the wider community) every year.
As a next step, we are also listening for additional organizing emerging in Northern Colorado, especially among faith communities. If you are aware of organizing happening, please let us know. Please let us know if you would like to be a part of this work.
The path from the beginning to the end of Roe took many, many individuals and organizations nearly fifty years. The path to equal abortion access for all may take just as long. Before you get discouraged, let us also remember that this moment happened in no small part because of faith communities and in small conversations that spoke both to the personal issues and the collective need for legislative and political action.
We have more power than we realize, and more partners are already working on these things, just waiting for us to wake up and join the movement. We must never forget that in our seemingly simple acts of making space and learning together, educating our children, and following the leads of our partners, showing up as a church can be life-saving work.
We are grateful to be your partners in this work. Please reach out if you need a little extra support in these days or if you’re looking for a way in.
With love and gratitude,
Rev. Gretchen and Rev. Elaine