This post is part of our week-long series on the personal impact of the current state of reproductive health, rights, and justice.
By René Nash
René, a.k.a. @TransTerrific, is a queer feminist and life-long resident of Mississippi. Ze is an undergrad at the University of Mississippi where ze majors in Paralegal Studies with a minor in Political Science.
Mississippi has one abortion clinic, and it’s being threatened by new regulations which require all doctors at the clinic to have hospital privileges. According to the clinic owner, Jackson’s Women’s Health Organization has not been able to comply with those regulations.
So what does Roe v. Wade mean to me in light of what’s happening in my state right now? I’m not sure. I’m glad that it prevents my state and any others from outright banning abortion, but that’s not enough. Will Roe v. Wade mean anything at all if anti-choicers realize they just have to think outside the box to prevent people from accessing abortion? Imposing stiff regulations on abortion clinics doesn’t technically ban abortion, but when you know those regulations are nearly-impossible to comply with and causes clinics to shut down, it might as well.
The truth is, though, Roe v. Wade still means something to me and my state. It means Mississippi can’t outright ban abortion, regardless of Phil Bryant’s thoughts on the matter. It means that this clinic has a chance to find some way to stay open, or, if it does have to close, another clinic could open in its place if it were able to do meet the stiff standards placed upon it. It means pro-choice Mississippians have a fighting chance to see change in our state.
Without Roe v. Wade, we would have no recourse when old white cis men decided that what Mississippi needs is less reproductive freedom. The Jackson’s Women’s Health Organization was able to bring suit on the basis that the law violated Roe v. Wade. While the federal judge disagreed, that couldn’t have happened at all if the U.S. Supreme Court case were not there to cite as law of the land.
I didn’t expect to find any hope writing this post about reproductive rights in Mississippi, but I did. I think that’s what the 40th anniversary of this court case means for me: hope. As long as this case remains the law of the land, we who live in places where reproductive freedom is an unpopular notion can have hope knowing Roe v. Wade gives us a way to fight, and sometimes even win, the fight for abortion rights.
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