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The reversal of Roe v. Wade is an assault on human rights, human potential, and the dignity of personhood. It strikes at the heart of what it means to live emancipated lives, undermining not just women’s autonomy but their futures – not just our access to care but our freedom to live up to the fullness of our own promise. Its reversal today immediately creates outright bans on abortion in at least 13 states, instantly abolishing the right to choose for millions of American women.

The decision is particularly devastating for already-marginalized groups: low-income families, women living in poverty, migrants, the Black community, Indigenous peoples, and other people of color, who already face barriers to abortion and other healthcare services.

This is a right for which our mothers’ generation fought – for good reason. Reproductive rights fundamentally changed the lives of women and girls across the country. Even today, 30 percent of girls who drop out of school do so as a result of pregnancy and parenthood, and only 40 percent of teen mothers complete high school. These educational outcomes lead in turn to increased rates of poverty, which persist for their children, repressing the human capacity of multiple generations.

In 1973, trailblazing women and their allies, who struggled for years to liberate women from these kinds of vicious cycles, celebrated their victory in the joyous belief that they had secured a guarantee of freer lives for their daughters and all women to come. The rollback of that victory is heartbreaking. It is appalling that, in 2022, the rights that our mothers’ generation fought for and achieved are being systematically dismantled.

The dream of America is the promise of unhindered human potential, of achievement that builds upon each new advance, of opportunity that grows with each new generation, of freedom that deepens in concert with our wisdom. The tragedy of the annulment of reproductive rights is the betrayal of this promise. It is the tragedy of throttled potential and curtailed futures.

Abortion should be safe, legal, and accessible to all. We must follow in the footsteps of last generation’s changemakers and – once again – speak for the disempowered, stand up for the disenfranchised, and safeguard the basic human right to determine our own futures.