June 24th, 2022 has become another infamous day in American history–a day when all of us remember where we were and what we were doing as the Supreme Court announced it had overturned Roe v. Wade. Although the draft decision had been leaked, we held out hope that Justices had not lied in their confirmation hearings and would walk back from such an extreme decision. Now, over two months have passed since the news broke, and the shock has not subsided, the anger has not subsided, and our trust in the impartiality of our nation’s highest Court remains shattered in millions of pieces.
But there is hope. Since the decision, the extreme Republican agenda that they have been systematically implementing for years has been revealed and Americans are ready to fight back. In special election after special election, poll after poll, Americans are sending a clear message: we can no longer trust Republicans to protect our rights; even those who claim to be “moderate.” The Democratic voter registration for women in Pennsylvania is 4 times the registration for Republicans. Yes, we are angry, and that anger is not waning, but we, the women who have had our rights torn away from us, are putting those shattered pieces back together, one election at a time.
We know that every election now matters. In the middle of the night, our Republican led State Legislature passed an amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution that, if adopted, will ban abortions for any reason, including rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother. A Constitutional amendment cannot be vetoed by the Governor.
This outrageous amendment would turn back over 50 years of progress, stripping us of one of the most fundamental rights – the right to make decisions about our own bodies. A decision to have an abortion is not made lightly, as Republicans would like to make you think. It is a very difficult, very personal decision that should be made by a woman in consultation with her family and/or doctor – not the male dominated Republican extremists in Harrisburg.
What are the repercussions of a total ban on abortion? A ten-year-old must travel out of state to end a pregnancy that is the result of rape, women who have ectopic pregnancies will suffer, women whose fetuses are no longer viable will be forced to carry the fetus until sepsis sets in, threatening the life of the mother. This is not only a women’s issue–every father, husband, brother, uncle must stand with their daughters, wives, sisters and nieces.
The far political right and the far religious right have joined together to advance their personal beliefs, rejecting the very basis our democracy was founded upon–the separation of church and state. We are a secular country with no one religion or set of religious beliefs or rules dictating how we live our lives. In America, the majority rules and the majority of Americans are in favor of legal abortions with some restrictions.
Our most valuable tool to combat the Republican threat to our democracy is our vote. We must vote for candidates who will fight for our reproductive rights as well as our right to vote. Vote by Mail, vote in person, but vote on November 8th and bring not just one friend, but 5 friends with you.
Never in our lifetime has an election mattered more. Failure to defend our democracy is not an option. There is only one party whose candidates will protect women’s reproductive rights, and that is the Democratic Party. Vote on November 8th and vote Democratic!
Charlotte Valyo, Chair Chester County Democratic Committee