The Supreme Court is about to politically enrage a generation of young women
The Supreme Court has reportedly voted to overturn abortion rights, according to a leaked draft of the opinion obtained by Politico late Monday night. This is devastating, and if this draft is made official and published this summer, the ruling is going to politically enrage and mobilize an entire generation of young women and their allies.
I lead an organization that trains tens of thousands of Generation Z women, a majority of them women of color, to engage civically and own their political power. I can tell you based on my own conversations with hundreds of them that a ruling like this will, and quite frankly should, lead to organizing and outrage on a scale unlike anything we’ve seen in American democracy since the Civil Rights movement.
Gen Z’s activism is being shaped by historical moments that have shown them that women remain second-class citizens in America. From #MeToo to the events which inspired the Women’s March on Washington, and now the legal foundation of women’s rights over our bodies. Whichever side of the aisle you lean, this Supreme Court draft ruling is sending a loud and clear message — that we have known all along — that the victories women have won through decades-long fights for justice remain precarious even in the case of decades of settled law.
This reported draft ruling draws new lines across American democracy. Reproductive rights matter because they give all people access to safe reproductive health care. If your rights are restricted, you may not be able to make your own decisions about birth control or pregnancy. We also can’t separate the battle for abortion rights and reproductive health care from other battles. We can’t divorce abortion access and the fight against economic inequality, racism, homophobia and more. Such battles also affect how we can make decisions about our bodies, our families and our lives. I can’t imagine a ruling more likely to engage young women and drive them to the ballot boxes in droves.
Young women will see this ruling as targeting them personally. How can they take it differently? This is an affront to the voices of women, many of them women of color, who have been at the front lines of these battles for a long time. In fact, it will and should mobilize those who have stayed on the sidelines for too long to join them.
Young women don’t identify politically along party lines in the ways they used to. Instead, they’re more likely than ever to become engaged politically around issues that show up in their communities and that affect them directly. From mass shootings to street harassment and from banned books to what they’re allowed to choose to do with their bodies. We may have assumed that young women weren’t political but that’s because they’ve yet to engage in the traditional sense. Well, we’re going to be overwhelmed with their engagement now.
Sara Guillermo is CEO of IGNITE, the nation’s largest, most diverse organization devoted to young women’s political leadership. Follow her on Twitter: @SaraGuillermo19
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