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Reflecting on Two Years Since Dobbs vs Jackson by Jeannette Pai-Espinosa

June 24, 2024

PORTLAND, ORI was 16 years old when Roe v. Wade became the law of the land. A few years later, as a college student at Mizzou, fellow student leaders and activists, and I organized and advocated successfully for Title IX implementation,  access to birth control, women’s studies, and more. As I look back, now 67, I see clearly that in the years to come we became complacent. We forgot (or didn’t want to admit) that the rights we won could be taken from us. We cannot be complacent again. 

It’s a tragedy that in my lifetime we are fighting to regain the most fundamental of things— the right to make decisions about your body and future. Whether it’s Dobbs v. Jackson, Senate Republicans voting to block IVF, or the pending Supreme Court decision that will determine whether politicians can force doctors to withhold emergency room care from their patients while they suffer severe, life-altering pregnancy complications. Some politicians are willing to go to extreme lengths to control the most personal of decisions and prevent people from receiving the reproductive health care they need. 

This disproportionally affects system-impacted young women and gender-expansive people of color who already live with the consequences of systemic historic under-investment in our communities. This reality has taught them to fear a future where they have no control over when to have children and their options should they experience health complications because America has the highest maternal death rate of any nation. It’s not a sustainable future.   

We’re in scary times. However, at Justice + Joy National Collaborative we believe that intergenerational activism is our superpower. We shape the future by listening to, investing in, and engaging the creative leadership of young people. They sit at the center of every issue and solution. When we work with and for young women and gender-expansive young people of color,  we can ensure that from one generation to the next – together – can we safeguard our rights, reclaim freedom, and achieve justice for generations to come.

This fight for reproductive justice continues…

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