We wanted to share this email that was sent from our CTO, Qian Wang, to employees after the draft overturning Roe v Wade came out. After this email, we held an internal Community Circle where employees could share their experiences and personal anecdotes around reproductive justice and hold space for listening and reflection.
Most of you have probably heard or read about the draft from Justice Samuel Alito overturning Roe vs Wade in the Supreme Court. We wanted to let you all know that we are here to support you as you are processing these unprecedented events. We know some of our colleagues are from states that have already placed heavy restrictions on abortion access and the overturning of Roe vs Wade will remove any remaining protection and enable many places to felonize abortion as they have trigger laws that will go into effect.
A few of us are planning to hold a discussion on Friday and we will share details in the #general slack channel. Anyone who wants a space to discuss the implications of this decision, what actions to take next, to vent or ask questions are welcome to the meeting. Please also feel free to take the time to speak with others about these issues. If you would like time off to attend protests or for a mental health break, please let your manager know.
As I have been processing my feelings around this, I want people to reflect that this decision should not be shocking. Many states have already been taking away basic rights from marginalized and vulnerable populations. The “Don’t say Gay Law” in Florida, the anti trans bills in states like Texas and Utah. And as mentioned, even more states have signed laws to place heavy restrictions on abortion access and allow private citizens to help enforce those laws. For instance in May, Texas governor Gov. Greg Abbott “banned abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy through a unique civil enforcement mechanism that has, so far, withstood judicial review.”
I have also been thinking about how many of our basic civil rights, including things like the right to interracial marriage rest upon the right to privacy. This seems tenuous at best and scary given the current climate, but I listened to a podcast from two former litigators that explains from a different perspective what Roe vs Wade is about: “This is about the limitation on state power and what states can impose on people. State mandated pregnancy and birth is a violation of human rights. States do not need a say in this because we do not allow states to outline fundamental rights, that is what the Federalist Papers are about. In order to uphold any kind of abortion restriction, the court would have to expand the power of governments to reach into individual lives. Look to SB8 in Texas that bans most abortion and empowers private citizens to act as bounty hunters for its enforcement. This doesn’t stop with abortion rights, this will go to voting rights, trans rights, marriage equality. If you can roll back rights in one area, you can roll back rights in other areas, they are all tied up in the same line of case law.”
I also leave with this powerful article by Roxane Gay:
“We should not live in a country where bodily autonomy can be granted or taken away by nine political appointees, most of whom are men and cannot become pregnant. Any civil right contingent upon political whims is not actually a civil right.
The same mostly male politicians who oppose abortion so often do everything in their power to oppose rights to paid parental leave, subsidized child care, single-payer health care or any kind of social safety net that could improve family life.”