The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade – turning its back on 50 years of precedent – was shameful, enraging, and terrifying.
And these words don’t begin to describe the hurt and impact this decision will have on the lives, futures, and bodily autonomy for women and all people who can become pregnant. The devastation of this moment and how it will erode so many of our fundamental rights cannot be underestimated.
Because of our state’s trigger law, South Dakotans now have fewer rights than people in other states in this country. This is deeply painful to all of us who believe that the right to control our own bodies and to make such deeply personal decisions is ours, not the government’s.
Regardless of this horrendous decision, abortion is still our right. We all deserve the power to control our bodies, lives, and futures. Abortion access should not depend on where we live, how much money we make, or who we are. We know that those who are able to travel out of state are the lucky ones. But as more states ban abortion, traveling to another state to obtain care will be an option for fewer and fewer people.
And we know this will disproportionately harm the same people who have always faced systemic barriers to care — Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, the LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit community, undocumented immigrants, young people, those living in rural communities, people with disabilities, and people with low incomes.
No one should have to leave their home state to obtain essential, time-sensitive health care. And many people will not be able to do this, so the state of South Dakota is going to try to force them to carry a pregnancy to term – with no exception other than when it is necessary to save the life of the pregnant person.
So this has never been just about abortion. It’s about control. State control or our bodies and our futures. And politicians won’t stop here. The same anti-abortion extremists seeking to control the bodies of pregnant people are coming for our right to access birth control and gender-affirming care, marry who we love, to vote, and more. Everyone’s rights are on the line. We are bound together in this fight and must move in solidarity with one another.
We are not powerless. We have everything we need in each other. And If it’s a fight they want, it’s a fight they’ll get!
Anti-abortion politicians have put South Dakota on the wrong side of history for too long, and we will not to let them off the hook. Politicians who do not believe in protecting the civil rights and liberties of their constituents have no business in governors’ mansions, in state attorneys general’s offices or in state legislatures.
Each one of us can fight back. And we must use every tool in our tool box. Contact your elected representatives and support your local abortion movement, including abortion funds like the Justice through Empowerment Network, health centers like South Dakota Urban Indian Health, and reproductive justice organizations like Planned Parenthood. And then vote. Vote like your rights depend on it – because they do! We can demand better from our elected officials and vote them out of office if they refuse to listen. We can care for others and get involved in our comminutes to make life better and more just for those around us.
Think about what you are willing to contribute for the long road ahead – whether that is joining a community organization, making protest art, lobbying, or all of the above and more. We all have a place in this fight. And we all need each other in this fight.
The path to taking back our rights is long, but the ACLU will be there every step of the way until we all have the power to make the best decisions for ourselves and our families. Until we live in a just and equitable world where everyone has what they need to thrive. While the courts are letting anti-abortion politicians attack our fundamental rights, they don’t get the final say — we do.
No matter how long it takes, we will win this fight and we will do it together.