Op-Ed: Listen to the Cassandras: Prepare for the post-Roe world

In Greek tragedy, Cassandra is a Trojan princess cursed with the gift of prophecy. Before the Trojan War began, she presciently foretold the Fall of Troy yet no one believed her. Just as Cassandra predicted the destruction of her home, so too have reproductive justice Cassandras relentlessly warned the public that abortion rights were precarious nationwide. For decades, state lawmakers passed burdensome anti-abortion laws. “Pro-choice” politicians did nothing to defend the right to abortion. 

The reproductive justice Cassandras also anticipated, with Justices Barrett and Kavanaugh joining the Supreme Court, that the justices would overturn Roe v. Wade. Legal pundits attributed their concerns to hysteria. 

We are now on the precipice of these predictions coming true. On May 2, Politico obtained a leaked initial draft opinion of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which reveals that the Court indeed intends to overturn Roe. 

Although the draft opinion is not officially law yet, this opinion demonstrates the extreme peril of not listening to reproductive justice advocates who intimately know the abortion landscape in our country. 

In this small window we occupy between this moment and the reversal of our most fundamental right of bodily autonomy, we must listen to the Cassandras among us and prepare for a post-Roe world by investing in the reproductive health of our communities and ourselves. 

The existence of @anti.violence.laf, the Dear Lafayette Coalition, PASA’s 2021 Open Letter and our Menstrual Equity Open Letter demonstrate that we have become a campus that recognizes social injustices and endeavors to alleviate them through action and fundraising. A tangible way to support abortion seekers and activists is to donate to abortion funds, which provide financial assistance to abortion seekers who cannot afford the procedure. Some believe that giving money is performative, but we disagree. Money is power, and the people closest to the pain must be closest to the power. By donating to abortion funds, you are giving people the power to decide the course of their lives. One abortion fund you could donate to is the Abortion Liberation Fund of PA

The next way you can prepare yourself for a post-Roe world is to invest in your reproductive health. This is our Cassandra prediction: the Supreme Court will target birth control next. In fact, they already have. A 2014 Supreme Court case called Burwell v. Hobby Lobby held that religious for-profit businesses don’t have to include contraceptive access in their employee insurance plans if doing so violates their religious beliefs. If you are a cis woman, trans man, or nonbinary person, take this next month to research the IUD and Nexplanon, which are long-acting reversible contraception, and decide if they are right for you. They are highly effective, last for at least three years and are reversible. 

This is a pivotal moment in the feminist project of resisting the entrenchment of gender essentialist norms and expanding bodily autonomy for all. If you feel sad, helpless or angry, your feelings are completely valid. Yet, let us acknowledge that these emotions have power. As Audre Lorde once wrote, “focused with precision, anger can become a powerful source of energy serving progress and change.” In this moment, we must harness the power of our anger. A less bleak post-Roe World depends on it.