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Yes, We Will Fight for “Roe.” But We Are Also Mourning.

Hard is what we do,” new Emily’s List president Laphonza Butler told the hundreds of supporters gathered at the group’s annual gala—the first in three years thanks to Covid. It was supposed to be a celebration for this organization devoted to electing pro-choice Democratic women—of surviving Covid, of Butler’s new role, and of our first female vice president, Kamala Harris, the night’s keynote speaker. But after news leaked the night before that the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade and crush abortion rights any day now, it also became a wake.

Hard is what we do. I’d like to be able to tell you that the mood in the room, and at the group’s conference the afternoon before, was fired up and determined to prevail. It was those things, but it was also, to be honest, a little bit despairing. Women have lived through so much trauma in the past six years. The pussy-grabber won the presidency against our first female nominee (though he lost the popular vote). Millions of women then marched in protest, from Washington, D.C,. to Ketchikan, Ark.; thousands ran for office, many of them won. Nancy Pelosi, the first female House Speaker, took the helm for another term. Women elected Joe Biden president, defeating Donald Trump; Harris, not only female but Black and of Asian descent, became his historic partner.

But we know how it all turned out. Trump got to appoint three right-wing Supreme Court justices—another guy who didn’t win the popular vote, George W. Bush, appointed two others—and we’re about to lose rights we worked so hard to obtain and then, pretty much ever since, worked to hold on to. Dozens of women I spoke to on Tuesday said the same thing: Our daughters will have fewer rights than we did. We are the first generation to have to say that. This isn’t how the world is supposed to work. Or so I thought.

I was lucky enough to be with my daughter and friends, having a great grilled dinner in their backyard, when the news leaked Monday night. We cleared the table, barely, and hiked over to the Supreme Court Building to join a surging protest. Practically everyone was young; there were plenty of men there too; spirits were high; and I enjoyed the rousing chants of “Fuck Alito!”—I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Fuck Samuel Alito, indeed. That preening asshole took such obvious joy in telling us “abortion” isn’t mentioned in the Constitution and in deriding “abortionists.” His brazen, craven decision flaunts the thrill this conservative court majority takes in undoing decades—maybe, soon, a century—of expanded human rights, for women, Black and brown people, LGBTQ folks, workers, and maybe, soon, straight white men who’d like to choose whether and when to have families. Because, as many have said before me, Alito has laid the groundwork to undo the famous Griswold decision that, unbelievably, “legalized” contraception in 1965.

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