We Will Protect Each Other: A Queer Feelings Atrium After the Fall of Roe

Ya’ll.

Maybe you knew it was coming. Maybe you were completely surprised. Regardless, no one wanted to tune in this morning to find that the Supreme Court of the United States had not just gutted but completely overturned Roe v. Wade. The court upheld the Mississippi abortion ban and overturned both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This turns the governance of abortion back to the states in the U.S.; in about half of the states in the U.S., abortion will become severely restricted or outlawed.

Fuck.

Shit.

I don’t have more eloquent words at the moment. Nor the time or brain power to go deeper on what this all means. Maybe you do. In the style of an old school feelings atrium, I’m here to talk today and to facilitate our community talking with each other. If you’re feeling a way – enraged, anxious, in mourning, nostalgic, fired up, like you need to scream into a void–this is a space to express that as well as anything else you need to get off your chest.

One thing I know for certain, we will protect each other. We’re here for each other.

So, how are you doing? What are you thinking? What do you need? I’ll meet you in the comments.


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KaeLyn

KaeLyn is a 39-year-old (femme)nist activist, word nerd, and queer mama. You can typically find her binge-watching TV, standing somewhere with a mic or a sign in her hand, over-caffeinating herself, or just generally doing too many things at once. She lives in Rochester, NY with her spouse, a baby T. rex, a xenophobic cat, and a rascally rabbit. You can buy her debut book, Girls Resist! A Guide to Activism, Leadership, and Starting a Revolution if you want to, if you feel like it, if that's a thing that interests you or whatever.

KaeLyn has written 229 articles for us.

54 Comments

    • With you as a parent and in general. Lately I’ve been thinking about how a lot of my rationale for child free before I decided to have a kid was about not wanting to raise them in this broken world. And here we are and it’s somehow worse.

    • feeling like my actions are useless when something like this can happen anyway. the people in power have SO MUCH POWER. it hurts to sit and think about how many people are hurt by a decision like this. and honestly fuck the constitution and fuck being bound to what those men thought. if we could free ourselves from the framework of the constitution we could change so many things.

      I know my actions aren’t useless and that money and attention and time contributed to the cause are valuable anyway. I just want to live in a world where rights can’t be taken away. I donate to NNAF but now obviously feel like I should do more – don’t know what though, what would make me feel like i’m making a difference. Don’t know how to organize my life to stay safe and healthy while engaging with this very fraught issue and helping people where I can.

      thank you for providing this space :-] (a grimacing smile)

  1. I just can’t even deal. Like saw it coming from the time the big fake orange cheeto puff put his judges in place. But fuck.
    And to think that that affects all of us that its only a matter of time before they try and ban birth control (for those of us who need it for what its made for or for medical reasons). Or over turn our ability to get married. We now officially have less rights than what most of us were born with.

  2. When something terrible happens in the news, the first thing I do is come to Autostraddle for galvanization and relating and comfort and y’all deliver in droves. I am so worried. I am so sad. I am so tired. I am so desirous of ways to help people who need abortions get them. I am so anxious about what this decision will mean for same-sex marriage, for birth control, for privacy, for victims of sexual abuse, for poor people, for trans people, for people who desperately want children and want to use IVF, for people who desperately want children and suffer a miscarriage late-term, for people who desperately want children but just not right now, for people who desperately do not want children. There are no good words. I don’t know what good actions look like beyond giving money to NARAL Pro Choice America. I want knowledge. That is what I want.

    • At this point, money is still one of the best direct actions. Google “[State]/[City] Abortion Fund” to find one near you, or donate to one in states that have triggered restrictions. (As of yet, no state has tried to make it illegal to leave a state to have an abortion, so those funds are going to need extra to help people with travel and lodging.)

      Other non-money things you can do:

      1. Write or call your state (not federal!) representative and ask them about putting a right to an abortion into your state constitution.

      2. Activate your social network. Be loud and unruly on social media. Find protests and attend if it’s safe for you to do so. Start a fundraiser for said abortion funds and collectively raise awareness/band together for bigger donations.

      3. If your company employs people in states with abortion restrictions, and you have the political capital at work to spend, ask your benefits team about providing abortion care stipends. (Apple, Dicks Sporting Goods, and others are doing it very publicly!)

      • This is all really good advice, Goblincore. It feels actionable. My company is working on providing abortion care stipends and I’m very grateful for it and being very annoying about it to my higher ups. If nothing else, I know I can bug the hell out of some executives. I live in Florida, so there’s absolutely no way even my Democratic state reps will be able to get a right to an abortion into our Constitution at this point, but I’ll call anyway.

  3. i feel like the world is shrinking. i grew up in this fundamentalist Christian bullshit, and i know that that’s what they want. they want to force the world to be small enough for their vision. i spent years and years trying to shrink myself enough not to be crushed, and i still caught myself doing it long after we left.

    i remember going out the night of obergefell, in a state that had a constitutional ban on gay marriage that didn’t matter anymore, and the world felt bigger. more possible.

    i felt like there was a future. one where i was not only alive, but not alone.

    i came out that day and my aunt told me she was proud of me and that she loved me.

    when i saw this aunt over this past Easter, she refused to speak to me and told one of my other family members that gay people couldn’t be trusted around children, and that everyone at Pride events should be on a watch list.

    my state, my home state, the one i can’t afford to leave, has one of the worst maternal mortality rates in the nation. i want desperately to have a kid, to be a parent, but it’s not safe to do it here. i know that.

    i keep getting caught in waves of grief and anger, like i’ve already lost the future.

    i know we haven’t, i know there are ways out, i know we’ll fight, i know we have to fight, but the idea of fighting for the rest of my life, that my whole entire life is a fight… it makes me want to scream and cry and disappear.

    i won’t disappear, because that’s what they want, and i’m too spiteful for that, but god, it’s so fucking hard!

    • Thank you for sharing this. I have so much empathy.

      Particularly for the feeling of being ‘trapped,’ to some extent (perhaps a very large extent), by one’s life circumstances.

      Two dear friends both left the US for Canada and Europe, pre-Trump, for study/work reasons, and both plan to never return. Their sentiment is “I want everyone I love to get out of America.” While I understand that gut feeling, they are both the recipients of generational wealth and have a degree of resources, safety net, and decision-making power completely beyond the reach of those most impacted by the overturning of Roe (and so much other existing/future legislation aimed at making swathes of the population’s humanity and agency highly conditional).

      Really I just want to say: I feel the same anger and grief, and also the same grit to not give into the conservative Christian mandate (I too came from that world! yikes). But I feel your exhaustion and sadness. It’s mine too.

    • Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this and for existing and for refusing to disappear. And for this brilliant line that says everything: “they want to force the world to be small enough for their vision.”

  4. I’m numb. I haven’t been able to keep my mind on work at all this morning. It doesn’t seem to matter right now.

    I went into my closet and dragged out my pin jacket – you know, the late 90s – early 2000s pin jacket saturated with every kind of activism pin and thing I cared about and supported at the time. Some of it embarrassing in hindsight, of course. But it was my armor when dealing with right wing assholes as a young queer. I pulled it out and plopped it on the back of my desk chair and dug in the pockets for buttons for the moment. I’ve got a few Planned Parenthood and ACLU buttons, along with some general LGBTQ+ rights buttons. I think I’ll be wearing them more in the coming days.

    It’s all performative, of course. It doesn’t actually make me feel any better about anything. It’s a reminder that my yelling and radical self is still in there, and something I can tap into at any time. It’s a reminder that’s it’s been a long road to get here, and it will continue to be a long road to wherever we’re going next.

    Then I woke up our trans kid, and talked to him about what this ruling was, and what it means.

  5. CW abuse/violence mentions: i always knew my safety was conditional, and i was plied with compliance as a way to keep me safe. in return for my silence and smiles, they’ll just hurt other people, not me. i think all of us are in an abusive relationship with the State, and i don’t mean that metaphorically. The greedy, violent, human, mostly white men are telling us the people they pay to have weapons and lock us up will be nice as long as we behave. the entire relationship is based on the threat of violence & actual violence. the biggest mistake white feminists made was thinking for one second that stepping into white men’s shoes & offices would make them safe.

    how do we leave this relationship when nation states says they control all the land? through each other & indigenous sovereignty . . . through relearning how to take care of ourselves & each other & be in balance with the earth, seeking safety FROM the State in each other, and not seeking safety in the State… obviously there are many strategies & layers to that that and some involve appearing to cooperate at times. but we must always be clear who is choosing to threaten us with violence no matter how many layers of money, titles, words, etc, that threat is wrapped up in.

    • PS i am also having the sense of “HELL NO I ALREADY GOT OUT.” I spent the first 18 yrs of my life getting out. i have what they are afraid of – a life not dependent on them, beyond what they can imagine – and now they are making a play for wherever I can go.

      the State is a lie, it’s a sham, it’s a fancy way to hide violent bullying.

    • Absolutely this this this ⬇️💛

      “how do we leave this relationship when nation states says they control all the land? through each other & indigenous sovereignty . . . through relearning how to take care of ourselves & each other & be in balance with the earth, seeking safety FROM the State in each other, and not seeking safety in the State.”

  6. I don’t have the energy for anything eloquent. I’m just angry, EXHAUSTED, and scared.

    I want to leave this country so badly, but my wife and I are both disabled, and we just generally feel very stuck and unsafe.

    I know a lot of people’s fight or flight response is kicking in. Lots of people want to fight, and that’s very important. However, my response is always flight. I want to get away from the danger, and I don’t know how or if I can do that. Really struggling.

    It’s a scary time to be alive.

  7. I don’t understand how we’re supposed to keep going. We have fought so hard for every right, every civil liberty, and that they can get washed away with the stroke of a pen is just sickening. Every call I make, every ResistBot email I send to my state and federal reps feels more and more useless as this nightmare goes on. My wife and I can’t afford to move out of the country, but what other option do we have? I just feel defeated and sad and scared and I don’t know what to do.

  8. I’m luckier than most and I know it as I’m here in the UK and can stay. I was well into the work day when a colleague mentioned it and I thought I was ready but I wasn’t. It’s disgusting and vile and I’m horrified i and worried for all my friends and all I kept thinking was, though my problems pale in comparison to so many others, “I can never go home again.” I didn’t even know, with what the US is, I felt that way about it on a personal level (NOT a patriotic one). Maybe it’s the past when things seemed hopeful that can never come back. I can never go home again.

  9. I’m worried about all the decisions that could come after this one. Will I be able to get married to my partner? Will we be able to use IVF to create the family we want? If something goes wrong during the pregnancy, will I be able to get a medically-necessary abortion or will I need to live with the grief of having to carry an unviable pregnancy to term and then have a still birth (that is, if I don’t die because of complications or sepsis). I think about my friend who needed an abortion after sexual assault and how I know more women who have been assaulted (including myself) than those who have not. I think about my own work with rural maternity care and I wonder what the future will look like for my patients. I think about how the state is indifferent towards the lives of women and refuses to invest in prenatal and birth care for women in rural areas–the same women who will be most impacted by abortion bans. I knew this was coming, but I feel crushing grief. I don’t know how to keep fighting when things already felt insurmountable before. Tomorrow I will go to work and do the best I can for the pregnant women and new mothers in my care and try to remind myself why I do this work.

    • My mother got an abortion when she was in college because she wasn’t ready for a child yet. This is the same woman who has told me time and time again that her highest calling is to be a mother, who didn’t want to stop having children after my youngest sibling was born, who loves being a mom more than she has ever loved anything in her life (in her own words). She got an abortion because she wasn’t ready, and it was the right choice, and it will continue to be the right choice for whoever wants one for whatever reason except now it WON’T because there are unelected bigots running this country.

      I’m angry. I’m terrified. I just got married to my spouse six weeks ago: how long will that right hold up, now that this one has fallen? It has an even shallower “precedent” than Roe, and I don’t care how many people say “but they won’t.” They said that about Roe, too.

      Tomorrow I’m going to take as much action as I possibly can, I’m going to be so annoying about this, I am never going to shut up. Today I’m… gonna be scared and angry, I guess.

  10. I was taught by that generation- badass women rebels who put everything on the line for the next generation, and that quickly, it’s all gone.

    …And I’m *ing tired, and broke, and unemployed, holding my family together by a thread, and trying not to get *ing covid. I. just. cannot. Anymore. Just no *ing bandwidth for one more *ing thing.

    I just came here to feel safe. Because I sure as hell don’t feel safe out there in the real world.

  11. We told our Republican-voting friends and family that this is what they are voting for and that they were voting to hurt us. They brushed us off. They said we were being dramatic, that it would never happen, and that their vote was for valid economic reasons. Fuck them all.

  12. I am filled with rage for everyone who made this happen and everyone who is happy about this decision. I wish them nothing but pain and misery for the rest of their lives. I am infuriated by the response from Democrats. Singing on the steps of the Capitol??? Maybe try throwing a brick or making sure there are laws on the books protecting abortion. I hate that it is now up to us to protect ourselves, even though that is how it has always been.

    I made the decision well before any of this seemed possible that I was going to be an NP. Today has made me feel more than ever that when I start school this fall, I will be doing the right thing. Abortions will always happen, and I will make sure they do. I will give people birth control and I will make sure that everyone has the tools they need to take care of their health.

    There are good people in this world who feel the same. That, today, is what gives me hope.

  13. I’m not from the US but I’m still really fucking angry. This is such a step back for all of you.

    I’d say get an IUD now if you can & might need one, because who knows when they’ll go after contraceptives, and IUD’s are the most effective contraceptive out there. (Hormonal ones last 5 years, copper ones usually have more side effects but can last up to 10 years.)

    And ditch (digital) period trackers if you use one, in case they could be used as evidence against you. This is a creepy thought, but who the fuck knows where they’ll stop on their road to dystopia.

    Thinking of my siblings across the Atlantic & sending you love

    • Oh and I wanted to add: copper IUD’s can be used as a form of emergency contraceptives too, and they even have a slightly higher rate of effectiveness compared to the meds. Can be used up to 5 days after. You can choose whether to keep the IUD afterwards or have it removed after it did it’s inital job.

      They are not ideal for people who have heavy periods already, and there are some other pro’s and con’s, so get yourself well informed before having one.

  14. I am absolutely terrified. I’m sad, I’m scared, I’m angry, I want to move to a different planet. We know they won’t stop here and that queers will be next. Gay marriage, trans rights, all of it. And it’s fucking terrifying. And exhausting. My partner and I are already talking about getting eloped just in case. Like why? Why do we have to move our lives and our plans around because the government might take our rights away??? And for what?? Why is this even a conversation? I’m so tired.

  15. Good lord, this is a bleak time. I hate this and I’m sad and feeling overwhelmed by how quickly we’re losing legal rights and protections, while at the same time seeing and experiencing anti-Blackness and anti-LGBTQ (esp anti-transness) become more mainstream and openly violent.

    That said, I am also acutely aware of one enormous silver lining: no ruling body in this world can meaningfully disrupt community care. If there are people with needs going unmet and people with the means to meet those needs, I promise you there are people in the latter category dedicating their whole lives to protecting the former.

    There’s an abortion fund in your state that’s been preparing for this, and there are networks of old queers or knitting circle grandmas or whomever who are reaching out to each other, acutely aware of the good they can do if they pool their resources and figure out where exactly they’re needed. This government is not invested in our lives or health, but lots and lots of our neighbors, near and far, really are.

    If you can’t be in person at a protest right now, there are donation funds, there’s phone banking, there’s calling elected officials so often that they remember your name and want to change policy just to stop hearing from you, there’s driving people to get the care they need, or babysitting or offering them a few meals after they get the care they need to allow them restful healing.

    This is a dark fucking day in a dark timeline, but there is literally so much that we can still do for each other, and so much we can find in each other, even when things feel hopeless.

    • This is exactly how I feel. This is awful; it shouldn’t have happened; so many people (especially those already disenfranchised) will be hurt- AND we won’t stop fighting to take care of each other.

  16. I spent a lot of the day feeling like I was in a haze where things were happening and I was sort of watching myself respond without really being in my body. Now I’m just going to binge the new season of Love Victor because I need some baby queer joy.

  17. My wife had an abortion 3 weeks ago at 13 weeks. This was a pregnancy that was very much wanted. We have been trying for over 2 years. We found out at the nuchal translucency ultrasound and with our panorama results that it was not likely to carry to term, and if it did, it wouldn’t likely live past the first year due to chromosomal issues. We chose the abortion.

    If we got this news today we would only have access through a temporary stay on our state law banning abortion.

    Abortion should be legal in all situations, no matter what. Also there is something especially cruel about having the technology to know a pregnancy isn’t viable and making someone carry that pregnancy until they naturally miscarry.

  18. The United States is the Fourth Reich. I have only bad words and bad wishes for the so-called Supreme Court and all who worked for years to make this decision happen, giving a stupid religion legal standing. From rabid white people who turned the former Republican Party into the new American Nazi Party, to the former Democratic Party which strove for 50 years to become the Republican Junior Varsity. And the media which amplified the insanity in pursuit of a hot story.
    From local school boards to the courts, the takeover is almost complete; this November will likely cement the legislature. There is nothing of value in official America.

  19. I’m feeling a terrible combination of something like survivor’s guilt, and helplessness. I’m from a moderately wealthy family and live in a blue state, and know for those reasons that I will have access to an abortion if I need one (unless the republicans control both houses and the presidency and pass a ban). I am a student living on loans, so don’t have much room to donate. I also live far from the border, so it would be difficult for me to do hands on assistance at clinics. What is left? Call my representatives? The Democrats are an impotent group of foolish elite who openly support funding the police state and can’t protect their base. And, I mean, the ones from my state are already pro-choice.

    I suspect the answer is to get involved with grassroots organizing for a socialist/workers party & building feminist community. I’ll start that tomorrow. Tonight I’ll just feel terrible.

  20. I’m so sad and so tired. I knew this was coming. I’ve been dreading it since the draft was released. Been dreading it since the 2016 election. So many people told me that it would never happen then- that abortion, marriage equality, and the right to have sex in my own home were safe. That Lawrence v. Texas was so long ago- I was a freshman in high school. That is not long ago!

    And I’m so tired and I have no spoons. In the past month, my father had brain surgery, my wife had surgery to remove her kidney stones, and I fell and hurt my knee badly. And then my neighbor decided to report us to the city because our grass was too long (this is the same neighbor who announced his arrival on the block in March of 2020 by reporting us to the city for leaving our garbage can out by the street for too long) and the city is threatening to fine us $513. I’m trying to take solace in my family (my sisters who came to clean and cook for us last weekend), community, and my nice neighbor who volunteered to mow our lawn, but I’m so exhausted.

  21. I want to share this Rachel Maddow video which highlights what it practically means for a person in particular states who is pregnant and has a miscarriage, for a person who is pregnant and has complications, for abortion providers who are targeted by Christian extremists, for people travelling to other states etc. It also addresses how we got here and the political strategies of the last decades and how the people who pushed this are just getting started now. So far it is the best piece I have watched on what concrete impact this will have on countless people’s lives and how immediate the danger is, as they will not stop at this:

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