For many, this is a hard Mother’s Day to “celebrate.”
Since the Supreme Court majority opinion planning to strike down Roe v. Wade was leaked on May 2, the potential loss of reproductive rights has never loomed larger in the era since the original 1973 decision. Despite what anti-choicers sometimes argue, abortion is not anti-motherhood.
A 2016 study from Guttmacher Institute found that 59 percent of women who have abortions already had children before. Other data has found stark financial consequences for women denied reproductive rights, revealing one way that lack of access to safe abortions can negatively impact mothers.
The fight for reproductive rights encompasses a fight to protect a mother’s rights, choices, and health.
Of course, threats to reproductive rights do not only impact mothers or cis women, and not all people who give birth become parents or identify as mothers. But on the day dedicated to celebrating motherhood, it’s a good idea to listen to what mothers have to say about how this threat to reproductive rights impacts them.
That’s why many moms are asking folks to skip the flowers this year and give them what they really want for Mother’s Day 2022: action and support.
Mother’s Day protests are happening all across the U.S. today, most notably outside the Supreme Court in Washington D.C. A week-long Mother’s Day strike was put together by TikTokers (although other prominent civil rights organizers on the platform disagree with its approach). Abortion rights groups like RiseUp4AbortionRights are also encouraging people to share their stories and support through the #MotherhoodIsAChoice hashtag on Twitter and Instagram, while #RoevWadeProtest began trending on Twitter Sunday afternoon.
Mostly, though, expressions of support for mothers’ reproductive rights on social media are being shared organically, with no need for hashtags or online campaigns.
Over the past week, mothers have also published their personal stories and perspectives on the most recent and dire threat to abortion rights.
In a Washington Post article published shortly after the news hit, columnist Petula Dvorak wrote that “The best gift for Mother’s Day? Give moms control over their bodies.”
We don’t want the flowers, the chocolate, the pedicure or the redirection that Republican leaders and their friends in conservative media have engaged in since Politico first reported a leaked copy of the Supreme Court’s draft opinion.
New Orleans-based journalist Lorena O’Neil wrote about how “becoming a Mother in Louisiana Has Only Made Me More Supportive of Abortion Rights” for Jezebel.
“Now, contrary to what Matt Gaetz might think, most of the people I was texting with on Tuesday night are mothers… I am a cisgender white-passing Latina woman living in the South. I have layers upon layers of privilege and support. I wanted my kids. I planned for them. I love them, dearly. But parenting two young children in the hellscape of the last two years nearly broke me.”
I could write more about why the people trying to ban abortion don’t really care about babies and families, about the ways in which they claim to revere mothers while discounting our knowledge and needs. But I won’t get into that today. Today, more than any other day, I just want to write one thing: I trust women, and I trust mothers.
The human right to bodily autonomy should be self-evident, even though it remains a point of debate. It should not be contingent on one’s motherhood or sacrifices, nor require mothers to share their traumas in order for people to care enough to do something to protect everyone’s reproductive rights. But feigned concern for mothers, and framing abortion as anti-motherhood, is one of the first flawed arguments used as a line of attack by anti-choice advocates like House Representative Marjorie Taylor Green.
But many mothers aren’t having it, today or any day. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that (generally speaking), it’s a good idea to listen to moms.