With the fourth of July just around the corner, and celebrations unfolding that embody the importance of freedom and independence, we must recognize that equal freedoms aren't yet accessible to all. And while we've held our breath for months, anticipating the outcome of Whole Woman's Health v Hellerstedt, we must understand that this moment is just a solitary victory, and that the battle for adequation and self-autonomy is ongoing.
Whole Woman's Health vs Hellerstedt was a close call for women's rights. In fact, there have been a lot of "close calls" for women in the past few decades. From efforts to ban access to birth control, to the promotion of discriminatory practices in the work place, there have been plenty of cringe-worthy court cases that could have easily derailed forward-moving progress.
But let's not forget the callous legislation that passed without the presence of a court case. The legislation that disenfranchises what the "American Dream" has so aptly promised to all. The legislation that does not support survivors of rape and domestic violence, or that seeks to increase barriers towards teen pregnancy prevention. The legislation that teaches that "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" is just a sentence in a document and not a way of life.
For women, minorities, and those who cannot identify with a single word in the gender binary, the fourth stands for more than a holiday, but serves as a reminder that there is still more work to be done in order to achieve equal freedoms. After-all, how can we whole-heatedly celebrate the freedom of an establishment that will not in turn promise us the freedom of self-governance and self-preservation?
I am honored to be in a space that has made such astounding progress, and yet I still cling to the idea that there is more that we can do to improve the quality of life for those in our community. I'm tired of the "close calls."
So join me today in pledging to be a part of the change. Join me in recognizing the importance of our accomplishments but realizing that they've come with much opposition. Join me in recognizing that by this time next year, we could be one step closer to building a movement that advances the health, economic well-being, and the rights of South Carolina's women, girls, and their families.
Will you be a part of the change? #TakeBacktheFourth