Last week, I started the passport application process. Not for an exciting trip abroad or an international career move. I applied for my passport because on Friday, June 24, I got a call from my girlfriend at 10:50 a.m.––minutes after Roe v. Wade had been overturned. 

She had an urgency in her voice as she begged me to finally get my passport. It had become something of a joke between us. I had been saying I was going to get my passport for the past year, but was constantly putting it off.

But this wasn’t a joke anymore. Having a passport meant that I’d have more freedom in the world in case we ever needed it. When I told people, they thought I was going too far, that things in America couldn’t possibly get that bad. But they already have. 

While the news broke about the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe, we learned that Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion opens the door for other rights to be reevaluated––same-sex marriage and access to contraception, to name just two. Given what we now know about the Supreme Court, I believe that if those rights are put in front of them, they will take them away. 

In the same week Roe was overturned, the Supreme Court decided that police cannot be sued for not reciting someone’s Miranda Rights and that school officials are allowed to pray at school events. They also issued a decision that hurts the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions–meanwhile, we face one of the hottest summers in history, with even hotter ones ahead.

These decisions are a huge step backwards. 

So, I am scared. 

I am scared that my loved ones will be assaulted and get pregnant. 

I am scared that my loved ones will become pregnant and be forced to carry the fetus to term, even if it will kill them

I am scared that my loved ones will become pregnant and be forced to carry the fetus to term, even if they do not want to. 

I am scared that I will be assaulted and get pregnant, something that would be crippling for my mental health as a non-binary person.

I am scared that my friends will not have access to birth control, which many have been on for years (some for non-pregnancy health issues), not least because going off some forms of prescriptions, particularly when a doctor has identified a need for them, can cause painful side effects.

I am scared that I will not be able to get married, that my moments of intimacy will be opened up for persecution by the government. 

And yet, I am luckier than most. I am white. I am financially secure. I have access to transportation, so if abortion becomes illegal in Michigan, I can travel to receive one if need be. I could leave my home, if I needed to. Many people do not have that luxury

As a cynic by nature, it’s hard for me to have hope that we can fight this dark descent our country is facing. Roe was overturned with a Democratic president and a majority in the House and Senate. This is the party that campaigned  for years on being Roe’s protectors. Within hours of the reversal, many prominent Democrats had the audacity to send out fundraising pleas along with the promise to codify Roe. Didn’t we already do that?

Those who have promised to protect us have failed. Now, it’s up to us to protect each other, and to call on those in power to actually do something, something specific–not just release statements or stick their hands out for money. 

Here’s What We Can Do: 

  • Contact your state and federal representatives on either side of the aisle and demand they codify Roe into law or face the consequences during reelection season. 
  • Vote. If you’re not registered, register here. If our representatives won’t enact the will of the people, then we will put those in power who will. (If you donate to #VoteProChoice, they’ll send you a customized voter guide for the upcoming election.) 
  • Sign the Reproductive Freedom for All petition, which seeks to get on the November ballot. It would enshrine the right to choose in the state constitution, protect safe childbirth in Michigan, and ensure the right to contraception. 
  • Donate to local abortion fund to ensure access to abortion for everyone. The National Network of Abortion Funds splits your donation evenly between 92 abortion funds across the country, including Reclaim MI Win, based in Southeast Michigan. (If you donate to #VoteProChoice, they’ll send you a customized voter guide for the upcoming election.) 
  • Attend rallies and protests in your area. 
  • Help each other. If you have the resources to help someone in need of an abortion, let those around you know. If you can, provide a place for someone to stay, or transportation, or a gas card; it can even be as small as providing someone emotional support before and after they receive an abortion, or walking with someone into a clinic that’s being picketed.

I understand why someone would want to get out of here. Honestly, I’m preparing for it, just in case. But it is a last resort. I love my state. I want to stay and fight, to help those who cannot leave. 

Let’s help each other here. Let’s build the mutual aid systems we need to support our neighbors. Let’s use our dollars, our voices, our right to protest and our vote to take away power––from those we trusted, from those who don’t deserve it, from a Supreme Court that is making rulings not based on history or precedent, but on their personal moral and religious beliefs. 

Let’s use all of these tools to remind those in power how they got that power. 

Don’t leave. Give’em hell instead.