photo of protesters at the US Capital. Sign Keep Abortion Legal
Photo by Gayatri Malhotra / Unsplash

๐ŸŒฑ A Reluctant Electorate & The State of Abortion

Part I: Old Laws Trap US in Patriarchy

Sam Chavez
Sam Chavez

Table of Contents

๐Ÿค“ Bite-Sized: After Super Tuesday, it's time to ramp up the election and it's clear our freedoms and healthcare are on the ballots, especially for women and LGBTQ+ folks.

In Case You Missed It: Bridging Connections to Build Coalitions

What You Can Expect
๐Ÿ—ณ Super Tuesday: A Reluctant Electorate
๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ Women's Issues
๐ŸŒฑ News with a Social Change Lens
๐ŸŽง The Margin of Effort in 2024


Super Tuesday ended with mostly a whimper. The biggest day of the year for election nerds until November 5th was this Tuesday! And it was pretty lackluster, except for the stunning sunset I captured when the polls opened. So what gives?

picture of poll worker in front of a Vote Here sign on Super Tuesday
Poll working on Super Tuesday in my neck of the woods

A Reluctant Electorate

Most of the results on Tuesday were predictable. Joe Biden and Donald Trump will be the nominees for President barring any unforeseen events (we haven't seen any of those lately!). What was most predictable and disappointing is how quiet the progressive wing of the Democratic party has been. It was a low turnout election and that tends to bring out an older, more conservative electorate.

I've written about the outside factors of this, but a lot of it is also rage and nihilism. Anger from the left at how the administration has not always seen the progressive perspective until it's too late (case in point, The War on Gaza). Progressives have been sidelined in many ways during this current presidency and are just generally frustrated at the state of the country. There's a lot of nihilism out there and that works in favor of the party that doesn't want to do anything!

It would be an easy contrast if we didn't have Democrats playing into that. In my state of California, Adam Schiff played tricks to buy his opponent in November, MLB MAGA candidate Steve Garvey, after funding ads boosting his name ID so that the โ€œjungle primaryโ€ would leave him running against a Republican in a Democratic state. Congrats Senator Schiff! I hope it was worth it. Meanwhile, a mom fighting against corporate greed and a Black woman instrumental to activism and politics in her state for decades will lose their House seats and the nearly 20 million women in California wonโ€™t be represented in the Senate by a woman which hasnโ€™t happened since 1992. (California really needs ranked choice voting.)

What happened to the enthusiasm from 2020? Even after Roe fell, we saw a huge surge in women and LGBTQ+ candidates in the 2022 midterms. Even the aforementioned 1992 was deemed โ€œThe Year of the Womanโ€ when Diane Feinstein and other women swept into office. Now we are two years out from Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, the Supreme Court is even more dangerous, and people arenโ€™t ready to talk about the stakes of this year's election.

Like it or not, we have an election this year, and abortion and women's freedoms will very much be on the ballot! For Womenโ€™s History Month, we're focusing our series on the state of abortion and how ancient patriarchal laws still control womenโ€™s and trans bodies today.

The Status Quo Is Going Backwards

What is happening beneath the surface of that nihilism is a feeling of helplessness. Progressive, women and LGBTQ+ folks have seen our rights quickly and quietly slip away from us despite the crowd sizes at the Women's March and voting for a Democratic President. It's completely natural for humans to shut down when we feel like we can't get out of a situation. (I spoke with my partner about this on the podcast last year.)

Our Overton window is shifting beneath our feet and our leaders are hardly batting an eye compared to the urgency of the moment. While I'm not an abortion expert, I follow them online and there is news about Abortion Every Day! Which is also the name of a newsletter that I highly recommend!

Abortion, Every Day | Jessica Valenti | Substack
All things abortion. Feminist commentary & community. Click to read Abortion, Every Day, a Substack publication.

The IVF news in Alabama shocked the media and brought the broader implications of the fall of Roe v. Wade by the stolen right-wing Supreme Court into focus for many people. Sadly, that's not the most extreme view that Republicans are attempting to push on the rest of us. Jessica Valenti, who writes Abortion Every Day, has covered countless horror stories and brazen tactics by anti-women politicians.

Controlling Women No Matter the Costs

The simple truth that was clear before Roe fell is that abortion has always been about controlling women and keeping our society trapped in a world dominated by white men. If this rhetoric feels extreme, you should hear what they actually have to say. Conservatives view โ€œIVF as a cheat code for feminists who want to have children on their own terms.โ€ Controlling women's reproduction allows the patriarchal structures of our country to remain and continue to trap generations of people who don't fit the heteronormative, heterosexual norms.

Let's be clear, this is a direct assault on younger generations' desire to live independently and their progressive views. Itโ€™s a desire to force women back into the kitchen and create an evangelical Christian nationalist dream nation. If this sounds shocking, it should be. Itโ€™s only a sliver of what the right-wing apparatus is attempting to achieve in the courts, the states, government, and more.

Luckily, the Democrats are awakening from their slumber and plan on getting more aggressive in fighting for women's freedoms and tying that to election outcomes. Joe Biden came out strong in the State of the Union address:

In its decision to overturn Roe v. Wade the Supreme Court majority wrote โ€œWomen are not without electoral or political power.โ€ No kidding. Clearly those bragging about overturning Roe v. Wade have no clue about the power of women in America. But they found out when reproductive freedom was on the ballot and won in 2022, 2023, and they will find out again in 2024. If Americans send me a Congress that supports the right to choose I promise you: I will restore Roe v. Wade as the law of the land again.

Our freedoms are on the ballot whether you are able to get pregnant or not.

If youโ€™ve been shocked by the brazenness, you can always look to our countryโ€™s white supremacist roots for the answers. We need to remember that this is all not normal or natural. Weโ€™re still being governed by old patriarchal laws that keep our societies trapped in a state of control. This is why weโ€™ve so quickly slipped into authoritarianism. See you next week to talk about a man named Comstock and how his puritanical views are coming back to haunt women and anyone outside of the binaryโ€™s freedoms!

Enjoy this article? Subscribe for the full series. This writing is part of a monthly series to help navigate ๐Ÿงญ social change activism in today's uncertain world.

Getting to the roots - evaluating the news with a social change lens
  • ๐Ÿ“š Trust in AI Is Dropping - Globally, trust in AI companies has dropped to 53%, an 8% drop since 2019. In the U.S., trust has dropped to 35%, a steep 15% decline.
    • ๐Ÿค“ The Root ๐ŸŒฑ - The unfulfilled promises of AI are helping to expose the profit-over-people mentality of the tech industry and its societal harms. While AI has benefits, most of it is hype and it's being used primarily to exploit to get a few billionaires richer.
  • ๐Ÿ“š Biden, Block Florida's Trans License Ban! - Every single member of Florida's Democratic congressional delegation has sent President Biden a joint letter asking him to use the Federal government's power and the Real ID Act to block Florida's hateful bill that would ban gender changes on your driver's license adding another everyday challenge for trans folks to just live in our society. The bill also mandates health insurance covers conversion therapy. Not good y'all!
    • ๐Ÿค“ The Root ๐ŸŒฑ - The federal government has a lot more power than it's currently using to push back against the hateful right-wing policies against women, trans, and the full LGBTQ+ community. We can demand more and we can win in November and pass federal legislation.
  • ๐Ÿ“š San Francisco is a Wealthy Conservative Tech City - Shocking no progressive who's been living in The Bay Area, the primary results in San Francisco leaned pro-cop and pro-carceral punishment. It was a low turnout without much promotion about the election, which favors moderates, homeowners, and the wealthy.
    • ๐Ÿค“ The Root ๐ŸŒฑ - We will never solve society's problems with violence and criminalization. Our wealth gap, lack of housing, and cost of living are why our city has many of our problems. The highest rates of homelessness in the country, drug epidemic, and crime are all related to people not being able to live dignified lives. We have work to do until November.

Enjoying our newsletter? Help our 100% reader-supported work and get access to exclusive content and VIP access to events.

let's grow together - reflections, ideas, and curiosities of the week

Want to find some hope in this election? Listen to my podcast with Natalie Burdick! We cover the state of the election, how to be an activist no matter who you are, and what we can do to feel more hopeful in 2024. Find our latest videos on our ๐ŸŽฌ Quick Bites page.

๐ŸŽง Listen to The Margin of Effort | 2024 Election with Natalie Burdick


About the roots of change agency โ€” Navigating heart-first activism & storytelling. We explore the ๐ŸŒฑ roots of our world to support organizations and activists ๐Ÿฅต avoid burnout and ๐Ÿ“š tell empathetic stories that cultivate connections that ๐ŸŒ empower โœŠ๐Ÿฝ social change. Donate to support our work.

Next Up

๐ŸŒฑ Old Men & Old Laws Shrinking Womenโ€™s Freedoms Today
Part II: Old Laws Trap US in Patriarchy
๐ŸŒฑ๐Ÿšฎ Defeating Patriarchy๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘งโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆ for activists & heart-first humans ๐ŸŒฑ๐Ÿ—ผ๐Ÿ—ž: Newsletter๐ŸŒฑ๐Ÿ—ณ Democracy

Sam Chavez

Sam is a writer, strategist, and curious human. She founded the roots of change agency in 2020. Sam is a queer, white, LatinX activist whoโ€™s passionate about a livable planet & equitable societies.

Comments


Navigating heart-first activism & storytelling. We explore the ๐ŸŒฑ roots of our world to support communicators, organizations, and activists ๐Ÿฅต to avoid burnout and ๐Ÿ“š tell empathetic stories that cultivate connections that ๐ŸŒ empower โœŠ๐Ÿฝ social change.

Learn more about the Roots of Change Agency.