On June 23, 2022, we officially celebrated 50 years of Title IX and women being included in sports. I spent time reflecting on what my experience as an athlete meant to me because of the 37 words that mandated in 1972 that equal opportunities had to be provided to both men and women in educational spaces, and sport by proximity. Because of Title IX, I was able to grow up thinking that girls playing sports was normal. I was able to earn a scholarship to play softball that helped pay for my college education. I am proud to say that I am a former Division I athlete and that experience shaped who I am today. This celebration felt like progress for women’s rights and I couldn’t help but be excited to see where the next 50 years of progress looked like.
One day later, on June 24, 2022, the US Supreme Court ruled that abortion is no longer legally protected by in the United States. One day after celebrating a historic victory for women’s rights our country is now facing a historic set back for women’s reproductive rights. The juxtaposition of the two days is beyond upsetting. On Thursday the future for women looked bright and then on Friday, we took a 49 year step back.
I do not have any answers, and I am feeling angry and sad. I am asking myself how I can feel so hopeful for the future one day, to see all the strides women and women’s sports will take in the next fifty years, and now today to feel so limited in my health choices by the government. I recognize that I am lucky because I am a woman living in California, but what about everyone else? What will they do? Some girls and women may not be able to feel the benefits of Title IX if they do not have access to abortion and reproductive health care. It feels a lot like women do not matter in this country.
In my moment of anger and sadness, I am urging everyone to read Shout Your Abortion, edited by Amelia Bonow and Emily Nokes. I have always been pro-choice, but reading this book and hearing the women’s stories, I learned so much. I realized I never understood all the abortion options for women and how life saving they can be. I also didn’t fully understand how having the ability to decide what is right for yourself, your body, and your family can alleviate so much emotional distress. I had to read the book slowly in short pieces, and many times I was in tears feeling deeply for the women describing their experiences, but it is an important read. It is our own duty to educate ourselves on controversial issues. I have found that after learning more, I don’t see things as controversial or political at all. Abortion is health care. People have a right to health care. This is a human issue, not just a women’s issue. A “pro-life” government should support the lives of women and people who are able to get pregnant. The US government is not that and they should not have a say in our choices.
On June 23, 2022, women felt seen because our rights were protected. Title IX is proof that when women are supported and included, they are able to accomplish great things. We deserve equal treatment and the same opportunities as men. On June 24, 2022, we were shown this is not the case. Women are not supported in this country. Let’s feel our feelings today. Be kind to ourselves and others who are hurting because of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Rest today because we must mobilize tomorrow. Donate to the cause if you can, make a sign and use your voice protesting in the streets, and register to vote. We can work together to preserve the future for women, nonbinary people, and transgender men. Join me in this fight against the patriarchy.