At our May 5 Power of Women dinner in New York, it’s no surprise that the biggest and most urgent topic of discussion among our honorees and guests was the potentially devastating impact the Supreme Court’s attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade would have if it were to come to pass.
Were this to happen — which, unfortunately, appears to be inevitable — 26 states could move to ban abortion, including 13 with laws that could immediately go into effect. That means that in half of our country, women would no longer have a say over their own bodies and lives.
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Our POW honorees took the opportunity on our white carpet and in acceptance speeches to address the court’s private vote to strike down the case that has guaranteed women abortion rights in our country since 1973.
“It’s atrocious,” said Camila Cabello. “Obviously it’s going to affect poor women the most, because women that have resources — even like me — will be able to handle things if they’re needed.”
Cabello urged women to vote for state and local legislators who support abortion, to donate to the cause and also to be “loud and angry about it.”
When I asked Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, for her response to this dire matter, she said via email, “This moment calls on us to be just as relentless about protecting our freedom as the opposition is about controlling us. Through the draft decision, we know full well what’s coming but they don’t.”
On May 14, a coalition of abortion rights groups including Planned Parenthood and other supporters of reproduction freedom are planning to show up across the country for a nationwide day of action for abortion rights. The protests, says Johnson, “will serve as a reminder of our power, our strength and the fact that we alone have jurisdiction over our own bodies and futures.”
Caren Spruch, Planned Parenthood’s national director of arts and entertainment engagement, tells me she is encouraged by all the people in Hollywood who are speaking out on the issue.
“Folks in the arts and entertainment industry are angry and fired up! A right we’ve had for nearly 50 years is on the verge of being stripped away,” says Spruch. “On social media, talk shows, rallies and events, such as Variety’s Power of Women, artists like Phoebe Bridgers, Olivia Rodrigo, Amy Schumer, Camila Cabello, Billie Eilish, Finneas and Queen Latifah are demanding bodily autonomy.”
Spruch also applauds those content creators who are weaving abortion storylines into their film and television scripts. “At Planned Parenthood, we believe in the power of storytelling to change culture, and we deeply appreciate artists’ support!”
From the stage at our Power of Women dinner, Queen Latifah had some strong words for those attempting to impose abortion bans.
“There’s a group of people who are trying to steal our power,” she says. “Our power to decide what we want for our lives, our families, our futures.” Latifah stressed that there have long been efforts “to diminish the power of the woman.”
And I couldn’t agree more with her theory: “If we weren’t so powerful, there would be such a push to keep us in our place,” she said.
The leaders of Planned Parenthood suggest that to learn more about what actions you can take, please go to www.bansoffourbodies.org.
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