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Some Post-Roe What Ifs

image of lilac blooms on tree branch
lilacs – photo by author

May 3, 2022 – Rev. Kelli Clement

There’s no doubt that the leaked draft of the SCOTUS opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson case is bad in all the ways: it purports not just to gut Roe but to overturn Roe and Casey. Fifty years of settled case law, and the ability to have agency over our most intimate and profound decisions of when and whether to parent, will no longer be protected by the US Constitution as a human right. Given the hard move to the right by US courts, this is not a surprise, and it has legal implications for marriage equality and other civil rights.

Yes, it’s bad. Even if this draft goes through with some modifications, now we know what we’re dealing with: no more piecemeal weakening of Roe and Casey, but outright repudiation. Reproductive justice activists have taught us that Roe was the floor and not the ceiling. How do we create sustainable reproductive justice for all people? How do we pivot to building a new way, after half a century of defending an often-inaccessible right?   

What if we stop talking about abortion as a sometimes necessary but tragic decision, and instead talk about the moral good we practice when we exercise self-determination?

What if we stop talking about back alleys as if this was 1970, and instead promote medication abortion, and share information on safe self-managed abortions?

What if we stop saying “safe, legal, and rare,” which can mean that some abortions are OK and others are not, and rather say we want abortions to be “safe, legal, and accessible”?

What if we promote contraception and Plan B as the medical miracles of public health that they are?

What if we promote comprehensive sexuality education as the best gift we can give to our young people (and older people, too!)?

What if we learn to tell our abortion stories out loud, with love and self-compassion, refusing the shame and stigma some would have us feel?

What if we recognize that all the other justice work we do – climate justice, racial justice, economic justice, police violence – intersects with reproductive justice? The narrowing of access to reproductive freedom falls most heavily on those who are already struggling to make ends meet.

What if we take the rage we feel today and get to work for pro-choice candidates in every district in the country? Are you already in a pro-choice district? Let’s find out where else we can work for reproductive justice.

What if we remind folks that abortion is safe and legal in Minnesota and still legal (with restrictions) in most states? People who have clinic appointments today can still get the care they need. Let’s not scare folks away!

What if we grow a cadre of volunteers to help people from visiting states who are already coming to Minnesota, which is now a receiving state? Want to know how to get involved in this work? Reach out to Rev. Kelli Clement here.

What if we donate to grassroots organizations that are already engaged in the crucial work of asset mapping, strategizing, and planning for our post-Roe reality, where activists have been preparing for months and years to meet this moment? Here are the orgs we especially recommend you support; they are our First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis partners at UnRestrictMN:


Our Justice

Whole Women’s Health Alliance

Pro-Choice Minnesota

Gender Justice

WE Health

Just the Pill


We’re not done yet, and we need to grieve, mourn, and get to work.

With blessings & burning passion – Rev. Kelli

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