A Letter from Hope College’s Women’s Empowerment Organization–a Student Club

Dear WEO Community,
The Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade weighs heavily on my heart. After taking a few days to process, I feel it is appropriate to release a statement to the community regarding my, and the Women’s Empowerment Organization’s, stance on the matter. The overturning of Roe does not only affect the right to get an abortion. It threatens our bodily autonomy, our humanity, and our freedom. We must understand the greater implications that this ruling will have on the lives of all women. 

WEO prides itself on being an intersectional feminist group. This means we fight for the freedom of ALL people. This includes trans women and men, women of color, queer women, and nonbinary people. Feminism is not feminism unless all women are being protected. bell hooks, a Black feminist, writes, “As long as women are using class or race power to dominate other women, feminist sisterhood cannot be fully realized.” Fighting for rights needs to include all women or it will make matters worse. Part of fighting for all women includes being pro-choice. Being pro-choice is different from being pro-abortion. Being pro-choice means that you believe that women have the right to choose what happens to their own bodies even if it is different than the choice you would make for yourself. Again, bell hooks phrases this perfectly, “Granting women the civil right to have control over our bodies is a basic feminist principle. Whether an individual female should have an abortion is purely a matter of choice. It is not anti-feminist for us to choose not to have abortions. But it is a feminist principle that women should have the right to choose.” 

In short, we want Reproductive Justice. This term was coined by a group of Black women in Chicago in 1994. According to blackradicals.com, “Reproductive Justice is the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities.” Anne Lamott, another social justice writer says, “As a Christian and a feminist, the most important message I can carry and fight for is the sacredness of each human life, and reproductive rights for all women are a crucial part of that. It is a moral necessity that we not be forced to bring children into the world for whom we cannot be responsible and adoring and present. We must not inflict life on children who will be resented; we must not inflict unwanted children on society.” Roe protected our right to choose, but ultimately, we deserve much more than this. We deserve the right to choose, the right to make other decisions about our own bodies, have the ability to keep our health private, and to have our humanity recognized. While we are focused on the abortion aspect of the Supreme Court ruling, all of these things are now threatened. 

WEO wants to make it clear that we stand with ALL women and offer a safe place for those struggling with the overturning of Roe v. Wade. I have listed below some additional readings and ways to get involved in the fight for reproductive freedom. We have lost this battle, but we will not lose the war on reproductive rights. 

Nina Cuthrell
President of Women’s Empowerment Organization


Further readings: 
Reproductive Justice: A Reading List
Reproductive Justice
Tragic and Cruel: Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade 
10 rules: following bell hooks’ instructions for our movement 
Roe v. Wade Overturned: Supreme Court Gives States the Right to Outlaw Abortion

How to get involved: 
Six Ways You Can Join the Fight for Abortion Rights
Make sure you are registered to vote at michigan.gov
Planned Parenthood

If you are a student struggling with this Supreme Court Decision please visit 
Hope College CAPS

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