Word to the Wise: Transition.

September 8, 2021

A soon-to-be mother, she is shaking and feeling out of control. She has been laboring for some hours, managing each contraction well with controlled breathing and relaxation techniques. Her contractions stronger and closer together are still manageable.

Suddenly everything changes. The contractions become more intense and last longer than she has ever imagined. A minute and a half is an eternity. Her whole body is shaking. She moans, “I can’t do this. Get me out of here.” She is in Transition, the most intense phase of labor. At that moment, she needs the care and support of others to help her through.

For many, transitions can be the most difficult parts of our lives. Not all of us deliver babies, but all of us go through transitions at one time or another. We go to school for the first time—excited and a little apprehensive. Or get a job we’ve wanted for a long time. Or our circumstances may change for reasons beyond our control. Someone close dies, or we lose a job. We become disoriented. We have doubts about managing the transition. We may want to go back to how things were, but reality says it’s impossible. We need help.

Transitions can be challenging, but usually, there is some kind of help nearby. In labor and delivery, a doula or a birthing attendant may help. Neighbors, co-workers, friends, sometimes even strangers can help. Joining together with others makes a huge difference.

State legislatures passed more bills and laws to reduce access to abortion. With each one, pro-choicers stopped, acknowledged their anger, took a deep breath, and took action electing pro-choice state legislators. We thought we could meet the challenge. We would vote in legislators willing to support comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion for all.

Then BOOM! On September 1, this month, access to abortion after six weeks in Texas ended. The Supreme Court failed to take immediate action to stop Texas S.B.8 from taking effect. S.B. 8 effectively puts a bounty on anyone who supports a pregnant person seeking abortion care after about six weeks in pregnancy.

We are in a very disorienting transition. We are moving from familiar restrictions to a different and dangerous, life-changing legal situation. Elsewhere in this newsletter, you can read more about this cruel law and learn what you can do in response. The lack of action by the Supreme Court feels like a kick in the gut against women. We must draw a deep breath, acknowledge our grief over what has been lost, and then transform our anger into energy for change.

The forced-birthers may knock us down, but we will rise again and again. We can and will keep marching toward the day when all people can exercise their rights to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion.

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