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"I Don't Like This One"

“I don’t like this one,” said the woman.

“Really, why not?” asked her friend.

“Look at the name.” The woman pointed to a tag which revealed the title of the artwork: Dear SCOTUS.

On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States voted to overturn Roe vs. Wade. Individual states now have the power to decide if a woman has the right to choose what to do with her own body.

Not long ago, I had the opinion that if a woman chose to have sex, one of the consequences could be pregnancy and that it was her own fault if she got pregnant. I believed fervently that abortion was just an easy way out. I just knew that women who chose to get abortions were irresponsible baby-killlers with no regard for human life.

From the age of about 10, I had been taught that my duty as a woman was to get married, be a mother, and have as many children as I could in order to build up the kingdom of Zion. I was not much of a free-thinker. I was young and naïve and dutifully fulfilled what I had been conditioned into believing was my sacred duty. I became pregnant at the age of 21, less than a month after being married. I few years later, I was pregnant again. And fast forward another 5 years, I gave birth to my third daughter. This life didn’t bother me because I wanted to have children. It was my choice. I purposely didn’t take birth control. I knew that I wanted to be pregnant.

Pregnancy for me has never been easy. I get severe morning sickness to the point of needing intravenous fluids to stay hydrated. I get painfully swollen. I’ve gotten piriformis syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, and cystic acne. I had a really traumatic experience during my first birth which ultimately led to a loss of bladder control, post-partum depression, and my daughter being in the NICU for nearly a week. I honestly felt that I was going to die. Yet, despite all of that pain and trauma, I knew that having children was my purpose in life. I had to help spirits in heaven gain bodies so that they could come down to Earth, be baptized, and ultimately return to live with God.

A couple of years ago, my perspective changed when I left that high-demand religion and began a journey of discovering what I truly believed about what I had been taught. One of the things I have come to understand, and probably the most important lesson that I have learned so far, is that humankind has a history of coming up with reasons for things that they can't explain. There are nearly 5,000 different religions on this planet, and each one teaches what it believes is the only way that humans should live. These religions preach their own agendas and often look down on anyone who sees things differently.

I say all of this because I used to be that person, looking down on non-members of my faith or those who apostatized as lost, confused, and in need of an awakening. I now see from a new lens, particularly when it comes to important political issues such as abortion.

I personally have my own views on why I don’t always agree with abortion. Those are my views, though, and my views do not reflect the views of hundreds of millions of women in my country. As someone who has very difficult pregnancies, I cannot imagine forcing another woman to go through that. I also know that I was probably not ready to be a mother when I became one. I firmly believe that I would have been a lot more prepared if I had waited a few more years. Some women understand this about themselves already. They know they aren’t ready to have children. They get on birth control and sometimes still end up pregnant. Hospital bills and doctor’s visits are costly. There are so many difficult reasons why women choose to terminate their pregnancies, and to say that the government has the right to force them into motherhood, debt, etc. is what is actually irresponsible.

Pregnancy is complicated. Motherhood is complicated. Having babies is terribly expensive in America. Raising children is not for everyone. Abstinence is unrealistic.

And so, the Supreme Court’s decision makes me angry. I have three daughters who may possibly face the consequences of this decision in their lives. It feels like the voices of women who fought for this right for so many years have been silenced by people who put their religion before country, their beliefs before compassion.

Dear SCOTUS was created as my response to what I was unable to put into words on the day which one of my basic human rights as a woman was taken away. It represents the door which has been systemically locked by men, by religion, and by the government. It is women who carry the key to unlocking that door. It is the door to our future. It is the door to our success. It is the door to equality.

All I ask is that as humans on a tiny planet floating around in immeasurable space, we remember that we are all deserving of compassion and understanding, and that needs to be reciprocated. We all have different perspectives. We are all raised differently. We all need to do better at getting to know each other.

And for all of the women in this world, you deserve to be seen, heard, appreciated, and understood. I may not always understand your perspective, but we are all living under the same sky, and that’s a good start.

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