Michelle Obama is using her voice to call abortion advocates to action as she acknowledged the “horrifying decision” by the Supreme Court to over turn Roe v. Wade with the June 24 decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, ending nearly 50 years of having a constitutional right to abortion. “I am heartbroken for the people around this country who just lost the fundamental right to make informed decisions about their own bodies,” Michelle Obama wrote about the 6-3 decision. Walking the line between recognizing the “devastating consequences” of ending a right to abortion and knowing there’s more to be done, her heartbreaking statement provides hope for anyone wanting to take action.
Obama tweeted early Friday morning, “When we don’t understand our history, we are doomed to repeat its mistakes.” A divided court ruled ruled 6-3 to uphold the Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision that established the constitutional right to abortion — and giving the regulatory power back to the states. (Chief Justice John Roberts penned his own opinion siding with majority on Dobbs, but arguing the court shouldn’t have decided the broader constitutionality of abortion.) Three of former President Donald Trump’s appointees, Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, were in the majority ruling.
Echoing sentiments from dissenting Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, Obama’s statement realized the gravity of the situation.
“I am heartbroken that we may now be destined to learn the lessons of a time before Roe...” she wrote. “So yes, I am heartbroken — for the teenage girl, full of zest and promise, who won't be able to finish school or live the life she wants because her state controls her reproductive decisions,” Obama wrote. She also recognized individuals who would be force to bring nonviable pregnancies to term as well as “health care workers who can no longer help them without risking jail time.”
“This moment is difficult, but our story does not end here. It may not feel like we are able to do much right now, but we can. And we must,” Obama wrote, encouraging people to “channel your frustration and anger into action by getting involved.” She highlighted Planned Parenthood and The United State of Women as two of many organizations for resources where you can donate, get involved, and get help.
“Our hearts may be broken today, but tomorrow, we’ve got to get up and find the courage to keep working towards creating the more just America we all deserve,” Obama concluded.
Prior to the June 24 decision, when Justice Alito’s majority opinion was leaked on May 2, Obama highlighted the importance of voting. In an address on May 14, she said she was “so inspired by everyone out marching” during the nationwide abortion rights protests last month. She also encouraged abortion rights supporters to “[carry] this energy forward to the elections in November and in every election after that.”