Like many women around the country, Meghan Markle and Gloria Steinem were gutted by the news that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, but neither is letting this human rights setback dampen their hopes for the future.
Steinem and the Duchess of Sussex first connected during the pandemic, working together to make calls thanking voter-registration organizers. Over the past several months, they have also been working on a plan to get the Equal Rights Amendment ratified. And, in a new interview with Vogue, the pair spoke to journalist Jessica Yellin about the effect this Supreme Court ruling will have on this country. “This is having a very real impact on women’s bodies and lives starting now. Women are already sharing stories of how their physical safety is being put in danger,” Meghan began. “Women with resources will travel to get an abortion, those without might attempt to give themselves one at tremendous risk. Some will have to source abortion pills from unregulated pharmacies. Others who are pregnant and find themselves in a medical emergency will be at the mercy of doctors and lawyers to determine if a procedure that is needed to save her life can even be done at all.”
The royal continued, “What does this tell women? It tells us that our physical safety doesn’t matter, and as a result that we don’t matter. But we do. Women matter. And this is one of the reasons that I called Gloria immediately. Because in all of it, she reminds me that when you have anger, you have to channel that energy into something that makes a difference. That’s what activism is. It’s about how we show up.” Steinem added, “A big part of the problem, of course, is that we have a Supreme Court that does not represent the country. Perhaps because I’ve been here longer, which means I’ve been here before, I say we are going to do what we need and wish to do. Something like one in three American women had an abortion when it was illegal. The need and the right to govern one’s own body continues. We need to translate it into a political reality.”
The Duchess also noted that while this ruling “is a blueprint for reversing rights,” including same-sex marriage and access to contraception, she is trying to approach this current moment with a positive outlook. “This moment requires unity—really listening to people, understanding the Constitution was written at a time when women were second-class citizens,” she said. “I always look at things with the undercurrent of hope. If you are someone who truly believes that there can be something better, if you’re someone who sees injustice, you have a choice: You can sit there and be complacent and watch it, or you can say, ‘What can I do to get us to the other side of this?’” Steinem concluded, “I think we need to remember that hope is a form of planning. If you’re not hopeful, you’ve given up.”
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