The first thing my mom taught me about sex when I was 7 or 8 was that it leads to pregnancy. As soon as she started talking, I regretted asking the question. I did what any kid would’ve done and tried to cover my ears and sing over her voice. Thankfully, my mom is a patient woman, and she calmly waited until I was ready to listen to what she had to say. She explained everything in a very scientific way, and I was absolutely shocked to learn that THIS is how babies were made.
When I got into high school, she reminded me constantly that there was never a good excuse to have unprotected sex, and if a guy didn’t want to use a condom, he wasn’t the right guy for me. When I got into my first serious relationship, my mom was the one who took me to get an IUD. It wasn’t until recently that I realized how lucky I am to have been brought up this way.
On the morning of Monday, May 2nd, I got a text from my friends. “So, it’s looking like the Supreme Court might overturn Roe v Wade.” I looked over my cereal bowl and felt sick,angry and scared. I was kind of angry with myself. For the past few weeks, I’d been so concerned about my own problems like final exams and tips at work and what to wear to parties. I forgot what the world looked like outside of my own bubble. It was much uglier.
I thought back to high school. I remembered the girls I knew that had to get plan B without telling their moms. The girls who had to have their birth control prescriptions mailed to a friend’s house because they couldn’t ask their parents. The girl who was rumored to have had an abortion and was demonized when she came back to school.
To think that those young women felt guilty and ashamed for taking care of their sexual health is so upsetting to me. I always seem to forget that people weren’t raised with the same support and education I had.
On a larger scale, I realize that I’ve never had to worry about access to reproductive healthcare services because of my state. Illinois’ policies protect a woman’s right to choose. Now, it seems like that security is up in the air; something I never imagined would happen.
Even after final exams have ended and dorm rooms have been packed up, I still haven’t felt the sense of relief that the promise of summer usually brings. I wish I could ask my mom what’s gonna happen and she could give me an answer. I wish she could tell me I have nothing to worry about, but she doesn’t have an easy explanation and now I’m old enough to realize that even my mom can’t protect me from whatever lies ahead.