An open letter to all men
On Monday, the country watched as 25 men in the Alabama state Senate voted to make abortion a felony in the state, without even an exception for survivors of rape or incest. Two days later, the bill was signed into law. This attack on womens fundamental freedoms and agency is a blatant assault on constitutional and human rights.
But what happened in Alabama is not an anomalyit is part of a decades-long, coordinated, all-out effort to erode womens reproductive rights and freedom nationwide.
Across the country, women are leading efforts to fight backjust like they have in every single struggle for freedom in our countrys history. From Alabama state Senators Linda Coleman-Madison and Vivian Davis Figures, to Senators Nikema Williams and Jen Jordan in Georgia, to Missouri state Senators Jill Schupp and Lauren Arthurits women in state legislatures who are taking a stand on behalf of their constituents against these far-right attacks.
And were seeing organizations like Access Reproductive Care-Southeast, Clinic Vest Project, National Network Of Abortion Funds, Planned Parenthood, Yellowhammer Fund, and many others step in where conservative-led state governments have failed.
But women should not have to face this fight alone.
Men, its on us to listen, to speak out, and to take action. Not because women are our mothers, sisters, wives or friendsbut because women are people. And all people deserve to control their own bodies.
These far-right attacks on womens rights must be understood as an attack on all of our rights. But we also need to understand who these types of bills were designed to control, dehumanize, and criminalize.
Women of color, low-income women, and women living in rural areas in states that have restricted and sought to criminalize abortion will be disproportionately affected. They may be unable to afford to travel to a different statewhich could also mean missing work and arranging for childcare even while enduring lengthy 72-hour waiting periodsin order to get the health care they need. They cant afford to pack up and leaveand we wont let them weather this storm alone.
The restriction and attempted criminalization of abortion doesnt just violate a womans rights while she is pregnant, they strip her of the right to plan for her and her familys future.
For men, abortion is not something many feel the need or desire to talk aboutits too uncomfortable. But thats a trapand one we need to get out of immediately. Men need to acknowledge that they benefit from abortion rights and reproductive health care, too.
Im still learning how to be the best ally and partner I can be in this fightbut one thing I know is that I would not be writing this today if it were not for generations of women and men who spoke out and stood up for each other during times of moral crisis.
This week is a searing reminder that the progress they fought for is not guaranteed, every generation must continue the work.
To start that work, consider splitting a donation to the groups mentioned above.
This link will evenly split your contribution between Access Reproductive Care-Southeast, Clinic Vest Project, National Network Of Abortion Funds, Planned Parenthood and Yellowhammer Fund: corybooker.com/menstandup.
Cory Booker is a Democratic senator from New Jersey and a 2020 presidential candidate