The last few years have been brutal, and the news cycle has felt like a constant source of disbelief and pain. This week in the United States, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
If this decision holds, everyone in the US will be impacted and there will likely be secondary global impact. The populations most affected will be folks who have long been subject to reproductive injustice — those who are economically disadvantaged; Black, Indigenous, and other non-white women; and trans men and non-binary people.
It is important to remember that the reason Roe v Wade was pushed to the fore in 1973 was because people were dying from abortions that were being administered improperly.
Equally troubling is that the opinion lists the following cases as “attempts to justify abortion through appeals of a broader right to autonomy” that are “too much,” and an unsound “basis in precedent”:
- Loving v. Virginia, which made interracial marriage legal
- Griswold v. Connecticut, which grants the right to obtain contraceptives
- Lawrence v. Texas, the right to engage in private, consensual sexual acts
- Obergefell v. Hodges, the right to marry a person of the same sex
Understandably, many who believe it is their human right to live, love, and direct bodily autonomy as they see fit are deeply troubled by the specter of oppression that is looming over our bodies and lives.
The weight of this trouble is heavy and will impact the ability of many of our staff members, students, instructors, and alumni to focus, work, teach, learn, and participate. Trauma and oppression interrupt our capacity to reach flow states. Trauma and oppression also impact our ability to increase our intellectual capacity. (This, of course, from the work of Barbara Fredrickson.)
I would like to create space for this to be recognized and honored as we set about the work of becoming great coaches in the weeks and months ahead. If you need to take space now, or at any other time when the state of the world feels heavy, please do. We can meet each other on a deep human level with compassion now, and in acknowledgement of all the other atrocities and traumatic events that are a near constant on the global stage. Honoring the fact that many challenges exist, and we may not send a special message out to address each one as it arises.
There are many things that we can do to take action around this issue, and also, those of us who continuously rise to action are very tired.
As coaches, we can hold non-judgemental space for our clients to express emotion and concern. There are many wonderful funds to donate to. People who are seeking abortions will need to be provided with help and safety. Protests will generate visibility. And finally, one of the most important things that you can do if you live in the US is to vote. Our elected officials can change the course of history for better or worse, and it is the responsibility of US citizens to tend to our houses of power.
The ICF Code of Ethics states that it is not enough for coaches to merely avoid bad; we must become active in fighting to eradicate systemic injustice and level the playing field from an intersectional perspective. The right to healthcare directly affects the ability of humans to flourish in life. Abortion is healthcare.