What Does The Overturn of Roe V Wade Mean to You

#PositivelyPowerstories – July 4, 2022 – Episode 29

Powerstories Theatre stages true stories to open minds and hearts and inspire action worldwide.

As part of our online time capsule, we share submissions or more from our neighbors around the city, country, and globe. While most are the stories that bring a smile to our faces and joy to our hearts, the overturning of Roe V Wade is something weighing heavily on us all. Below are stories, poems, and conversations about this sad, historic moment in our history.

To send us your own story, click the button to complete our form, and upload your own work.

Background art by #theimtiredproject


Protest photos submitted by Fran Powers

Fran Powers, Janice Nepon Sixt, Cheryl Flowers

  • Tampa, FL

Art Submitted by Sandra Ragg

  • Tampa, FL

Video Story Submitted by Carolyn Gage

  • Southwest Harbor, ME

Poem Submitted by Deborah Bostock-Kelley

While we slept
The supreme court shoved bibles into our uteruses
Though we dreamt soundly as they were pushed deep inside
We woke up bleeding, bruised, and swollen
Pregnant with a body that we no longer owned
Forced to give birth to Evangelical verse that only
While inside our wombs
The mother of any age
Of any circumstance
just an oven
Baking the loaf
Without instruction
If one dies during the preparation
There’s always another
This ruling assures it

  • Tampa, FL

Poem Submitted by Madison Claire

  • Tarpon Springs, FL

Story Submitted by Janice Creneti

Turning Back the Clock on Women’s Sovereignty by Janice Creneti Your life belongs to you. You. Independent of what anyone else thinks or believes or wants, your life is yours. You decide what passions to pursue. You decide what you will and will not do with your body. No one else has more authority over you than you. You have sovereignty. I wish this was the overwhelming message I’ve received about my life from our society. It’s not. Just the opposite, in fact. I have struggled for days trying to figure out what to say, where to start. This is about religious liberty. This is about the death throes of the Patriarchy. This is about the lure of the false sense of security that authoritarianism offers. All legit, but they felt too preachy, too much like a lesson or a lecture. Plus, rule number one of a Powerstory: you are the main character. So, I have to be the main character here. I have to tell my story. I am lucky, I guess you could say, to be beyond my childbearing years. The overturning of Roe v Wade will not prevent me from having an abortion should I need or want one. But in my mind, it’s beside the point. The punch I felt to my gut about Roe v. Wade wasn’t about abortion access alone, it was about what the ruling meant. It was about the reshaping of liberty. It was about my very existence as a woman. It’s been a rough road for me as a woman, although many, perhaps most, women have had it rougher. I grew up in a neighborhood that was mostly boys, and I was taunted and bullied by them horribly well into my teens. I was told as a young teenager that I shouldn’t talk about the things I talked about because “boys don’t like smart girls.” I was sexually assaulted by a “friend” when I was 18. In college I was told I had no place pursuing science because women were too emotional to be good at it. As a young teacher I was sexually harassed by the male students in the high school where I taught, they would catcall and whistle at me when I walked from my classroom to the office. When I shared what was happening with my administrator, I was told I should be flattered because “Ten years from now they won’t be whistling, and you’ll wish they were.” I discovered my male colleagues who told me to “lighten up” about the sexual harassment were telling their students that I was so uptight because I needed to get laid. I was chastised by my boss for not taking my husband’s name. In my forties I was told by another boss, along with the three other women also in their forties, that he would never hire another woman in their forties because “they think they know so much.” Don’t get me started on what I went through any time I bought a car. My insurance rates were higher because I might have a child someday. My birth control was not covered when I was younger, and it was expensive on my meager teacher’s salary. I learned to keep my cleavage covered so I couldn’t be labeled as “asking for it.” I learned to be wary of walking by myself at night. I learned I got better medical care from female doctors who would take my concerns seriously rather than chalking them up to “stress.” All in all, pretty run of the mill patriarchal crap. If you’re a woman reading this, you’re probably thinking “yup, been there” or “you got off easy.” As a white woman, my privilege has protected me from the worst of it, but patriarchy sucks, my friends, it sucks. The society I have been raised in has told me in countless ways that I don’t count – because I am a woman. I’ve bucked the messaging throughout my life, starting with the purchase of a t-shirt when I was nine years old that read, “When God created man, SHE was only joking.” At ten, my shirt read, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” On one hand, this is funny, on the other hand it is tragic, that I felt the need at such a young age to become part of the resistance but become part of the resistance I did. I started telling off the boys in my neighborhood. I earned a degree in science. I spoke at a conference on sexual harassment in public schools, landing my name in the Washington Post. I parted with a controlling boyfriend. I divorced a man who wasn’t interested in my equity. I marched for the ERA and women’s rights. I quit jobs with sexist bosses. I got an abortion that was in the best interest of my own life, because my life matters first. I got involved with Powerstories to elevate women’s voices. I demanded my seat at the table. But with the Roe v. Wade verdict, I felt the seat get pulled out from under me. The overturning of Roe v. Wade means that women do not have right to the same level of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as men. That’s what it means. Women will be forced to breed whether they want to or not, like livestock. Women will again die from back-alley abortions and non-viable pregnancies. The responsibilities of pregnancy will rest squarely on women’s shoulders as there is no legislation being put forth to hold men to any level of accountability. Of course not. In our current society, men are first class citizens (if they’re also lucky enough to be white, straight, cis-gendered and preferably Christian). Women are once again being asked to take their place two steps behind, to cede their lives to their fathers, their husbands, their religions – bowing to original sin. Women are being asked to acknowledge themselves as the weaker sex, incapable of making appropriate decisions. And if Clarence Thomas makes good on his promise and birth control is next, women are being asked to accept that their sexuality exists solely to serve men and secure the species, not as an expression of the fullness of their own humanity. I don’t know about you, but I’m taking a hard pass on that offer. To quote the Eagles. “I will not lie down. I will not go quietly.” Fifty-six-year-old me has no intention of letting ten-year-old me down. My current t-shirt says, “And you thought I was a nasty woman before? Buckle up, buttercup.” The Patriarchy may be trying to pull the seat out from under me, but I’m not letting go. Because letting go is not an option. Going back is not an option. There is only to go forward. Patriarchy must be toppled. Women across the globe need to regain their rightful place at the table so they can give to the world the vast bounty they have to give. Humanity’s existence depends on it. Find a way to get involved. Donate. Volunteer. Run for office. Use your voice. Look for ways to empower women. If you’re a woman, take your seat at the table and don’t take no for an answer. If you want women to have true liberty and sovereignty, buckle down. If you’re trying to stand in the way of that, buckle up.

  • Clearwater, FL

Story Submitted by Corynne O’Keefe

Yesterday I had a medically necessary abortion. Did that get your attention? I hope it did.
10 weeks ago I went to the ER and found myself in a mothers worst nightmare. Our babies heart had stopped. Not only that but it had stopped three weeks prior and I had no idea. I made an appointment with my clinic the next day and because I had already started spotting she said I was going to do this naturally.
Seven weeks later, after multiple blood draws and appointments, I asked for a D&C because the bleeding did not stop. My HCG had started increasing at this point and I knew something wasn’t right. I could not emotionally or mentally handle it anymore. I basically begged and the referral she handed me ended up with multiple clinics saying that I would not be able to be seen in office for at least another month. I hit my breaking point and went to the ER the following day, praying there was something that they could do. There they did an ultra sound and found that the baby was still fully intact inside me. You heard that right. For seven weeks I did my best to cope and wished everyday for the bleeding to stop so I could finally mourn our daughter. This situation took a huge toll on me and all I wanted was to get back to being 100% for my toddler and husband. This news was like experiencing the heartbreak of the miscarriage all over again. I was told my body was not going to expel the tissue on its own and I would need a D&C by the end of the week.
We struggled for two days to find a clinic who would help me and we ultimately ended up at planned parenthood. After the procedure was done I was told they had found the source of my bleeding. A clot the size of a small fist was in my uterus and everyone had missed it. At any point in those seven weeks it could have ruptured and i would have hemorrhaged. Ultimately, an abortion saved my life.
Does hearing my story make you think twice about the word abortion? It should. You don’t get to pick and choose which stories or scenarios you agree with. Had I been in one of the trigger states that changed their laws after Roe was overturned yesterday, the outcome of my situation could have been much different. I’m thankful I was able to get the help I needed and I’m home safe with my family. I’m thankful an abortion was even an option for me.
There will be no more of this “agree to disagree” from me. Abortion is healthcare. Period.
  • Tampa, FL

Protest Photo submitted by Samantha Ponzillo

  • Sarasota, FL

Story Submitted by Nicole Evans

Hello Saturday…. Creeping in through the night to cover the bruises left from yesterdays gut punch to the nation. I believe in the good, logical minded majority. Together, we will move forward. We will regain ground lost and go beyond… to a world where women/girls can be born with the rights to their own body no matter where they live or who they are. We are not owned by a nation, state or man. We are free.

  • Safety Harbor, FL

Poem Submitted by Allison Fradkin

“Grin and Childbear It”

Once upon a time,
the platitude was:
Beggars can’t be choosers
Today the attitude is:
Eggers can’t be choosers
Why not let her be?
Why take the letter B,
the A for autonomy,
the C for choice?
It’s bad enough that you
deemphasize and
dehumanize her.
Must you
de-alphabetize her as well?
But then, the ball is no longer
in her court
It’s being bounced on
fertile ground
and hapless hips.
Because the Supremes’ baby love
has given her the shaft
and the bundle of joy
its reception may result in.
I can just hear the majority humming
your infantilizing victory song
as they over-the-moonwalk on air:
Breed it, just breed it.
Well, she doesn’t have to be
Janet Jackson
to take control,
so you can beat it
like Michael would roll.
It’s really that simple.
Because when you take the pro
out of reproductive
you get reductive.
So you may not want to
rejoice yet.
Because she’s going to
re-choice yet
Her fight’s not over.
It’s ovaried.
As a matter of fact,
she’s giving birth
to the totally
that yes, she can
uterise up
and take you down.
You must
support that babe
up in arms.
After all, you believe that
life begins
at conception,

  • Northbrook, IL

Art Submitted by Amy C. Ragg

  • Tampa, FL

Poetry Submitted by Robyn Crosa

Poem- To the Patriarchy

You don’t own us
We belong to Nature
You don’t own Nature
You don’t own the Land
If you continue this behavior
You will die by your own hand!

You don’t own the land
You will be buried beneath the ground
If you continue on this course
You will be lost and never found
Let the sword of Damocles fly
Let it rain fire from the sky!

No baby is illegitimate
The man who abandons his partner is
This is the truth but you have hidden it
Your heart is filled with lies
Let the sword of Damocles fly
Let it rain fire from the sky

  • St Petersburg, FL

Story Submitted by Barry P. Silber

Of Condoms, Controversies, and Compassion

It was the early 1980’s and I was in my early 30’s. My significant other at the time was a lovely, yet shy person. It didn’t take long before we became sexually active. Olivia made it clear that she did not like the Pill, as there were some potential health hazards. So, condoms were our chosen birth control method. I had no problem with this, as I did not want to take unnecessary risks or be a part of a pregnancy. As we got to know each other, as couples do, we shared our personal histories. I told Olivia that I was so shy during high school, I never had a date, let alone any sexual experiences. She revealed that during her freshman year of college, her boyfriend did get her pregnant. She knew that as an 18-year old, she was not in a position to become a single parent or have her life disrupted. However, this was Florida in 1971, and abortion was illegal. Through her personal contacts, she found a minister from a liberal denomination, who would fund her trip to New York, so that she could terminate her pregnancy. Olivia made it sound like a whirlwind undertaking: she called in sick that day to school, took an early-morning flight, had the procedure, and returned that evening. Despite the stress involved leading up to that day, and having a momentary life disruption, there was no evidence of any regrets or enduring trauma for Olivia. During the two years we dated, Olivia made it clear that, despite practicing an effective form of birth control, that if an accident happened, she hoped that I would understand that abortion was still her choice, as she was not ready for parenthood. I willingly complied because I felt I was also, in my mind, too young to be a parent and it was not my burden to have to carry a child to term. We both knew that abortion was now legal and would not be difficult to attain. During a romantic vacation trip to Key West, we mutually agreed that we were tired of using condoms, and decided to risk having unprotected sex. We believed it was a safe time of her cycle. However, this Sword of Damocles did hang over our heads for about six weeks. Olivia and I were attending a New Year’s Eve party, where she excused herself to use the facilities. Upon her return, she whispered to me that she was not pregnant. We both breathed, almost in harmony, a shared sigh of relief. As time passed, so did our relationship. I think we would both agreed, without bitterness, it was best to go our separate ways. I did keep in contact with Olivia’s sister, who disclosed that Olivia married a college professor, moved up north and had a daughter. I did manage to reach out to Olivia through social media, and we shared our personal stories electronically over the past forty years. I told her about getting married at the age of 45, having two stepchildren, and now experiencing the joy of being the grandparent to two fantastic grandkids. And now we are faced with the overturning of Roe v.Wade. This attack on a woman’s personal freedom will impact people in so many ways. I can’t help but wonder how many more “Olivias” will there be? How many will have the resources to travel to a state that allows abortions? How many will be left without choices, due to financial or social limitations, travel impediments, and be forced to carry their pregnancies to term? Worse yet, how many will seek extremely unsafe answers to terminate their pregnancies? I am angry, confused, and grieving this turning back the clock to where a human right over the control over one’s body, has ceased. As my favorite singer/songwriter, Laura Nyro, said: “I got fury in my soul, fury’s gonna take me to the glory goal.” I hope so.

  • Lutz, FL

Story Submitted by Erin Newsome

A while back, I was hanging out with my daughters when my oldest daughter, Corynne produced 2 positive pregnancy tests with a smile on her face. As much as I want another grandbaby, my first reaction was one of worry. Worry, because Corynne was still dealing with a nightmare with her health insurance as would need to be placed on Emergency Medicaid now. The excitement of having a new little granddaughter or grandson to spoil and love and cuddle pushed away any of that initial worry and I hugged her and congratulated her.
10 weeks ago, Corynne called me late in the evening and told me that something was wrong. Something FELT wrong. Though her doctor had told her spotting was nothing to be concerned about, Corynne knew something was off. I took her to the Emergency Room. We sat in the ER and I held her and talked to her as she went through all of the worst case scenarios that were playing in her head- out loud. She was most afraid that she was miscarrying and by the time we got there and she explained everything she was experiencing, I thought she was miscarrying as well.
Call it a mother’s intuition or call it this incredible connection that I have to this amazing little human that I raised, but I knew I had to tell her that we have to take things one step at time. One. Tiny. Step. Fast forward to the Ultrasound – and as I watched the tech take the pictures and watch in live time—I knew. I knew that my grandbaby was gone and that now I had to help my daughter get through this loss.
When the nurse and tech left the room, I hugged her and told her that No matter what the ultrasound shows – there is nothing that you can do to change what’s going on, whether it be good news or bad news AND there is NOTHING that you did to cause this.
The doctor told her the news and I watched my daughter crumble into a thousand little pieces. Based on the size, the heartbeat had stopped 3 weeks prior. I took off work the following day so that I could go with Corynne to her OBGYN to confirm the results and figure out the next steps. The OB was sympathetic and said that it appears her body would go through this miscarriage naturally and within a few weeks, she would be ok again. So, they tested her HCG levels in her blood that day and told her she would be coming back weekly for a few weeks to confirm those levels were going down until they reached zero AND she tested negative on a pregnancy test.
Fast forward to 7 weeks later. Her HCG levels went up a point. She was still bleeding. She finally had enough of the “wait & see” attitude of her doctor and asked for a D & C because she was worried about septic pregnancy, swelling and god knows what the hell else that could possibly be going on inside of her uterus while she was waiting to see what happened.
She called me and I told her I would take her to the ER the following day and we would not leave until someone answered ALL of her questions and a plan was put in place. We spent the whole day at the ER, they did ANOTHER Ultrasound and found that during that 7 weeks of bleeding her body had not made any progress. The fetus was still fully intact in her uterus. It was like she never even began the process of miscarrying.
I was in the waiting room during this Ultrasound and when Corynne walked back to the area I was- she was sobbing. She told me what was going on and I was angry. I was angry at the doctors who dismissed her worry and concerns and I was angry at the midwife who told her it would be fine just wait and see. We received a referral from her to contact 2 clinics. Both were booked up to 12 weeks to have the procedure scheduled.
By this time, I had enough. I wasn’t going to have my daughter go through one more minute of this. So, I called Planned Parenthood. They got her in the within 48 hours. And guess what? That is NOT the end.
Corynne had to have a sternal rub when going under the anesthesia which was the first thing that scared the crap out of me. And then once they removed the fetus, they thought they had found a second sac. Turns out it was a BLOOD CLOT the size of fist. A blood clot that –had it burst at anytime during those 10 weeks – could have caused MY baby to hemmorage and die. 10 weeks. 10 fucking weeks. At ANYTIME I could have lost my baby. And because her procedure was considered non-emergent due to the fact that the only complication she had was the length of time it was taking for her to miscarry naturally – had this been one of those ass backwards states that have trigger laws in effect, THIS PROCEDURE WOULD HAVE BEEN ILLEGAL. There was no evidence that the mother’s life was in danger and there would not have BEEN any evidence of it UNTIL IT WAS TOO LATE. I called the Family Clinic that she was going to this morning and spoke with a nurse. I didn’t give her any specifics but explained the scenario that played out. She was apologetic and said and I quote, “WOMEN’S HEALTHCARE IS UNFORTUNATELY A GREY AREA.” And then she said, It’s only going to get worse, now.
This WHOLE situation is so problematic on so many levels that I literally cannot even decide where to begin. I am going to leave this post saying this: ABORTION IS HEALTHCARE. PERIOD. I don’t care if you feel its murder. I don’t care if YOUR God says its wrong. If you have a penis agree with the recent decision to strip women of their right to choose—your opinion doesn’t matter. You don’t have the ability to ever understand what any of this is like. So, step back and shut up—the women who would like autonomy over their own f*cking bodies are currently speaking.
And for those of you who agree with the overturning of Roe and you have ovaries? How do you sleep at night? The blood of hundreds of thousands of women will be on your Christian hands. Banning abortion is NOT going to stop it- it’s just going to make it unsafe and performed in back alleys just like it was before 1973.
You should thank your Christian God for places like Planned Parenthood because without them I could conceivably have lost my daughter in this nightmare. I am angry and I have every right to be.
Corynne’s is just one of countless stories like this.
And this decision is just the beginning. They are coming for your right to love who you want and how you want, next.
I will not be quiet. I am DONE being quiet.
And if you don’t like it? Unfriend me. If you don’t support equal rights and a woman’s right to choose then we aren’t friends and we aren’t family.
  • Tampa, FL

Story Submitted by Kathleen Finderdon

I’m 75, so why am I in the verge of tears? After all, I will not need an abortion. And I think that many Americans will shrug this aside, this giant affront to women. This absolute assertion that OUR rights do not matter. This statement that cells which depend entirely in us are more important than we are. Why is that? Why are the cells which depend on our bodies for nourishment, for life, for being, for meaning, more important than I am? Because they may be male? They may be White(r)? They may be anything except a woman? I am so sick of this. So sick and tired of being told that my sex/race/creed/color/age/whatever demographic makes me unable to make and live with my own decisions. I’m 75 years old. I have lived here my entire life. When will I be a full citizen?

  • Ft Myers, FL

Story Submitted by Madison Levine

Today, at 17 years old, I’ve learned I cannot trust my government. I’ve learned I do not matter to them. I’ve learned that my body is not mine to have autonomy over. When I learned Roe V. Wade was overturned I was a kind of devastation I never thought I’d face in my life time. A devastation that meant my future was gone. I was at lunch with my mom when I learned the news. That was a somber car ride after lunch. I cried the entire way as my mom yelled in frustration over the loss of hope for my future. We ran to amazon to purchase as many Plan B pills as we could before they were out. We made the executive decision to put me on birth control as soon as possible because, God forbid, if I’m at a party, and get roofied and raped I would not be getting pregnant. Because now, I’m faced with the horrifying thought as a Florida resident and woman that if I were to get pregnant, I would be bringing that pregnancy to term and altering the rest of my life. I feel hurt. I feel betrayed. And I can’t wrap my head around why. Why a 16 year old girl with a boy friend who experimented for the first time in her life will be forced to deal with that consequence for the rest of her life? If your pro-life, shouldn’t you be pro her life as well? Why a working class mother struggling to support the children she already has will be forced to handle the burden of another child or feel the pain of giving a child up for adoption? Are you pro her life as well? Why a mother who miscarries will be forced to bring her dead child to term, risking her own life in the process? How, as a woman, can I feel safe in America ever again? Today, there was a line drawn in the sand. Today, the government turned their back on us for the last time. Today, at 17 years old, I’m fighting harder for something than I ever have before. Because I am pro life. Pro my life. Pro my future. and that means being Pro Choice and fighting for my future. It’s mine to take back.

  • Lutz, FL

Story Submitted by Anonymous

I was 25 & with a person I thought I’d marry. Then I ended the relationship after realizing I didn’t want that anymore…but we kept a toxic cycle for a little. Then I started getting sick. I was dizzy. I was nauseated. I had a hard time standing because of the lightheadedness. Couldn’t keep weight on. Couldn’t keep food down. My friends, my coworkers – Are you okay? What’s going on? [It’d been a few weeks & I had dropped 10lbs from my already petite frame] Finally, my best friend sat me down & says “I think you’re pregnant. It’s the only thing that makes sense. We can go together. I’m here for you.” After 2 excruciating minutes…I already knew in my gut what it’d say. I have the video of that moment buried somewhere when I read “+.” I couldn’t stop crying. I was scared. My heart dropped. “He’s not going to believe it’s his. He’s not.” Were the first words out of my mouth once I could speak. Reality was disheartening. When I told him, my gut was right – his immediate reaction was “It’s not mine. You cheated on me.” I was an absolute mess. I was heartbroken that the person who at one point was so good to me wouldn’t believe me. Then came the cycle of the avoidance. Leaving me alone when all I wanted was to be helped through the toll the pregnancy was taking my body. He chose everyone else over me & had the audacity to say we keep what was inside of me even though he still didn’t believe it was his. I went to my first prenatal appointment – I was 9wks. I had no desire to raise a child with a person who chose to be out all hours ignoring my existence. Eventually, I got him to bring me to the clinic. The staff was kind. I was called into the back & given the ultrasound to look at the fetus before making my final decision, in case I changed my mind. I was almost 12 wks. I felt nothing. I went ahead with the process. I had given so much to a person who didn’t care about me. I didn’t want to have his child. I didn’t want to be sick. I didn’t want to have a child I couldn’t support. The abortion was the right choice for me. I’m a year from the procedure now & have no regrets about my decision. I wouldn’t be where I am now in my life. I’m thankful I had the choice. I don’t care what your personal beliefs are & I’ll fight for your rights to those beliefs, but you don’t have the right to use what you believe to dictate the choices I make for myself when we don’t believe in the same things. It’s my body and I am so lucky I had the choice. This ruling makes me terrified for the future of other people. To those who’ve had their choice taken from them. I feel lucky, but I also carry a bit of guilt knowing that I was one of the few people who were able to have a choice before it got taken away. Why an abortion is chosen or why it isn’t is no one else’s damn business but the person who is making that decision. We need a huge dose of mind your own fucking business. Stay out my uterus and let us have our choice.

Join us online and in the theatre for the second annual Voices of Women Theatre Festival, showcasing eight local and national playwrights to a global audience. The festival is a combination of two live-in-theatre plays on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, and virtual productions, both full-length and shorts.

The festival runs from Tuesday, July 19 through Sunday, July 24, 2022; however, guests can begin viewing the opening show on July 17.

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