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Protesters gather in front of the U.S. Supreme Court following the Dobbs decision.
Photo by Leah Glasser

As a Southeast Asian woman, I know what it means to not have control thanks to the government. The recent reversal of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court makes me feel like I have no power over what I want to do with my body.  

From a foreigner’s perspective, the fact that the highest court in the U.S. overturned a nearly 50-year-old court decision is palpably frightening. 

In 2022, post #MeToo, this jaw-dropping decision allows the government to dictate what a woman does with her body. 

What moral grounds justify subjecting the full responsibility of motherhood on juvenile victims of rape, victims of domestic abuse or pregnant teenagers, as some states are sure to do? 

Where is the compassion toward families who decide not to proceed with a pregnancy because of birth defects they cannot afford to heal? 

What about the abandoned children driven into foster care or homelessness and exposed to predators — and worse — after being neglected or discarded by the young mother, who was forced to carry to term a pregnancy they had no say in? 

To the morality police, I ask, where are the tougher laws on child abuse, rape, domestic violence and sexual harassment?  

Where are the laws that guarantee the safety and protection of young women, teenage girls and women in the workplace? 

And how about laws that help protect the young and vulnerable? 

The overturning of Roe v. Wade comes only weeks after the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas — another massacre and another example of us not caring enough about the preciousness of life.   

A government that cannot protect women’s and children’s rights should not dictate morality.

When the dignity, safety and physical well-being of women is guaranteed at every level of society, then and only then, should the government consider mandates over reproductive decisions.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Antionette Stephen is a writer incarcerated in New Jersey.