For a few years, I have wanted to leave California. For one, it’s kind of boring. The weather usually stays the same and, to be honest, the so-called “dreamy and wild” San Francisco just feels like any other city now that I’ve visited it at least a dozen times.

Secondly, it’s very expensive. After Hawaii and New York, California is the most expensive state to live in and, right now, the most expensive state to drive in. Last but not least, it is way too focused on tech. Practically all of the jobs around here are engineering ones and I’m definitely more of an arts student. 

Landmark Decision

But, I didn’t really consider how much I appreciate living in this state until the unthinkable happened: the Supreme Court overturned one of the biggest landmark cases in the history of the United States, Roe v Wade. 

Given that I’m only 14 years old, Roe v Wade was never really a case that I thought much about. I had heard about it a few times briefly during history lessons, but I looked past it and thought of it as just another court case. By April 2022, word started going around that the Supreme Court was considering overturning the decision. I still, however, didn’t really read into it other than seeing the occasional Instagram story reposting statistics and quotes related to abortion.

Nine Human Beings With Supreme Power

In early May of 2022 was my 8th grade class’s trip to Washington D.C. As my field group walked past the Supreme Court on May 3, we saw hoards of people beside us, screaming and shouting, holding bright colored signs that read “BANS OFF OUR BODIES” and “MY BODY, MY CHOICE.” As I stood in front of hundreds of furious protestors and dozens of news reporters and cameras, I realized how big of a deal this truly was. 

In the upcoming weeks, I opened social media and news websites only to see myself flooded with information about abortion and how our rights may be snatched away from us. I began to research and educate myself on the topic, feeling anger just at the thought of nine human beings having the power to eliminate a fundamental human right from women throughout the United States. 

I followed pro-choice accounts and spread the word in any way I could possibly think of. On June 24, I woke up to the constant rings of news notifications. I looked at my phone and, on breaking news, I read “The Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade.” 

‘Shocked And Disgusted’

Shocked. Disgusted. Infuriated. Just two days before, I worked with peers to create a presentation on Roe v Wade during a mock trial camp. And, just two days before, I had said, “The Roe v Wade decision is still in place today.” 

As I opened up news articles, I saw pictures. Pictures of protestors hearing the news. Pictures of protestors crying in anguish after realizing that they had been stripped away of a right. A right that allowed them to feel a sense of control over their present and future. 

Life-Altering Slip-Up

I began to evaluate my own life, realizing that my aspirations to live in states like Texas were now nightmares. I felt unstable and uncertain as I began to understand that no matter where I live, the right to choose is malleable. I looked back at my goals for the future, comprehending the fact that I may not be able to undo a slip-up that could change the entire trajectory of my life. 

I felt dehumanized. Dehumanized that I, and millions of women around the United States, had less bodily autonomy than a corpse. I felt enraged. Enraged that many of the people who preached “MY BODY, MY CHOICE” for masks and vaccines were the same people who abolished the idea of “MY BODY, MY CHOICE” for abortions. I felt exasperated. Exasperated that we were moving backwards. That we were taking away rights from the citizens of this so-called “free” country. 

Yet, I still believe that we, as women, can regain our right. Our basic and fundamental right to choose. As long as we don’t give up. 

Kaashvi Mittal is a rising sophomore at Saint Francis High School. Her interests include computer science, AI, and writing!