I had just gotten home from a protest outside an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center when I found out about Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement last June. Like many others, I greeted this news with anger and despair. One more Trump-appointed justice would inevitably tip the scales on many issues, but my immediate fear was for Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to an abortion.
Many of my friends were panicking. People posted on Twitter about stockpiling massive quantities of birth control and emergency contraception. That’s it, was the prevailing sentiment. So much for reproductive rights. I was terrified, less for myself than for my daughter, envisioning all kinds of Atwoodesque dystopias that might come about by her adolescence. I probably cried, as I did regularly in 2018.
While I was freaking out, journalist Robin Marty was organizing her thoughts into a Twitter thread. Having written about abortion rights and their opponents since the mid-2000s, including for Rewire.News, Marty was quick to dispense with hand-wringing over the future of Roe; as she sees it, an overturn is now inevitable.
Kennedy’s retirement “was essentially a signal saying Roe v. Wade was up for grabs,” she told me over the phone. The question has become, she says, not how to save abortion rights nationwide, but how to prepare for their absence.
Marty’s thread quickly garnered enough attention that she turned it into a HuffPost article, and then a book proposal, and then a book. After a breakneck round of drafting and editing, Handbook for a Post-Roe America will be available January 15. When I spoke to Marty, her publisher had just sent her photos of the finished product, but she