Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s fight for women’s rights lives on

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Media: Stephanie Purifoy

“I’m devastated by her passing, terrified for who will replace her, and doubtful that they will uphold Ginsburg’s views and legacy.”

By Sabine Waldeck

When I first heard the news of the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg on September 18, I was in disbelief. I was aware that Ginsburg had been battling pancreatic cancer, but contemplating the possibility of her passing was too scary to think of, so I didn’t. I went through a few stages of emotions after hearing about her death. The first feeling was a shock. My chest tightened as I started to refute the news by repeating to myself “No. No. No.” 

After frantically going to multiple news outlets and confirming the information, I felt the grief set in. It started with a wave of sadness and tears filling my eyes. A woman who I and many others depended on, was gone. 

With that came the realization of what this meant for me and my sex. The first issue that popped into my mind was Roe v. Wade. Maintaining the legalization of abortion has been a constant fight for a woman’s right to choose. Ginsburg’s standing on the supreme court gave women the solace that we would maintain this right. With her passing, however, her passing, the reality of a pro-life republican taking her place and overturning Roe v. Wade sunk in. 

I started to freak out. I looked up how long the typical process of replacing a Supreme Court Justice took, reaching for any glimpse of hope. That is when I found that Ginsburg wanted to be replaced after the results of the upcoming election. I wish this would have relieved some weight, but knowing our current president, I was never confident that he would honor what she asked.

Now Donald Trump has nominated Amy Coney Barrett. She is a conservative, which was not a shocking pick, but disheartening nonetheless. Trump vowed to only nominate “pro-life” justices when given the chance, and he follows through on this promise with Barrett. She has stated that abortion is “always immoral.” I feel a sort of numbness to the nomination. Since I was never expecting Ginsburg’s replacement to honor her legacy, when Barnett was picked, I felt more of a detachment to the news instead of anger.

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After having more time to process Ginsburg’s death, my emotions remain. I stand with many other women when I say I am devastated, terrified, and doubtful. I’m devastated by her passing, terrified for who will replace her, and doubtful that they will uphold Ginsburg’s views and legacy. 

Under an administration where we are constantly unsure of what will happen next regarding women’s rights, Ginsburg stood as a constant, a supporter, and someone who would fight for us. This, however, does not mean she did not have her flaws. 

She was a feminist icon. While I would like to believe this is an entirely positive statement, it is also undeniably negative. Feminism has been and continues to be white, and Ginsburg upheld that. It is impossible to entirely praise her and all she did for women without critiquing her faults when it came to supporting Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC). She failed to include the newer wave of intersectional feminism in her views and politics, letting down many women of color who also needed her support. 

The future of the Supreme Court and its rulings look bleak. I wish I could manufacture a positive outlook and be confident about what is to come, but with a conservative majority, there is very little I feel hopeful about. The progress I and other democrats have been hoping to see is halted until further notice. 

With all of that, “Notorious RBG” (as she was commonly referred to) was a trailblazer for women’s rights and her achievements will never be forgotten. To women everywhere, I am with you. I feel your sadness. I know you are scared, and so am I. From here on out it is up to us to uphold Ginsburg’s legacy and continue to push for the change we need. It is easy to feel defeated. However, after the process of grieving ends, we have to enter a process of fighting.  Fighting for ourselves, but more importantly, for one another, just like Ginsburg. 

Waldeck is a junior studying journalism. Editor-in-chief Diti Kohli did not edit this article due to a conflict of interest. If you would like to respond to this thought piece in the form of a letter to the editor, email [email protected] Letters may be edited for style and clarity.