Just a reminder that the majority opinion in Roe v. Wade was written by a lifelong Republican
Maria Oswalt /Unsplash (left), Wikimedia Commons (right)

Few topics are as politically polarizing as the issue of abortion. Those of us who are middle aged and younger have always known the abortion debate divided between the political right and left, conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats.

But that has not always been the case.

In fact, it was mostly Republican-nominated Supreme Court Justices who made the case for choice in 1973.

Roe vs. Wade was decided with a 7-2 vote, and not along partisan lines. Those who ruled in favor were as follows, with the president who nominated them and the party of that president indicated in parentheses:

  • Harry Blackmun (Nixon, R)
  • Lewis Powell (Nixon, R)
  • Warren Burger (Nixon, R)
  • William Brennan (Eisenhower, R)
  • Potter Stewart (Eisenhower, R)
  • Thurgood Marshall (LBJ, D)
  • William Douglas (FDR, D)

Those who dissented on Roe vs. Wade:

  • Byron White (Kennedy, D)
  • William Rehnquist (Nixon, R)

So five Republican-nominated justices and two Democrat-nominated justices ruled for choice, while one Republican and one Democrat-nominated justice ruled against.


A lifelong Republican justice, Harry Blackmun, wrote the majority opinion in the case, which basically stated that state laws that unduly restrict abortion were unconstitutional—not specifically because a woman had a right to choose to have an abortion, but because of a the right to privacy under the 14th amendment.

When viewed as a private medical decision, the fact that the party-of-less-government-interference Republicans ruled that way makes perfect sense. It has always struck me as odd that the party who advocates for less government regulation and less government interference in our lives would be the one to push for the government to stick its nose into people's personal medical decisions. It turns out, they've only pushed that argument during my adult lifetime.

There are, of course, debates to be had about when a person should be considered a person with full rights and protections under the law, and people are free to debate the moral questions that come with the personal and/or medical reasons people choose to abort a pregnancy. But there's no question that abortion is a medical decision, which automatically makes it an issue of privacy. That has not changed since 1973. That has not changed since Republicans ruled in favor of choice.

It's only since the religious right aligned itself with the Republican party in a direct way (and vice versa) that making abortion illegal became a Republican stance.

Interestingly, that relationship—and the corruption that inevitably results in when religious ideology slips into bed with politics—even played out in the life of "Jane Roe" herself. The woman in the landmark case who pushed for choice, whose real name was Norma McCorvey, ended up publicly changing her stance and pushing an anti-abortion message for decades.

Then, in her dying days, she confessed that it was all an act—that she had been paid by anti-abortion activists to put out that messaging.

AKA Jane Roe | Deathbed Confession Highlight | FX www.youtube.com

Despite how passionate some people's anti-abortion stances are today—and how politicians use that passion to garner support—abortion has not always been a big, controversial political issue. For much of Western history, abortion was viewed as a private matter between a woman and a doctor, and history also shows that making abortion illegal doesn't make abortions not happen.

Since the only things proven to reduce abortion rates are comprehensive sex education, easy and affordable access to birth control, and access to healthcare in general; since choice was originally a Republican-led stance as evidenced by the Roe vs. Wade ruling; and since abortion rates have fallen consistently for the past four decades—more drastically under Democrat administrations than Republican, oddly enough—and are currently at record lows, overturning Roe vs. Wade in an attempt to end abortion seems like a strange goal to pin one's partisan hat on.

Courtesy of Tiffany Obi
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With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.

"Music just makes everything better," Obi said. "If there was an app to bring musicians together on short notice, we could bring so much joy to the people at those memorials."

Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.

When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.

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Yesterday I was perusing comments on an Upworthy article about Joe Biden comforting the son of a Parkland shooting victim and immediately had flashbacks to the lead-up of the 2016 election. In describing former vice President Biden, some commenters were using the words "criminal," "corrupt," and "pedophile—exactly the same words people used to describe Hillary Clinton in 2016.

I remember being baffled that so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

But none of that was true.

It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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Empathy. Compassion. Heart-to-heart human connection. These qualities of leadership may not be flashy or loud, but they speak volumes when we see them in action.

A clip of Joe Biden is going viral because it reminds us what that kind of leadership looks like. The video shows a key moment at a memorial service for Chris Hixon, the athletic director at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018. Hixon had attempted to disarm the gunman who went on a shooting spree at the school, killing 17 people—including Hixon—and injuring 17 more.

Biden asked who Hixon's parents were as the clip begins, and is directed to his right. Hixon's wife introduces herself, and Biden says, "God love you." As he starts to walk away, a voice off-camera says something and Biden immediately turns around. The voice came from Hixon's son, Corey, and the moments that followed are what have people feeling all their feelings.

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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