This Women’s History Month, Let’s Reflect on our Past, but Not Forget What’s in Front of Us

March is Women’s History Month in the United States, a time in which we recognize the often overlooked historical contributions women have made to our society.

What originally began in 1978 as a weeklong celebration in Sonoma, California, to coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8, Women’s History Month has since expanded and grown to all corners of the country.

While many take this time to exalt the importance of incredible women who fought for things such as equal rights, fair pay, representation, and the right to vote — March 2024 feels different for me. The backdrop against which we celebrate this Women’s History Month is cluttered with headlines that remind us how we are regressing on so much progress we have made in this country.

One fresh example that comes to mind: A few months ago, a woman in Texas by the name of Kate Cox was pregnant with a child that had Trisomy 18, a genetic condition that causes severe developmental problems. According to Cox’s doctors, the prognosis for the baby was death before or shortly after birth, and Cox’s future fertility was at risk.

Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Texas has instituted an outright abortion ban, only allowing for abortions in incredibly narrow circumstances. The law in Texas is written so ambiguously, though, that access to abortion even in life-threatening circumstances is often not provided.

We saw this with Cox, who ultimately had to travel to New Mexico to seek out an abortion that likely saved her life and spared her future fertility.

Cox’s story is heartbreaking, but sadly, it’s not an outlier. Across the country, states have been restricting or banning access to abortions since the overturning of Roe v. Wade. And to be clear, these attacks on abortion access are strongly rooted in the dangerous ideologies of Christian nationalism.

Just this week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, a case in which the legality and availability of mifepristone, a pill that can be taken to terminate an early pregnancy, is at stake.

March 2024 feels different because it is different. We’re at an inflection point that will affect how our collective history is written and remembered moving forward.

While we should certainly uplift and amplify iconic women such as Sophie Bryant, Gloria Steinem, Sojourner Truth, Patsy Takemoto Monk, Eleanor Roosevelt, Marie Curie, Rosa Parks, Clara Barton, and so many others during this month, we should simultaneously stay vigilant to ensure that the progress they and others fought for isn’t entirely lost.

One thing you can do to help is head over to our Humanist Action Headquarters and show your support for the Abortion Justice Act. This piece of legislation would codify Roe v. Wade’s former federal protections, provide funds to help increase abortion access or to support individuals who need access to abortion care, help to increase the number of abortion providers across the nation, and much more.