The leaked SCOTUS draft decision harbingering the end of constitutionally-protected legal abortion was a shocking, although not unexpected, blow to freedom of choice and privacy in America. It was, according to NY Times columnist Roxane Gay, “the culmination of a decades-long conservative campaign to force a country of 330 million people to abide by a bigoted set of ideologies. This movement seeks to rule by hollow theocracy, despite our constitutional separation of church and state. The people behind this campaign do not represent the majority of this country, and they know it, so they consistently try to undermine the democratic process. They attack voting rights, gerrymander voting districts, and shove unpopular legislation through so that they can live in a world of their choosing and hoard as much power and wealth as possible.”

And the calumny of the impending new normal is magnified when one realizes that many of the same people who champion the end of Roe v. Wade, and would wish to impose governmental restrictions on women seeking to make the very personal, health-related decision to seek an end to an unwanted pregnancy, were very recently holding signs that read: “My Body, My Choice,” after the same government issued mask and vaccine mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those folks were adamant that no one, certainly not the government, should be allowed to force them to give up their right to corporeal self-ownership. So, it’s freedom for me, but not for thee. The hypocrisy is stunning.

Meanwhile, the right is focusing, not on the fact that in the land of the free, only some are worthy of freedom – generally white, Christian men – but on the fact that the draft document was leaked. Oh the perfidy! They are shocked that anyone would steal a bottle of water to try to put out a raging fire that they, themselves, started. Let’s go after the water stealer while the fire burns down the building.

But the right’s victory, while devastating to the lives of millions of American women and their families, may turn out to be hollow. It’s a clarion call to the majority of the nation’s citizens that minority rule shall no longer be tolerated. If SCOTUS believes that the issues of privacy should be left up to the voters, then it is up to us to confront the new normal and make our voices heard.

As a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives for Florida’s (newly gerrymandered) CD7, and the father of two young adult daughters, whose entire lives have been lived, so far, under the protection of Roe, I pledge to uphold a woman’s right to choose. And I stand with almost 80 percent of Americans who believe that abortion should be safe, legal, and private. Our democracy cannot be held hostage by Republican legislators or right-wing courts. The news may be dire, but the game is far from over. Now’s the time to fight back.