It’s Time To Start Looking Up From Our Phones And Pay Attention

The Leaked Draft Overturning A Woman’s Right To Choose Is One Of The Reasons Why

Joanne Tombrakos
4 min readMay 4, 2022

Early Monday morning my sleep was disturbed by my window slamming, a torrential downpour, and thunder that made me question whether my hi-rise building was about to tumble to the ground in a heap of rubble. I never fully got back to sleep yet somehow managed through the day — albeit with the feeling of being hungover — except it was not from alcohol, it was from lack of sleep.

So when I came home after teaching that night all I wanted to do was to unwind, watch the first episode of Stanley Tucci’s Season Two of Searching for Italy, and go to sleep. But first I thought — let’s check in on the news. See how things are in Ukraine and what other horrors CNN had to report on in what is proving to be yet another crazy, exhausting year.

And there it was.

For a change, the breaking news moniker really was Breaking News.

A leaked draft of a majority opinion from the Supreme Court written by Justice Alito revealed that Roe is about to be overturned and women will no longer have the right to choose and make their own reproductive health decisions.

We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision.

Justice Samuel Alito writing for the majority

So much for sleep.

Choice is about to be something reserved for men. Privacy — something already under siege thanks to technology tracking every click we make on our mobile devices is about to be something women — once again — have no control over.

But to be clear unless we all look up from our phones and start paying attention they’re not going to stop there.

This court and the conservative minority in this country that has managed to gerrymander their way into legislative power have their sights set on more than a women’s right to safe and legal abortion.

LGBTQ rights. Same-sex marriage. Interracial marriage. Any of this could be next on the docket.

The Voting Rights Act was gutted by a less conservative court than this one and now lower courts are in full swing with states like Texas and Florida restricting voting rights for anyone who might represent what the majority opinion of citizens in this country want — such as the right to safe and legal abortion. Depending on which poll you look at it anywhere from 69 -72% of Americans do not want to see Roe overturned.

This issue has always been about something much bigger than abortion. It’s about the right to choose — to make decisions not just regarding reproductive health but for a woman to make her own decisions about her body without interference by the government or anyone else.

So while we’ve all been spending too much time with our heads in our phones, the far-right Conservative movement, backed with a lot of money has continued to be much better marketers than the middle or the left. They’ve done a great job in the last fifty years turning around what has been during that time a constitutional right to privacy and choice. They position themselves as holier than thou Christians who are pro-life and that abortion is killing.

But they’re not pro-life.

If they were pro-life they would be against allowing AK-47s to be legal and easier to purchase than a 30-day supply of Allegra-D. They would be more concerned about what happens to a child after they’re born. They wouldn’t be banning books because they don’t like what they say. They would support issues such as Universal Healthcare and the right to clean drinking water.

But they don’t.

I’ll say it again — the majority of Americans believe Roe should not be overturned.

You don’t have to believe in abortion or have one to understand and respect that it is the choice of a woman to make that decision and not that of the government.

Yet we find ourselves at this point in history where the minority voice has figured out a way to push their views on the majority. Again.

It’s not all that hard to do.

We may in theory be a government of the people, for the people yet each state gets two senators and equal representation in Congress regardless of the size of the population. That has helped to seat a Supreme Court on which two judges who have been accused of being sexual predators manage to sit. A full third of the court has been appointed by another accused sexual predator who instigated an insurrection on the Capitol on January 6.

So the question becomes — what do we do?

I don’t have all the answers right this minute but what I do know is we have to start by picking our heads up out of our phones and pay attention to more than Elon Musk’s latest tweet and who wore the best dress at the MET Gala.

And we have to vote.

We have to come out in numbers like no one has ever seen in a Midterm election and vote — no matter how hard they try and make it to stop us. And we have to help those they’re making it the hardest for.

Every pundit on TV is making money trying to convince us all that the GOP will take back control of the House in November — as if that train has already left the station.

But it hasn’t. We can stop it. But first, we have to look up from our phones, pay attention and take action — starting with voting — before they take that right away next.

Originally published at on May 4, 2022.



Joanne Tombrakos

Calling myself a Storyteller since before it was trendy. I use story to teach, pitch, think and escape. Podcaster. Writer. NYU Prof. Follow@joannetombrakos