Jul. 2—HENDERSON — The Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade last month, bringing into question women's rights to abortion services across the country, North Carolina included. Rebecca Ferguson, a Henderson local and lifelong feminist, shared her thoughts on the decision.
"What is so scary is our Congress is so failing," Ferguson said. "If they were to do their job correctly, as an American, trying to take care of the American people, it wouldn't ever have to go to the Supreme Court."
"I mean, can you imagine having two jobs, two children, you're the single person, total provider, and now you're pregnant? And, you're a criminal if you do something about it," Ferguson said. "I can't imagine having a child, 10 years old, that gets impregnated, and I'm going to be outside of the law taking care of her physical needs. But I'd do it, I'd go to prison for that. I mean, I'm saving her future."
"They have the power to do it now, they stacked it so they finally got what they wanted," she said.
"I did a full circle, from getting it in the beginning to watching it go away."
Ferguson, 70, has a history of feminist activism. She attended college for art at California State Sacramento, where she worked to open a women's center alongside women from various backgrounds. The 70s was when women achieved many rights they still enjoy today — the ability to obtain a charge card, houses or cars without men signing on for them.
"We had some power, which was wonderful," Ferguson said.
The next question was how to get the word out about it.
"So that's what it was about," Ferguson said, "gleaning information and then trying to spread it and help women that didn't know. And unfortunately, in the South, there are a lot of uninformed. Being from the South, I'm well aware of it being an uninformed area."
Ferguson lives in Henderson now. Her life, too, has gone full circle. Though born in the South, she doesn't consider herself Southern. She was born in Alabama and raised in Fairhope, which she called a "hidden jewel" for the writers and artists who settled there. In school, she was French and art. Many other peers weren't from the South due to a nearby airport.
"From early on, I knew I wanted out," Ferguson said.
But she remains here all the same, for her own reasons.
Activism is different in 2022 than it was in the 70s, for the better.
"In the 70s, when we were fighting for equality, we were up against a lot of men who had a negative attitude about feminism," Ferguson said.
Those same men argued that women had a place in the home — and would then leave their wives in favor of younger women, effectively leaving their former families stranded without an income.
"It's not that way with this generation — the men are involved," Ferguson said. "They think that women should have the rights, so that's a very promising thing because both genders are on board that it's human, it's a human right."
Ferguson noted a key difference between the situation women faced then and now. "It's different in that we fought for these things, we hit the streets for these things, and the Republicans and the Democrats voted and passed the abortion rights," she said. "It wasn't a split country, now it's a split country. It's much more aggressive now — you're either on team A, or team B and that's it. People aren't sharing, or empathizing."
Politics is a sport, in other words. The political divide in this country affects her too. Her brother, a Republican, refuses to speak with her on account of her more liberal beliefs. He has a criminal record, she said, rendering him unable to vote.
Ferguson expressed hope that the Democrats are able to find a presidential candidate who is "dynamic, that can just sweep the people up. And I don't know who it is."
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