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Meghan Markle is opening up about how she and her husband Prince Harry reacted to the reversal of Roe v. Wade.
The Duchess of Sussex spoke to award-winning journalist Jessica Yelling about the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision for a Vogue feature published on Tuesday. While discussing Harry’s thoughts about the ruling, the 40-year-old said “his reaction last week was guttural, like mine.”
“Men need to be vocal in this moment and beyond because these are decisions that affect relationships, families and communities at large,” the former American actress explained. “They may target women, but the consequences impact all of us. My husband and I talked about that a lot over the past few days. He’s a feminist too.”
The mother of two stressed it is important for people, now more than ever, “to band together.”
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“I know that for many women right now, there is a sentiment of despair,” said Markle. “But again, we have to band together and not wallow. We have to do the work. This moment requires unity – really listening to people, understanding the Constitution was written at a time when women were second-class citizens. We’re not . Certain things need to change.”
“I think it’s equally about honoring the people who’ve been doing the work long before us, like [feminist icon] Gloria [Steinem],” she continued. “I’m grateful that I’m holding a baton right there next to her and that we will continue to be doing this work together.”
The former “Suits” star also reflected on her miscarriage. In 2020, she wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times detailing her experience in hopes of helping others. She and Harry, 37, are parents to a son named Archie, 3, and a daughter named Lilibet, 1.
“I think about how fortunate I felt to be able to have both of my children,” said Markle. “I know what it feels like to have a connection to what is growing inside of your body. What happens with our bodies is so deeply personal, which can also lead to silence and stigma, even though so many of us deal with personal health crises I know what miscarrying feels like, which I’ve talked about publicly. “
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“This is about women’s physical safety,” she shared. “It’s also about economic justice, individual autonomy, and who we are as a society. Nobody should be forced to make a decision they do not want to make, or is unsafe, or puts their own life in jeopardy. Frankly, whether it’s a woman being put in an unthinkable situation, a woman not ready to start a family, or even a couple who deserves to plan their family in a way that makes the most sense for them, it’s about having a choice.”
Markle also noted how grateful she was to have such open conversations with a variety of women including Steinem, 88, who opened up about her experience with having an abortion.
“It’s interesting that here you’re talking to two women: one who chose to give birth happily, and one who chose not to give birth happily,” Markle remarked. “And we’re both prospering because we were able to make our own choices. Incredible.”
Steinem said the ERA had been ratified by “the requisite number of states” and called for pressure on the White House and Congress to enact it. Markle replied, “Well, Gloria, maybe it seems as though you and I will be taking a trip to [Washington] DC together soon.”
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Markle also described how the ruling puts many women’s lives across the country at risk.
“This is having a very real impact on women’s bodies and lives starting now,” she said. “Women are already sharing stories of how their physical safety is being put in danger. Women with resources will travel to get an abortion, those without might attempt to give themselves one at tremendous risk.
“Some will have to source abortion pills from unregulated pharmacies. Others who are pregnant and find themselves in a medical emergency will be at the mercy of doctors and lawyers to determine if a procedure that is needed to save her life can even be done at all . What does this tell women? It tells us that our physical safety doesn’t matter, and as a result that we don’t matter. But we do. Women matter.”
“These issues are systemic, interconnected, and preventable,” Markle shared. “Women of color and especially Black women are most impacted by these decisions because most of us don’t have the same access to health care, economic opportunity, mental health resources… the list goes on.”
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Roe v. Wade was the landmark Supreme Court decision of 1973 that granted women the right to an abortion in every state. The Supreme Court’s 6-to-3 ruling on June 24 eliminated the constitutional right to an abortion, giving individual states the power to decide whether to allow the procedure. The court’s overturning of the ruling is likely to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states.
Pregnant women considering abortions had already been dealing with a near-complete ban in Oklahoma and a prohibition after roughly six weeks in Texas. Clinics in at least eight other states — Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, South Dakota, Wisconsin and West Virginia — stopped performing abortions after the Supreme Court’s decision.
In Ohio, a ban on most abortions at the first detectable fetal heartbeat became law when a federal judge dissolved an injunction that kept the measure on hold for nearly three years. Utah’s law was also triggered by the ruling, going into effect with narrow exceptions.
Markle became the Duchess of Sussex when she married the British prince in May 2018 at Windsor Castle. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s departures from royal duties began in 2020 over what they described as the British media’s intrusions and racist attitudes towards Markle. The family now resides in the coastal city of Montecito, California.
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In the wake of leaving royal duties, the married couple gave an explosive TV interview to Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, in which they described painful comments about how dark Archie’s skin might be before his birth. The duchess talked about the intense isolation she felt inside the royal family that led her to contemplate suicide.
Buckingham Palace said the allegations of racism made by the couple were “concerning” and would be addressed privately.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.