The duchess of Sussex and American feminist icon Gloria Steinem condemned the US Supreme Court’s controversial ruling in a new joint interview for Vogue, published on Tuesday (28 June).
When asked what she would say to men who support reproductive rights, Markle told journalist Jessica Yellin they must be “vocal in this moment and beyond” since these decisions impact “relationships, families, and communities at large”.
“My husband and I talked about that a lot over the past few days,” she continued, adding, “He’s a feminist too.”
“And his reaction last week was guttural, like mine,” Markle told Yellin, after Steinem “testified” she had known Prince Harry as a staunch advocate for “people’s rights”.
Markle also appealed to men and women in the country to “band together and not wallow” despite the “sentiment of despair”.
“We have to do the work,” she said.
Markle and Steinem’s interview comes amid widespread protests against the Supreme Court’s decision to strip American women of the constitutional right to abortion that was enshrined in the 1973 Roe ruling.
The precedent established by Roe and reaffirmed by the 1992 ruling Planned Parenthood v Casey has now been rejected by the Supreme Court, effectively eliminating abortion access across more than half the US.
Consequently, many pregnant women will be forced to carry their pregnancies to term unless they can travel to a handful of states with abortion protections in place.
Outlining the very real risks pregnant women in the US will now face, Markle told Vogue that those without the means to travel to states where abortions are still legal “might attempt to give themselves one at tremendous risk”.
She continued: “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.”
Steinem, whose life and work has fortified the feminism movement, outlined ways for citizens to actively challenge the conservative majority court’s ruling.
“If they’re living in an anti-choice state or with a state that has a majority anti-choice legislature, then working politically is very important,” she told Yellin.
“If they’re in a pro-choice state where the clinics are being picketed or not supported, then it’s important to protect and support those clinics,” she added.
“But wherever we are, we can make clear that reproductive freedom is a fundamental right like freedom of speech.”
Markle and Steinem are currently working together to push the Equal Rights Amendment in Congress. The amendment, if passed, would extend the same constituional rights to women as men.