First appeared in NewsBreak
By Aron Solomon
Last June, the Supreme Court overturned the landmark decisions of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, which together had established and fully entrenched the constitutional right to an abortion in the United States.
The 5-1-3 majority decision was made through the vehicle of the new landmark case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, in which this activist Court’s conservative majority held that a woman’s right to have an abortion is not protected by the Constitution.
The Roe decision, made in 1973, had established that a person may choose to have an abortion until a fetus becomes viable, based on the right to privacy contained in the Due Process Clause of the Constitution.
The decision in Dobbs was immediately and widely criticized by advocates for reproductive rights, who argue that it will have a devastating impact on women’s health and autonomy.
The mood in the collective room was somber; anyone who felt desperation at the Supreme Court’s dismantling of Roe and Casey was justified in spending some time reflecting upon how much the nation had lost and what a profoundly retrogressive step Dobbs truly was.
And if we thought things were bad the day the Dobbs decision was announced, fast forward to a New York Times snapshot from this week, outlining where abortion bans are in effect:
But on the day Dobbs functionally overturned Roe and Casey, some people immediately went to work, including Heather Pinheiro, who has a very busy day job as the Head of Design at Esquire Digital.
In the weeks following the Dobbs decision, Pinhiero realized that resources on the Internet to help women navigate the aftermath of Dobbs, and the beginning of the post-Roe era were not easy, not well-organized, and absolutely not user-friendly.
So Pinhiero got to work and built something that she had intended to be a useful tool, but driven by her design background, wanted to make highly functional as well as beautiful.
The end results of Pinhiero’s intent to build a passion project was a beautiful and functional act of love for the national pro-choice community that ended up becoming a winner of a major design award.
The Webby Awards are annual awards that recognize excellence on the internet, including websites, mobile sites, video, advertising, social media, and more. They were established in 1996 and are presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. The award is considered among the most prestigious in the digital industry.
“Winning a Webby is an honor because it recognizes the importance of our project,”
Pinheiro acknowledged in an interview with me just after the winners were announced.
“But this was intended to be a dynamic project, one that becomes more expansive as abortion in the United States becomes more restrictive.”
What drove Pinheiro to launch Power + Voice was a justified fear that the lack of information and misinformation about abortion resources would coalesce, as they have.
“The same forces that drove the Supreme Court to grant certiorari to Dobbs and were the catalyst to overturn Roe and Casey want women to be deprived of not only the right to choose but the ability to have clearly-articulated information and resources to help inform their choice,” added Pinheiro.
Part of what makes this project special is the wealth of voices on the site. From Pinheiro’s own daughter, to a member of the Maine House, to a Florida lawyer who explains how powerful and restrictive Dobbs is in its historical context, the project is a multi-generational cross-section of women’s voices captured through the urgency of this moment.
Pinheiro shared her hope that “winning the Webby award inspires others to do similar work in their own voice. There is a greater need today for clear, actionable information and resources on abortion than there was the day the Supreme Court announced their decision in Dobbs.”
What ultimately makes Power + Voice and other projects to follow so important is that they are part of a new conversation about Roe. They serve not only to memorialize the Supreme Court’s retrograde step in this fundamental human rights issue, but serve as a critically important catalyst to drive conversations that will shape the new future of abortion rights in the United States.
About Aron Solomon
A Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer, Aron Solomon, JD, is the Chief Legal Analyst for Esquire Digital and the Editor-in-Chief for Today’s Esquire. He has taught entrepreneurship at McGill University and the University of Pennsylvania, and was elected to Fastcase 50, recognizing the top 50 legal innovators in the world. Aron has been featured in Forbes, CBS News, CNBC, USA Today, ESPN, TechCrunch, The Hill, BuzzFeed, Fortune, Venture Beat, The Independent, Fortune China, Yahoo!, ABA Journal, Law.com, The Boston Globe, YouTube, NewsBreak, and many other leading publications.