Column: A father’s letter to his daughter after Roe falls

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times @mikemcgannpa

Dear Janet,

I’m sorry. We have failed you.

By “we” I mean American society. Your mom and I foolishly hoped that you would eventually see the same rights and standing as your twin brother. But it is clear now that will not happen any time soon.

Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and what had been your right to privacy and to control your own body relegates you and all other American women to secondary status in our society. While we live in Pennsylvania and — for now — you still have the right to control your body, there are those who will seek to take away those choices unilaterally.

Your mom and I dreamed of you soaring into the future, able to determine your own path. That dream died Friday — now some suit in Washington D.C. or Harrisburg (likely clinging to a Bible they clearly have not read) will decide your fate.

We worked hard to make sure you had the same opportunities as your twin brother – I alternated between coaching your youth sports teams and those of your brother’s because I knew it mattered for both of you to have that kind of support.

We cheered you as you competed in sports and music and encouraged you to stretch, grow and try new things.

Now, at 21, you are a formidable young woman with strong views and vision of what you want your life to be. Your future should not be clouded by the deranged demands of regressives who seem to want to bring back the 19th Century, and want women to be barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen.

You want so much more and so much better, I know.

As a proud father, I know you deserve full equality in society. Yet, women continue to be underpaid relative to their male counterparts and discriminated against in many workplaces. Now, they are burdened with coping with unwanted pregnancy — or worse, the prospect of dying because of a procedure that would literally save their lives has been outlawed.

From the day you came home, I wanted to do anything I could to make the world a better place for you and your brother. That included running for office in hopeless races, just to be able to raise issues that I thought would make our commonwealth and country a better, fairer place.

Despite those efforts, I feel like I have failed you. I could not protect you from the angry and the ignorant — those who feel they have the right to tell you how to live your life.

But even through that sorrow, I will not give up the fight and hope you (and your brother) find a way to keep the faith and work for a better, fairer America, where everyone has equal rights.

This cannot be the final act of the American experiment in democracy. We cannot allow extremists to dictate how and whether we live our lives. We must stand up and be counted, each of us.

Yes, I will fight out of love of country, but I also fight out of love for you, my daughter. You deserve to live in a country where women have the same rights as men. A country where all people have a voice and say in their lives.

I am angry, embarrassed and saddened at how we have failed you. 

I hope you can forgive our failures and redouble the fight to restore your rights. 

Know that I could not be prouder of the woman you have become and you will always have my love and support.

Maybe, someday, we’ll have the kind of country you deserve.

Love, always,

Dad.

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