“There’s nothing more dangerous than professed Christians who have no real interest in Jesus. They’re rather easy to spot if you’re paying attention. They’re usually the ones most loudly claiming things like religious liberty while methodically swallowing up the personal freedoms and elemental rights of other people. They incessantly broadcast their devotion of God on their bumpers and bellies, while living antithetically to the compassionate heart of Jesus actually found in the Scriptures.”
“With sorrow – for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection – we dissent.”
U.S. Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan in their dissent of the decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade
The trio warned that abortion opponents now could pursue a nationwide ban “from the moment of conception and without exceptions for rape or incest.”
“Thirty years, murder after murder, suicide after suicide, mass shooting after mass shooting, Congress did nothing. This week we have a chance to break this 30-year period of silence with a bill that changes our laws in a way that will save thousands of lives.”
Abortion-rights and anti-abortion demonstrators gather outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 24, 2022. The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years, a decision by its conservative majority to overturn the court’s landmark abortion cases. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
It has been one dream of conservatives for decades: overturning Roe vs. Wade. The landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision guaranteed women the right to abortion, in accordance with the 9th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Now that goal has been achieved: earlier today, June 24, the Court has overturned Roe; thus gutting nearly a half century of reproductive freedom for women in the U.S.
It’s a stunning move and it’s left abortion supporters shell-shocked. It doesn’t seem to matter that the majority of Americans support abortion to some extent. Six justices on the Supreme Court have decided they don’t like the concept of abortion, so no woman should have access to it and no one should help a woman burdened with a crisis pregnancy. It is the first time in U.S. history that a constitutional right has been granted and then rescinded.
Social and religious conservatives are ecstatic about this decision. Although the Roe decision startled many people in 1973, the ruling didn’t really become an issue until the 1980s; when the evangelical Christian movement started to make its intrusive presence known. They saw the election of Ronald Reagan as assurance that abortion would be outlawed in the U.S.
At least 26 states were ready to outlaw abortion under most circumstances, should Roe be overturned. Now that it has, they are moving towards the annihilation. Last year the legislature in my home state of Texas passed the so-called “Heartbeat Act”, which bans abortion after 6 weeks (before many women know they’re pregnant) and only allows it in cases where the mother’s life is endangered. That means rape and incest victims will be forced to carry their pregnancies to term. Any woman (or girl) who obtains an abortion and/or anyone who assists in that procedure could face up to $10,000 in statutory damages and face prison time. Noticeably it doesn’t say anything about prosecuting men who rape women or girls.
The overturning of Roe perhaps will be one of Donald Trump’s greatest legacies, aside from his dismal handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. But it won’t so much be his legacy as it will be that of right-wing extremists – the people who loudly proclaim to cherish personal liberty and freedom, but in practice, mean it only for themselves. Everyone else’s personal liberty – that is, people who aren’t exactly like them – is somehow subjective.
Abortion opponents are now presenting – as they always have – what they consider viable solutions to the dilemma of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies; quick fixes that are ridiculously quaint and utopian. They recommend creating a society where every child comes into the world loved and respected; that women always have a safe and effective way to carry out their undesired pregnancies. It’s tantamount to beauty pageant contestants expressing their wish for the blind to see and the lame to walk. It’s wonderfully idealistic, yet extraordinarily delusional. Such answers to some of life’s most complex issues are typical of the conservative mindset: simple and unencumbered. That’s why I always say my brain is too big to be conservative.
In the 49 years since Roe was passed, it’s estimated that some 60 million abortions have taken place in the United States. Abortion adversaries groan that it means some 60 million children never got a chance to grow up and have fulfilling lives. But millions of children have come into the world under the best of circumstances and have never lived fulfilling lives. The future is always uncertain, and occasionally things go awry in families.
It’s also possible that those estimated 60 million children could have been subjected to abuse and neglect. Children who come into the world unwanted often end up being unloved. I have to wonder if abortion opponents are going to dish out any additional cash to help support all those children. It’s easy for them to lounge in their ivory towers – the way religious leaders often do – and bestow well wishes upon troubled souls. Good intentions don’t pay diaper and formula bills; they don’t provide housing and education; they don’t deal with the daily angst of raising children. They’re glossy words that lack substance, unless solid and concrete action is taken to make those lives better.
Liberals and moderates are already concerned that other Supreme Court decisions are at risk, such as Griswold and Lawrence. Even Brown and Loving may come under similar attack. As part of his decision to overturn Roe, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas wrote, “In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell,” referring to decisions on contraception, sodomy and same-sex marriage respectively.
Remember, the original Roe decision developed under the auspices of the right to privacy and equal protection under the law. Those are essential and undeniable features of a truly democratic society. Stripping any particular group of basic human rights isn’t a sign of a moral culture, as many social conservatives would have us believe. It’s more emblematic of a totalitarian world; a universe where a handful of people have blessed themselves with the power to decide what is and what is not appropriate for everyone else.
If abortion opponents think this Dobbs decision will end abortion in the United States once and forever, they are mistaken. After the initial shock has worn off (which is already happening), people will begin to fight back and find ways around it. Whether right-wing extremists like it or not, abortion will happen. There will always be women who find themselves in very difficult situations and feel they must end a pregnancy. It’s been happening for centuries and it will continue happening, even though a band of self-righteous elitists demand otherwise.
Many of the cases that arrive before the U.S. Supreme Court begin with individuals either trying right a wrong or make their own lives better. They rarely expect to launch a national movement. That was pretty much the case when Norma McCorvey found herself pregnant with her third child in 1969. An unemployed carnival worker living outside Dallas at the time, McCorvey apparently had led a rough life and had given up her first two children for adoption. She didn’t need – and couldn’t afford – to bring another child into the world. However, the state of Texas didn’t allow for abortions except to save the life of the mother. Even rape and incest victims couldn’t end their unwanted pregnancies. Like so many women in her situation, McCorvey was too poor to travel to another state where abortions were safe and legal. She even tried to obtain an illegal abortion, but again the cost was prohibitive. She sought legal help and ended up under the guidance of attorneys Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington.
In 1970, after McCorvey had given birth and given up the baby, Coffee and Weddington filed paper work challenging the Texas law and bestowed the name “Jane Roe” upon their client. They targeted then-Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade. Wade had entered the national spotlight nearly a decade earlier when he prosecuted Jack Ruby for killing Lee Harvey Oswald who had been accused of assassinating President John F. Kennedy. (Wade would later come to light as a ruthless prosecutor who engaged in unscrupulous legal maneuvers to ensure criminal prosecutions, no matter the cost and despite evidence to the contrary.)
That was pretty much the end of the issue until the 1980s, when right-wing religious leaders began stoking the fires of anti-abortion rhetoric. It accompanied the presidency of Ronald Reagan who openly stated he wished for a return to an America before the 1960s. That should say enough about his bigoted state of mind, but it aligned with a growing hostility towards progressive ideology and civil rights legislation.
Earlier this week the unexpected news arrived that the Supreme Court may overturn Roe vs. Wade by the end of its current term in June. We wouldn’t know anything about this if it wasn’t for the leak of a draft opinion by Associate Justice Samuel Alito who declares the Roe decision “egregiously wrong” in terms of constitutional practicality. Chief Justice John Roberts has confirmed the veracity of the statement, but has joined many others in condemning the leak.
For many of us the leak isn’t the main concern. It’s what it says. There is now a very real possibility that nearly a half century of protection for that part of women’s overall health care could end because a handful of conservative extremists on the High Court want to inject their personal views into it.
For their like-minded ilk in the American public, the overturning of Roe marks the end of a long-fought battle in their alleged “pro-life” agenda; a perverted early Mother’s Day gift. It doesn’t matter that a majority of Americans don’t want to see a complete ban on abortion. They’ve been working for this moment over the past four decades.
For liberals, though, this is a much more dire situation. While the current case that brought Roe back into the forefront is limited to just abortion, progressives see other seminal SCOTUS decisions in the judicial crosshairs. It really isn’t extraordinary to see such cases as Obergefell vs. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage, reversed. Along with abortion, queer rights have been a target of far-right conservatives. But, if the Court sees fit to outlaw abortion at the national level (and leave it up to individual states), it could also reasonably overturn Griswold vs. Connecticut, which ruled that states could not deny birth control to married couples. Before that decision, married residents of Connecticut (and a few other states) couldn’t legally purchase birth control.
To some conservatives, abortion has become another form of birth control, which is not what contemporary feminists who jump-started the modern women’s movement desired. The latter group had always declared that abortion should be a woman’s last choice. But, with the overall concept of birth control in mind, is it possible a woman who has a tubal ligation could be criminally prosecuted? For that matter, could men who have vasectomies be subject to criminal jurisprudence? How about condoms or IUDs? Could those be outlawed?
Remember that, when Antonin Scalia died in 2016, Republicans in the Senate displayed their usual contempt and disdain for President Obama by refusing to hold hearings on his nominee to the Court, until after Donald Trump got into office. They stated that, since Scalia’s death occurred during an election year, the incoming president should select his replacement. Yet, upon the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2020, they rammed through the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett – a character straight out of “The Handmaid’s Tale”.
That social and religious conservatives want to dictate what women can and cannot do with their own bodies conflicts with the long-held American vision of individual freedom. Many of these people screamed at the thought mandatory mask-wearing or forced vaccinations at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic; crying they should have autonomy over their own bodies. Really? What an original concept.
The reasons why an individual woman wants to end a pregnancy are myriad, but it is no one else’s business. As painful a decision as it may be, I’d rather see a woman end a pregnancy she doesn’t want than give birth to a child she doesn’t want. Children who come into the world unwanted are often unloved. That’s an awful fate for someone.
Regardless, pregnancy and birth are individual choices. No one – not the Supreme Court and not a politician – has the right to interfere with that.
Is he kidding? This is the same Roman Catholic Church that feels it has the right to tell grown people what to do in their own bedrooms. And, this bastard is pissed off that the U.S. government is now telling them how to treat people?!
Catalano, 26, started working as an unpaid intern for Crownover in August 2011, shortly after graduating from the University of North Texas; she then became a paid staffer. Her letter has caused a stir in Texas politics, but Crownover (pictured below) describes Catalano as a “fine employee.”
“As long as men can get contraceptives from stores in their neighborhoods, women should also be able to get contraceptives from Planned Parenthood. Women are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, and among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And the equality of these rights requires that if easy access to contraceptives is good enough for men, easy access to contraceptives is good enough for women.”