During the senate confirmation hearing of justice Amy Coney Barrett, I early on began chomping at the bit to hear a critical and revealing question posed by one of the senators. The question? “Ms. Barrett, if you were pregnant within the first trimester, and your physician gave you the grim news that if the fetus is not aborted, you will die, how would you decide- your life, or the fetus?”
For fifty years, women in our country have had sovereignty over their own bodies. This is not to say that patriarchy, entrenched in varying degrees in all societies, has been relegated to the ash heap of history. No indeed, it casts its dark shadow in most facets of our lives. But for half a century, women have been able to live their lives as more than breeders under a supposed god driven edict to go forth and multiply. I’ve got my thinking cap on, and I’m trying, trying heroically, to think of what person should know better if a fetus should come to birth than the person carrying that entity which in fact is not yet a child? Prior to Roe V. Wade, repealed today by an ultra-conservative majority supreme court, women who sought abortions were societal pariahs, and indeed criminals. Tales of the back alley quack with bourbon on his breath and a rusty coat hanger in his hands performing abortions are not apocryphal. Countless women have died from such butchery (so much for the Right’s constant evocation of the sanctity of life.) If we role back the clock to the days of our founders, termination of pregnancies was as normal as any other medical procedure. In 1748, “The Instructor,”a popular British manual for all matter of real life issues, was adapted by Ben Franklin himself, to include how to perform at home abortions. In Colonial times, abortion was a common part of life, barely inspiring discussion, let alone push-back. In Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion of overturning Roe V. Wade, he states, “The inescapable conclusion is that a right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions.” Was he referring to our nation? For the 18th century colonists, it was very deeply rooted and as traditional as apple pie.
Joe Manchin and Susan Collins both have stated that they were snookered when they voted to confirm the Trump Supreme Court nominees. Gorsuch stated, when asked if he would support abolishing Roe V. Wade, that it’s “The law of the land.” He added that Roe is a Super-Precedent. “The ruling has been reaffirmed many times, I can say that.” Barret stated that Roe meets all the rules of “Stare Decisis,”the legal principle that precedents should not be overturned without strong reason. Kavanaugh stated that Planned Parenthood V. Casey, the 1992 case that reaffirmed Roe, was “Precedent on precedent.”
Why did they say these things when they clearly didn’t mean them? I believe the legal term is, “They lied through their teeth.”
Justice Clarence Thomas opined that the rationale for the decision to give Roe the boot, could be applied to overturn other major cases, including Gay marriage. I wonder if he would also consider the 13th amendment?
Roe V. Wade has been woven into the fabric of our society for fifty years, with a decided majority of Americans supporting it. But what is really happening? Justice and equality acquired through the sacrifice and blood of millions is being purged by a powerful minority of religious zealots hell bent on cramming their barbaric and unscientific beliefs down the throats of the majority. This minority would like to establish America as a Christian theocracy, that in many ways would be more stringent and oppressive than Sharia law.
And so Gays, adulteresses, Blacks, atheists, blasphemers et al, as stated in The Good Book, “Gird up your loins.” The battle has just begun.