By Jessie Seigel / Washington, D.C.
SO. On Friday, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Abortion rights are to be determined state by state, and nearly half the states already have or will soon pass laws that make abortion a crime.
Been raped? Have the baby.
Are you an 11-year-old victim of incest? Have the baby.
Is the fetus dead in your womb or missing a head? Take your pregnancy to term.
Could taking the fetus to term result in your death? Have the baby.
Have you had a miscarriage? Your misery is not enough. Let’s have the police investigate whether you induced it. And if you have a high-risk pregnancy that goes badly, let’s investigate the hell out of your doctor as well.
Did you travel from your anti-abortion state to one where abortion is legal? You’re now a fugitive—and so is anyone who helped you leave the state. Have the baby.
And if anyone—doctor or nurse– helps you abort? Prison for them; maybe for life. Have the baby.
And if you just want to take the morning-after pill because bringing a fetus to term will wreck your life? If some states have their way, too bad for you. Have the baby.
Mission accomplished. Women are put back in their place as second-class citizens. They no longer have rightful control over their own bodies. Men apparently suffering from vagina-envy–who can’t have babies, so have a psychological need to control those who can—have won.
But wait. The misogynists are not done. As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said after the court’s decision was issued, “The Republicans are plotting a nationwide ban. They cannot be allowed to have a majority in the Congress to do that. But that’s their goal.”
And as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow pointed out, if the Supreme Court takes a fetal personhood case, that could be a vehicle for the court to establish a nationwide ban. Welcome to judicial dictatorship.
What can be done?
Personally, I think women should pull a Lysistrata. Refuse to have sex with any men until their rights to bodily integrity are restored.
Currently, protesters have taken to the streets all over the country. But this court’s majority doesn’t care a fig about public opinion.
Voters may well heed Nancy Pelosi’s warning and vote in the fall to give the country a Democratic majority—especially in the Senate—that cannot be stymied by the filibuster. But even if the misogynist bastards are voted out, this Supreme Court can still knock down any law protecting women’s rights that a Democratic Congress passes.
In fact, this court, which does not even try to disguise its hypocritical sophistry, has shown a contempt for legal reasoning. It is moved by political agendas alone. And this extends far beyond the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Only one day before its decision to preserve the life of undeveloped fetuses, the Court reversed a 111-year-old precedent by striking down the right of states to make laws protecting its citizens from guns. That’s logical. Have that baby, send it to school, and let it be killed the old-fashioned way, by an AR-15 rifle or a concealed handgun. After all, gun manufacturers need to make their bucks.
As for erosion of constitutional rights, Roe is only the beginning. In his decision, Justice Thomas wrote: "In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court's substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell." Thomas went even further, writing that the court, after overruling those particular decisions, should eliminate “substantive due process” altogether.
Griswold v. Connecticut declared that married couples had a right to contraception. It became the basis for the right to contraception for all couples a few years later. Lawrence v. Texas invalidated sodomy laws and made same-sexual activity legal across the country. Obergefell v. Hodges established the right of gay couples to marry.
So, next on the chopping block is contraception. I guess couples are supposed to go back to the old Vatican-approved rhythm method—or maybe Thomas would like to ban that as well and have the police barge into your bedroom to assess how you’re “doing it.” Oddly, in vitro fertilization—a method to help couples bring children into the world—is also under threat. Apparently, Thomas would only sanction so-called natural methods of procreation.
And if you’re gay? Back into the closet with you!
But okay, Justice Thomas. Let’s give you what you want. Let’s reconsider all substantive due process precedents. Let’s start with Loving v. Virginia, which established the right to marry a person of a different race. We’ll do that just for you. For you and Ginni. Let’s eviscerate that precedent, invalidate your marriage, and send you both to prison into the bargain. Unless, of course, you and Ginni land there first for trying to overthrow a democratic election.
And if, like Justice Alito, Thomas is for gutting rights not based in the history of the nation, then let’s start with reestablishing slavery—not for everyone. Just for him. Because, given his actions on the court, he doesn’t even amount to three-fifths of a human being. (It would take more than a century to fathom Thomas’s warped, self-hating psyche.)
As Rachel Maddow opined in the wake of the court’s decision: “The conservatives have the power on this court, and they will now wield it however they want, to achieve whatever outcomes they want, to change the country however they want without restriction — and you must do what they say.”
What Maddow has described is judicial dictatorship. And that is another leg of the fascism that must now be fought.
Political columnist Jessie Seigel had a long career as a government attorney in which she honed her analytic skills. She has also twice received an Artist’s Fellowship from the Washington, D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities for her fiction, and has been a finalist for a number of literary awards. In addition, Seigel is an associate editor at the Potomac Review, a reviewer for The Washington Independent Review of Books, and a dabbler in political cartoons at Daily Kos. Of this balance in her work between the analytic and the imaginative, Seigel jokes, “I guess my right and left brains are well-balanced.” More on and from Seigel can be found at The Adventurous Writer, https://www.jessieseigel.com.