The leaked draft of the upcoming Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade after almost 50 years of abortion rights for American women has set off a firestorm in response. The fury is just beginning. Just wait until we start to hear stories about girls who have been raped, then forced to carry that hideous pregnancy to term because they live in a state where abortion is banned. Just wait until the stories come out about women dying from botched abortions because they live in Arizona or another state that doesn’t allow abortion, has banned contraceptives, and outlawed medication abortion. Just wait until women who are the victims of incest tell their stories about how they were abused by their fathers or their uncles and had to bear the child of that abomination because they live in Texas. This is a right wing Republican war on women coming to fruition that will take our country back fifty years or more.
For the past 40 years many of us saw that Roe being eaten away by restrictions and limitations across the country in red states. Many of us warned that the end of abortion rights was coming, but few believed it would really happen. This draft opinion is the wake up call. This is real. If this draft opinion is anything close to the final opinion it will be the end of a woman’s right to self-determination in Republican states in our country. The Republicans got what they set out to get with five extremist judges on the Supreme Court appointed by three Republican presidents who did not win the popular vote– the loss of a fundamental right we have relied on for fifty years.
The right to self determination (liberty) and to privacy in our medical decisions is the basis for women in America to participate in the workforce, plan their futures and gain economic stability. By ending abortion rights that we have relied on for half a century, the Court has also doused itself in gasoline and lit the match. From now on it will be seen as a political tool instead of a neutral arbiter of justice. Even now only 14% of Americans have confidence in this Supreme Court.
70% of Americans want a right for women to elect to have abortions if needed and see abortion as a medical decision to be made by a woman and her doctor. Only 19% of Americans want to fully ban abortion. I don’t see how this wins Republicans their next elections.
How Did This Happen?
Attacking abortion rights was part of the masterplan by ultra right conservative Republicans to gain a working alliance with Evangelicals, Catholics and other religious groups that working class white (and many Hispanic) Americans buy into with the goal of getting these electoral blocks to vote Republican. Even so, the Republican viewpoint represents a minority viewpoint, not the majority.
This attack on our civil and human rights would not be happening if our country was a true democracy with one person one vote. People who want to keep abortions legal are in the majority but the GOP has worked hand in hand with the radical religious right to get us to this point. Some 40 million Americans are underrepresented in Congress because of the way our government is set up with two Senators for every state no matter what the population of the state is and because of the Electoral College set up to favor red states, not to mention the effect of gerrymandering and voter suppression laws passed by red state legislatures.
The Supreme Court is supposed to be apolitical. It used to be. It isn’t any more. An emboldened extremist ultra conservative minority on the right has gerrymandered, voter suppressed, strong armed, used Citizens United money, pushed hand picked anti abortion Federalist Society judges, worked with Trump and McConnell, and used propaganda on “conservative” media platforms effectively enough to succeed in its 50 year quest to overturn this fundamental right for women.
The Chief Justice, John Roberts is no longer the real leader of the Supreme Court. He might have the title of Chief Justice but that’s only a title. He lost the power. Roberts has urged the Court to maintain apolitical fairness in decision making and follow the rules of stare decisis and precedent. Roberts has clearly lost that battle. When they appeared before the Senate judiciary committee Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett claimed they believed in precedent. All of them told us that Roe was well established precedent. They are not upholding precedent with this ruling. They lied to us.
Once Roe is overturned, other realms of personal liberty and privacy are undermined by this decision. This opinion by Alito undermines the right to privacy which was inferred from a nuanced reading of the Constitution (Article 9) by former Supreme Court justices. If this draft opinion is not significantly altered before being issued, it will encourage challenges to many more civil rights and human rights including marriage equality, and LGBTQ rights, and interracial marriage. These five radical, extremist justices (Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett) will be asked to deconstruct even more liberties by Republican state legislatures. Red state legislatures will pass laws attacking more hard won civil and human rights. This is where the culture wars have been taking us. It is very very ugly.
This Opinion Violates the Establishment Clause
Evangelicals and Catholics have decided that at the moment of conception fetal protoplasm is a baby. If Catholics or Evangelicals want to believe fetal tissue is a baby that’s fine for them. No one is imposing another belief system on them. But for millions of Americans a fetus is protoplasm with potential to be a baby but isn’t a life in being until it is viable (around 23 weeks) or actually born. The idea that a fetus is a baby from the moment of conception runs counter to many religions including the Jewish faith and Buddhists not to mention Atheists and Agnostics. People have different ideas and different religious beliefs when it comes to fetal tissue or fetal personhood. Why do Catholics and Evangelicals get to impose their religious beliefs on others who do not share them?
Alito’s opinion runs directly counter to the right to religious freedom that is a bedrock right in America and this opinion should be challenged under the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment. (But only when the Supreme Court has a greater representation of justices that are not Catholic extremists.)
How is the End of Roe Related to Ukraine?
Is there a parallel between the loss of abortion rights and Ukraine’s battle for survival against Russia? You bet there is! The rabid religious right is imposing its beliefs on every American whether or not we share their idea of fetal personhood. How is that OK?
And Putin is imposing his beliefs on Ukrainians who do not want to be Russians. Putin claims Ukraine doesn’t have a right to think of itself as a sovereign country. This Supreme Court is claiming people with a different idea about fetal personhood don’t have a right to those beliefs either. In both cases the consequences are grave.
There is a parallel. It comes down to power. If you have the power you can impose your belief system on others and use bogus reasoning to support it. That’s what these 5 extremist Catholic justices are doing. They are using the power of the court to blow up 50 years of precedent. Their legal reasoning is shoddy and discards decades of reliance on principles of privacy inferred from the Constitution’s liberty clause. Putin is using his power to decimate Ukraine. He relies on lies and propaganda to support his actions. Same difference. Both are expressions of political power.
Ukrainians are fighting back and they seem to be winning. They know that if they allow Russia to win, their freedoms and rights will be demolished just as the Russians are demolishing their cities. Freedom to choose, to live their lives the way they want to is at stake.
We need to fight back too. Our liberty right to decide what we do with our own bodies and our own lives is being demolished. Our right to religious freedom is also being attacked. American women are under attack from Republicans who have packed the Court with Catholic extremists who were hand picked to shatter our reproductive rights.
Will Americans Who Believe in Liberty Stand Up for the Right to Abortion?
This country is full of people who deeply believe in individual rights and freedoms. That’s what drove over one million deaths from Covid in this country: the right not to wear a mask and not to get vaccinated, not to adhere to lock downs or follow the rules that limited their personal choices, their freedom to do what they want and feel they need to do. Americans insist on having the right to die as long as their liberty rights are intact. In this moment Republicans and Independents who believe in liberty should be on the same page as Democrats who believe in liberty.
The right to decide about your body and your pregnancy is about the most intimate decision a woman has to make about her life and future. This affects men too and they should be concerned about what the Supreme Court doing here. If you think government has no right to tell you to wear a mask or get a shot that could save your life, then how can that government tell you what to do about the most intimate personal decision you will make in your lifetime? It is deeply and indefensibly anti-American for our government to criminalize that personal decision and force women to bear children against their will.
In a democracy we can and must stand up against attacks on our liberty. This opinion banning abortion will ruin the lives, the hopes and dreams of millions of women.
Putin thought he had the power to deconstruct Ukraine, but he might not. These Supreme Court justices think they have the power to deconstruct reproductive rights, but they might not.
We can fight back against this war on us just like the Ukrainians are fighting back against Russia. With 70% of Americans in favor of a right to abortion, I hope we will have a robust army of Americans who support reproductive rights just as some 70% of Americas support Ukrainian sovereignty.
There are things we can do.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Only Democrats can be trusted to fight for abortion rights. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski are examples of Republicans who claimed they supported abortion rights and voted for these hand picked Federalist Society anti abortion Supreme Court justices that were planning to destroy that right. No Republicans can be trusted to uphold the right to abortion. Democrats will. Stop voting for any Republican.
The House has already passed a bill that would make Roe as the law of the land across the country. Now it must pass in the Senate. The problem is that because of the Senate filibuster the Dems need 60 votes to pass this legislation and they do not have 60 votes because they do not have 10 Republicans who would vote with them. There might be Republicans who would be secretly happy to LET the filibuster be bypassed out of fear of losing their elections in 2022 and 2024. Why? Because Republicans have cynically given lip service to wanting to end abortion rights so they can garner votes from the rabid religious right, but I don’t think Republicans really want the right to end; they know they will be blamed for it and they know a 70% (large) majority of Americans want to keep the right to abortion.
Could the filibuster be bypassed just for this legislation? It is possible that given the danger of this moment for women in America, the Dems would try to blow up the filibuster and pass the bill to nationalize abortion rights. Manchin and Sinema would need to be on board. So far they are not. But if the bill does not pass in the Senate, Republicans might face the possibility of being slaughtered in the midterms and in 2024 even without Trump on the ballot as women (and men) across the country rise up in anger against Republican over reach. In a strange and twisted way, this opinion could turn out to be a gift to the Democrats who were heading for defeat in the midterms. The end of abortion rights could rewrite those odds. But only if we rise up and get active.
How Do We Win This War if the Filibuster is Not Overturned?
We march. We work hard to elect Democrats up and down the entire ballot. We battle back.
We must break the Republican stranglehold over our state legislatures (they control 30 of them). State legislatures generate a lot of anti-democratic laws that would not be written if Democrats controlled state legislatures. Democratic governors are also important backstops to veto undemocratic legislation. We need to more Democrats elected at every level of government.
This attack on our civil and human rights would not be happening if our country was a true democracy with one person one vote. Democrats are the majority but some 40 million Americans are underrepresented in Congress because of the way our government is set up with two Senators for every state no matter what the population of the state is and because of the Electoral College set up to favor red states, not to mention the effect of gerrymandering and voter suppression laws passed by red state legislatures.
We must flip red state legislatures from red to blue. Donate to the States Project to support that effort. https://statesproject.org/
We must elect more Democrats to governorships. Donate to the Democratic Governors Assn to support that effort. https://democraticgovernors.org/
We need to keep Joe Biden and the Democrats in power. Until the Republicans stop being so extreme we cannot vote for any of them. A vote for any Republican is a vote against our personal freedoms, our liberty and even our religious rights.
The rabid Republican religious right is like the dog that caught the car. What happens next? I’ll tell you what. That dog gonna get run over! And we need to make sure that happens.
WRITE YOUR REPRESENTATIVE AND GIVE HIM OR HER A PIECE OF YOUR MIND. DON’T HOLD BACK! THIS IS WAR!
We have it easy. Ukrainians are being killed, kidnapped, raped, maimed for life, losing their homes and futures in their fight for freedom. We still have a democracy and all WE need to do is donate, march, write letters, share posts like this one on social media, make calls, knock on doors, talk with our friends and neighbors to get them to vote Democratic and yell at our elected representatives to do the right thing for crying out loud! We can do this. We must do this.