Tonight, news broke of a leaked draft of what appears to be Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s majority decision overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision establishing access to abortion as a constitutional right. That news is an alarm like the 1857
This moment feels more like "Shots Fired At Fort Sumter" to me.
Many individuals and groups drunk on power throughout history have perceived themselves as being at their apex immediately before they suffer a ruinous loss of power. This looks like over-reach to me.
Ol' Mitch's antics with SCOTUS have ensured that we won't respect their extremist partisan nonsense about women's private healthcare decisions.
Heather Booth was the most influential person I ever worked for back in Washington, DC. She helped create the Jane Collective. We will organize, not agonize.
It is very annoying that women need to win the same rights over and over and over again.
I tucked my almost 12-year old daughter into bed tonight with a story about the deaths of women before Roe. Any girl who is old enough to become pregnant if raped is old enough to hear these stories.
I remember attending a packed Hendrix Chapel at Syracuse University in 1968+/_ where listened to Bill Baird, a nationally recognized speaker on eliminating laws against abortion. NYS out lawed abortion at the time. Baird described conditions of death and mutilation in the back ally abortion industry that prevailed for desperate women of limited to no means. He explained how affluent, mostly white women, obtained abortions in most states under doctor's care in hospitals and private clinics. I knew doctors performed abortions, because I knew some young women whose parents helped them obtain medical abortions. But I was not aware of the abortion laws and how and where they were applied.
My Republican mother warned me when I was very young not to allow an ambulance to take her to a Catholic hospital while she was pregnant for fear that if any medical treatment risked her or her unborn baby, that they would save the baby over her. She explained, she had three young children and a husband who needed her as a mother.
I am reminded of many stories from women, both devout Christians and atheists who have dealt with the harsh realities of these laws. Women, some of whom, chose not to have abortions. Some when their fetuses were found to be deformed to an unsurvivable degree and abortion was recommended for the mother's health. They suffered serious depression, questioned their responsibilities, torn between their religion and medicine. Got help from their Church for their decision to carry their fetus, and no help when they finally delivered a still born without any human potential. Then went on to adopt a child of color, that was also rejected by their Church. This particular woman after ten years, two still born, one successful healthy birth and one adoption, found a new church, counsels pregnant parents to make their own decisions with their family and doctors, that abortion is a choice and that God does not punish women who make these hard choices, only people who don't know them or don't know anything about women's health, responsibilities or personal situations.
Clearly the US Supreme Court is not qualified to make these decisions for women and their families.
The decision by our "Supreme Court" should be seen for what it is, an attack on civil rights. Overturning Roe vs Wade won't end abortions but it will end safe abortions. Women will die but the people who sit on their moral high horse will celebrate. This is a very slippery slope for this court of supposedly intelligent justices (although I would question that), to start dismantling many more of our civil rights.
Meanwhile, the January 6th committee keeps finding out more about the illegal activities of Republicans who are still in office and supporting the big lie. We are in very dangerous waters. Democracy in America is under siege.
We need t-shirts and signs that say NO ROE NO SEX. I have fought too damn hard for over 50 years, to have this constitutional ruling be overturned by traitors! That is what the Supreme Court minus Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan, are. They lie, just like the rest of the Republican Party, the party of Sedition, the party of Insurrection. Please don’t tell me there’s nothing we can do that can divert this horrid news. It hits the gut so awfully hard that I can't seem to catch my breath. They will have flows of blood on their hands, coat hangers on their lawns. They deserve every nasty disgusting thing they get. Protest and VOTE!
They'll be coming after birth control next. I saw a headline saying they will soon be targeting all privacy rights decisions. I assume that will take aim at same-sex marriage. Wasn't that decided as a right to privacy issue? Welcome to the Dark Ages 2.0.
On 12/27/21, The Guardian reported the death of Sarah Weddington, 1 of 2 Texas lawyers that won Roe vs. Wade in 1973. Sarah was 1 of several powerful Texas women that became known as the "Austin Matriarchy". During the Gorsuch hearings Sarah predicted that Roe would be quickly overturned. Sarah remained a strong advocate of womens rights, health, privacy & full citizenship. Miss you very much today, Counsel.
What are chances that a SCOTUS majority may have decided that a distraction is needed now to drive coverage of the January 6 hearings even farther into the background than corporate media is already driving it? Ending Roe vs. Wade is certainly the kind of distraction that has the amperage needed to eclipse the hearings from public attention and keep extensive coverage off the front page and out of prime time.
The January 6 hearings have the potential to send some operatives who loaded the Supreme Court to prison. Even if SCOTUS officially abolishes Roe vs. Wade, no GOP operatives will go to prison for that. I can imagine why the GOP might be engineering this for public consumption now.
The party of Lincoln and Eisenhower has now completely devolved into the party of Trump
News flash: it was NEVER "the Party of Lincoln" or "the party of Eisenhower." Lincoln was not favored by the "inner power structure" of the party, since they weren't able to grift during the civil war the way they got to afterwards when he was gone (see: Grant Administration). As to Eisenhower, the "real" Republicans wanted Ohio Senator Robert Taft, a "traditional," previously America-first isolationist anti-New Deal Republican, and were only barely defeated by the pragmatists who knew they had to run someone actually popular (and who better to get all those ex-GIs' votes than their former commander?) if they were going to get out of 20 years of losing.
THESE PEOPLE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN SCUM. Anything they ever did that was good, stopped in 1865 (the "progressive" wing had enough votes during the war to do the Merrill Act, the Homestead Act, the Transcontinental Railroad - which was the only one the business wing liked, since they could see all the graft opportunities, which they took). There's a reason why Harry Truman said 74 years ago that "the only 'good Republicans' are pushing up daisies." The earlier goons only look good in comparison to the modern monsters. Remember, they had no trouble selling out Reconstruction to stay in power.
And while we are mentioning blame, we can blame the last three Republican presidents for tonight. GHW Bush nominated Thomas, GW Bush nominated Alito, and Fatso the Fuckup nominated Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett - the five votes.
And we should also remember who "went along to get along" with his Republican friends, to shepherd the Thomas nomination, denigrating the testimony of Anita Hill, limiting investigation of her charges, and everything else to be a "good guy" to his Republican senate buddies. I believe his name was ... Widen? ... Something like that. Oh, yeah, right - Biden!
At times like this I can’t help but think of the handful of Democrats and liberal Independents in a couple of states who couldn’t bring themselves to hold their noses and vote for Clinton in 2016.
The optimist in me assumes that the history that has unfolded since that election, especially the leaked SCOTUS opinion, has demonstrated to all the profound consequences of voting only for one’s own notion of political perfection.
Democracy is not about achieving perfection, it’s about achieving the possible. (A nod to the memory of Tip O’Neill.)
I was pregnant with my first child when I marched for women to have the right to make decisions about their bodies. My husband was a law student at the time and RBG was his law professor at Rutgers Law School. Both men and women organized and shouted out for our rights. Even when the Court upheld Roe, we knew there would be a day when this would be challenged. We did not worry, for our generation made our voices heard and as Bob Dylan wrote, “we are still marching in the streets, with little victories and big defeats”. We knew the law would protect us. We felt threatened yet safe living in what was then a democracy.
And here we are almost 50 years later, and watching this experiment known as democracy, being shredded by a group
of treasonous Trump cohorts and a bigoted and biased GOP. Three Trump appointed SCOTUS candidates swore in their hearings that they would not change Roe v Wade. These liar Justices now sit on the bench of the highest court in the land. The enemy is once again within.
I have a granddaughter and it is I who will have to explain to her what we fought for for her and the generations which came after us. I am distraught. I will continue the battle, and honor Mother’s Day like never before. God help us all!
Between the Heartless Court's obliterating any right not explicitly spelled out in the Constitution and the Texas anti-abortion law providing the model for states to end around the Constitution through vigilante injustice, we now have anarchy and autocracy and an oligarchic kleptocracy. With rights come responsibilities in a democracy; without rights no one has responsibility. The word woman is not in the Constitution so by this Court's illogic women have no rights. I'm feeling like John Hancock when he signed the Declaration of Independence writing his signature so large. Now to find the leaders who will bring us all together to fight for all our rights and a new Constitution!
In 1988, I was living just south of San Francisco when I find myself pregnant. My then-husband and I received the news happily. Other than bouts of morning sickness, everything went swimmingly through the first trimester. If felt my baby move at around 4 months or so. I went for an amniocentesis test at the recommended 17 weeks.
It took about 2 weeks to get the results, and they are both devastating and unquestionable. My baby girl had a severe genetic defect called Trisomy 13, also called Patau syndrome. Trisomy 13 is a chromosomal condition that causes severe intellectual disability, heart defects, brain or spinal cord abnormalities, poorly developed eyes, additional fingers and toes, cleft lip, and weak muscles. Most infants with Trisomy 13 die within their first days or weeks of life, if they even make it that far.
As much as I wanted her, there was no question of carrying this baby to term. Not only because caring for this ill-fated child would be impossible under our circumstances, but because I was frightened by what had happened to my own mother.
My mother became pregnant with her 4th child when I was 2, and he died in utero at 8 months. Back in the 1950s, the only option available was for her to deliver the baby naturally. So she carried him, knowing he was dead, until he was born at 9 months. The experience drove her into terrible postpartum depression from which she never recovered. By the time I was 5 years old she’d devolved into paranoid schizophrenia. When I was 12, she was institutionalized. She received 35 shock treatments that did nothing to restore her mental health, and died when I was 17.
I felt that I too could easily be driven into unrecoverable depression myself if my situation continued. So I finally received my abortion at 22 weeks after a difficult search for a provider. My milk came in afterwards. I cried for weeks.
The moral of the story is this: forcing a woman to have even a <wanted> but seriously deformed baby can be devastating.
My gloves are off.
I am equally afraid that no Republicans attending the trip to Ukraine means they are weak on our national security, weak on defending Ukraine, pro Russia and other authoritarians, and likely to withdraw from NATO when they have the chance. The story about the rise and fall of the US of America will only be known in underground museums.
Most Republicans in Congress are voting in favor of arms for Ukraine. But those most active in trying to overturn the 2020 election are not. Trump is not and still burning that Ukraine did not serve his political purposes when asked.
That will have to be a lot more protest, get out the vote and law suits to tie Republicans up in knots like Ukraine is trying to do with Russia.
Professor, your conclusion is even more succinct, but I could not resist reiterating your analysis: "[The current Supreme Court majority's] attack on federal protection of civil rights applies not just to abortion, but to all the protections put in place since World War II: the right to use birth control, marry whomever you wish, live in desegregated spaces, and so on."
Thank you Heather. This is the most discouraging Letter so far that I've read.
When Biden became President , I said "pack the Courts." I had people tell me that is uncalled for, some said don't be ridiculous. One of my colleagues said, that's an over reaction. Why would you do that? My answer was simple, I had a very terrifying, gut feeling that our Country was going to become a horrendous place to live. I had no idea how horrible and quickly that would happen.
Here we are.
No one said you have to love the country where you were born. Not even like it for that matter. There is no obligation.
I don't. I hate it for what it will soon become.
Be safe. Be well.