Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned Roe v Wade.
Now, let’s be clear. At my age, I’m never going to be pregnant again, or ever seek an abortion. But I find this decision infuriating on a whole lot of levels. I’m going to try to unpack them here.
#1. Separation of Church and State
The First Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees our freedom from any state-imposed religion. Most of the abortion debate centers, not around medical considerations, but around religious beliefs concerning when life begins.
Does it begin at conception, as some self-styled Christians claim? Does it begin with breath, as most Protestants and Jews believe? Frankly, in this context, I don’t care because the government has no business enforcing one set of beliefs over another. And that’s exactly what they’ve done by undoing Roe.
And if this court can impose their radical Christian beliefs on the entire population, what’s to stop the next court from imposing radical Muslim beliefs, Hindu beliefs, or Rastafarian beliefs on the entire populace?
Those who want to criminalize abortion claim to be “pro life.” To that I say an unequivocal bullshit.
Don’t tell me you’re pro-life when you do nothing about our infant mortality rates, which are the highest of any developed nation. Higher than like Cuba’s or Croatia’s, higher than every European country’s, higher than Canada’s, Australia’s, and New Zealand’s.
Don’t tell me you’re pro-life when you shrug and refuse to do anything to protect innocent schoolchildren from maniacs with a grudge and an automatic weapon.
Don’t tell me you’re pro-life when you support the death penalty.
Don’t tell me you’re pro-life when you criminalize drug use to the point where it’s very difficult or impossible for a user to get help and treatment.
Don’t tell me you’re pro-life when you pay women less than men for the same work, forcing many single mothers and their children into poverty.
Don’t tell me you’re pro-life when the minimum wage is so low that nobody with a minimum wage job can afford to rent an apartment in any US city.
Don’t tell me you’re pro-life when you turn a blind eye to hate crimes.
Don’t tell me you’re pro-life when you support wars all over the world.
Don’t tell me you’re pro-life if you cheered on a mob of violent insurrectionists when they stormed our nation’s Capitol on January 6 chanting “hang Mike Pence.”
Don’t tell me you’re pro-life if you turn a blind eye to homelessness. When I lived in Panama, I was asked many times, “how do you deal with the poverty there?” Well, there are a lot of poor people in that country, for sure, although the middle class is growing rapidly, but in all our time there I never saw a homeless person. Can you say that about the place you live in the US?
#3. Human Rights
To me, this decision is mostly about making sure women in the US are put firmly back in their place as an underclass. If we cannot decide if, and when, to bear children, if others make those decisions for us, we are not free and equal.
“Land of the free, home of the brave,” is how our national anthem describes the country. Now the Supreme Court has put paid to that notion, once and for all.To be, sure, we didn’t come close to being the “land of the free” until the end of the Civil War. (As long as you’re not Native American, that is). After the Civil War, a Black Man was an entire person, not just the 3/5 of a person he’d been before then. And women still didn’t have the right to vote.
White male landowners had the right to vote from the start of the US. Black men got that right on February 3, 1870, when Congress passed the 15th Amendment. Women finally received the right to vote with passage of the 19th Amendment in August of 1920, a full 50 years later.
But women’s rights in every respect were inferior to men’s. As recently as the 1970s a woman couldn’t get credit in her own name, she needed a male cosigner, usually a husband or a father. Equal employment didn’t become law until 1972, and women still don’t earn as much for the same work as a men do — as recently as 2020, women still earned only 84% of what men did. During much of my lifetime it was routine in the workplace for a woman to be fired if she was pregnant, no matter what her job was.
That’s why, when Roe v Wade became the law of the land in 1973, it was such a huge step forward for women. Finally, we could decide when we wanted to bear children. It wasn’t because we all wanted abortions that it was a huge step, but because the decision recognized that we finally had the right to make medical decisions for ourselves.
Fast forward to today.
The ability to make her own medical decisions, without government interference, is fundamental to being a living, breathing, functioning human, and when they take away that right for me, my daughters, granddaughter, and friends and neighbors, they’re sending a clear message.
Welcome back to the underclass where you belong, bitches.
What Can You Do?
The obvious first step is to get involved politically.
If you’re already involved, get more involved. Vote like your life depends on it, because it does. You’re not a woman of childbearing age? Well, as I said before, this isn’t really about abortion, it’s about ensuring women — who still comprise the majority of the population — are less free than their male counterparts.
And they’ve made it clear, they’re going after other rights next. Anyone who’s not a straight, white, Christian male should be scared right now. (And if you are a straight, white male right now and you’re not doing something about this, shame on you.)
You can also vote with your wallet. Don’t do business with people and companies on the wrong side of history. Certainly don’t go to work for them! Several companies have already come out publicly in support of abortion rights, and others will follow.
Speak out against those who want to oppress others.
The next step is one I’ve been telling you about for years. Create a source of income for yourself that allows you to live anywhere. Take steps to get a second passport if you possibly can. There’s plenty of information for you at sites like Anywhereist.com, WhereCanI.Live, NomadicMatt.com, and many others.
Not ready to move overseas? Consider moving to a state that has greater respect for your rights. MakeMyMove.com provides a list of US cities that will pay you to move there, and some of them are in blue states, like this one.