SAY WHAT? - With the right to choose on the line and a possibly decisive December 1st legal battle looming, thousands planned to march Saturday for reproductive rights in the fifth annual Women's March even as right-wing idiots like Marjorie Taylor Greene were shrieking that in "Biden's Communist takeover" House Democrats "are evil and will kill unborn babies all the way up to birth & then celebrate." The week marked one month since passage of Texas' depraved anti-abortion bill, complete with for-profit public-shaming; it's already prompted multiple legal challenges, a DOJ hearing that saw several female Democrat lawmakers tell the painful stores of long-ago abortions, and two as-expected lawsuits against a doctor challenging the law that en route also exposed its insanity, leading its author to complain they're only "self-serving legal stunts."
The Texas law went into effect, of course, thanks to an uber-right-wing-majority SCOTUS - thanks Susan Collins - whose public approval rating has plunged as much as 20 points since anonymously overturning a 50-year legal precedent in the dark of night with a ruling opposed by over two-thirds of Americans, and even many Republicans. In several recent polls, just over half of Republicans view the court as fair, a dismal 12% of Democrats do, and over a third of Americans say the Court is too conservative - mostly 'cause it's packed with extremist ideologues who, raged Sonia Sotomayor in her Texas dissent, just committed "a breathtaking act of defiance – of the Constitution, this court’s precedents, and the rights of women seeking abortions."
Little wonder three of the aforementioned ideologues have, in the last month, felt compelled to insist they're making philosophical not political calls and it's "pure coincidence" they've "churned out 80 partisan 5-4 decisions" for GOP talking points - more money, less voting, no abortion - and they're not gaslighting us even if they did defend their dubious honor in places where only right-wing big-money GOPers go. Thus did Amy Coney-Barrett carp the court is not "a bunch of partisan hacks" - and irony is not dead - at a center named for Mitch, the hackiest of them all; Clarence Thomas slunk to Notre Dame to argue it's "problematic" for justices to wade into legislative issues though as "a son of God" he's said Roe is "grievously wrong"; and now Samuel Alito has whined to another God-fearing audience that the court "is not a dangerous cabal that resorts to sneaky and improper methods to get its way" (even if damn but it looks like it) and it's "rank nonsense" and "intimidation" to say they outlawed abortion through a sinister "shadow docket" just because abortion clinics across Texas have closed and many legal experts say a court doing its dirty business in secret via shadow dockets is, in fact, dangerous. Still, those dangers pale before Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, an upcoming case that pits Mississippi’s last surviving abortion clinic against state officials who want to enact a 15-week abortion ban that could ultimately overturn Roe v. Wade.
Mississippi's defense of its ban poses "an existential threat" to abortion by challenging the longstanding legal precedent that such bans are unconstitutional. Seeking to undermine the largely accurate pro-choice narrative that pro-lifers are white men telling often non-white women what to do, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch last week argued on a Catholic television show - as she does in her court brief - that forcing a woman to give birth will "empower" her. "Think about this: the lives that will be touched, the babies that will be saved," Fitch told EWTN Pro-Life Weekly's Catherine Hadro. "Fifty years ago, professional women, they really wanted you to make a choice. Now you don’t have to...You have the option in life to really achieve your dream and goals, and you can have those beautiful children as well.” In her brief, Fitch cites "factual developments" to argue women no longer need choice because "modern options regarding childbearing have dulled the concerns," like time, money, free will, behind Roe. "Just think about the uplifting," she said on TV. "This is truly a case chosen by God." Back on Earth, 154 economists have filed a counter brief rejecting most of her "bizarre claims." As in: Mississippi has the country's highest poverty, uninsured and still-birth rate and one of the highest maternal mortality rates; lacks access to affordable child-care or paid maternity leave; is the only state that has no equal-pay law; 75% of women seeking abortions are low-income. Bottom line, Fitch argues: "This case is about is about state's rights." Real-life bottom line, we suggest: No one is more dangerous than someone who believes they were chosen by God to do anything - for God's sake, least of all this.
As a pastor, writes Melissa Florer-Bixter, she cannot define "the grey edges of life," and neither can lawmakers: "The Bible, for all of anti-abortion’s Christian culture warriors, says nothing about start of personhood or the ethics of abortion. But the Bible is clear about this: There is tremendous grief in the world — much of it caused by people who create structural and social hierarchies. For those whose bodies are unruly to coercive power, the result is profound harm."
(Abby Zimet has written CD's Further column since 2008. A longtime, award-winning journalist, involved in women's, labor, anti-war, social justice and refugee rights issues.)