[TRIGGER WARNING: misogyny; contempt for agency and autonomy; language most foul, as well as petty, humiliating and arguably violent revenge fantasies from Your Humble Monarch™.]
Roe was a crap decision, for a number of reasons. Although the Roe court wisely and explicitly rejected the fetal “right to life” argument, it also explicitly asserted that the primary right being preserved in Roe was that of a physician’s right to practice medicine freely absent a compelling state interest, not women’s rights. Before being appointed to the Supreme Court herself, the Palace’s favorite Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg criticized the Court’s approach for being “about a doctor’s freedom to practice his profession as he thinks best… It wasn’t woman-centered. It was physician-centered.” Worse, the historical and constitutional rationale for abortion rights has been all over the map, making Roe particularly vulnerable to attack. For example, the Roe decision was issued on appeal from a District court ruling that found support for the constitutional right to abortion in the 9th Amendment, which the Supreme Court rejected in favor of the 14th Amendment. Justice Harry Blackmun, writing for the majority, said:
This right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or, as the District Court determined, in the Ninth Amendment’s reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.
In my anything-but-humble opinion, the constitutional right to abortion can unequivocally be found in the 13th Amendment, which (purportedly) abolished slavery. That is, of course, precisely what forcing any person to continue an unwanted pregnancy and give birth is: slavery. On this point, it is not coincidental that Roe was decided during the successful backlash* by conservatives against the Equal Rights Amendment.
Although I will grant that legitimate criticisms exist against the constitutional basis for Roe, such legitimate criticisms manifestly do not include:
- Religious conservatives insisting that treating women as humans would not only guarantee universal abortion rights, but also guarantee the right of gay couples to marry. Like that’s a bad thing or something. ?
- Benjamin Wittes: Roe “disenfranchised millions of conservatives on an issue about which they care deeply.” Yes, despite the long, embarrassing and hate-fueled track record of conservatives, only conservatives are rightfully entitled and qualified to decide what pregnant people will and will not do. Heaven forfend pregnant people get to thinking they’re qualified to decide what’s best for themselves! Thus, you see, by trying to keep conservatives out of peoples’ wombs and vaginas, we are chipping away at their gawd-given Freedom™ to control everyone else.
- Texas State Representative Clay Smothers: “I have had enough civil rights to choke a hungry goat. I ask for victory over the perverts in this country. I want the right to segregate my family from these misfits and perverts.” Contrary to what you might guess, by “misfits” and “perverts” Rep. Smothers means feminists; he made that statement about a national women’s rights convention. And by “civil rights,” Rep. Smothers—who is black—means men’s rights. He wants (and deserves!) the “right” to control which people and ideas his personal property—for example, his wife—can be exposed to. I doubt he really wants to segregate his own family from feminists, though. No, it’s far more likely he would prefer to lock up feminists in concentration camps if he could, lest his wife get the wacky idea that she is a human and doesn’t have to put up with his shit.
- Former president Richard Nixon: “There are times when an abortion is necessary, I know that. When you have a black and a white [a pregnancy of mixed race parentage] or a rape.” But greater abortion access would foster “permissiveness” and “break the family.” What.
- Stop ERA argued that treating women as equal human beings under the law would automatically invalidate all laws against sexual assault. Amazingly, conservative assholes suffer under a truly bizarre delusion: namely, that men cannot be sexually assaulted. These fools simply cannot comprehend that sexual assault against women is wrong for the exact same reasons sexual assault against anyone is wrong. The irony that one of those reasons is the human right to bodily autonomy is, of course, completely lost on them. (As is all irony, but that’s another post.)
- They also argued that if men and women were treated equally under the law, women would lose their Super Special Privileges, like alimony and automatic custody awards in divorce cases. Again, they said this in all seriousness, as if it would somehow be a grave injustice for a divorce court to consider fundamental fairness in dividing a couple’s assets, or the best interests of children when deciding custody.
Anyway, as flawed as Roe is, it is presently the only thing standing between women’s lives and a brutal dystopia like the ones the Catholic Church enforces wherever it can. Conservative Supreme Court Justices have been quite openly gunning to overturn it; if that happens, the matter would return to the states to decide. Many states have already enacted trigger laws: in the event Roe is overturned abortion would become illegal immediately. A tiny handful of states have legislated the opposite: if Roe were overturned the right to abortion would remain intact. New York State is not one of those states.
Because conservatives are unrepentant assholes, Roe has been under relentless attack since January 22, 1973—the date the decision was issued. Instead of dying down, the opposition has only grown more rabidly vindictive, violent—and successful.
In terms of the sheer number of new abortion restrictions enacted, 2013 is second only to 2011—a record breaking year. To put the numbers into perspective, more abortion restrictions (205) were enacted over the past three years than over the entire previous decade (189).
The March for “Life” has taken place in DC every single year on the anniversary of the Roe decision. In recent years, the Misogynist Pride Parade has been drawing ever-larger crowds of proud assholes: until 2010, about 250,000 assholes generally attended. In 2011 and 2012, estimates put the attendance at 400,000. In 2013 it drew an estimated 650,000 assholes.
Today is 2014’s March of Epic Shitbags. The high in DC is expected to be 14°F, with a wind chill advisory of 10-15°F below zero. The National Weather Service has warned that such temperatures are dangerous to anyone who is outside for long periods of time:
“This will result in frostbite and lead to hypothermia if precautions are not taken,” NWS said. “If you must venture outdoors, make sure you wear a hat and gloves.”
Unless you are attending today’s big Festival of Forced Birth. In that case, you should march naked.
* It is well worth pointing out the tactics conservatives used to stop the momentum of the ERA, which had enjoyed broad public support and was already ratified by 30 of the necessary 38 states before the opposition kicked into high gear:
- In defense of “traditional gender roles,” women opponents of the ERA baked apple pies to give to the Illinois state legislature while they debated the amendment. Who among us can resist delicious, home-baked apple pie? NO ONE THAT’S WHO. I have long held that pie is an underrated weapon, people. Get your bake on.
- ERA opponents also capitalized on anti-Vietnam war sentiment by arguing the amendment would eliminate the male-only draft requirement, and therefore women would be drafted and serve in combat roles. Obviously this could only mean good outcomes: women who are otherwise qualified and desire to serve in combat roles in an all-volunteer military would be able to do so, and/or our war-loving conservative government would be less inclined to maintain or reinstate any draft at all. WIN-WIN-WIN. Unfortunately, just like criminal psychopaths and Wall Street traders, conservatives can only enjoy winning if someone else is losing very badly.
- They hung “don’t draft me” signs on baby girls. But not on baby boys, who as everyone knows deserve to be future cannon fodder.
While my good friend Phyllis Schlafly was the public face of the anti-ERA movement, it was strongly backed by a broad coalition of conservative, misogynist assholes: Southern whites, Evangelical Christians, Mormons, Orthodox Jews and Roman Catholics. I say as long as these particular apes would force others to bear children, they can only march naked. Come on, that’s merely a “reasonable restriction” on their constitutional rights—just like the partial birth abortion ban! And they may have NO PIE.