How is it, after all these years, that I can be shocked? How is it that anything done in the name of "conservatism" can still surprise me?
The leaked memo from the Supreme Court regarding Roe v. Wade outraged a great swath of the United States. A quick peek at the demographics suggest that those who march under the banner of "pro-life" are still squarely in the minority. According to a report from Pew Research, fifty-nine percent of American adults say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while only thirty-nine believe it should be illegal in all or most cases. And yet, here we are, sliding toward what seems like an inevitable slosh to the far right. The past three Supreme Court justices appointed before the Biden administration were all cagey and purposefully evasive when asked about abortion. So much so that all three of them were confirmed and the table was finally set for this history-defining run.
For fifty years, Roe v. Wade has the law of the land without being a law. It was a decision handed down by the United States Supreme Court that ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman's liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction. I believe the banning of all abortions under any circumstances would be considered "excessive." Except it was never a law. It helped strike down oppressive laws in states that decided to choose to attempt to control women's reproductive rights. But it was never a law.
So now suddenly there is a call to codify Roe v. Wade, to make it a law and not just a good idea that most Americans agree with. Because Republicans in their many permutations have been angling for this for longer than Roe v. Wade has been on the books. The reason the Supreme Court took up that case was in response to the case of a pseudonymous woman who became pregnant in 1969 Texas, where at the time abortion was illegal except when necessary to save a woman's life. It was this case, where a woman chose to test her state's control over her constitutionally given rights, specifically the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides a "right to privacy" that protects a pregnant woman's right to choose whether to have an abortion. All the ensuing legal wrangling lasted four years.
And somehow, continues until today. In fits and spurts, a group of loud and persistent conservatives have kept moving their chess pieces into place, Supreme Court Justices, until they were at last ready to strike. Should we be surprised, considering thirteen states already have in place "trigger legislation" that will become active at the moment that Roe v. Wade is overturned. Just this past week, Ohio's governor signed his state's version which has no exception for rape or incest. In other words, the Right Wing of America isn't just looking to turn back the clock fifty years, they want to return us to the turn of the twenty-first century, when every state that was a state back then had legislation restricting abortion.
I should like, at this point, to remind everyone reading this that abortion existed long before that. As stigmatized as that word has become, it has history back as far as 1550 BC in Egypt. Aristotle considered the embryo to gain a human soul at forty days if male and ninety days if female. Before that, it had vegetable and animal souls.
No word yet on Republican plans to go with the Aristotle Plan. But let's not wait for that, shall we? If you believe a woman should be in charge of her body, don't wait around. Let your voice be heard.