We’re Not Going Back

So yeah, I’m still pretty mad about that leaked SCOTUS draft opinion.

The frustrating thing about discussing it with anti-choice people on the politics board I frequent is that they have no ability to frame their support in any meaningful way. You get a lot of idiocy about “unborn babies” but nothing about the Constitution.

My first question is always “Where in the Constitution does it say that a woman has less autonomy over her body than a man does over his?”.  And I have only had that addressed directly once, where the respondent said it doesn’t but he still supported strict limits on abortion. Nice. But I think this is the crucial constitutional issue and I haven’t seen it addressed in any of this furor.

Of course the spark for all of this was the legalization of birth control, first for married couples in 1965 and then for unmarried women in 1972. Yes, 1972. Think about it. Birth control allowed women to delay pregnancy so they could attend college, graduate school, or go stay in the working world. But it had only been legal for everyone for 1 year when Roe was decided and so here we are.

And where we are is saddled with a case about a medical procedure for women that was decided entirely by men at a time when women were still considered less than full people. Because Roe was decided solely by men, women’s body autonomy had no place in their reasoning. And it is going to be overturned 50 years later by radicals on the Supreme Court who still consider women to be less than full citizens.

Because we’re focused on the wrong things, we’re stuck in this stupid and endless debate over abortion and the people who want to take a fundamental right from women are presented as legitimate critics.  Look at this memo that Axios sent out to employees today:

Look at the wording here. Abortion—a legal medical procedure—is recast as a “policy solution” and therefore it’s political and everyone needs to be quiet about it. This is the pernicious result of letting men write a legal opinion about women’s body autonomy. I can’t even anymore with these people.

And related to that framing, the other question I keep asking is:  “Why should the government be invoked at all? What is the government’s possible legitimate interest in a confidential medical procedure, apart from the usual safety-related issues?” I still have not received any response to the times I have asked this question while discussing abortion.

The tacit acceptance that the state has a legitimate interest in circumscribing women’s rights by dictating who can make a private medical decision leads to another big problem—the discussion over limits as to when an abortion can be performed. It’s a trap that we all use to discuss it because the right keeps pushing the same talking points—that their extremely conservative position of 16 weeks is reasonable because the only other alternatives are a 6 week limit or an outright ban.

If it were actually recognized that the state has no legitimate interest in regulating abortion beyond the usual safety-related ones, then this stupid binary framing would disappear. A woman’s right to body autonomy would be the controlling issue and individual states would not be able to weigh in on any of it.

The Alito draft opinion also perfectly illustrates what complete cowards the radical right wing justices are. It’s full of lies that no one can argue with them about in person, they won’t do interviews, and they can wash their hands a la Pilate by saying it’s simply an issue best left to the states and deny all responsibility for the wave of injustice to come. Yeah, I’m probably still going to be mad about this next week.

Since I am already PO’d, I’ll close with this.

5 thoughts on “We’re Not Going Back

  1. The Constitution, obviously, says nothing about women having less control over their bodies than men — because the Constitution says nothing about women. It also, really, says nothing about men’s bodies either — and that’s the point. The framers saw no need to state explicitly that the government should have no control over basic bodily integrity because it just, literally, “went without saying.” That’s why I always liked Justice Goldberg’s opinion in Griswold v. Connecticut — looking to the 9th Amendment — not as a “source” of the right to privacy — but as a clear indication that the Constitution’s failure to spell out such a right meant nothing.
    Suppose my son needs a kidney, and I’m the only possible donor. Should I give him one of mine? Sure. But should the government be able to force me onto the operating table? It’s almost ridiculous to ask the question — since a government that can force it’s citizens to undergo medical procedures — even to save the lives of innocent children — is completely tyrannical.
    The fact is: women simply do not have the same constitutional rights as men. I’d love to see a “conservative” come out and admit it sometime — but I won’t hold my breath.

    1. Except for this one instance of abortion, the govt so respects everyone’s right to control their own bodies, that everyone is permitted to deny the use of their kidneys; and other potentially life-saving organs even after they are dead and no longer need them, no longer are capable of suffering any injury or even inconvenience from their harvesting. You don’t even have to sign anything to exercise this control from beyond the grave. Instead, you have to sign something to expressly permit the invasion of your cadaver for organ harvesting, because that is the level of respect that society has for everyone’s right to control their bodies, well, except for pregnant women.

  2. Remember that these are the same people who say that the government has no right to make you get a vaccination or wear a mask to protect other people from getting a deadly disease. But somehow, it’s OK for the government to tell women what they can do or not do with their own bodies.

  3. What is also missing from this argument is the Terri Schiavo case.

    The Right/Republicans insisted she was alive as in you and I are alive having this discussion. If they had acknowledged she was not “alive” then they would have to acknowledge that there is a point in the body’s function where life as we are living it does not exist. Ala the Fetus.

    If we are to use the religious framing of life: a soul, a spirit etc then the Right/Republicans would have had to acknowledge that a body can reach a point where it is no longer able to allow the soul to function on this earth (should I say “heavenly body). Ala the Fetus.

    The abortion argument is just 1 end of the bookends of life for the Right/Republican. They can’t accept abortion without giving up their faith. They can not accept that the body has to develop to the point of a healthy brain and thus cognitive awareness without giving up their faith. They could not let Terri die because it would mean that “life” does not start or end as they describe it.

    The Right/Republican/Evangelical fails their own philosophy as they claim a soul/spirit but can see how if true, Terri’s was being trapped in that body as they insisted in keeping it alive. Ala a fetus.

    With that, I believe as we have moved further and further away from an agricultural society we have move further and further away from truly understanding death (for with farming death was always happening) as a part of defining life’s start.

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