The Supreme Court has long been expected to try to be a little subtle as it grapples with unraveling abortion rights – whether Chief Justice John Roberts’ concern for his legacy, or the fear of other judges that the bench might seem too “political”, could prevent the outright overturning of the watershed Roe vs. Wade previous.
Today that illusion has been completely shattered.
The Supreme Court heard oral argument this morning in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case in which the state of Mississippi seeks to ban abortions after 15 weeks gestation, and conservative justices were in fairly rare form – the right-most of them making it clear that they don’t believe the Constitution protects the right to an Abortion.
The The mood outside the court early this morning, at a rally organized by the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represents the plaintiff, reflected the coming divide. Although abortion advocates have pledged to continue the fight for access to abortion care regardless of the court ruling, most activists and clinic staff I spoke with in the past. months are already working on preparing aRoe deer future. Stephanie Nash, Virginia Advocacy Director for Whole Woman’s Health, wore a hoodie with the names of historical abortion cases listed on the front: Roe deer, Casey, Whole Woman’s Health, June Medical, Jackson. “Before long, it’s going to be a dress,” she said, laughing humorlessly. Anti-abortion protesters were also present; many were jubilant, anticipating the desired outcome, while others were funeral as usual, speaking solemnly of the loss of fetal life. A man snuck into the center of the pro-choice rally, yelling into a megaphone about women who were “whores” and should “shut their legs”, between expected statements that abortion is murder. Yet the lines between the two sides in the Supreme Court were clearly drawn and reinforced with steel barricades.
– Becca (@kbeccaandrews) December 1, 2021
The fault lines were also apparent on the bench.
Judge Clarence Thomas arrived early with an eagerness to test the waters on consideration of fetal personality, which is not a question that Dobbs submits to the court, particularly to determine whether child abuse laws could be enforced against pregnant women who use drugs prior to viability. Justice Amy Coney Barrett was concerned about shelter laws, which allow a parent to deliver a baby anonymously without fear of prosecution, suggesting that women can and should carry unintended pregnancies, give birth, and then give up. the child if they wish. . Judge Brett Kavanaugh has repeatedly expressed that he believes that the legality of abortion is not at all a matter of the Supreme Court, but rather of the States, so he can wash his hands of everything and avoid the hypocrisy of declaring that Roe vs. Wade is a precedent set while overturning Roe vs. Wade. Judge Samuel Alito attempted to draw a comparison between Roe deer and Plessy v. Ferguson, which maintained state segregation and was later overturned in Brown v. Board of Education, on the grounds that the earlier ruling violated the Fourteenth Amendment guaranteeing citizens’ rights to life, liberty and property. Alito also offered this tidbit of judicial wisdom: “The fetus had better have a life.” Judge Neil Gorsuch was fairly silent, but he was looking for a way to define excessive demand, the standard of protecting access to abortion that has been in place since. Planned Parenthood v. Caseythe 1992 decision, as inapplicable, and to ban Roe deerthe standard of viability of the whole. Chief Justice Roberts asked himself “what’s wrong with 15 weeks?” Framework, carefully avoiding personality issues.
In short, the Conservatives were saying the quiet part out loud. Their questions and interjections today marked a real and significant change in the way they are prepared to be explicit in their disregard for the legal precedent of abortion rights. Of course, this does not bode well for the future of those who may become pregnant.
A little surprised that Kavanaugh / Barrett doesn’t do more to pretend that they care about the views of people on both sides of this issue. This is not an opinion that will handle the backlash.
– Marie Ziegler (@maryrziegler) December 1, 2021
Specifically, the Conservative justices made it clear that the court would side with the state of Mississippi (which, let us not forget, is not just a matter of legal process, and would be devastating to pregnant women all Across the country). But more than that, today’s queries suggest a much larger goal, one that isn’t as specific as sustainability or undue demand. Concluding oral argument Scott Stewart, the Mississippi Solicitor General representing the defense, made it clear that the fight against anti-anti will not end there, even with a victory over the 15-week law, or an overthrow of Roe deer. âThere are interests here on both sides,â he said. âThere are interests for everyone involved. This is unique for the woman. It is also unique for the unborn child whose life is at stake in all of these decisions. This is nothing but an argument for his belief – and by extension, that of Mississippi – in the fetal personality.
Not all conservative judges seemed game to debate when life begins, but done enough. In addition to Thomas’ apparent interest, Alito literally asked, “Are there any secular philosophers and bioethicists who argue that human rights begin at conception or at some point other than viability?” This is not just an obscure question of philosophy or semantics. Bodily autonomy is at stake, and it is not excluded that this discussion could spill over to affect the type of contraception deemed acceptable, or the ban on Plan B (which, despite a wave of right-wing disinformation, is not not an abortifacient).
Good reminder that Roe’s cancellation won’t end the abortion disputes. The movement for the right to life aims for the recognition of personality and the prohibition of all abortions, at the national level. Roe is just the start. https://t.co/P1kF0cIoNR
– Marie Ziegler (@maryrziegler) December 1, 2021
In the midst of this dystopian madness, Julie Rikelman, the attorney representing the Center for Reproductive Rights, and Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar, acting on behalf of the US Department of Justice, presented their cases with clarity and competence and enjoyed the support more liberal judges, namely Judge Sonia Sotomayor. “For a state to take control of a woman’s body and demand that she go through pregnancy and childbirth with all the physical risks and the overwhelming consequences that this entails, it is a fundamental deprivation of her freedom”, Rikelman said in his opening statements. “Preserving a woman’s right to make this decision until viability protects her freedom while logically balancing the other interests at stake.”
Irin Carmon, Senior Correspondent at New York Mag, wear it better when she tweeted, “Both Prelogar and Rikelman are efficient, articulate and well prepared and that probably doesn’t matter.” Their cautious precision was reminiscent of women like Christine Blasey Ford and Anita Hill, whose testimonies were ultimately ignored to preserve the legacy of men who are now sure to destroy the right to abortion.
It is difficult to imagine this future decision other than devastating. And it is to lend the urgency to progressive members of Congress who hope they can codify Roe vs. Wade as federal law and pass the Women’s Health Protection Act. “The Court is given the opportunity to annul Roe vs. Wade, which is exactly what President Trump wanted his Supreme Court candidates to do, âsaid Senator Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii. Mother Jones Wednesday after the conclusion of the pleadings to the Court. While “attacks on a woman’s right to choose and the right to control her own body have been in the works for decades,” Hirono said, said there had been a noticeable change in recent years. as anti-abortion political forces have emboldened in their efforts to challenge constitutional law. (The senator also praised Coney Barrett’s emphasis on adoption as an option for pregnant women seeking abortions. [women of color] far more die than white women in this country, which we have the highest death rate of any developed country – she apparently isn’t much aware of these kinds of facts. Unfortunately, this law, of which Hirono is a co-sponsor, is almost certainly going nowhere in this equally divided Senate.
It takes an average of three months for the Supreme Court to render a decision in a scheduled case like this. In the meantime, we are awaiting not only that, but also a decision in the case that was heard a month ago today regarding the constitutionality of the six-week abortion ban in Texas, which is currently under review. force. For Supreme Court justices to sit and debate Americans’ bodily autonomy freedoms while continuing to deliberate on an even more blatant ban is not only absurd, it is deeply immoral.