The New Supremes, Part 2

I don’t want to be sucked into an endless war.


I’m referring to the social and political divide in the United States that seems to be getting wider every year, and its’ participants – you and me – ever more strident and intolerant. I’m old, and I don’t want to have to fight again for the rights and freedoms that I thought we had won: education, opportunity, privacy.

I don’t want to fight, but I am cornered.

As I wrote yesterday, the Supreme Court has shifted far to the right, and is getting ready to have another look at law which they have already declared unconstitutional by a one-vote majority. The factors are:

  • The law in question bans many mid- to late-term abortions.
  • A moderate justice – a woman – and a conservative justice have been replaced by two conservative guys, one of them them an outspoken critic of abortion rights, and…
  • The Supreme Court answers to no one.

We have to hope that the lawyers arguing in favor of a woman’s right to choose what she does with her own reproductive system are smart, dedicated, well-researched and lucky. Even then we must face the reality that this Court has been stacked specifically to take away this hard-won right, the right to a safe abortion if that is your choice. My opinion is that this process will begin now.

The court is primed to say that abortion is illegal, but the upcoming decision won’t be the last word. It will only be one of many skirmishes that have been fought over this turf in recent years. The case the Court has decided to hear affects only a small percentage of medical situations that might involve abortion, so it will not be the end of the war.

But it will be a chip taken out of our rights, and the forces that support this move will then go on to the next level, and the next, until they have returned this country to the barbarian days of back-alley coat-hanger abortions and government intrusion into the most private areas of our lives.

Or until they are stopped.

Most opponents of abortion rights are sincere, and I respect them for acting on their beliefs, working for decades and electing guys like Bush, who has appointed guys like Roberts and Alito, who have passed the right-wing abortion litmus test. I respect them, but I have to oppose them.

I’m not sure if anything can be done about the case in question. We closed our eyes for a moments’ rest, and when we woke up, Howdy Doody was president and the Supreme Court was packed. Our bad.

The Court will do what it wants this time, but let’s get started now reversing the drift to the right that has led to this state of affairs. Letters to your elected representatives in Washington are helpful in the long run, even if they don’t seem to have any effect today or tomorrow.

And we have to be thinking about the long run. Today, for example, the state of South Dakota passed a law effectively banning all abortions. This law will be fought all the way to the Supreme Court. It will take years, but when it gets there, don’t you want everyone in Washington to know unequivocally where you stand? Do you want to take the chance that Bush (or someone like him) will have appointed another right-wing fundamental idealogue to the Court?

The majority of Americans favor a woman’s right to choose, and lawmakers need to hear this, so they will know how we want them to vote on future laws that are proposed, so they will stand up and support moderate court appointees and so they will propose legislation that protects our precious rights. Right now all they are hearing is the anti- point of view.

We must educate ourselves on this issue, and not assume that our rights are safe, because hey, they’re not! Not all of us can take it to the streets, not all of us can run for office, not all of us can afford to donate money, but everyone who wants to can do something. If you want to see what action you can take you might want to start here.

This is not just about abortion. Women and men struggled through much of the twentieth century to achieve a just level of personal privacy and freedom. The tolerance expressed in the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade decision came about as a result of the battle for those rights and freedoms. Now those rights and freedoms are threatened again. We must read, learn, educate, demonstrate, donate and agitate to create an environment in which no president, no legislator, and no judge will ever again be able to consider revoking them.

UPDATE: For more horrifying Supreme Court shenannigans, see this article posted today by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

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18 Replies to “The New Supremes, Part 2”

  1. I love how they jumped on this thing as soon as Scalito got on the bench. Just goes to show that no matter how far you think you’ve come, you can always get sent back. Culture of Life, my ass…

  2. Jayne – Just trying to comply with your managerial requirement for specifics. Also, in Shephard’s comment section, all I see is a chance to comment as a Blogger person. Since I am one, that’s how I comment. I’ve changed my web site in my Blogger profile to this one, and the top post on my Blogger site leads only to here. What else can I do?

    Brent – I hope the fad returns.

  3. I like your new Dylan quote better. It seems less derogatory toward yourself. Dylan had a thing about dancing feet, I guess. Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free…

  4. Jeez, Ron, you really read things. I thought it was time for a change. Now I think I might change again, to the “diamond sky” quote. In fact, maybe I’ll start changing it every week or every day, to suit my mood.

    Thanks for stopping by. I have almost no traffic anymore, since I’ve become boring, so it’s nice to see some of the Precious Few here.

  5. If the Democratic party will not organize itself into an effective political instrument, then we must make sure that our representatives act on our behalf and fulfill their obligations as our voices in the government.

    As for your traffic problem, I think the whole novelty of blogging is starting to wane. Many people looking for interesting blogs are not reaching the interesting ones because they have to wade through so many shite blogs talking about the enormous poop they took or how bored they were today.

  6. Aydreeyin – Maybe now, after two terms of neocon madness, those who thought the two major parties were “about the same” might be persuaded that they are not, and that the Democrats should be returned to power so they can try to restore order and start to rehabilitate the U.S.’s severely damaged international reputation.
    As for traffic and the novelty of blogs, you’re probably right: the novelty is waning. However, I still find it an excellent way to vent, work through my thinking, and get feedback on my ideas, as well as to preen and parade.

  7. Larry,

    You have not become boring. I have been reading all along, only the past few weeks have left little time for commenting. I like the new site, and the new quote (although I’m always an advocate for Dylan).

    This business with the Supreme Court is chilling, I’ll agree. Every time I think I’d like to pack up and move out to one of those plains states shaped like a square, something like this happens to remind me why that wouldn’t be my best of ideas.

    Here’s a question though: Don’t you think that, even if abortion becomes illegal, our days of wrangling with coat hangers are over? I think there are literally thousands of doctors out there who will provide safe abortions for women, illegal or not, and I take (slim) comfort in that.


  8. Erin – You’re probably right. But it would still be a crime, probably for the doctor and the patient. That would severely limit access, in effect making it impossible for some women and girls to receive care. This to satisfy some peoples’ religious beliefs. I just don’t like it.

  9. Do you ever read Harper’s magazine? This month there’s an excellent article by Lewis Lapham (another of my honorary husbands…you’re in sound company). He lays out the argument for impeachment that’s been floated by John Conyers (D, MI). We are living in some scary times. I don’t have the perspective that you have, of course, but the situation is starting to seem desperate.

  10. WTF is this about abortion? Why do males think they should have a say in the matter either way — whether it’s legal or not? Ultimately, the woman bears the child. The woman is ultimately responsible for the child for 18 years. Why do men get involved in this? Right to life or pro choice? This should always be a private decision between a woman and her doctor. There are circumstances unique to each situation. I definitely agree that the Supreme Court sould keep their effin conservative noses out of it, but I think that basically, it’s a fight that women will have to fight. And you know we will!

    Nice site. I’ll check it out once in a while. Especially since you’re a Dylan fan.

  11. Which is the moral document of the United States of America?

    The Constitution? How about the Federal Budget… That is why traditional social welfare programs are the ones being cut.

  12. Anna – Shall we dance? I don’t need to have a say in your personal decision, or anyone else’s. But I want you to have the freedom to make your own choice, because if that can be taken away, other rights and freedoms can be taken away as well, and surely will be.

    Social Worker – Are you saying that traditional social welfare programs are being cut due to some misguided “moral” thinking that poverty is a character flaw and should not be encouraged by government “handouts?”

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