Why Is The American Government Forcing Women To Have Babies?
What Pisses Me Off! Jun 29, 2022
With Roe v Wade dismantled by the Supreme Court of The United Stated States, I needed few days to process this incredibly damning anti-female move which will set back American women’s rights by decades if not hundreds of years. There are just so many layers to this outcome which needs to be peeled back and examined. And I will do just that.
What Pisses Me Off: Why Is The American Government Forcing Women To Have Babies?
On the morning of Friday June 24th, a death knell to women’s rights was delivered.
Courtesy of the right-wing helmed Supreme Court of the United States. With a 5-4 majority vote, the court decided that the 50 year-old ruling of Roe V. Wade which declared abortion a constitutional right, was not applicable as it wasn’t specifically stated in the U.S. Constitution. With that reasoning, the highest court in the land deferred the legality of this action to the states, allowing each one to decide independently whether abortion would be legalized or banned.
As a Canadian observing this shocking (yet not so shocking) development, my heart goes out to the women who fought to have abortion be a constitutional right in 1973, when Roe V. Wade was presented to the Supreme Court.
Roe V. Wade: A Primer
It was in 1973, when Norma McCorvey (aka “Jane Roe”) was denied abortion care in her home state of Texas as it was banned only allowing it to save the life of the mother. Her case was picked up by Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee who filed a lawsuit in federal court, on her behalf, against Henry Wade who was McCorvey’s local district attorney, “alleging that the state’s abortion laws were unconstitutional“.
The US District Court for the Northern District of Texas agreed with her, but through an appeal by Wade it landed in the lap of The Supreme Court. Consequently in a 7-2 decision, McCorvey won the case largely in part of the 14th Amendment’s “right to privacy” found in the American constitution. That “right to privacy” in the Supreme Court’s eyes also meant that a woman’s right to access abortion was also constitutional.
Since then, Roe V. Wade divided the country on ideological and religious grounds for 50 years. Until now.
The Supreme Court Of Today
So why the change? It really is thanks to the Republican Party and Donald Trump. During his presidency Trump was able to install 3 conservative judges to the Supreme Court. Probably one of the biggest achievements for any sitting president. During their respective senate confirmation hearings, Supreme Court nominees, Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch and David Kavanaugh were each asked about their opinion on Roe V. Wade and if they feel that it could be overturned. Both Gorsuch and Kavanaugh vehemently denied the idea of overturning it. Coney Barrett on the other hand appeared to be bit more vague. And it’s because of Coney Barrett’s more scholarly approach, the idea that the Roe could be overturned became a cause of concern for pro-choice activists.
Then came Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The Mississippi Legislature in March 2018 passed the HB 1510, the Gestational Age Act, which banned abortion after the first 15 weeks of pregnancy. Just past the first trimester. It didn’t matter if you were raped or victim of incest. The only exception was medical emergency or “severe fetal abnormality”. Phil Byrant, the Republican Governor of Mississippi signed the bill.
Women’s Health Organization then filed a lawsuit challenging this bill and was ruled in their favour by the US District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. That ruling was appealed by Mississippi last October, and left to The Supreme Court to decide, which then resulted in the striking down of Roe v. Wade.
“It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives,” as per the opinion delivered by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, which was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and you guessed it with Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
Why Is Everyone So Shocked?
For one thing I don’t understand why everyone was shocked. Especially the Democratic Party. Through the years they were given ample opportunity to avoid this mess. In a nutshell, Obama failed and Biden failed. Mainly because of the tough-as-nails stance the Republican Party took when it came to their generations-old Right To Life movement — all buoyed by the incredibly powerful support of the Christian Right.
Which brings me to this point: The Republican Party’s undeniable strong suit is messaging and understanding what their united goal is. It has and always will be to cater to the ultra conservative wing of their party which includes the religious right and their anti-abortion stance. The Democratic Party of today is playing by a set of rules that the Republican party simply and flagrantly do not recognize. So in that scenario who do you think will win the battle?
As soon as Trump (with the help of his Svengali, Mitch McConnell) installed his final conservative Supreme Court Justice (Coney Barret) the faint sounds of the death knell could be heard. But it wasn’t audible enough for Biden or anyone else, apparently.
Fast forward to last month. When a draft of the ruling (in favour of anti-abortion) was leaked, the pro-choice community was alarmed. But as Democrats do, they always focus on the wrong thing. The concerning matter to them (and the talking point on mainstream media, which didn’t help matters) was how can such a confidential document be released, not what it contained. Yet again, the Democratic Party shrugged, probably decided to write a very stern letter to management and moved on.
And then it all came crashing down on Friday.
The Concern For The Unborn
The idea of banning abortion was already in the works by a number of Republican states. There were a series of “Heartbeat Bills” that some states (all Republican, except for one), which were signed, where as soon as a fetal heart beat can be detected (which is usually 6-8 weeks into a pregnancy), an abortion is not viable. Such states that have passed this law pretty much banning abortion (except where the mother’s life is in danger, depending on the state), include Louisiana, Missouri, Alabama, Ohio and Georgia.
Others Red (Republican) states, 26 in total (over half of the United States), have established “Trigger Laws” where such bans are ready to be activated as soon as soon as the overrule has been official by The Supreme Court. Now that Roe v Wade is history, these states have already started filing the paperwork to start their own abortion bans.
Apparently Women Can Get Pregnant All By Themselves
One of the most infuriating thing about this issue is that these laws (created and instilled by mostly male governors, male members of congress and male members of senate) put the responsibility of childbirth strictly on the shoulders of women.
But how did they pregnant in the first place? There is absolutely no recognition that a penis is required to achieve a pregnancy. That a sperm needs to be present. Instead, all the men holding space in this ideological political nightmare are so concerned about the welfare of the unborn they don’t realize that it’s their kind that are causing these pregnancies in the first place. I guess the Bible’s reference of the Emmaculate Conception stands true in today’s world as well.
Will there be a rule of law enforcing vasectomies? In a country where Viagra is free, don’t hold your breath.
They Care For The Unborn, Until They Are Born
The soul-stirring care that they have for the unborn is quite amazing. Simply because as soon as the child is born, the women (again it’s mostly women) are left to their own devices on caring, feeding and raising the child. A child that now the Supreme Court is forcing them to have.
The biggest victims in all of this are Black and Brown women who don’t have the financial means to a) get contraception b) travel out of state to get an abortion and c) most likely not even afford to take time off for said journey. Remember this is America where universal health care does not exist, and coverage really depends on what type of insurance you can afford.
The same party that is forcing women to become mothers is the same party that has had a traditional disdain for big government (figure that one out), and has been actively against providing social assistance and welfare. Please make it make sense.
The Gun Has More Rights Than A Woman
“We will make sure that when a kid is in the womb, they’re as safe as they are in a classroom, the workplace, a nursing home,”
Did you catch that?
That was quoted at a recent rally by Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who was the Press Secretary for Donald Trump and is the winner of the Arkansas gubernatorial primary. aturally it sparked rightful rage on social media due to the increasing rates of classroom shootings as of late. Fact: The Republicans love their 2nd Amendment rights and more than they do a woman’s right to her own body.
So it’s clear that if a woman was raped at gunpoint, the only one protected is the gun.
The Underground Railroad, Period Apps And Dark Alleys
Now that abortion can be banned without any resistance from The Supreme Court, again depending on the state, there are talks now of an underground railroad heading into Canada. Similar to what existed when American slaves were looking for freedom and a way out of the United States. Another concern is that there will be a spike in black market abortions, risking the lives of the women and the abortion care providers. Remember some states have laws where doctors and other medical professionals could face felony charges and jail time for providing such care).
“Right now, and I mean this instant, delete every digital trace of any menstrual tracking.” tweeted Gina Neff, a professor of technology and society at University of Oxford.
There’s also HUGE chatter about period apps and their data tracking and how that can be used against the women, with the possibility of authorities demanding their data which includes their menstruation cycles, ovulation period and sexual activity if that user seeks an abortion later.
That also include Google searches where law enforcement have already asked for such data when it comes to seeking abortion pills, medication and other abortion/pregnancy related matters. A number of congresspersons wrote an open letter to Sundar Pichai, head of Google about their tracking matters and pleaded with the tech giant to refrain from collecting such materials which can be used as part of the prosecution of the pregnant.
Google has yet to address any of these concerns.
What Can Be Done?
First of all elections have consequences. Yes we all know that. And still with conservative majority in The Supreme Court, the Democrats with President Biden still have a narrow hold when it comes to having a solid majority in the House and Senate. Keep in mind, with the Republican-leaning members of their party (Sinema and Manchin), they barely have enough power to make a big difference in this case.
A big one is expanding The Supreme Court. The idea of expanding the number of seats from the current 9 has been one of the calls to action to create a more fair and balanced system. The number of justices in the Supreme Court is not in the Constitution so it can be expanded if desired. However as per Newsweek 56% of those surveyed don’t agree with the expansion. Even though 84% of Democrats polled have lost faith in The Supreme Court (while 71% of Republicans have great deal of faith in that institution), it is fair to say that the American people have a lot to handle.
So is this finished business?
Is this truly a death knell on women’s rights?
As it stands it sure looks like it. Unless The Supreme Court is expanded, or the Democratic Party wins more seats during the Mid-Term elections come this November (where they will have more power), I can’t think of another way out.
But prove me wrong. Please.
Main Image Photo Credit: www.unsplash.com
Hina P. Ansari
Hina P. Ansari is a graduate from The University of Western Ontario (London, Ontario). Since then she has carved a successful career in Canada's national fashion-publishing world as the Entertainment/Photo Editor at FLARE Magazine, Canada's national fashion magazine. She was the first South Asian in...
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