Hard to Believe We Are Where We Are – But There Are Some Hopeful Signs
First, The No Surprises List
In anticipation of this Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, a number of outcomes were forecast. So far, all have come true.
- The Trump appointees to the Court all lied when they said in their confirmation hearings that they respected precedent and considered this settled law. This revelation should have surprised absolutely no one.
- If Alioto was to write the majority opinion, it would be poorly written. True to form, his decision is a terrible read and short on logic or legal foundations. Don’t take my word for it – read it yourself.
- Mass confusion instantly ensues as a myriad of states and local officials sorted out what terms and laws now mean, political pressures play out, and pregnant women around the country are subjected to unimaginable complications and risks. The stories are already horrendous, starting with the 10 year old girl who had to go out of state for an abortion after being raped and other women being denied life-saving medicine because the prescription could also be used for an abortion.
- More women will be forced into later abortions based on a lack of availability. No doubt many will have severe medical consequences, some will die from those consequences. We have no idea as yet what those numbers will be but they surely will be too high to be morally acceptable (starting at one case as being too many).
What is New
It has been over half a century since America last condoned such negative effects on people’s lives. That we are back at this point in large measure is a terrible thing on so many levels. That those who believe they would never support an abortion themselves would force others to follow their rule is discouraging, to say the least. But there are some important differences this time around.
- Many states still offer abortion services, in spite of forced birth pressures. Most of them are hard at work facilitating the helping of those who come to them from other states for help.
- The pharmaceutical solutions that now exist mean that most abortions do not involve surgery or even being in a doctor’s office. Some are trying hard to restrict access to these medications – they will fail, for the most part.
- Most women now alive in America have had the choice to carry a pregnancy to term or not as their choice and their responsibility. As a community, they are most unlikely to quietly accept living in a version of The Handmaiden’s Tale. Watching a lot of Republican candidates trying to dance around this issue shows that they see the political risk to their party.
- An impressive underground has sprung up all over the country, with overseas links, to help women get the information, support, and assistance they need. Many of the most active participants and leaders are, interestingly, older women, some of whom are Expats living overseas. Their early years were spent at the risk of forced births, and they are determined to spare others that fate.
Read a fascinating article about this in the New Yorker. It is an inspiring read of courage and innovation. It is about ordinary people doing extraordinary things, simply to help others. https://www.newyorker.com/search/q/abortion%20underground
What We Don’t Know
The big question is how this will affect the midterm elections. It should be decisive, but only time will tell. In which direction it will be decisive. There are, of course, women who fully support the end of Roe, but I have to think they are in a very distinct minority. The course we are on only gets reversed if we elect a Congress that will put the elements of Roe into law. Normally, the White House party takes a beating in the midterms. This one might be different, for all the right reasons.
If the current environment does not lead to massive turnouts to secure such fundamental freedoms, it is hard to imagine what would do the job. The term “speak now or forever hold your peace” has new meaning. Vote now or give up the vision of what America could and should be, for generations to come. Let us hope we are better than that.
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