I had recently begun to read through the comments made by deciding justices in Roe vs Wade, 1971-1973. Briefly, the decision was made after two years of the sitting Justices researching biology, historical medical texts, English Common Law, and even Ancient Greek texts, not to mention the personal, professional, and legal histories of the original three plaintiffs, two of which were dismissed from the decision.
I found the lengthy commentary very interesting, and I will say, I still have some reading to do. Of course, my interest in reading the entire text was spurred by the conversation, several weeks ago, that the decision may just be overturned. Well, the decision has been overturned — and I have a few comments on that, but also a need to do further research to find if my initial beliefs concerning both decisions are correct, or at least close to point after watching a video clip of a (now deceased) justice declaring that nothing about Roe vs Wade 1971-1973 had legal standing.
First, the original decision boiled down to a single statement: (paraphrasing) it is unconstitutional for a state (specifically Texas, the home state of the plaintiff) to proceed with legal prosecution against a woman seeking an abortion in the first trimester of a pregnancy, regardless of the woman’s reason for seeing an abortion.
Further in the text, we can see that the Supreme Court stated that it is to the state’s discretion to intervene if a woman seeks an abortion beyond the first trimester– (again, paraphrasing) because it may be in the state’s best interest to consider viability of life of the child, and therefore override the decision of the woman. At no point in the original decision is it stated that the Supreme Court is giving women the right to make a choice beyond the first trimester, nor does it declare that states should provide free abortions, nor does it make a blanket statement of choice being solely the woman’s if she is married, in a relationship, or otherwise under the care/incarceration of a state, nor does it seek to override a doctor’s decision to go forth with an abortion to save the mother’s life in dire medical circumstances.
While I haven’t done thorough research on subsequent state decisions, it’s evident that in the decades following, some states made rather liberal decisions/laws following the Supreme Court’s statements on the legality of a first trimester abortion. Others didn’t budge much at all. Then there was the advent of Planned Parenthood, and ensuing rumors/scandals, not to mention the addition in some states/Indian Reservations to require sterilization after an abortion.
Through it all, some women were protected by the law, some were not, most were shamed regardless, and in general, there were good doctors who didn’t blink an eye when an abortion was necessary to save the mother’s life, because they were medical professionals with good reputations and not mere women making a decision about their own life/body.
That video clip I mentioned above (with the now deceased Justice speaking) thuds with the implication that Roe vs Wade 1971-1973 was politically motivated, rather than legally sound.
And here we are in 2022 — the recent decision to overturn Roe vs Wade doesn’t thud, it’s an absolute tsunami of political motivation dismissing legality. Liberals and Conservatives are having it out. Some US citizens are openly declaring, waiting with bated breath, absolutely believing in their bones that Liberals will save the day and a woman’s choice will once again be protected by the Laws of the Land.
Here’s my opinion: You never had a choice according to the definition of CHOICE.
Politicians are battling it out over approval ratings and cock walks.
The Supreme Court IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE INFLUENCED BY RELIGIOUS OR POLITICAL MOTIVATIONS. And yet, here we are. Even if the so-called Liberals get Roe vs Wade back on the docket, or a modernized version of it, even if you’re told in some official statement in the near future that you have a CHOICE, please understand that when it comes right down to the nitty gritty as my Grandma McFerson used to say, you do not. All of us do not, all of us will never be totally protected or supported by the Laws of the Land.
I’ve seen a lot of Handmaid’s Tale memes and/or still shots referenced before postings about Roe vs Wade, or Conservative political statements, or Conservative Religious commentary on preserving life. What I’d like to point out about that astonishing, terrifying, gorgeous novel by Margaret Atwood, is–though it’s a bit subtle–what we learn by reading is that the people being oppressed, the people who become the LEADERS in the aftermath of societal breakdown … none of those people truly knew the rights of citizens in the first place.
They just thought they did based on their personal beliefs in the systems they had long been told would protect them, work for them, help them succeed. The protagonist in The Handmaid’s Tale was no expert on law, she was a woman living her life until her life caved in and it was only in hindsight that she saw some of the red flags that had been present back when she was just living her life. Suddenly at the mercy of new laws, new leaders, she had to survive the aftermath while fully realizing getting back to her old life, back to “justice” would never really happen. Because justice never fully existed. It was an ideal.
This all sounds very pessimistic, I’m sure. But I want to encourage everyone: take care of each other. Read the fine print. Know your argument. Know who you’re arguing with. And please understand that the Laws of the Land will never protect everyone.
I am truly sorry.