Thursday, May 5, 2022

National Politics

 “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” he writes in the document, labeled as the “Opinion of the Court.” “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.” (https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/02/supreme-court-abortion-draft-opinion-00029473) 

I feel sick just reading that. To some, it just means that abortion becomes a state issue. However...

"13 states have passed so-called ‘trigger laws,’ bans designed to go into effect if Roe v. Wade is overturned" (https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/03/us/state-abortion-trigger-laws-roe-v-wade-overturned/index.html). 

Those THIRTEEN states are (medical provider legal ramifications in parenthesis): 
Idaho (felony);
Utah (second-degree felony);
Wyoming;
South Dakota (felony);
North Dakota (felony);
Texas (felony);
Oklahoma (felony);
Missouri (felony);
Arkansas (10 years in prison and/or fine of up to $100,000);
Louisiana ($1000 per incident and/or 2 years in prison, plus civil malpractice action;
Mississippi (1 - 10 years in prison);
Tennessee (felony);
Kentucky (felony).

NINE states already have pre-Roe abortion bans that they could enforce if Roe is overturned. Those states are: 
Arizona
Texas
Oklahoma
Arkansas 
Mississippi
Alabama
Wisconsin
Michigan
West Virginia. 

According to Amnesty International, abortion is a human right. It is considered basic healthcare. 1 in 4 pregnancies worldwide end in abortion every year. They go on to state the following rights: 

  • Rights to autonomy and privacy
  • Rights to liberty and security of person
  • Rights to equality and non-discrimination and equal protection of law
  • Rights to health, life, and to be free from torture and other ill-treatment
Therefore, the "Criminalization of abortion limites women’s and people’s right to decide whether and when to reproduce, a right which human rights authorities recognize as integral to physical and mental integrity and to their dignity and worth as human beings." 

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Let's learn a little about Roe v. Wade, ok? 


Roe v. Wade (1973)'s decision is based in the right to privacy. That right originally came from a court case in 1965, Griswold v. Connecticut. See, Connecticut had banned the sale of birth control to married couples way back in 1879 (technically the law banned any "drug, medical device, or other instrument in furthering contraception.") A gynecologist from Yale, C. Lee Buxton, and the head of Planned Parenthood in CT, Estelle Griswold, opened a birth control clinic. They were arrested and convicted, but they decided to bring the case to the Supreme Court under the Fourteenth Amendment. 

No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Now, as for Griswold v. CT, the Supreme Court decided (7-2) that the Constitution does protect the right of marital privacy against state restrictions.  "While the Court explained that the Constitution does not explicitly protect a general right to privacy, the various guarantees within the Bill of Rights create penumbras, or zones, that establish a right to privacy. Together, the First, Third, Fourth, and Ninth Amendments create the right to privacy in marital relations." (https://www.oyez.org/cases/1964/496). 

So there we go... right to privacy. The government cannot legislate someone's body or what happens in their marriage. 

That being said, there are some other cases that bring up the Fourteenth Amendment and privacy.

Plessy v. Ferguson (1896): Black and white residents had to ride in separate train cars in Louisiana. In this case, the Supreme Court stated that as long as the provisions were in fact equal, it wasn't a violation of the Constitution (i.e., Separate but Equal). 

United States v. Wong Kim Ark (1898): The US Supreme Court affirmed that children born on American soil are U.S. citizens without regard to their parents' status. 

Brown v. Board of Education (1954): based on Plessy v. Ferguson, segregation of public schools based on race was allowed by states, as long as the facilities were equal. (Side note: did anyone ever really think that segregated facilities were "equal?") However, Brown overturned "Separate but Equal" and the court rules that "separate in inherently unequal." (Further side note: if you ever see a low-income urban school and a middle/high-income suburban school, you'll still see that things are not equal). 

Loving v. Virginia (1967): by 1967, interracial marriages were still illegal in 16 states. Mildred and Richard Loving traveled to DC to get married and came home to VA. They were arrested in VA under the state law that prohibited interracial marriage. The VA Supreme Court ruled that the state had an interested in preserving "racial integrity" and because the punishment applied to both/all raced, it wasn't in violation of the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. The US Supreme Court overruled VA. 

Reed v. Reed (1971): The US Supreme Court decided that arbitrary rules/laws that treat men and women differently are unconstitutional. 

Obergefell v. Hodges (2015): The US Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment protects the right of same-sex couples to marry. 


Basically, the 14th Amendment shapes civil rights in the US. 

Now, let's talk about women's health. 

Contraceptives and abortion can be found from as early as 1550 BCE (the Egyptian Ebers Papyrus). 

In the Western world, the "quickening" was when a woman was considered pregnant. That's the first fetal movements. Before that, it was a late period, which could be fairly common (menses can be late based on stress, nutrition, etc). Women might make tea from herbs such as pennyroyal to bring on their monthly time. 

Furthermore, the Roman Catholic Church seemed to believe that abortion wasn't a sin unless the fetus had a human soul, which was anywhere from 40 days to 90 days after conception. In fact, from 600-1500 CE, the greater sin was sex outside of marriage. 

In my opinion, it seems that the only reason that anyone wants to control women's bodies is for the simple fact that they want to control women's bodies. In 1857, the American Medical Association started an anti-abortion campaign, basically to restrict homeopaths and midwives. 

They lobbied for the criminalization of abortion, capitalizing on fears that not enough white, native-born women were having children.

Doctors claimed there was little difference between a quick and a nonquick fetus and that earlier and later stages of pregnancy were not distinct. In doing so, they redefined the meaning of abortion to include early stages of pregnancy. (https://origins.osu.edu/article/commonplace-controversial-different-histories-abortion-europe-and-united-states?language_content_entity=en

The AMA said that the quickening was unscientific. The AMA and the Catholic Church teamed up. Pope Pius IX, in 1869, claimed that an embryo was a human being with a soul from conception.  By 1900, abortion was illegal and viewed as immoral, the same as taking a human life. 

In my opinion, what the AMA wanted was for women to stop listening to our bodies, stop listening to other women, and put our total trust in doctors. Pregnancy, birth, women's health, and midwifery was a female-dominated corner of the world that men could not control. Men therefore decided to criminalize women's health. Women had found ways to take care of our bodies but men wanted to control them. Men wanted to keep women subservient. What better way to keep women subservient than to force us into being barefoot and pregnant, caring for the house, children, and men, while the men went off to be the sole bread-winner.  We lost our connection to the village with the creation of the nuclear family, and became isolated. In fact, one of the top red flags when it comes to abusive relationships is isolation from friends and family. The old adage of "It takes a village to raise a child" is 100% true. 

I can digress further. This is exactly the mental/emotional load that women carry to this day. 

Side note: a popular urban legend in MA states that 6 or more unmarried women living together is a brothel.

In Shawnee, Kansas, they recently passed a law that states

The ordinance bans renting to four or more people who are all unrelated. For example, four former college friends unrelated by blood, marriage, adoption or guardianship could not rent together. Two or three unrelated roommates would still be allowed.

Homeowners can still rent a property, but only to three or fewer unrelated individuals. 

This puts an end to roommates/co-living. This directly impacts people who cannot afford to (or don't want to) buy a house. This further punishes people who don't want to get married (or who can't get married, such as same-sex couples or people with disabilities [who will lose their disability benefits if they get married!]). 


So, let's see: 

If Roe v. Wade is overturned, we can possibly lose not only a fundamental healthcare right, but we can lose: 

  • contraception (Griswold)
  • same-sex marriage (Obergefell)
  • inter-racial marriage (Loving)
  • consensual sex (Lawrence v Texas)
  • equal rights (Brown)
  • citizen rights of children born in the U.S. (Wong Kim Ark)
There is a lot to unpack in this discussion and it basically all comes down to control.



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