The Supreme Court of the United States set to eliminate the legal right of American women to have abortions was not on my totalitarian bingo card for this week.
This should come as no surprise, as we’ve been heading in this direction for decades. Such a development, if true, would be in perfect harmony with our repressive times, with Putin’s invasion of Ukraine abroad, while at home free elections are curtailed, teachers muzzled and books prohibited.
What is the common thread? Authoritarianism strikes at weakness. This is why he imposes such a topsy-turvy morality: attacking homosexuals but not adulterers, undocumented immigrants but not those who cheat on their taxes. The bully doesn’t go after someone stronger.
Hence the women. It might be news to you that women still hold a degraded second-tier position in America in 2022. But they do, of course, and knocking Roe down would be proof enough. Here, darling, Good decide for you…
Otherwise, this push would be off-brand for libertarians. The same people who broke down writhing and crying from intrusion, oppression, state tyranny demanding they wear a cotton mask during a deadly pandemic manage to jump , revived and rush into your gynecologist’s office, drop onto a rolling floor low stool, and invite you into the stirrups.
That the news leaked, a draft Supreme Court judgment shared by Politico Monday night, is significant. While peripheral Washington types, of course, lament the abandonment of standard legal practice, it’s a reminder that when fanatics are allowed to bend the law from the will of the people – 59% of Americans think abortion should to be legal – the first victim is the law.
Let’s refresh ourselves on the history of legal prohibition fueled by religion. This whole booze ban thing didn’t go so well, did it? Rather than preventing the consumption of alcohol, he spread the practice in society, reinforcing lawlessness. Marijuana was once a crime; now cannabis stores are on every suburban street corner, as big as banks, sleek as jewelry stores.
Abortion is different because it is a delicate sex-related medical procedure involving the destruction of a potential child, and into this crack in our wall of freedom religious fanatics have pushed their assault, trumpeting all the time they’re doing something intensely moral – saving babies – when what they’re actually doing is something intensely immoral: harassing women – mainly young low-income women – and invading their privacy.
And now? The truth is that we should never have left it to the courts to decide something so important. Roe was a bad case, and it was unwise to let American freedoms hang by that thread. This should have been settled by the legislature years ago.
There is reason to hope. A rule of totalitarianism is that it always goes too far and never stops, since bullying is the goal, the eternal junkie scrambles to find someone to be better at. The success of the abortion ban will only draw the attention of the American Taliban to gay marriage, anti-racism, immigration, the rest of the creepy stuff that fills their closet with fear. They never give up. They must be defeated.
This development should come as no surprise. When the Washington Post published, “News Alert: Supreme Court Majority Ready to Overturn Roe v. Wade, leaked documents,” at 9:25 p.m. Monday, my reaction was, “Well, duh. And Napoleon escaped from Elba…” You buy a ticket to Springfield, you get on a train to Springfield, and—surprise, surprise—you end up in Springfield.
For the time being. The good news is that we know how it ends. Abortion is legal in Spain. It’s legal in Ireland, Mexico and other countries where it was once the fiercest taboo. It will be legal here too, eventually. The past that the red staters cling to never existed and we will never go back. Black people aren’t going to start rolling off the sidewalk touching their hats as a white man approaches. American history is not going to become an exciting tale of undiluted glory. And women don’t have to go back to the kitchen pregnant.
One day. But right now, we’re on the wrong train — “us” being decent, respectful people who prefer to allow others to make their own moral choices without coercion — speeding in the wrong direction. Our work is done for us.