The great regression of women’s rights

My daughter is likely to grow up – in America – with fewer rights than her mother.

Let it sink in.

Late Monday night, a draft opinion from the United States Supreme Court was leaked — a phenomenon that had never happened before — that showed the court was preparing to overturn Roe v. Wade and to allow abortions to be banned in America. Politico first released the draft, and it wasn’t entirely clear where it was in the process, though it was widely believed to be near the end.

And if that’s the case, and that opinion is really what this court is planning to issue, abortions will immediately become essentially illegal in 13 states. A handful of other states will likely follow.

Now, I’m not going to get into the abortion debate here. I am not discussing this particular topic with anyone, because I am arguing with myself about it as it is. My perspectives are unique and nuanced, and I struggle to maintain consistency depending on the situation.

But here’s what I’m arguing for, and where I’m consistent: everyone should have the right to decide these things for themselves, and this is especially true for women carrying these embryos and fetuses.

And I’m not the only one to be of this opinion. More than 60% of Americans are against overthrowing Roe. Even in Alabama, polls show that 70% of people – SEVENTY! — are against a federal ban on abortion.

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Because the majority of people in this country, and even in this state, know the truth about abortions: they are necessary medical procedures and women have them for a wide variety of reasons, almost all of which are relatable and understandable.

And outright prohibitions are complicated. If you don’t believe it, let me tell you about an afternoon I spent at one of the weirdest press conferences in recorded history.

It happened in July 2017, on the steps of the Alabama Court Building in Montgomery. On the podium were two adults who did not appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol and who did not appear to suffer from head trauma. One such person was Win Johnson, former director of the Courts Administration Office, and Lorie Mullins, director of an anti-abortion nonprofit.

For the better part of an hour, these two individuals stood in the hot sun and willingly argued that the State of Alabama should force a 12-year-old incest victim to carry a pregnancy to term and have the baby.

They argued that she was “too young” to decide to have an abortion and that the procedure would have lasting effects on her.

But carrying an incest baby for nine months, going through the pain of childbirth and then, assuming she gave the baby up for adoption, spending the rest of her life knowing that child was in the world was just something thing 12 year olds do these days I guess.

Is this an extreme example? He is.

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But it is also the reality.

What if the girl was 15? Or 17? Or, shit, what if the pregnant rape victim was 40?

What if pregnancy was a danger for the mother?

What happens if the victim of an assault cannot prove the assault?

What if a married couple who already have kids and are struggling financially just don’t want another mouth trying to feed?

That’s why so many people are against Roe’s cancellation — because it infringes on the personal rights of others. He imposes your beliefs and feelings on them. And that puts the government between a patient and her doctor. (Conservatives are doing the latter a lot lately.)

And right after the birth, the Alabama government runs like hell from this room and this baby’s life forever.

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“Republican politicians will claim this is a victory for ‘life’ in a state with high infant mortality rates, a black maternal mortality crisis and countless other public health crises,” the president of the Republic said Monday. Alabama Democratic Party, Chris England, in a statement. “They refuse to expand Medicaid, provide free access to lifesaving health care for Alabama families — or do anything else that actually sanctifies the lives of Alabamians. Now their law will block access to abortion in Alabama, which will affect women with the fewest resources the most.

And the Supreme Court’s ruling will indeed be one of the greatest personal rights rollbacks this country has ever seen.

And with such a radical and militant court seemingly bent on carrying out a right-wing political agenda – law, precedent and public comment be damned – there’s really only one question.

What rights will we lose next?