Being old enough to remember the pre-Roe v. Wade days, it was a time when people with means were able to get a safe abortion by going somewhere else. Some people went as far as Sweden if memory serves.
Others would utilize back-alley ‘practitioners” who utilized “alternative” methodologies, which would often leave women infected, permanently incapable of bearing children, or occasionally dead.
In a post-Roe country, it will be a time when people with the means will be able to get a safe abortion by going somewhere else. I saw on the news that a clinic in Mississippi was working on a way to get people to New Mexico to receive services.
From the LA Times: “Defiant California leaders stood ready… to protect residents and non-residents alike from any federal rollbacks of abortion rights, though they could face significant challenges in expanding the state’s capacity to serve as a haven for those arriving from outside its borders.”
And those who choose to flaunt the state laws in Texas and Oklahoma? The populace has been deputized and monetarily incentivized to report alleged perpetrators. (What happened to the right to privacy?)
Being the masochist that I am, I actually read Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. OK, not the last 30 pages, which cataloged all the historical opposition laws to abortion in the states and pre-state territories. One could research similar opposition to contraception, interracial marriage, same-gender marriage, and other rights that were once considered controversial.
Here are some responses that resonate with me.
The new Supreme Court’s iron fist by Laurence H. Tribe, who, not incidentally, is cited in the opinion on page 46.
“If the right of a woman to decide whether to have a baby — a right that arises from the simple idea that everyone owns their own bodies — won’t qualify, then neither will most of the rights you have long assumed are yours. And not a word of the draft would prevent women who have abortions, or who miscarry in circumstances the state deems suspect, from being imprisoned as criminals.
“And this might not be a two-sided coin: A court capable of doing what the Alito opinion would do is equally capable of saying that a nationwide abortion ban would represent a legitimate exercise of Congress’s power to treat abortions as commerce and accordingly ban them all, while a nationwide attempt to codify Roe and Casey to protect the liberty of women would be a constitutional overreach…”
Tribe trashes Alto’s “tortured” reasoning. “Indeed, the most relevant text, the Ninth Amendment, instructs that the failure of the Constitution to ‘enumerate’ a right cannot be taken to ‘deny or disparage’ its existence.”
Also, check out the Boston Globe piece, The Supreme Court is coming after democracy itself by Adrian Walker.
In The Atlantic, Alito’s Plan to Repeal the 20th Century by Adam Serwer. If the conservative justice’s draft opinion is adopted by the Court, key advances of the past hundred years could be rolled back.
“Alito’s writing reflects the current tone of right-wing discourse: grandiose and contemptuous, disingenuous and self-contradictory, with the necessary undertone of self-pity as justification…
“Alito claims to be sweeping away one of the great unjust Supreme Court precedents, such as… Plessy v. Ferguson, which upheld racial segregation. But in truth, Alito is employing the logic of Plessy, allowing the states to violate the individual rights of their residents in any way their legislatures deem ‘reasonable,’ as the opinion in Plessy put it.
“Aside from rights specifically mentioned in the text of the Constitution, Alito argues, only those rights “deeply rooted in the nation’s history in tradition” deserve its protections. This is as arbitrary as it is lawless. Alito is saying there is no freedom from state coercion that conservatives cannot strip away if conservatives find that freedom personally distasteful…
“This is total gaslighting; he knows as well as anyone that these other rights are like Roe, rooted in the right to privacy. If Roe is imperiled because it is unenumerated and not ‘rooted in our history and tradition,’ then these other rights are also subject to challenge,’ Melissa Murray, a law professor at NYU, said of Alito’s disclaimer. ‘Conservative lawyers are going to eat this up like catnip, and of course, they are going to challenge these other precedents.'”
I know I’m having a difficult time accepting the legitimacy of this Supreme Court because of the chicanery of its composition manipulated by Senate Republicans. When Antonin Scalia died in February 2016, they said Obama couldn’t select Merrick Garland to replace him because of “precedent” involving picking a justice in the President’s final term in office.
Yet the Senate ran over such “precedent” when Ruth Bader Ginsburg died in September 2020 and Trump appointee Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed in near-record time.
Speaking of the upper chamber, Susan Collins (R-ME) is shocked, SHOCKED that Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, who suggested to her that Roe was “settled law” during their confirmation hearings would lie to her.
Interesting times. Ugh.