SCOTUS is about to declare it so.
An Assault on Basic Freedom for All Women and Girls
Overturning Roe v. Wade will mean that at least 26 state governments (and counting) will enshrine into law, and in many cases, criminal law, mandated control over women’s and girls’ bodies, dictating when, where and how they give birth, forcing pregnancies as a result of rape or incest and regardless of the danger to health and life of the mother.
Sound hyperbolic? Sound like the Taliban?
The bodies of women and girls of reproductive age will be literally hostages to the state. How then can women be considered full citizens? How can women be free in America?
Contrary to the 8th, 9th and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution, women and girls will be forced to give birth for the benefit of the state, subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, stripped of the right to privacy, of her own agency, of the freedom to make decisions over her own body, and denied equal protection of the law.
Most of these anti-abortion state laws deem the life of the mother as subordinate to the fetus she is carrying. Too bad if a miscarriage or sepsis from a fetus dead inside the uterus – not a rare occurrence -- results in a woman’s death. Too bad if rape results in pregnancy; the state orders that woman or girl to bring it to term regardless of the physical and psychological damage. Female suffering is not worthy of consideration, and in fact, neither is the health, welfare and development of those babies born whom so-called “pro-lifers” claim to protect.
Abortion is Health Care: Not a Crime
With the likely overturn of Roe v. Wade, those 26 Republican state governments can and will dictate which medical decisions and clinical treatments physician can make for their female patients in a host of situations, not just for pregnancy.
Let’s look at a common procedure “Dilation and Curettage” (D&C) – now, or soon to be, banned and criminalized in those 26 states.
As states the Mayo Clinic, “This might be done to:
- Prevent infection or heavy bleeding by clearing tissues that remain in the uterus after a miscarriage or abortion
- Remove a tumor that forms instead of a typical pregnancy (molar pregnancy)
- Treat excessive bleeding after delivery by clearing out any placenta that remains in the uterus
- Remove cervical uterine polyps, which are usually noncancerous (benign)”
Source: Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/dilation-and-curettage/about/pac-20384910 (boldface italics are mine)
Ectopic Pregnancy. Septic Uterus. Miscarriage the body will not release. If you can’t afford or are physically unable to travel hundreds, thousands of miles to obtain the correct and necessary medical procedure, that is, an abortion, the result will likely be death.
It’s already happened. A woman in Texas was charged with homicide. She had a self-medicated abortion at home that went terribly bad and sought medical treatment in the hospital which, out of fear of their own liability, reported her to the authorities. Many more of such situations will be played out across the country. Physicians fearing prosecution will refuse to administer standard medical treatment despite their Hippocratic Oath to do no harm and make every attempt to save the life of their patient.
The irony is that these state governments and the voters who installed them will be the parties to murder and the untold suffering of hundreds of thousands of women, mostly financially strapped women of color, who will die from unsafe and botched “back-alley” abortions.
Less and Less Free in Post-Roe America
Many of these states’ laws also ban travel out-of-state for the purpose of seeking an abortion, a ban that can very well threaten the right of travel itself.
And that’s not all. The Alito draft throws the right to privacy out the window. His ill-conceived notion of unenumerated rights threatens contraception, IVF, same-sex marriage, gay and transgender rights.
Those anti-abortion states will quickly move to ban contraception. You may not remember that until 1965 birth control was against the law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Controlling women and their reproduction is democracy’s “canary in the coal mine” – a well-worn sign in the authoritarian playbook. It portends for all its citizens a future where the most intimate decisions are unconstitutionally dictated by the state under the threat of death or imprisonment. All in the name of a largely Republican religious right who believe their extreme dogma should be everyone’s.
Doesn’t sound like a free society, does it? More like the American version of the Taliban.