If justices strip rights from women, strip Republicans from office
Republished with the permission of the Honolulu Star Advertiser where it first appeared in a Sunday “Insights” section (5/08/2022)devoted to the draft decision written by Justice Alito.
Justice Alito’s leaked draft of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe vs Wade is chilling in how little it says about the women whose wombs he is so anxious to regulate. He writes about a “quickening” in the womb without any quickening of empathy even as he professes to want to protect life. Like Justice Amy Coney Barrett, he points coldly to ‘safe haven’ laws that allow newborn babies to be dropped off anonymously. A woman who does so, he assures us, has “little reason to fear her baby will not find a suitable home.” Never mind the nine months of pregnancy. Never mind whether the baby was conceived through incest or rape. Never mind if the mother-to-be is a child herself. Never mind that the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate – nearly 700 each year — of any developed country, with black and brown women dying at two to three times the rate of white women. Never mind that the US ranks a dismal 33rd among 36 OECD countries on infant mortality: again black, Native Hawaiian and Pacific island babies lead.
Even as he writes for the GOP-appointed Justices bent on stripping women of their right to make decisions about their bodies, Alito observes that “women are not without electoral and political power.” Returning abortion to the states, he says “allows women on both sides of the abortion issue to seek to affect the legislative process by influencing public opinion, lobbying legislatures, voting, and running for office.”
If you are among the nearly 400,000 voters in Hawaii who did not vote in the last elections, will you vote now? Our rights on so many fronts are at risk. Ballots will be arriving in mailboxes in July for the August Primary. Please don’t let them go unused.
I am a Catholic mother and grandmother who agrees with Rev. Raphael Warnock that a woman’s reproductive decisions are a private matter between her and her doctor. The United States government is an interloper.
Justice Alito’s misogynistic argument that women do not have autonomy over their bodies because the Founding Fathers did not provide for it raises an obvious question. Since they had nothing to say about impotence either should the Supreme Court now consider outlawing the treatment of erectile dysfunction? It would appear to be the logical next step. Constitution-thumping conservatives gloss over the Ninth Amendment in their fevered quest to strike down Roe vs Wade because it makes clear that even if some rights are not spelled out, they reside firmly with the people, not with the government.
The far right claimed that mask-wearing in the middle of a pandemic infringed on their freedom. But far right politicians and Justices want to deny all women the freedom to make health decisions about their own bodies. Alito had the chutzpah to cite Lincoln who said “We all declare for Liberty, but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing.” Alito and his fellow conservatives on the bench want the untrammeled liberty their positions of privilege allow them and their class, while going out of their way to take away the liberty of all women. The people they will hurt most are the poor: those juggling multiple jobs, who cannot take time off, who cannot afford another child. They will hurt those living in rural areas, unable to afford the cost of getting to the doctors and clinics willing to treat them.
If they truly cared about protecting life, the Justices should turn their attention to the death penalty and to the lives lost every day to gun violence. Firearms were the leading cause of death among children ages 1-19 in the U.S. between 2019-2020. Did the Founding Fathers anticipate that?
We must fight this tyranny. We must vote. We indeed have power. Let’s use it.