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Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade, But Won’t Stand Up to Admit It

Almost fifty years after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court has just overturned it. Not with a bang, not even with a whimper, but with cowardly silence.

Texas, which has now become the worst state in the country, yesterday passed through a bill which would outlaw every single abortion after six weeks. And to show that “Cruelty” is now their state motto, they even will be giving out bounties of $10,000 to anyone who can find a woman who has an abortion after six weeks; seeks an abortion; is a doctor or nurse who tries to help a woman get one; is a cab driver who drives a woman to a place to get one. I am surprised that they are not giving out the bounties for killing anyone thinking of having an abortion, but they will get there.

The United States Supreme Court could have immediately set a hearing on this law, but they delliberately have not, and almost certainly will not. Because: 1) That carefully handpicked Court majority wants to completely overturn Roe v. Wade; and, 2) They do not want to actually say it, nor do they want to just carve away at it. They would prefer to simply and clearly give their imprimatur to any state which will effectively or completely outlaw abortions.

This is the culmination of the Republican dream. Why there has been this long furor over the right to an abortion, is an interesting, but at this point, indulgently abstract, consideration. I am a man, so my perspective may be limited in that regard. I have always thought that the first attack on the Roe decision was a way of trying to punish those people in the 1970’s who the Far Right thought were engaging in free love, and using abortion as a form of birth control, which is mostly absurd, but so are they. Then it became about controlling women, forcing them to stay “barefoot and pregnant.”

Only later, it seemed to me, did it become about fetuses, and whether they had rights. But it was a powerful rallying image. The bitter irony is that these fanatics don’t care one bit about babies, whether they are born with crack addictions, or impoverished mothers. They just want to punish the women, and to some extent the men who got the women pregnant, even if they both employed protection, and did not want, or could not afford, to have a baby at that time.

So the anti-abortion zealots worked tirelessly to fill the Supreme Court with justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade. It took a long time, but they got there. For every one of the last 48 years, people have warned that if you let the Republicans win the presidency, they will pack the Court with anti-abortion justices. And after making a few mistakes in that regard, they managed to do that

Every judge which the Heritage Foundation put up to the acquiescent Republican presidents, was a sure vote to overturn Roe. Look at all the Catholics which they have put on the Court. And presidents like GHW Bush, who probably did not want Roe overturned, helped it happen by putting Thomas on the Court. His son GW Bush put on Roberts and Alito. Bush did not win that election, but the Supreme Court handed it to him, including Sandra Day O’Connor, who supposedly said “That’s awful,” when she was told that Gore was going to win. O’Connor of course had previously upheld Roe, but Roberts and Alito would not.

And over and over, people like Barbra Streisand would say that “The election is about the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court,” but not enough would listen. 2016 was the culmination. Justice Scalia died, President Obama nominated Garland to replace him, and McConnell would not allow a hearing, because he knew that Garland would be confirmed, and would be the swing seat. And Obama apparently felt that there was nothing he could do about it.

And then Trump won, because far too many people decided that they could indulge themselves and not vote, or vote for Stein or Johnson, because “they just didn’t like Hillary”; or they were angry Sanders supporters who wanted him to be the president the next time; or they were people who had made a voting career out of disparaging both parties. Varieties of each of these stupid, foolish or self-indulgent (THEIR states would not ban abortion)) people. I could write a book about how such people were major dupes and useful idiots in the now successful Radical Faux Religious Right’s efforts to make abortion a crime. I wonder how they will rationalize this. Bill Clinton appointed Breyer and Ginsburg to the Supreme Court. Hillary would have appointed great Justices. Trump got to appoint three, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett.

The last one, Barrett, was rushed in, as Republicans showed that everything they said about the Garland nomination was an utter lie. Did you know that McConnell, when asked, recently said that if Biden had a Supreme Court opening to fill in 2024, he would block it? What is the saying, “Fool me 7,890 times, and you are the most obtuse person imaginable”?

And special perverse credit should be given to Susan Collins, who would always tell us that she did not want Roe v. Wade overturned, but that she would vote for Barrett, because she and the Court would not overturn it. Maybe she was in on the con; the Court did not actually write a decision overturning it, they just allowed it to be overturned by state courts, without doing anything about it. Oh, those Republicans, spending every waking hour when they are not counting their money, working on ways to circumvent, deceive, find flaws and loopholes to use to their advantage.

To say that this is a truly chilling day in American history, would not be overstating it. Many more Red States will pass bans on abortion just as totalitarian and inhumane as the one that Texas passed. In (don’t mess with) Texas, you can’t get a hospital bed, you can’t go to a school or a job with a vaccine or mask mandate, and you can’t get an abortion after six weeks, which is probably the earliest you could even know that you are pregnant. This is out of some nightmarish dystopian book or television show, and it is real.

So what can be done, if anything? Well, the Congress could pass a bill making Roe v. Wade a national law, which under our system, would supersede anything a state legislature could do, or a Supreme Court could rule. That is conceivable, but of course there is the filibuster to overcome, though this would be a possible opportunity for Manchin and Sinema to carve out an exception. I suppose that our government could try to cut off funds to Texas, or sue them, under the argument that they were violating Roe. This is unlikely to work, but it would highlight things. We could to try to add Court seats, but that is not getting through any time soon.

People, maybe including some of those who couldn’t be bothered to vote in 2016, might want to boycott any product coming out of Texas, and not go to sports events where any team from there is playing. That might upset them. And then of course everyone has to vote, although it is getting harder to do that each day. Any state with a Republican-controlled legislature, and there are some in “Blue States,” which just one time, elects a Republican governor, risks a draconian anti-abortion law.

There are realistic things which can be done, but it will take Democrats working in concert. Part of this zero-sum game reality, is that we have to stay united. We can’t divide and be conquered. Republicans have become thoroughly evil, and just enough Democrats were too fragmented or myopic to see what their endgame was, and how it would be realized. Now we have to undo it.