Monday, January 23, 2006

33 Years Since Them Wimmin Killed God
To my shame, I didn't realize until this morning that yesterday was the 33rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and I had CSPAN on for much of the day, so you'd think I could have figured it out. Along with 1962's Engel v. Vitale, 1965's Griswold v. Connecticut, and 1981's McLean v Arkansas, 1973's Roe, as you're no doubt aware, has led directly to terrorism, AIDS, teen pregnancy, and the heartbreak of psoriasis.

Engle, of course, is the famous "school prayer" decision, Griswold is the "keep your cops away from my contraception," and McLean is the "hey, creationism ain't science" ruling, all of which were welcome but long overdue. And, frankly, they're all still very much at risk. It would be sad indeed if our forthcoming Supreme Court were to overturn these benchmark confirmations of the character of our nation--the secular character, that is. I'm not talking about the citizens (who can believe whatever they want and who will happily believe everything and anything asserted by a well-funded mouthpiece), but the nation itself, as set forth in the deliberately non-religious Constitution.

Considering the apparent likelihood of Alito's confirmation, it may be timely to reflect upon what these decisions represent and how things would change if they were "revisited" by the Roberts/Thomas/Scalia/Alito court. Dubya's views on reproductive rights were of course well known even before he called to encourage anti-choice marchers, and he's previously come out in support of creationism. What will happen when any of these issues gets to the Supreme Court? Hard to say for sure, but it's all but certain that Dubya knows how his carefully groomed surrogates on the court will rule.

It's been speculated in many places that, for political reasons, Republicans don't want Roe overturned, because that would render obsolete one of their most powerful "moral" positions. I'm not so sure. Nullifying Roe would only eliminate that protection at the federal level, thereby empowering states to attack reproductive rights. Heck, many states already have "trigger clauses" for laws just waiting to detonate upon Roe's overturning. Repubs could then hail two triumphs: the destruction of Roe and the reaffirmation of "states' rights," the latter of which everyone after the Reconstruction recognizes as a code word for "curtailed civil rights" and "formally institutionalized racism." And even after the Right has made women subordinate to their respective uteri, there'll still be gays, atheists, and liberals in general to condemn as the banes of "our way of life." They have to fight us liberals here so that they don't have to fight them at home.

At least one fact will remain very clear even after Roe is cast down: wealthy white folks will still be able to afford abortions no matter what laws are put on the books.

Thirty-three years later, we're still living a nominally free society, but the cover charge for entry into that society has become increasingly more visible and out of reach of the average citizen.

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