Democracy vs Christian Nationalism
The meme above has been floating around, showing new Speaker of the House Mike Johnson is quoted as saying some pretty amazing shit. Mike Johnson and his wing of radical lunatic anti-choice misogynists certainly seem capable of such an outrageous view.
And all pity to Laurie Kilmartin, Austin/Fort Collins whose able- bodied worker son apparently won’t leave her couch in the basement.
I remember some years back, shortly after her failure to be elected Vice-President of the whole United fuckin’ States seeing a meme of Sarah Palin regarding the disappearance of a Malaysian Airliner. In this Meme on a place back then called “Twitter,” she was speculating via a site no less trustworthy than FOX FUCKIN’ NEWS, some faith-based ideas about what might have happened.
Be honest, didn’t you wonder if Palin and Johnson's remarks might be real? Okay, I’ll admit, I believed both of them when I first saw them. I didn’t believe what the idiots were saying, but I trusted that they very well may have said these things because these viewpoints totally aligned with lots of other dumb Christian shit they’d said.
Still, a lot more than simple State’s Rights vs individual liberty is at play here. We are living in absurd times where absurd ideas are free range roving. So, perhaps a little history lesson before we move on is in order.
A Brief History of Row vs Wade
Prior to Roe vs Wade a woman could not have an abortion legally in most states except under specific conditions and these laws varied from state to state. Essentially, the landmark case provided a woman with reproductive rights that opposed conservative (Christian) values in favor of a person’s individual right. In so doing, the court tried to balance the rights of the mother with prenatal life rights, which became the cornerstone of individual rights vs state rights debate, fueling decades of legal challenges like the recent cases in Mississippi and Texas. More than a debate concerning state and individual rights, Roe vs Wade established women’s reproductive rights in the US countering the Christian infused laws that mandated compulsory motherhood and overturning this decision opens the door to theocracy, specifically Christian Nationalism.
The Problematic Nature of Roe vs Wade
From a legal standpoint, there are issues with Roe vs Wade, which have been analyzed outside the scope of the case. One of the fundamental issues argued is the Supreme Courts’ inferring of the right for women to have control over reproduction. Arguments presented against Roe vs Wade have criticized the decision for having no legal standing. However, outside of the Court’s decision making, scholars have made compelling arguments in favor of the court’s decision. Legal scholar Andrew Koppelman argues in his 1991 paper,
Slavery compels some private individuals to serve others, and it does so as part of a larger societal pattern of imposing such servitude on a particular caste of persons. Compulsory pregnancy involves the same twofold injury.
Koppelman argues that compulsory motherhood is tantamount to slavery under the Thirteenth Amendment thus justifying the legal standing of Roe vs Wade. Koppelman’s argument highlights the problematic nature of the Court’s decision which may have focused arguments in the wrong way. The court’s decision that a woman has a fundamental right to an abortion founded on privacy rights, such as in Griswold v Connecticut which "invalidated a criminal law that prohibited married couples from using contraceptives and made their doctors liable for aiding and abetting." These cases show how the court saw privacy as inherently fundamental when it came to personal rights.
Using this framework Roe vs Wade established a woman’s reproductive right to an abortion based on privacy protected by numerous Amendments and the Bill of Rights. As such the right to an abortion, like all rights, is not absolute and the right of prenatal life had to be balanced, leading the court to rule a mother’s choice to carry or terminate pregnancy as her fundamental right. The decision founded on available science at the time, which in no small way centered on the mortality rates of childbirth. Women at that time had a higher rate of mortality from childbirth than from abortion and the mother’s maternal welfare took precedent until (at what science at the time) considered the fetus to be viable.
The Court’s decision based on privacy and the available science at the time have both been serious challenges to Roe vs Wade. The more effective foundation for this law would have been Koppelman’s argument of compulsory motherhood. The essential argument of Roe vs Wade centers on a woman’s right to choose motherhood. Regardless of how the Court arrived at the decision, striking down Roe vs Wade stripped a woman of the decision to be or not be a mother, leaving only motherhood or parting with a child. As such the essential argument of the Supreme Court is not a state interest vs mother’s interest but the fundamental right of a woman to choose. Do women have the right to choose whether or not to have children? Given that under the law no right is absolute, the question extends to whose right takes precedence: the unborn child or the mother and at what point is the fetus considered a person with rights?
These questions are the same questions faced by the Supreme Court in 1969 and are the same questions faced today. The overturning of Roe vs Wade has not changed the central question or issues.
Regarding the trustworthiness of memes. I found a few news articles and memes related to Mike Johnson, the Speaker of the House. One of the memes that went viral after his election to the post of Speaker of the House attributes the statement “Every American woman has a duty to birth at least one able-bodied worker” to him. However, this statement is false and misleading, What Johnson actually said was pretty much just as bad. What he said is:
During a House Judiciary Committee hearing, Rep. Mike Johnson attacks Roe v. Wade, insisting that if only women were compelled to bring more "able-bodied workers" into the world, Republicans wouldn’t need to slash Social Security and Medicare. pic.twitter.com/RGzg09TYEW— House Judiciary Dems (@HouseJudiciary) October 25, 2023
If you're under the age of 50, your class should have been twice as larger, maybe a third larger than it was.
I especially love the “twice as larger” line, which is Louisiana talk for “more bigger.” And the possibility that a third or maybe even half of my classmates might have never been allowed to be born, would, in hindsight work just fine for me. Besides I’m 75 ½ years old so a lot of my classmates who were born became dead anyway. But I digress.
As for Sarah Palin, all I can say is that I have not heard a single word about her boarding a Malaysian Airline Flight since the disappearance of that one. Interesting, isn’t it? Does this mean she doubts the likelihood of her speculation? Could Sarah secretly be a devil-worshiping princess of evil? I’m not saying I know for sure that she is, I’m just wondering. Maybe FOX FUCKIN’ NEWS has more up to date info on this as is so often the case.
Roe v Wade is a litmus test of theocracy vs democracy in a world of memes, free-range fascism and idiocy where truth vs bullshit, facts vs madness battle.Copyright Vincent Triola & Terry Trueman