Happy ‘No Wire Hangers Ever’ Day!
January 23, 2009 in Human Rights
Today, I’d like to talk to you Wordsmokers, Wordjokers, and, of course, Wordtokers about human rights and human dignity.
I have struggled, perhaps like many of you, to obtain those precious things–rights and dignity–for myself and others in my own very small way during what will ultimately be my own very small lifetime. I know, therefore, that Thursday, January 22 was the 36th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade.
The key “holding” (that’s lawyer talk for ‘what the court really means’) of Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), was that
“[s]tate criminal abortion laws, like those involved here, that except from criminality only a life-saving procedure on the mother’s behalf without regard to the stage of her pregnancy and other interests involved violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which protects against state action the right to privacy, including a woman’s qualified right to terminate her pregnancy.”
Right on, SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States)!
Writing for the court, Justice Harry Blackmun stated that
“[t]he Texas statutes under attack here are typical of those that have been in effect in many States for approximately a century.”
A century, you say? A motherfucking century?
Yes, a motherfucking century. A century. Think about that.
The laws that were under attack (and ultimately defeated by the Roe plaintiff) had been in effect “for approximately a century.”
Can we pause for a moment? That’s a century of women dying because they couldn’t go to their doctors to terminate their pregnancies in a medically safe manner.
I’ve got more to say, obviously, but if you’re interested, go read the decision yourself. The full text of Roe v. Wade is right here
The upshot of this landmark decision, much to the relief of most women (and the men who loved and continue to love them) was that all laws criminalizing abortion would be subject to the “strict scrutiny” standard in federal court. And those laws, you may be glad to know, were almost immediately overturned.
I know what you’re thinking:
Wordsmoker: “Wow, ‘strict scrutiny’! That sounds really strict! Isn’t it?”
LG: “It sure is! And most state laws that criminalized abortion were almost immediately struck down or simply eliminated from state criminal codes in the wake of Roe v. Wade!”
Wordsmoker: “That sounds great! But is Roe v. Wade really strict enough?!”
LG: “A lot of people view Roe v. Wade as controversial. For instance, a certain pulsating shitsack by the name of Rick Warren, the ‘cleric’ who delivered the invocation at President Barack Obama’s inauguration, doesn’t think so! But don’t worry, as soon as people understand that the ‘pro-life’ movement is really the FORCED BIRTH movement in disguise, I think everything will be okay.”
Wordsmoker: “Oh, thank goodness. I’m so relieved that the FORCED BIRTH movement–which has previously styled itself as the ‘pro-life’ movement–is on the wane.”
You got that, FORCED BIRTHERS?
Yep, you heard me: FORCED BIRTHERS. That’s F-O-R-C-E-D B-I-R-T-H-E-R-S.
Oh, wait, “we’re ‘pro-life’” you say? Ummm…no. Not at all.
Many of you “pro-lifers” seem to think that a clump of cells has the same human rights as a grown woman. But what you’re really after is the power of the state to be able to dictate to a pregnant woman that she must give birth.
I’m just going to say that again for emphasis: You want the state to be able to force a pregnant woman to give birth. Do you realize how insane that is? Would you want the state to be able to tell your mother, your sister or your daughter that she MUST have a child? Of course you wouldn’t. What you’re advocating is literally FORCED BIRTH.
You FORCED BIRTHERS want to subjugate women to the state. It’s hard for me to even understand the motivation for this, especially after all these years.
Fine, you FORCED BIRTHERS don’t agree with me. I accept that. But let’s step back for a second. What was the world like before Roe v. Wade? Well, ask your mother or your grandmother.
Before Roe v. Wade, abortions were sometimes performed using a re-shaped wire coathanger as a crude sort of hook that was inserted into the uterus and used to pull out the fetus. Frequently performed in non-sterile conditions, such operations often resulted in the death, via sepsis or, more mercifully, perhaps, the catastrophic blood loss of the patient.