Written By: Reverend Anton Sawyer
I think the only person who could watch the levels of the horror show that has begun to fill the headlines after the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022 with anything other than repugnance would be Alex Delarge from “A Clockwork Orange.” Underage girls are being forced to cross into a completely different state in order to get a medical procedure which, as we will soon find out, can literally mean the difference between life and death. And remember, this is just one of the atrocities we see regularly happening in the US nowadays. Since day one of SCOTUS upending 50 years of an American tradition, we have gotten to see first-hand that when you conflate science with doctrine from an Iron-Age tome, the results can never be good.
It goes without saying that we expected this from the Republican party. They have made no secret that their priority number one has been repealing abortion rights since Roe became law. They’ve also never diminished their levels of ferocity and legal trickery to see this goal accomplished. Despite this fact, it must be said that because of their inaction, the Democrats shoulder just as much blame in this nightmare as their right-wing counterparts. Though a grim realization, there is one silver lining; it appears that this SCOTUS ruling has at least caused Democrats in the US House of Representatives to spring into action. But, is it too little, too late?
In an attempt to maintain complete transparency, all research and statistical fact-checking for all articles can be found in the bibliography linked here.
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SCIENCE AND FAITH ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS
When I read about the 10-year-old girl from Ohio who had been raped, gotten pregnant, and had to travel to Indiana to get access to abortion—all while the mother defended the rapist on Telemundo—I was completely gobsmacked, but also not entirely surprised. As far as the mother goes and her tragic response, it happens, unfortunately. I’ve written previously about my former stepdaughter who was five years old when she disclosed to me that my 15-year-old nephew sexually abused her. This culminated in a huge family fallout and time spent in court with lines clearly drawn. Sadly, because of our new archaic way of life when it comes to women’s reproductive rights, for this girl in Ohio, crumbling family life was the least of her problems.
Outside of this emotional aspect, the stance that science has taken is pretty clear when it comes to the ramifications of a girl at such a young age carrying a fetus to term: girls younger than 15 are at a huge medical risk when it comes to bearing children. “Their bodies are not ready for childbirth and it’s very traumatic,” said Marie Bass Gomez, a midwife, and the senior nursing officer at the reproductive and child health clinic at Bundung Maternal and Child Health Hospital in Gambia. “The critical issue is that the pelvis of a child is too small to allow passage of even a small fetus,” said Dr. Ashok Dyalchand, who has worked with pregnant adolescent girls in low-income communities in India for more than 40 years.
For this girl from Ohio, the need for a specific medical procedure was very possibly the difference between life and death—a procedure that should be available in this circumstance according to popular opinion. Per a 2020 Pew Research report, among those who say abortion should be against the law in most or all cases, nearly half (46%) say it should be legal if the pregnancy threatens the health or life of the woman; even pro-lifers know that killing the mother is a really bad idea. Yet, no matter the facts, whenever religious zealots are asked about these kinds of circumstances, they always either try to quote such and such verse from the Holy Bible. Or, they try to get into a philosophical conversation stemming from the meanings taken out of that same book as a justification for a zero-tolerance policy on a major facet of women’s reproductive rights.
OK, I’ll play along.
As an ordained minister, I recall the writings of John 8:7—"So when they continued asking him, he lifted himself up, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” So, unless you are more perfect than Jesus, you have no right to tell others what to do based on judgments that seem to have been reserved for everyone other than yourself.
DNC—THE MORALITY SQUAD
The DNC had the opportunity to codify Roe v. Wade for five decades. I know there are many on the left who seemed to have thought Roe was “settled law”—that excuse is nothing more than a platitude given by an apologist. Given that the GOP has made overturning Roe the top priority of the party since abortions became legal, that though for the last 50 years has been selective thinking. The Republican party spoke openly to every major news outlet as much as possible when it came to the horrors of “killing babies” in order to solidify the ideology of pro-life at all costs throughout the nation—as deeply as possible for as long as possible. So, to say that the decision to not codify Roe was because it was “settled law” is absurd at best.
Knowing that the law wasn’t settled, it’s incredibly frustrating when you look at the political history of the DNC for the last 50 years knowing that opportunity after opportunity to codify Roe was at their feet. If you know anything about American 20th-century political history, you'll know that from 1972 until 1995, the Democrats controlled the House during that entire time frame. That’s a solid 20 years of controlling one-third of the entire legislative body, with nothing to show for it as a result. The most recent example of when this codification could have been accomplished with relative ease was during the Obama administration. He had had the ability to codify Roe into federal law during his time as president but failed to do so despite Democrats controlling the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives from 2009 to 2011.
I could sit here and wax poetic all day for the litany of reasons the DNC didn’t act to enshrine abortion rights into law of some kind, but it would be nothing more than empty speculation. Maybe it was due to the number of independent voters they thought they’d lose by taking a legal approach to cementing their pro-choice stance? Maybe it was some kind of attempted moral hubris? Who knows? The one thing I do know is that the DNC has learned as of summer, 2022, nothing is safe.
SO, WHAT’S NEXT?
Maybe I’m jaded, but I honestly do not know where the actions being taken by the US House in trying to codify other rights (i.e., gay marriage and contraceptive rights) in July 2022 stem from. Whenever dealing with a major political party, true motivations are often dubious at best. Is it because it’s an election year? I mean, as much as I would like to say that the DNC had some epiphany that thrust them into doing what is right, recent numbers show that the upcoming election could definitely be a deciding factor. Across 31 states, about two-thirds of voters who have switched their official party registrations in the past year have switched to the Republican Party, according to voter registration data analyzed by The Associated Press. The phenomenon is playing out in virtually every region of the country—Democratic and Republican states along with cities and small towns—in the period since President Joe Biden replaced ex-President Donald Trump. Nowhere is the shift more pronounced, and dangerous for Democrats, than in the suburbs. Over the last year, far more people are switching to the GOP across suburban counties from Denver to Pittsburgh. Republicans also gained ground in counties around medium-size cities such as Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Des Moines, Iowa. That is A LOT of voters jumping ship.
But let’s assume I am jaded, and the liberals are finally understanding the seriousness of the situation.
As much as I don’t like Nancy Pelosi, I’m glad to see her being able to rally the troops and start trying to pass legislation codifying other basic rights into law so quickly after the overturning of Roe. Given that these legislative responses have been brought about due to a concurring opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas suggesting that Supreme Court decisions involving access to contraception and same-sex marriage should be reconsidered, time is of the essence.
Because of her attempts, Pelosi was able to get the House to pass the Respect for Marriage Act, which would protect marriage equality by repealing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and providing federal protections for same-sex and interracial couples. The bill passed 267-157, with every Democrat voting for it. Shortly after this vote, the House is also expected to vote on the Right to Conception Act, a bill that would protect access to birth control. This measure is also expected to pass. Though I do see these as ultimately positive acts, I also see both of these bills dying in the Senate. With a needed 60 votes to head to the President’s desk, I can’t see 10 Republicans jumping ship to champion either of these causes—both because of their “morality,” along with it being an election year.
When it comes to any backlash due to Roe being overturned, the Democrats can only look in the mirror when it comes to assigning blame. For decades the DNC has been vocal about being a champion of the people, yet they refuse to take the necessary steps to see their promises through when it comes to preserving rights. If the numbers above from the Associated Press are any indication, it seems that there are many left-leaning voters who have picked up on this trend of Democratic complacency, and are tired of being on the losing team. People want results. Even if it isn’t the exact results they were looking for initially, a victory in one area can lead to victory in another. As humans, when we support something (no matter how horrible it might be), we get a rush of exhilaration when we are victorious. It’s ingrained into what we are as a species. As dastardly as the GOP might be, they are able to manipulate the rules of the system in order to win and win they do. They double-talked in two Supreme Court justices by using two different sides of the same coin when they stopped Obama from a nomination because it was “too soon” to when he was out of office, and then rammed through Justice Barrett during the final months of Trump’s administration because it was “necessary to occur before the election.”
Manipulative? Sure. But it got results. And it seems that’s all many Americans want to see these days.
Due to the convergence of events like the 2022 election, the Senate blockage, and the SCOTUS ruling, I truly do not believe that the Democrats are going to be able to save the rights they voted on. And with how emboldened the GOP has become due to this SCOTUS ruling, I promise that if there is a red wave this fall, everything Justice Thomas said will come to fruition.
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