Saturday, June 25, 2022

A Room of My Own: Roe v. Wade, then and now, and to be continued ...

This Brave New World, XLV

the clinic
under a slate-gray sky
protesters shouting
at counter protesters
with their arms linked

outside the closed clinic ...
a teenager
stretches her hand to catch
falling rose petals

the space telescope
launched to explore the birth
of this universe ...
safe haven baby boxes
wrapped in Mississippi sunset

bans off our bodies
as firm as marble steps ...
against the Supreme Court
a phalanx of women

once shouting 
my body, my choice, my life
in the pandemic ...
the MAGA crowd chant, Hey, hey. Ho, ho. 
Roe v. Wade has got to go 
(FYI: MAGA stands for Make America Great Again)

anger boils
over the Roe v. Wade leak
on TV
Afghan women covered 
head to toe in black
(FYI: The Washington Post, May 7,: Taliban orders head-to-toe coverings for Afghan women in public)

We won’t go back ...
in the lengthening shadow
of the Supreme Court
a gray-haired woman shouting
after another woman ...

does not own my body ...
arm in arm
rows of young women wearing
red cloaks and white bonnets
(for courageous handmaids who live in a state now banning abortion)

a pink-haired teen
with one hand on her belly
and the other 
on the clinic's doorbell ... 
her boyfriend still stands still

ultrasound gel
smeared across her belly ...
the cold
that touches her skin and heart
and his weighty silence 

FYI: I expanded my 6-tanka sequence, Roe v. Wade – Then and Now, which was published on May 4 after  the Supreme Court’s leaked draft opinion, into a 10-tanka sequence,  which was written in response to the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision released yesterday to overturn Roe v. Wade.

USA Today, June 24: What does overturning Roe mean? A breakdown of the Supreme Court's abortion ruling.

And Sky News, June 24: Roe v Wade: Who are the US Supreme Court justices and what did they say about abortion and other civil rights?

And The New Yorker, June 24, 2022: We’re Not Going Back to the Time Before Roe. We’re Going Somewhere Worse: We are entering an era not just of unsafe abortions but of the widespread criminalization of pregnancy.

In the weeks since a draft of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization—a case about a Mississippi law that bans abortion after fifteen weeks, with some health-related exceptions but none for rape or incest—was leaked, a slogan has been revived: “We won’t go back.” ...

We have entered an era not of unsafe abortion but of widespread state surveillance and criminalization—of pregnant women, certainly, but also of doctors and pharmacists and clinic staffers and volunteers and friends and family members, of anyone who comes into meaningful contact with a pregnancy that does not end in a healthy birth. Those who argue that this decision won’t actually change things much—an instinct you’ll find on both sides of the political divide—are blind to the ways in which state-level anti-abortion crusades have already turned pregnancy into punishment, and the ways in which the situation is poised to become much worse....

Both abortion and miscarriage currently occur more than a million times each year in America, and the two events are often clinically indistinguishable. As such, prohibition states will have a profoundly invasive interest in differentiating between them. Some have already laid the groundwork for establishing government databases of pregnant women likely to seek abortions. Last year, Arkansas passed a law called the Every Mom Matters Act, which requires women considering abortion to call a state hotline and requires abortion providers to register all patients in a database with a unique I.D. Since then, six other states have implemented or proposed similar laws. The hotlines are provided by crisis pregnancy centers: typically Christian organizations, many of which masquerade as abortion clinics, provide no health care, and passionately counsel women against abortion. Crisis pregnancy centers are already three times as numerous as abortion clinics in the U.S., and, unlike hospitals, they are not required to protect the privacy of those who come to them. For years, conservative states have been redirecting money, often from funds earmarked for poor women and children, toward these organizations. The data that crisis pregnancy centers are capable of collecting—names, locations, family details, sexual and medical histories, non-diagnostic ultrasound images—can now be deployed against those who seek their help...

If you become pregnant, your phone generally knows before many of your friends do. The entire Internet economy is built on meticulous user tracking—of purchases, search terms—and, as laws modelled on Texas’s S.B. 8 proliferate, encouraging private citizens to file lawsuits against anyone who facilitates an abortion, self-appointed vigilantes will have no shortage of tools to track and identify suspects...In Missouri, this year, a lawmaker proposed a measure that would allow private citizens to sue anyone who helps a resident of the state get an abortion elsewhere; as with S.B. 8, the law would reward successful plaintiffs with ten thousand dollars. The closest analogue to this kind of legislation is the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793.

The theological concept of fetal personhood—the idea that, from the moment of conception, an embryo or fetus is a full human being, deserving of equal (or, more accurately, superior) rights—is a foundational doctrine of the anti-abortion movement. ... Fetal-personhood laws have passed in Georgia and Alabama, and they are no longer likely to be found unconstitutional. Such laws justify a full-scale criminalization of pregnancy, whereby women can be arrested, detained, and otherwise placed under state intervention for taking actions perceived to be potentially harmful to a fetus. 

During the past four years, eleven states have passed abortion bans that contain no exceptions for rape or incest, a previously unthinkable extreme.

In Texas, already, children aged nine, ten, and eleven, who don’t yet understand what sex and abuse are, face forced pregnancy and childbirth after being raped.... 

And Insider, June 24: Nancy Pelosi warns 'Republicans are plotting a nationwide abortion ban' after SCOTUS' overruling of Roe v. Wade, calling the decision a 'slap in the face to women'

And Insider, June 25: Obergefell, the plaintiff in the SCOTUS same-sex marriage ruling, said it's 'quite telling' Clarence Thomas omitted the case that legalized interracial marriage after saying the courts should go after other right to privacy cases.

In a 5-4 decision released Friday, the Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade. The majority opinion argued that the 14th amendment, which prevents states from depriving citizens of "life, liberty, or property without the due process of law," does not protect the right to abortion.

In a concurring opinion following the ruling, Thomas wrote that "we should reconsider all of this Court's substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell."

These cases protect the right to contraceptive access, same-sex relationships, and same-sex marriage, respectively. 

Added: This Brave New World, XLVI

Margaret Atwood proclaims, I invented Gilead. The Supreme Court is making it REAL.

in a wheelchair
a 90-year-old woman
chanting loudly
with row upon row of Handmaids ...
the Supreme Court in twilight

FYI: Margaret Atwood, The Atlantic, May 13: "I invented Gilead. The Supreme Court is making it REAL: I thought I was writing fiction in The Handmaid’s Tale.

And watch ABC, Station 15, Arizona, June 30 news:  Arizonan's react to Attorney General Mark Brnovich's announcement that a "1901 abortion law" will take place following the overturn of Roe v Wade.

Added: This Brave New World, XLVII

behind steel fences
night shadows etch the facade
of the Supreme Court

FYI: Insider, June 26: A record low 25 percent of Americans have confidence in the Supreme Court. 

FYI: HuffPost, September,1 : 17 Million Women Have Lost Abortion Access Since The Supreme Court Overturned Roe

In the two months since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ...Seventeen states have banned, severely restricted or stopped offering access to abortion care.

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