Monday, July 4, 2022

Special Feature: Selected Poems for Independence Day Before and After Roe v Wade

My Dear Friends:

Here are the poems selected for Independence Day before and after the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that established the constitutional right to abortion.

Independence Day
the first flight
of a swallow

Asahi, July 2014

Gabriel Sawicki

July 4th 
the rise and fall 
of a cicada's song
Biding Time: Selected Poems 2001-2013, 2013

H. Gene Murtha

Independence Day --
I let him touch
a little bit of me

Beyond the Reach of My Chopsticks , 2011

Fay Aoyagi 
The staccato of fireworks 
from the neighbor's field
        we sit in coolness
             emerging stars punctuate
             the words we haven't said

June 2003 Poem of the Month, Christian Science Monitor Online

Carol Purington 

inspired by Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods and written for Black Vietnam Veterans

July 4th
crossed out on his calendar ...
jungle dreams
erupt like fireworks
through his war-torn mind

NeverEnding Story, July 4, 2020

Chen-ou Liu

Note: Spike Lee closes Da 5 Bloods with a quote from a speech Martin Luther King made the year before he died, in which King quotes Langston Hughes: 

O, yes
I say it plain
America never was America to me
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

And I would like to conclude today's Special Feature post with the following haiku sequence about crossing state lines for abortion care:

First Post-Roe Independence Day

slanted light
the rise and fall
of her belly

unbroken heat
an 800-mile road trip
to the clinic

firework-lit sky
in the cheap motel window
a dream deferred 

blood-scrawled on the entrance
silence between us

what ifs ....
return trip from the clinic
in gathering dark

FYI: The New Yorker, July 2: The Dobbs Decision Has Unleashed Legal Chaos for Doctors and Patients: Overturning Roe v. Wade put old laws—including one from the nineteenth century—back on the books, and opened the door for new ones with ambiguous language and glaring omissions.

For examples:

Case 1: Watch ABC, Station 15, June 30 News, Arizona: Arizonan's react to Attorney General Mark Brnovich's announcement that a "1901 [even before Arizona was a state] abortion law" will take place following the overturn of Roe v Wade.

Case 2: Insider, July 1: A 10-year-old was forced to cross state lines for an abortion after Ohio's ban went into place. The Indiana doctor who helped her will soon be unable to assist others.

With abortion outlawed after six weeks in Ohio, physicians in neighboring Indiana described an influx of out-of-state patients seeking care. Among them: a pregnant 10-year-old.

In Indiana, for now at least, abortion is legal up to 22 weeks after a pregnant person's last menstrual cycle.

n comparison with the following case in Brazil:

Insider, July, 2: A judge in Brazil ordered a 10-year-old rape victim to be removed from her family and sent to a shelter to prevent her from having an abortion. 

And Los Angeles Times, July 3: After Roe vs. Wade reversal, a new war between the states

The result is a Pandora’s box of new questions: Can a state prohibit its citizens from traveling elsewhere to seek an abortion? From buying mifepristone pills through the U.S. mail? From merely seeking information about abortion options?

The battle won’t be confined within state boundaries. It’s already turning into a virtual war between the states. Texas has passed a law allowing its citizens to sue abortion providers in other states if they treat Texan women. Missouri’s Legislature is considering similar legislation. California, in return, has not only passed a law protecting its citizens from liability for aiding an abortion, but Gov. Gavin Newsom has also promised to provide "sanctuary” for out-of-state women who seek the procedure in his state.

“Our ability to muddle through and find an equilibrium has eroded," he said. "The danger is that we will slip back into the kind of tensions between the states that occurred in the 1850s. I don’t think we’re there yet, but I’m pretty worried.”

And USA Today, July 5: Interstate abortion travel bans? We're supposed to be a free country, not East Germany.

In 1952, citizens of Soviet-controlled East Germany could travel only 100 kilometers (about 62 miles) without permission. If you lived in East Berlin after 1961, you could be shot and killed if you tried to get past the heavily fortified and guarded Berlin Wall.

AddedThis Brave New World, XLVIII

parade shooting
the silence of "what if'
follows us home

FYI: CNN, July 5: July Fourth celebrations in Highland Park, Illinois, end in terror after mass shooting leaves 6 dead and dozens injured.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker: I’m furious because it does not have to be this way. And yet we as a nation, well, we continue to allow this to happen. While we celebrate the Fourth of July just once a year, mass shootings have become our weekly — yes, weekly — American tradition.”

According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have now been 315 mass shootings in the United States so far this year... 

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