“Ordinary,” said Aunt Lydia, “is what you are used to. This may not seem ordinary to you now, but after a time, it will. It will become ordinary.” (Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale)
In 1984, George Orwell warned us about Big Brother, the three-minute hate, and why we were always at war with Eurasia.
Sinclair Lewis, who wrote It Can’t Happen Here, warned us ,“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”
Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 warned us about a bleak future where libraries were outlawed and the firemen burned books.
The Bible warned us about “false prophets”.
And in The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood warned about a brutal theocracy overthrowing the United States government. Atwood’s prophetic novel was marketed as “science-fiction,” but other people saw it as an instruction manual, proving once again that truth is scarier than fiction.
So what happens when the villains of The Handmaid’s Tale get appointed to the Supreme Court?
Bad things happen, that’s what. Every woman saw the iceberg straight ahead a month ago when Justice Alito’s opinion was leaked. It made no difference.
“The moment of betrayal is the worst, the moment when you know beyond any doubt that you have been betrayed: that some other human being has wished you that much evil.”
TV news host and political commentator Rachel Maddow understands the terrible implications of the Pandora’s Box the Supreme Court wants to open: Once it’s opened, it will be impossible to close it again.
Maddow on leaked SCOTUS opinion: ‘We’re on the precipice of becoming a very different country.’
After nearly 50 years of settled law, the Supreme Court has struck down the historic 1973 decision of Roe v. Wade. During her MSNBC show after the draft was leaked, a stunned Maddow shared her initial thoughts and concerns about the decision being overturned.
“It is shocking both in substance and it is also shocking in terms of what it means about the court, and what it means about the stakes here that someone is willing to do this,” Maddow said.
Roe v. Wade guaranteed constitutional protections of abortion rights. However, the majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito and obtained by Politico overturned the landmark case as well as the subsequent 1992 decision of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reaffirmed a woman’s right to choose.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Alito wrote. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
With 21 states reportedly planning to ban abortion if Roe is in fact overturned, and 13 with “trigger laws” that go into effect immediately when that happens, women across the country may find they have lost the right to choose how or when they experience pregnancy.
“This draft opinion saying that the Supreme Court is about to clear the way just for that, means that we’re on the precipice of becoming a very different country,” Maddow said. “And our daughters and granddaughters are living in a very different world.”
I wish the loud-mouthed hypocrites who are having a public meltdown over the leak from the Supreme Court would stop pretending that they give a Goddamn about the women and children in America.
We know they don’t, because actions speak louder than words. As awful as the toxic rhetoric of the American Taliban has been, their actions have been much, much worse.
Religious extremism is a disease, and it’s a hate-fueled pandemic that’s spreading across the country. If Jesus came back waving a rainbow flag, they’d crucify him again. It was “pro-life” activists who murdered Dr. George Tiller while he was in church. Do you remember Eric Rudolph?
This is who they are, and this is what they do.
“Better never means better for everyone. It always means worse, for some.” (The Handmaid’s Tale)
In Texas, there is a $10,000 bounty available to anyone who reports a woman suspected of terminating her pregnancy.
At least 11 states — including Alabama, Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas — have passed laws that would ban abortions if the pregnancies were conceived by rape or incest.
Republican legislators in Louisiana are proposing a bill that would classify abortion as homicide.
In Tennessee, Governor Bill Lee signed a bill that increases criminal penalties for anyone distributing abortion medication through the mail.
And how long will it be before these lunatics create a new Fugitive Slave Act that specifically targets pregnant women? Red State America won’t be building walls to keep immigrants out. Walls will be erected to keep women in.
“Prosecutors really have no compunction about throwing people in jail for their reproductive outcomes,” said Farah Diaz-Tello, senior counsel and legal director of If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice, a group that helps people who face criminal charges related to abortion. “Even though Roe has not been full protection, it is one of the things that sort of stands between people and a much more massive scale of criminalization.”
This is the Brave New World that every woman in the United States will be condemned to live in, once the Supreme Court finally strikes down Roe v. Wade. But they aren’t done yet; outlawing abortion in America is only the beginning.
“There is more than one kind of freedom,” said Aunt Lydia. “Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don’t underrate it.”
Sifting through Justice Alito’s verbiage, we find his expressed concern that “the domestic supply of infants relinquished at birth or within the first month of life and available to be adopted has become virtually nonexistent.”
Maya Angelou warned us: when someone shows you who they are, believe them, and it was absolutely horrifying to see that Alito was unable to perceive women as nothing more than an odd species of livestock.
Justice Alito envisions a utopia where these unruly mobs of uppity women would be prettier if they just smiled more often, went back into the kitchen, and stayed pregnant.
He isn’t the only man who shares this hallucination.
On the May 11 edition of Fox News’ The Big Story, host John Gibson warned his viewers about the growing demographic crisis facing white people in the United States: “By far, the greatest number [of children under five] are Hispanic. You know what that means? Twenty-five years and the majority of the population is Hispanic. To put it bluntly, we need more babies.”
J.D. Vance, campaigning for a Senate seat in Ohio, said, “When you go to the polls in this country as a parent, you should have more power, you should have more of an ability to speak your voice in our democratic republic, than people who don’t have kids.” Vance added, “Let’s face the consequences and the reality; if you don’t have as much of an investment in the future of this country, maybe you shouldn’t get nearly the same voice.”
What’s even more depressing is seeing conservative white women joining the chorus and becoming enthusiastic Aunt Lydias who are enabling this madness. On Tucker Carlson’s talk show, Rebeccah Heinrichs of the Hudson Institute said the growing “Fertility Crisis” in America is the Left’s “cultural dogma” that brainwashes young women to “monetize their talents and abilities.”
Heinrichs then advised young women to “Get married and have children, to continue to do good, continue to work, continue work — monetized or not — but to the extent it works for your family. And that’s where you going to find great happiness and you’re going to have a healthier society if you do that.”
Ms. Heinrichs is either deluded or a liar. How in hell are you going to have a “healthier society” for young women when the Christofascists are dismantling the guardrails?
Priscilla Smith, lecturer on law and reproductive justice at Yale Law School can see the bloody handwriting on the wall:
“If the draft becomes the real opinion, all of those issues — contraception, consensual sex and marriage — certainly are all at risk,” said Smith. “They have definitely left the door wide open.”
“There is a whole wing of this group that is opposed to abortion who only support sexual intercourse when it is within the context of marriage and when it is designed to procreate. The use of contraception gets in the way of that.”
Nationally, anti-abortion advocates are “setting the stage not just for a reversal of protections for abortion, but also for protection for the right to fetal life — the fetus being a person with a right to life guaranteed under the constitution,” Smith said.
“That’s where we’re going if things don’t change.”
And if things don’t change, every woman in America will inevitably be backed into a corner where the only choices available will either be having babies for the rest of their lives, going to jail for the “crime” of having a miscarriage, or dying alone in a motel room because of a self-induced abortion.
For women, it will be a never-ending nightmare. For men, it will be a return to the Good Old Days; women are acceptable collateral damage. These men don’t care, and going backwards is who they are and what they do.
The end of safe, legal and accessible abortions is only the beginning. It Can’t Happen Here, until it does. And when it does, it’s too late.
In an essay in The Atlantic, Margaret Atwood recognizes Justice Alito’s endgame:
The Alito opinion purports to be based on America’s Constitution. But it relies on English jurisprudence from the 17th century, a time when a belief in witchcraft caused the death of many innocent people. The Salem witchcraft trials were trials — they had judges and juries — but they accepted “spectral evidence,” in the belief that a witch could send her double, or specter, out into the world to do mischief. Thus, if you were sound asleep in bed, with many witnesses, but someone reported you supposedly doing sinister things to a cow several miles away, you were guilty of witchcraft. You had no way of proving otherwise.
Similarly, it will be very difficult to disprove a false accusation of abortion. The mere fact of a miscarriage, or a claim by a disgruntled former partner, will easily brand you a murderer. Revenge and spite charges will proliferate, as did arraignments for witchcraft 500 years ago.
In The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood tried to warn us. It’s not Atwood’s fault that nobody listened.
“You are a transitional generation,” said Aunt Lydia. “It is the hardest for you. We know the sacrifices you are being expected to make. It is hard when men revile you. For the ones who come after you, it will be easier. They will accept their duties with willing hearts.” She did not say: Because they will have no memories, of any other way. She said: Because they won’t want things they can’t have.
Over a month ago, everybody knew what the Supreme Court was going to do. They made it official yesterday.
Welcome to the new Republic of Gilead, everybody. God Bless America.