The Portland Phoenix

The Universal Notebook: Roe v. Republicans

After the initial shock and anger at the U.S. Supreme Court’s plan to force women to give birth whether they want to or not, my next reaction was more positive. It seems very likely that the court’s plan to overturn Roe v. Wade could backfire on the conservative activist justices and the treacherous Republican Party they serve. 

The Big Leak that Justice Samuel Alito has drafted an opinion that would turn decisions about the legality of abortions over to the states landed like a bombshell even though we knew the conservatives now control the court. 

If the decision holds, women who live in the Northeast or on the West Coast may have their reproductive rights remain relatively intact, but women who live in the Deep South or Midwest can kiss their control over their own bodies goodbye. Bubba and the Good Ole Boys will decide if and when a woman can terminate a pregnancy. (Hint: No and never.)

Here in Maine, I doubt much will change one way or another – unless, of course, Paul LePage defeats Gov. Janet Mills or Republicans take control of the Legislature. If there is a silver lining to this deeply disturbing Supreme Court development it is that women and Democrats will turn out in record numbers to vote against sexist bullies like LePage and Donald Trump.

Republicans have their knickers in a twist about the unprecedented leak of a Supreme Court draft decision. But the leak is not the problem, the court is.

The Supreme Court has lost all legitimacy, authority, and integrity because unfit justices have been put on the bench by a pair of unfit Republican presidents. The corrupt partisan court created by George W. Bush and Trump undermines our democratic republic as much as the Republican attempt to overthrow the 2020 election. Big Lie. Big Liars.

Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh lied to Maine Sen. Susan Collins to get her vote during senate confirmation hearings. If Collins expects to be taken seriously about supporting a woman’s right to choose, she should be calling for Gorsuch and Kavanaugh to be removed from the bench for lying under oath. You know she won’t do that.

The authoritarian impulse in the modern world represented by people like Trump is fast approaching theocracy. Telling a woman who has been raped that she must give birth to the rapist’s child is every bit as hateful and sexist as the Taliban telling Afghan women they must cover themselves from head to toe.

Any man or woman who opposes abortion but does not support sex education and contraception has forfeited the right to be taken seriously as a sincere person. They are obviously not concerned about preventing unwanted pregnancies. 

And any man or woman who opposes abortion in cases of rape or incest has forfeited the right to be taken seriously as a compassionate human being. They are obviously not concerned about the sanctity of life. In both cases, the anti-abortionist is only worried about punishing women.

The long-term solution to the tyranny of the minority when it comes to reproductive rights is either to remove the unfit justices from the court or to expand the Supreme Court by adding more moderate and progressive justices. A federal law legalizing abortion would do the trick, but then the Constitution already does that via the Ninth and 14th Amendments, both of which protect a woman’s right to privacy. It’s just that the Roberts’ court does not recognize any constitutional rights it disagrees with.

Bottom line: If you want the government running your life, vote Republican.

Edgar Allen Beem has been writing The Universal Notebook weekly since 2003, first for The Forecaster and now for the Phoenix. He also writes the Art Seen feature.

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