Over the past two weeks, the Supreme Court of the US (SCOTUS) has overturned numerous rights reforms, including the constitutional right to abortion. A day prior to overturning Roe V. Wade on June 23rd SCOTUS ruled in Vega v. Tekoh that being read your Miranda rights that prevent you from incriminating yourself when arrested is not a constitutional right, despite the fact that the Fifth Amendment explicitly states, “nor shall any person…be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” That same day SCOTUS overturned the Sullivan Act passed in 1911 that requires NY applicants for licenses to carry concealed weapons to show a need or reason to carry concealed weapons. Five days later in Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta, SCOTUS ruled that the state has jurisdiction to prosecute non-native people on indigenous land in a blow to indigenous sovereignty. It’s possible this ruling may be used to pardon non-native people for attacks on Native Peoples and resources. Six days after overturning Roe V. Wade on June 30th, SCOTUS ruled that the Clean Air Act doesn’t give the EPA the authority to enforce limits on carbon emissions or to try to transition US power generation to renewable sources away from fossil fuels.[i] One of the dissenting members of the Court, Elena Kagan, wrote “Whatever else this Court may know about, it does not have a clue about how to address climate change. Yet the Court today prevents congressionally authorized agency action to curb power plants’ carbon dioxide emissions. The Court appoints itself—instead of Congress or the expert agency—the decisionmaker on climate policy. I cannot think of many things more frightening.” In just two weeks, it was made clear police brutality, gun violence, indigenous sovereignty, and the environment aren’t concerns for the majority of SCOTUS.
SCOTUS has just nine members who are nominated by the President, not by the general public. The President is also not chosen by the people but by the Electoral College. Documented citizens who haven’t been convicted of a felony get to vote in the Presidential election but ultimately the Electoral College can defy the popular vote, which is what happened in the 2016 election when Trump lost the popular vote but still won due to the Electoral College vote. The Electoral College itself is composed of electors not chosen by a popular vote, but by political parties and confirmed by the Senate. The numerous degrees of separation allow the supreme court to be nearly legally untouchable and completely removed from the public. Supreme Court members can reject presidential directives, which impact the entire country of 330 million people, so in essence they have more power than the president, and unlike the president they serve for life or until they resign, retire, or are impeached, which has only happened once in US history. The only unelected figures with equivalent power that serve for life in other governments are dictators and monarchs but in the US they are seen as a “normal” part of this so-called “democracy.” Even statist proponents of representative democracies should have a problem with this.
The Supreme Court’s supposed function is to interpret the constitutionality of specific legislation but, of course, their own political bias dictates how they vote. They aren’t “students” of the constitution beholden to the document who make decisions based on it even if they don’t agree on them. They simply do what they want, the same as any judge, cop, prosecutor, border patroller, or prison guard, and the system protects them regardless of the “law.” Even if they were beholden to that document, it’s worth noting that the Constitution was written by slave owners on land stolen from indigenous peoples they massacred.
The three SCOTUS members appointed by Trump, Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, have turned the tide, creating a wave of regressive legislation long after Trump has left, despite the fact that Trump lost the popular vote, incited a failed insurrection, conspired with two Supreme Court members, Alito and Thomas on his attempted coup, and narrowly avoided impeachment. It is clear that political bias rules the court since they can overturn older supreme court decisions as they just did to Roe Versus Wade on June 24th in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
In 1973 Roe V. Wade nullified numerous state laws prohibiting abortions when the court decided that a pregnant woman’s right to an abortion is protected by the Due Process Clause of the 14th amendment. But the Due Process Clause hasn’t changed since 1973. All that has changed is the political biases of the members of the court who want to impose their twisted values on the rest of the population.
Those who oppose abortion often self-identify as “pro-life” when most, in fact, don’t support legislation that would provide universal healthcare, maternity leave, social services, foreign aid to countries facing hunger and disease, food stamps, free school lunches, public schools, or other measures that could far more fairly be described as “pro-life”. Instead, they generally support imperialist policies and prisons responsible for countless deaths, (including pregnant women who are incarcerated and pregnant women overseas in countries targeted by US bombs and drone strikes) not to mention ecocidal extractive industries that decimate entire ecosystems. Those against abortion support most human birth, but once these children are born, most don’t care if the child has the resources to live a happy, fulfilling life or if the parents are emotionally, financially, or physically capable of raising a happy child.
To support every birth, even in cases of rape, incest, potentially dangerous pregnancies, such as ectopic ones that can kill pregnant women, or pregnancies that would leave the child malformed and destined to suffer a lifetime of challenges is not “pro-life”. On an overpopulated Earth filled with hundreds of millions of kids without parents seeking to be adopted, many of whom are at-risk and malnourished, those against abortion want others to have more unwanted children. Ultimately, pregnant women must grow the life inside of them. Because of this, abortion should be a choice only they can decide for themselves. It is a simple matter of bodily autonomy. Of course, avoiding abortion through use of contraceptives is ideal, but no method of contraception is foolproof, and some of these absolute fucking lunatics in power want to ban contraceptives next, setting us back a few thousand years.[ii] Much like drug laws and laws against prostitution, abortion bans don’t actually stop abortions. They just make access to safe abortions far more difficult, creating dangers that don’t need to exist.
Along with Trump’s appointed SCOTUS members, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito also voted to overturn Roe V. Wade. SCOTUS members, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan were the sole dissenters. As many states already had “trigger laws” that were written to go into effect if Roe was overturned, “Abortion is now or will imminently become illegal in at least 21 states with a combined population of 135 million people.”[iii] Ohio’s trigger law just made abortions after six weeks of pregnancy illegal. Because of this law, three days after overturning Roe, a ten-year-old rape victim from Ohio was refused an abortion because she was six weeks and three days pregnant, forcing her to travel to Indiana to receive care.[iv]
After making the decision to overturn Roe, Clarence Thomas wrote that “we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.” These decisions, Griswold v. Connecticut, (1965) Lawrence v. Texas, (2003) and Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) protect married couples right to buy contraception, prevent states from passing laws prohibiting anal and oral sex, and allow gay couples to marry, respectively. Clarence essentially wants to criminalize homosexuality, all forms of heterosexual sex he sees as inappropriate, and sex for any other purpose than procreation.
After overturning Roe, Thomas wrote further “After overruling these demonstrably erroneous decisions, the question would remain whether other constitutional provisions guarantee the myriad rights that our substantive due process cases have generated,” So what’s next? Brown v. Board of Education (preventing school segregation), Loving v. Virginia (legalizing interracial marriage), Skinner v. Oklahoma (criminalizing forced sterilization)? If we don’t stop these lunatics by any means necessary, it’s all on the table.
After Roe was overturned, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene declared, “We are one step closer to ending the mass genocide of abortion in America.” Former Vice President Mike Pence commented, “We must not rest and must not relent until the sanctity of life is restored to the center of American law in every state in the land.” Trump declared “God made the decision.” Illinois congresswoman Mary Miller called the decision a “victory for white life” at a Trump rally to roaring applause. Neo-Nazi organizations celebrated and proceeded to harass and assault people protesting the decision and those celebrating Gay Pride Month. Civil war at this point seems not so unrealistic with the rise of fascistic lunatics in politics, Neo-Nazi militias, a general hostility for science and facts, white supremacism, propaganda, conspiracy theories, lies repeated enough to the point at which people believe them, and general departure from reality.
If democrats had any spine, they would be trying to impeach these parasites on the Supreme Court (especially Thomas and Alito for their role in Trump’s coup attempt) or try to abolish the court but the chances of that are infinitesimal. Instead, their response to Roe v. Wade being overturned was to sing “God Bless America” at the capitol building and suggest an expansion of the Supreme Court. Worse, Biden tried to pacify the opposition to the decision, saying, “Keep all protests peaceful. No intimidation. Violence is never acceptable. Threats and intimidation are not speech.” Ironically, as Biden made these remarks, Capitol police were deployed to break up the protest at the Supreme Court building. In stark contrast to January 6, 2021, when police were mostly passive in response to armed Trump supporters attacking the Capitol Building in an attempt to overturn the election, this time Capitol police had “full riot gear and snipers were deployed on the courthouse roof.”[v] Some have taken matters into their own hands, attacking pro-life centers and fake abortion clinics run by zealots who try to force those who enter to avoid abortion. Others have taken to the streets, blocking avenues and major highways. The outcome of these actions is unclear but what is clear is that the answers aren’t legalistic or institutional. They’re in our own collective, spontaneous direct actions. So what are you going to do?
Some Resources from PM Press:
ShareAbortionPill.Info. This site created by SYA is full of information about abortion pills, where to get information about them, where to get legal help, and other FAQs.
INeedanA.com. This easy to navigate site will point people to abortion options in their state. If people live in a state where abortion is inaccessible, the site will point them to other options. It is reliable and regularly updated.
AidAccess.org. One of our favorites, this site connects people with physicians who prescribe abortion pills, even before someone is pregnant. Pill mailing times vary from state to state. Pills are medically safe and effective for most people, but legal risks may apply depending on who you are and where you live.
AbortionFunds.org. The National Network of Abortion Funds helps people get abortions in a variety of ways. Go here if you need help acquiring an abortion.
KeepOurClinics.org. Many clinics in receiving states will be overwhelmed with people needing abortions as we see access continue to fall. This is a great place to support the independent abortion clinics who will be unfairly overloaded in the months and years to come.
MAHotline.org. The Miscarriage and Abortion hotline is a confidential text and phone line staffed by physicians who can securely counsel people through self-managed miscarriages and abortions. Help is available in English and Spanish. Text or call 1-833-246-2632, 8am – 11pm in the continental US.”