Well, they did it. Roe v. Wade was finally overturned on Friday. After a months-long ballyhoo, incontinence control, outrage and roid rage on the part of both the left and right (and the Court, itself), the decision was handed down by, you guessed it, a 6 to 3 majority.
So, that’s done. There are other things in the news to quickly discuss (i.e. new U.S. gun legislation, a Supreme Court ruling limiting restrictions on weapon ownership, lethal summer heat, global food shortages), and I should do just that, right? Well, hell no, I’m not going to do that, because this bit of history in the making was, well, history in the making, and worthy of an entire 800 words, or however the hell long the editors are going to give me to write about it. You’ll get more in depth reporting elsewhere, but, as likely, you’ll find just as much omitting, limited discourse and narrowing of definitions, terms and historical background, for all everyone is discussing it. Because everybody’s got an opinion, and wants to convince anyone they can to see it the same way they do. Which is all those are, outside of actual news stories, no matter how well-educated a person may be. Opinions. Personal biases always seep into it.
I only remind people of this because, more so than anything else, it’s what pisses people off about the news, and what continues to help foster political divisions in America, or lack of common ground at least. Not the stories, but what the editorialists and intellectuals have to say about it.
And Twitter. But that’s a whole different ball game, really.
While there may be a lot to get rankled over here, there are a couple points that I feel need reiterating, or discussing as if it were the first time anyone ever has, though the issues go back a long, long way, some to the founding of the nation.
America—or any nation-state, for that matter—should take care of its citizens, first and foremost, and that includes how they (the citizens) choose to defend the decisions they make about their own bodies. No declaration is perhaps so universally fundamental to a democracy, and no one on either side of a political spectrum would stand for a government to interfere, though it may not be explicit in the Constitution. The right to choose whether to have an abortion or not is probably the biggest issue I can think of on the liberal side of the spectrum, whereas, on the other side, people mainly just want to be left the hell alone. To inebriate and harm themselves in any way they see fit. Except if there’s an existential threat to their way of life. (And except when other people want to have an abortion.)
I mean, we vote you in, and you take care of us. Right?
Plenty may argue the Court handed down its decision with strict Constitutional interpretation and a laissez-faire mentality, with the zeitgeist of the Founding Fathers, themselves, perhaps; that it’s not a government’s place to interfere in such matters of the citizenry, and that it’s the right of each state to determine such laws as they see fit. That’s all they were doing there. Right?
Right? Being totally and completely objective in subjectively interpreting the law and then making a subjective decision about it? Right?
Well, no, not right. The states are still going to interfere, as their legislators see fit. That was the point. Any fool who’s looked to dismantle the 1973 Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade knew that each state with a red (read: majority Republican) legislature, when handed the ball, was going to severely limit abortion or do away with it outright. And those fools on the Court who ruled in favor of the state of Mississippi in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization knew it, as well.
The ruling had already been made; Roe was already on the books. Why dismantle it? Well, because the supremist Court of all courts is just like any other: a triad, heptad, ennead or whatever of ideological human beings, who bring their own belief systems and sets of core values into each and every decision they make. Some cases are just easier than others—less grave, less far-reaching, say—for the justices to claim their own personal lives didn’t factor into the outcomes, and how they voted.
Again, opinions always seep into it.
But America hasn’t completely prioritized the health and well-being of its citizens over all else in perhaps…ever. On some issues you find support, and even intervention, sure. The EPA (when it’s run by a Democrat’s administration, and then only sometimes), financial relief by Congress during a pandemic, OSHA, maybe the SEC. But if it really did, universal health care would never have been such the hot-button, culture war issue that it was. Abortion, either. There would be absolute legal protections, and the matter would be closed. Legally speaking, anyway.
And so why hasn’t it? The American government, I mean? Done that thing that it should?
It’s just not profitable. Never has, never will be. For the industries that profit most off of America’s legislative and executive (and sometimes judicial) decisions—and which, reciprocally, allow America to be the global juggernaut it has for so long—it’s just bad for business. It would cost more (or yield fewer profits, which is the same) for the healthcare industry—pharmaceutical producers, financiers, service providers—to take such good care of people. And as far as other examples, well, limits on pollution, public disclosure on methods of production, paying employees better wages, giving employees affordable access to health-and-childcare—those are just as bad for business, too. They cut into profit margins. They reduce the bottom line. And while one may argue the decision handed down in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which thus overturned Roe v. Wade (and Planned Parenthood v. Casey), has no correlation to any of that, that no one with any serious sway stands to greatly profit from it, I say it’s just another outcome in a long line of the leaders of this country not bothering to protect the right to life, liberty and the real pursuit of happiness of its citizens, and more looking out for what butters their bread.