Supreme Court Banning abortions
Justice Alito’s leaked supreme court initial draft of popular opinion shows that the supreme court is taking a stand to outright ban abortions. This comes following the state of Mississippi attempting to ban all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. (this violates the current supreme court precedent of banning abortions before viability ie at 24 weeks)
Republicans have been making it incredibly difficult to get an abortion in red states by over-regulating abortion clinics massively. (TRAP-Targeted restriction of abortion procedure laws)
*Roe vs Wade(1973) and Planned parenthood vs Casey(1992) were two landmark supreme court decisions that guaranteed federal constitutional protections, this is why the red states couldn’t ban abortions outright
With Alito, Justice Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett voted to overturn the decisions last 2 of which are Trump-appointed justices.
This decision by the majority conservative supreme court to overturn these two decisions is very likely to pass in the next two months and that would mean the end of constitutional protections for abortions.
If that happens more than 20 states will ban abortion with some states having auto-trigger laws that immediately take effect and others will follow suit in the next 2-3 years.
What are the impacts?
If abortions are banned what will happen is
1)Rich people will have no trouble getting abortions and thus largely stay unaffected.
2)Poor and working-class people will try to get abortions illegally taking massive risks to their lives. These include people of color and minority communities.
3)People with average means or contacts will try to travel to different states to get abortions.
4)People who can’t get an abortion will abandon their children in the foster care system or raise them in an unloving household or even worse, abuse them.
Do people even support this?
The number of people based on gallop polling data that believe that abortion should be illegal in any circumstance from 1975 till present has never gone above 23% and at present is 19%. The majority of Americans believe that either abortion should be legal in all cases (32% presently) or it should be legal in some cases(48% at present) with 2% saying no opinion.
Most people believe that abortion makes sense in some cases. In extreme cases of rape or incest as well as before a certain threshold. Before ‘Viability’ is when most of the world thinks that abortion makes sense.
This decision isn’t happening in a vacuum, at the heart of it is religious fundamentalism.
This is a major reversal in terms of social progress not just for America but for the entire world. Orthodox religious fanatics have always favored the Traditional marriage concept and thus have lobbied for policies that disenfranchise women.
This ranges from trying to ban condoms, contraceptives and to banning abortions to prevent sex before marriage and denying women’s control over their own sexuality.
They want the woman to be a housewife that is responsible for the nurturing of the family but always dependent on the man to provide for her. The thought that a woman can chase her own financial independence and freedom, and that being a traditional housewife should be an individual’s choice is crazy talk to religious fundamentalists.
The major problem with these views is not only that they hurt the rights of women which is a massive problem in itself but also it pushes our society back to the dark ages.
Women empowerment is the way to progress and out of poverty.
I have a belief, you might think this belief is subjective when you hear it first but I will back it up with facts. The best and proven method to reduce poverty and make progress is women’s empowerment.
Think of all the countries that are rich, from Developed nations to Scandinavian social democracies all are high on gender equality indicators such as female literacy, female participation in the economy, and female empowerment.
This means in rich countries women are literate, and employed in paid professional, technical, managerial, or administrative jobs as well as in ministerial roles.
In every poor country, you will find low gender equality metrics, I think you can already see the correlation. “Let’s not confuse correlation and causation”, you might say.
So, Take any developing country, divide the areas according to gender equality metrics and take a look for yourself. Rural areas will rank low on those metrics and high on poverty and Urban areas will be the opposite.
You could even compare rural areas in that country to each other. The villages that are high on gender equality metrics will have a much larger probability of having a lower poverty rate.
More proof, every developing country that has orthodox religious laws is outclassed by other developing countries that empower women. Can you compare Pakistan or Iraq to Japan and South Korea?
Let’s go even deeper, if you compare families that support women’s empowerment with those that support patriarchy you will see that from generation to generation there is enormous progress in families that believe and practice gender equality when compared to the latter.
We saw this on a global scale, at a national level, state level, and now even family-wise. I am sure there might be exceptions but the rule remains that gender equality is the way to progress.
Why do I think that is?
There might be many factors for this to be the case and some of the key factors are increased economic activity, higher productivity, and better health outcomes such as reduced child mortality and awareness and prevention of diseases, etc.
Moreover, in my opinion, in places where women are subjugated, they are stripped of their independence and from a young age, they are pushed towards the household responsibilities.
This leads to a lack of self-esteem when comparing themselves to boys the same age as well as a lack of autonomy over their own life. Not only does it hurt her participation in the economy, but it also impacts the upbringing of her children as well.
This means that those children grow up with scarcity and codependence, and being raised in a family that oppresses women, they too follow suit almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy of regression.
The reason you should be worried.
The world has emulated American laws since it is the sole superpower right now but it has also emulated its political trends.
This past decade has seen a rise in brute authoritarian nationalists all over the world from countries like Brazil, the Philippines, Turkey, the United Kingdom, etc.
All these authoritarian nationalists come from religious fundamentalist roots that prioritize ‘Traditional Family’. They believe in ‘strong men’ that can lead a nation and hence they tilt towards the direction of a dictatorship.
The traditional family rhetoric goes against having contraceptives, adoptions, and same-sex marriages. It leads to draconian policies on trans people as and in some cases even intrudes on the private consensual sexual activity of individuals.
Now, most developed countries and social democracies are going to be completely fine. The Overton window of these countries won’t allow such candidates to even gain power. Developing countries that stand at the crossroads are the ones that the alarm bells are ringing for.
The reason I am typing this article is that I have a mother and a sister and might even have a daughter one day and I do want them to be treated with respect and treated equally. I am sure you feel the same way regardless of what gender you are else you would not have read all the way till here.
I practice mindfulness and that means observing the interrelations that exist. To reach closer to the truth and have a more objective understanding of circumstances. Having read all the above I know that you now have a more nuanced understanding of the importance of gender equality. This is not from a social justice warrior-ish feminism perspective.
This is from a progressive perspective that believes that there should be no discrimination between humans and we all deserve to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of the differences we were born with.
Now that you have this understanding I hope when the propaganda reaches you, (which it will soon enough), you won’t empower it and instead stand with your mother and sister and your friends.
Brutes will come to you with a patriotic perspective talking about culture and tradition. They will try their best to play the sound of family values on your heartstrings. When that happens, remember that they are just doing that so they gain power. They promise growth but that growth is just for themselves not for the country that they pledge to serve. We already realize now that true progress comes with solidarity and justice.
When you share this information with your friends or relatives you will play your part in moving the Overton window of your community toward a progressive direction. This is not only for gender equality but also for our collective human progress as well. It is the morally progressive stand but also the economically rational position.