Kansas Referendum agrees women have a fundamental right to abortion

For the first time since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, voters were asked to weigh in on abortion and determine whether Americans want state protections on reproductive rights or further-reaching restrictions.

Kansans on Tuesday voted to uphold a 2019 ruling that decided Kansas’ state constitution grants a fundamental right to abortion.

With more than 61 percent of the vote at the time the election was called by the Associated Press (AP), the statewide referendum blocked Republican legislators from banning or restricting access to abortions in a huge win to the pro-abortion movement.

“Kansas’ abortion referendum—the first popular vote on the issue in nearly 50 years—has been widely viewed as a bellwether in a post-Roe America.”

So say we all!

A Texas Teen-Ager’s Painful Abortion Odyssey

This was written and published before the rightwing pricks on the Supreme Court dumped their final insult on Roe vs Wade and young women in America.

Last summer, shortly after a date to Six Flags Over Texas, a thirteen-year-old girl in Dallas was falling in love for the first time. Her father could see it in the pencil drawings she made before bed. Instead of the usual, precise studies of koi fish and wildflowers, she’d sketched herself holding the hand of a boy in a Yankees cap, and enclosed the image in a pink-and-red heart. In the fall, the girl’s father permitted her to meet the boy, a tenth grader, after school one day a week. This spring, when he learned that his daughter was pregnant, he concluded that one day a week had been too many.

Within a day, his daughter, whom I’ll call Laura, came around to the idea that getting an abortion, soon, might be the best option. This required scheduling an appointment with a doctor who could prescribe her one pill to block progesterone and stop the growth of the fetus, and four other pills to prompt contractions. Her father, who worked in a factory painting locomotives on a 4 a.m.-to-2:30 p.m. shift, decided to use his next day off to take her to a doctor to get the medication. The question was: where? Last September, Senate Bill 8—also known as S.B. 8, or the Texas Heartbeat Act—went into effect across the state and sped up the timeline for enacting such a choice. The new law makes it illegal for women to obtain an abortion past the sixth week of gestation, or even before the sixth week, should electrical activity in fetal cells be detected by ultrasound. No exceptions are made for pregnancies that result from rape or incest, or for those of very young teen-agers.

The father’s girlfriend, who is close to Laura and controlled the household supply of sanitary pads, deduced that the girl had missed only one period. That meant Laura might just beat the six-week cutoff, so the girlfriend hastened to call local clinics. A few hours later, though, she and the father were confronting a fact faced by many other Texas families since the passage of S.B. 8. “Everything is booked out for a month’s time, if you can even get someone on the phone,” the girlfriend said. In the nine months since the law was implemented, the number of abortions performed in Texas has fallen by half, according to the Texas Policy Evaluation Project, at the University of Texas. Meanwhile, thousands of women and girls who want to end their pregnancies have been compelled to seek care in other states.

For Laura’s family, the nearest option was Oklahoma, but none of the clinics that the girlfriend called had appointments available. In Arkansas, the wait to see a doctor would be weeks—a delay that the father thought would be hard on Laura, an eighth grader who sometimes spoke of feeling isolated and depressed. “I’m not putting her through that,” the father told his girlfriend. Finally, seven calls later, the girlfriend reached a clinic in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, whose doctor could see Laura that weekend. It was a decent place, the girlfriend could report with confidence; she’d taken a pregnant relative there the month before. There were two catches, though. The clinic was seven hundred miles away, and the cost was, for the family, exorbitant.

Read on, my friends. No grandeur, no Homeric poetry. Just the grinding reality of American injustice piled on the shoulders of a teenage girl.

Who knows where we’re going?

In the weeks since a draft of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization…was leaked, a slogan has been revived: “We won’t go back.” It has been chanted at marches, defiantly but also somewhat awkwardly, given that this is plainly an era of repression and regression, in which abortion rights are not the only rights disappearing. Now that the Supreme Court has issued its final decision, overturning Roe v. Wade and removing the constitutional right to abortion, insuring that abortion will become illegal or highly restricted in twenty states, the slogan sounds almost divorced from reality—an indication, perhaps, of how difficult it has become to comprehend the power and right-wing extremity of the current Supreme Court.

Support for abortion has never been higher, with more than two-thirds of Americans in favor of retaining Roe, and fifty-seven per cent affirming a woman’s right to abortion for any reason. Even so, there are Republican officials who have made it clear that they will attempt to pass a federal ban on abortion if and when they control both chambers of Congress and the Presidency. Anyone who can get pregnant must now face the reality that half of the country is in the hands of legislators who believe that your personhood and autonomy are conditional—who believe that, if you are impregnated by another person, under any circumstance, you have a legal and moral duty to undergo pregnancy, delivery, and, in all likelihood, two decades or more of caregiving, no matter the permanent and potentially devastating consequences for your body, your heart, your mind, your family, your ability to put food on the table, your plans, your aspirations, your life.

Another solid article. Well researched, if not definitive, on alternatives, choice and, unfortunately, considering the penalties enacted by a backwards society upon those who dissent in word and deed. And, yes, leading to the courage and conviction to fightback – as must we all!

Texas politicians turned women’s rights back to the 19th Century


Illustration by Anna Parini

Last summer, shortly after a date to Six Flags Over Texas, a thirteen-year-old girl in Dallas was falling in love for the first time. Her father could see it in the pencil drawings she made before bed. Instead of the usual, precise studies of koi fish and wildflowers, she’d sketched herself holding the hand of a boy in a Yankees cap, and enclosed the image in a pink-and-red heart. In the fall, the girl’s father permitted her to meet the boy, a tenth grader, after school one day a week. This spring, when he learned that his daughter was pregnant, he concluded that one day a week had been too many.

Within a day, his daughter, whom I’ll call Laura, came around to the idea that getting an abortion, soon, might be the best option…

One in four girls and women in the United States will, at some point in her life, seek an abortion. Yet, if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, which, in 1973, established a woman’s constitutional right to the procedure, the long journeys to oversubscribed clinics that have become a fact of life in Texas will almost certainly become the norm throughout much of the country. Post-Roe, legal authority will devolve to the states, thirteen of which have in place “trigger laws” that would ban all, or nearly all, abortions. Ultimately…twenty-six states are likely to outlaw the procedure. Some pregnant people in the U.S. who will be stripped of the right to legal abortion will go on to have illegal procedures. Others will be forced into motherhood…

And millions of families will find themselves grappling with the same calculations that Laura’s family was encountering this spring: How far are we able to go, financially and emotionally, to terminate a pregnancy? And, when it’s all done and paid for, how much farther down the socioeconomic ladder will we be?

Forcing women and families to make these choices because a shit-for-brains cluster of politicians have the power to impose their will is archaic and historically criminal. That these actions are legal is only further commentary on the backwardness of so-called States Rights. Inevitably enacting laws whose primary function is to take away rights guaranteed in states better educated, more advanced politically. Laws whose roots and reason exist again and again in attempts to drag people back into servitude based on gender and other equally stupid reasons.

The fragile legitimacy of the Supreme Court


Bennett

The legal landscape of the past weeks and months has prompted questions of which people and entities are legitimate interpreters and enforcers of the law and what happens when you take the law into your own hands. Mississippi and other states took the recent changes in personnel on the Supreme Court as an invitation to defy the Court’s constitutional rulings on abortion, and those states now seem likely to prevail.

…The newest conservative Justices, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, signalled no qualms about overruling Roe as wrongly decided, which would make a majority of at least five. At a time when the Court’s legitimacy appears extremely fragile, it is telling that the majority’s response to having the supremacy of the Court’s decisions defied seems to be acquiescence and approval…

Any vigilante revivalism today goes hand in hand with private citizens’ increased ability to carry guns in public. The Supreme Court is currently considering the most important gun-rights case since it held, more than a decade ago, that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual’s right to keep handguns in the home for self-defense. On November 3rd, it heard arguments challenging a New York law that allows a license for the concealed carry of handguns outside the home, but only upon a demonstration of “proper cause.” The perverse, self-fulfilling truth is that, as gun ownership has proliferated, an individual’s claim to need a gun for protection has become more plausible…

During last week’s arguments, Justice Sonia Sotomayor lamented, “Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts?”…But the point of a fundamental constitutional right is that it shouldn’t be at the people’s mercy, particularly when the composition of the Court itself has been shifted through political means for this purpose.

Over decades, though both Right and Left have made comparatively minor shifts in composition of the Supreme Court, there has never before been an effort which in broad strokes is convened to remove precedence. In this instance, the Roe vs Wade decision which is held by the general assemblies of Left and Right in the GOUSA as expanding freedom for women to make decisions qualitatively affecting their lives. Yet another quality of life hated by what passes for the 21st Century Republican Party.

Trump & McConnell wrote the tune for a Republican march backwards on abortion rights


Yuri Gripas/Reuters

Conservatives have been waiting decades for this moment: a transformed Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear an abortion case that directly challenges women’s reproductive rights tracing to the 1973 Roe v. Wade milestone.

And unlike past times when Roe teetered in the balance, this is not a 5-4 court with the potential to suddenly dash the hopes of Republicans and religious conservatives. This is a 6-3 conservative-liberal bench. If one of the GOP appointees suddenly edges left, as happened before, a five-justice right-wing majority would still exist…

And now that the court has decided to reexamine abortion rights, the only question is how far the majority will go to roll back the nearly half-century-old declaration that the constitutional right to privacy covers the decision to end a pregnancy.

In a nation without a state religion, a land where privacy rights are paired with civil rights, we once again face unity between fundamentalist religions and a Republican Party committed to sweeping hypocrisy over legal protections for women’s rights. Neither of which would stand a chance in a historically-neutral Supreme Court.

Ireland – “A quiet revolution has taken place”

❝ Ireland’s prime minister on Saturday hailed the culmination of “a quiet revolution” in what was once one of Europe’s most socially conservative countries after a landslide referendum vote to liberalize highly restrictive laws on abortion.

Voters in the once deeply Catholic nation backed the change by two-to-one, a far higher margin than any opinion poll in the run up to the vote had predicted, and allows the government to bring in legislation by the end of the year…

❝ No social issue had divided Ireland’s 4.8 million people as sharply as abortion, which was pushed up the political agenda by the death in 2012 of a 31-year-old Indian immigrant from a septic miscarriage after she was refused a termination.

Campaigners left flowers and candles at a large mural of the woman, Savita Halappanavar, in central Dublin. Her parents in India were quoted by the Irish Times newspaper as thanking their “brothers and sisters” in Ireland and requesting the new law be called “Savita’s law”.

Overdue, just. A profound beginning that shouldn’t be a surprise in a nation that set aside ideological crap-meisters a few years back to dedicate a disproportionate chunk of government funds to raising the educational level of the whole nation. Too bad we haven’t that kind of courage in Congress or the White House.

Ireland got expanded personal freedom. We got chump change.