All About Eve: The Message of Dobbs. v. Jackson Women’s Health Org.


A protest sign calling for an end to the Constitutional right to abortion in the first trimester, granted in Roe v. Wade, 1973. Photo by Jeff Malet.

 

The story of Genesis is eons old and you would think by this time that the statute of limitations had run out on Eve’s theft of the apple and exercise of free will. But no. She and all her descendants are still paying the price for this audacious act of self-determination and autonomy. The latest installment of this morality play–Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization–was on full sickening view last Wednesday at the Supreme Court.  

You would also think that the right to terminate a pregnancy based on an even older right to privacy would be sacrosanct, especially to the new Justices, who swore up and down before Congress at their nomination hearings that they believed in stare decisis and wouldn’t dream of upending certain previous decisions that millions had come to depend on.  

You would be wrong.  

The Declaration of Independence gifts us with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But whose life? Whose liberty? Whose happiness? In the case of abortion, it’s the woman (and it is always a woman, no matter how they present or identify) in whose uterus the gestating embryo or fetus resides. No one else but that individual woman can make that decision. No one else’s rights supercede her own in this instance (unlike vaccinations, which impact public health or guns, the most un-life-affirming product ever invented). She doesn’t need to explain, excuse or justify her decision.  

When you take away a person’s right to choose, you take away their autonomy. You take away their humanity. You turn them into property with no value other than utility (i.e. a child-bearing vessel) with no mind or selfhood of their own. 

You don’t personally have to like or approve of abortion. And that’s fine. But it’s not about you. Or your religious beliefs (see: the Establishment Clause). It’s about the millions of women whose inalienable rights will be gutted if Roe is overturned. Women and families for whom “pro-life” is a joke in a country without universal healthcare, paid parental leave and a “I’ve got mine, you’re on your own” governing philosophy.  

The Jackson and Texas cases are not, as their supporters would have you believe, so much pro-fetus as they are profoundly anti-woman. It’s not about life, it’s about control and a return to the old days when women “knew their place.” Before they tasted knowledge, freedom and power. 

It’s all about Eve. 

Pro-choice signage targeting new Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh, who questioned solicitors about the merits of Roe vs. Wade, 1973. Photo by Jeff Malet.

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