U.S. Supreme Court | Photo by Mr. Kjetil Ree., CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

A travesty of justices

If you call a group of hyenas a clan or cackle and a bunch a crows a murder, what do you call activist right-wing members of the United States Supreme Court? A travesty of justices?

The United States is supposed to be the paragon of freedom, not a country that regresses and removes freedoms. Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has relegated America’s women to be second-class citizens by overturning their right to choose whether to bring a child into our increasingly vicious world, we’ve got to ask: What’s next? 

Will the right-wing members of the high court next decide they don’t like same-sex marriage? Affordable health care? The right to use contraception? Or how about this — laws that banned miscegenation and allowed Associate Justice Clarence Thomas to marry a white woman?

What’s glaringly apparent in the Friday decision of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health to anyone with a sense of history is that the “originalist” justices on the Supreme Court are basing their fresh abortion ruling on antebellum principles of states’ rights that buttressed slavery and segregation. It was none other than South Carolina’s John C. Calhoun who pushed the nation into crisis in 1832 via the political theory of nullification that claimed states had the right to block the enforcement of a federal tariff. While the nullification crisis was resolved with a win for federalism, it became an intellectual girder in the nation’s battle over slavery for the next three decades. 

After the Civil War, some states then passed “Black Codes” to make second-class citizens of Black Americans. In response, Congress passed the 14th Amendment, which guaranteed “equal protection of the laws” so that “a small pool of voters couldn’t strip rights from their neighbors. It is this effort [that] today’s Supreme Court is gutting,” historian Heather Cox Richardson wrote last week.

Friday’s ruling triggered 11 states with pre-passed legislation to ban abortions completely or heavily restrict them. In South Carolina, a six-week ban that passed last year if Roe were overturned is expected to take effect soon. And the state legislature is considering a measure that would ban abortions outright — without exemptions for rape or incest or to protect the life of the mother. 

More than 60% of Americans support legal abortion, according to polling by the Pew Research Center. In South Carolina, a 2019 Winthrop University poll showed, “significant majorities still want legal abortions for those whose health is threatened, are carrying a non-viable fetus or are pregnant as the result of rape or incest. This data shows that South Carolinians are not fans of abortion, but recognize certain circumstances when legal abortion may be appropriate.”

South Carolina’s General Assembly needs to slow down before passing any abortion ban. Kneejerk reactions are never smart in any political debate. South Carolina’s women, long underpaid and underappreciated, deserve more than being treated as second-class citizens. 

Don’t fall for the political bait, legislators. Listen to what all of your constituents — not just the screamers — say before condemning some pregnant women to backroom pain and even death.

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