The Supreme Court passively allowed the breathtakingly extremist antichoice law in Texas to go into effect at midnight, and we haven’t heard a peep out of them since as far as I know. Assuming they remain silent on the Texas Handmaiden Act, the “will they or won’t they” question now is whether SCOTUS will strike Roe down outright when they take up the Mississippi case or continue to allow wingnut-controlled states to whittle away at reproductive freedom as they have been doing for years. Katha Pollitt:
If they are shrewd, the six antichoice justices on the Supreme Court will resist the urge to overturn Roe v. Wade when they decide next term on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. At issue is a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks of gestation in explicit defiance of Roe, which protects abortion rights until around 24 weeks. Why hand the Democrats an issue that has worked well for them in purple states like Virginia? An attempt in 2012 to force women seeking abortions to have transvaginal ultrasounds backfired against Republicans so powerfully the state is now entirely under Democratic control.
So, will the extremist wing of the court be able to resist spiking the football by killing Roe? Your guess is as good as mine. But reproductive rights are already over for millions of women who don’t have the means to travel to seek care. That’s been the case for a long time.
I think Pollitt is right to say it would be smart for the religious fanatics on the court to leave Roe alone. But she expresses a doubt I share: whether striking down Roe would galvanize the prochoice majority in America in sufficient numbers to make Republicans pay politically. Again, your guess is as good as mine.
Modern oppressive societies don’t usually pass grotesque laws like the one Abbott in Texas signed, which deputizes antichoice fanatics to investigate every suspected miscarriage with the incentive of a $10,000 bounty. Today’s oppressors are typically more sophisticated than that, leaving a Potemkin democracy and hollowed-out human rights framework in place to deflect criticism and maintain the appearance of civility.
Maybe the Bony Carrot wing of the court will settle for that, just as Roberts & Co. left a shell of the Voting Rights Act in place while greenlighting racially targeted voter suppression. Overturning Roe will make abortion less safe, but as Pollitt notes, we won’t simply return to the unsafe conditions of the pre-Roe era. Now there’s an organized army of fanatics eager to enforce their extremist vision on the rest of us.