Fifty Years …

On this day in 1973, exactly 50 years ago, the United States Supreme Court decided in the case of Roe v Wade to decriminalize abortion and give women the right to make decisions about their own bodies.  The vote was 7-2 with only Justices Rehnquist and White voting against it. Until seven months ago, June 24, 2022, we thought we would be celebrating the 50th anniversary of this momentous decision, but instead we are once again fighting to be treated fairly, fighting in many cases for our very lives.

Members of the Supreme Court on April 20, 1972. Front row, from left: Justices Potter Stewart and William O. Douglas; Chief Justice Warren E. Burger; Justices William J. Brennan Jr. and Byron R. White. Back row, from left: Justices Lewis F. Powell Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Harry A. Blackmun and William H. Rehnquist. (John Rous/AP)

Above is the Supreme Court of 1973.  It would be another eight years until the first woman justice, Sandra Day O’Connor, would take her seat on the Court in 1981.  In June 2022, when the decision in the case of Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization was handed down, there were three women on the Court, and yet women’s rights were slashed.  Six days after the Dobbs decision, a fourth woman, Ketanji Brown Jackson, would take her seat, bringing the number of women on the court to a historic four.

Formal group photograph of the Supreme Court as it was been comprised on June 30, 2022 after Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson joined the Court. Seated from left are Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Justices Samuel A. Alito and Elena Kagan. Standing from left are Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh, and Ketanji Brown Jackson. Credit: Fred Schilling, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

Even prior to Roe v Wade, in most states a woman could have an abortion if the pregnancy threatened her life, but since the decision in the Dobbs case, many states have even taken that right away.  The woman is left to die, else forced to travel to a friendlier state where her life is deemed to have some value.

Since the founding of this nation, when it was written in the Declaration of Independence, signed on August 2nd, 1776, that “… all men are created equal,” leaving women out altogether, we have been fighting to be included in that ‘equality’.  Women have had to fight for the right to own property, to divorce their husband, to receive equal pay for equal work, and perhaps most importantly, to vote.  To this day, the nation has failed to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, that would codify equal rights for all citizens, regardless of gender.  The Equal Rights Amendment was first proposed in December 1923, nearly 100 years ago, and still has not managed to pass.  Its history is long and convoluted, albeit interesting.  If you’re interested, check out this article in History.com.

Now, I could make a damn good argument for why I think the Supreme Court made a huge mistake in their ruling on Dobbs, but you likely already know the argument.  Instead, I’d like to pose a question, one that has bothered me ever since I was old enough to ponder such things:

Why are women considered somehow lesser beings than men to begin with?

Is it because of that religious myth that man was created first, and woman was an afterthought created from a rib bone of a man?  Is it because we are typically smaller?  Is it because our voices aren’t as deep?  Is it because we don’t have that all-important extra appendage (I’m trying to keep it family-friendly here so as not to offend)?  Seriously, I have never understood why we are still, after all these thousands of years, considered somehow … substandard.

Women have proven themselves in every field – law, medicine, education, politics, science, business – and yet we are deprived of our rights simply because we are women.  We still struggle against that ‘glass ceiling’ in the corporate world, though we’ve come a long way.  Look at the demographics of the U.S. Congress … the most recently elected House of Representatives has 29% women, and in the Senate, 25% … though women comprise some 50.47% of the population. And this is a 59% increase from a decade ago!  You can probably guess which political party has the highest percentage of women … and it isn’t the Republican Party.

Talk is cheap.  Saying that women have equal rights, but denying them the right to even make decisions regarding their own health choices, is hypocrisy.  A man can walk into a doctor’s office and walk out 15 minutes later with a prescription for Viagra that will enable him to engage in sex all night long if he chooses, but a woman is denied the right to even birth control in many states.  A woman who is raped and becomes pregnant cannot get an abortion in many states today, but must be forced to live with the results of a crime for the rest of her life, while the child’s sire sits in a bar bragging about yet another ‘conquest’.

I don’t understand it, will never understand it, but I know it’s wrong.  Today, we should be celebrating 50 years of Roe v Wade, 50 years of women’s rights, of respect for women.  Instead, we are back to square one … no wait … we are actually at square minus one, because birth control is harder for us to get now, and even in cases where a woman’s life is at risk, abortion is illegal in many states.  We were actually better off 50 years ago.  All thanks to Justices Alito, Thomas, Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, Barrett, and Chief Justice Roberts.  I hope that someday, somehow, it comes back to haunt each and every one of them.

19 thoughts on “Fifty Years …

  1. Because people voted for Reagan in 1980 & again & again. All the progress we made in the 60s & 70s started to go backwards & it gained traction with the two Bushes & yes, with Clinton, too (because “Welfare reform” was just a big ole gift to the GOP demanding tax cuts & making “those” people work for their benefits, like a mother should have to work when she’s got little ones to care for, like being a mother isn’t job enough & why shouldn’t she be paid for that? Why shouldn’t our tax dollars subsidize that… oops sorry) … It’s been anti-progressive ever since 1980. Anti-New Deal, Anti-Great Society, Anti-anything that’s any good for anyone other than the richest of the rich people. If you don’t think abortion is about economics, think again. It’s ALL about the dollars & cents. The zeros lined up on the bottom of a spread sheet. Most of us will never see that kind of paperwork, unless we’re working for someone who has that kind of money. It won’t the name of our company or trust fund on the letterhead.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You make some good points, Polly! It seems the ’60s and ’70s were a time of enlightenment, of progress for women and minorities, but ever since, that progress has been slowly chipped away in both cases. Replacing it is a contrived religious fervor that caters to bigotry in all its forms.

      Like

  2. If the Republicans get back into power under someone like Duh!Santis, expect them to try to take the vote away from everyone but straight white xian males. That was how America started, and that is the way they want it to be again.
    They are so afraid of losing their “dominance” — they think they still dominate this world — they will try to codify it. So Americans have to make sure the neanderthals (my apologies to neanderthals) never get back into federal power ever again. They act out of fear, not reason. Fear is a powerful motivator, but not a winning one!

    Liked by 1 person

      • And we are sitting back and watching ourselves destroy the very home which is the only place we can live. Sorry, but I am on a rant today, and everything is feeding into it.
        The things we are ralking about are side issues, secondary to the fact we, humans, are killing our home! And we are just watching it happen, like spectators in tne Roman arenas. Isn’t that what destroyed Rome. And now humans are destroying life, destroying . Hurray for us!

        Like

        • Everything is secondary to our care of the environment, but these “side issues” play into that … everything is intertwined. I understand your angst. I’m not so sure the human extinction might not be best for the other thousands of species on earth. We have done a lousy job of stewardship.

          Like

  3. Pingback: Fifty Years … | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

  4. I tend to think it all goes back to the fable of Adam and Eve … and the fact that FAR TOO MANY hold that event to be true and factual.

    The part that burns me the most (after the denial of abortion itself) is, as you wrote, the freedom given to the male to increase his sex drive and to “perform” to his heart’s content … without any repercussions!

    Oh if women could only rule the world … 👑👍

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s what I wonder, too. Hard to believe in this day and age people still believe in fairy tales, but … they do. Sigh. As I was just telling Keith, I keep asking the question, “What’s next?” … and I don’t want to know the answer, but I think we need to. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Jill, for the longest time, men in authority have been telling women what they can and cannot do. Women were not allowed to vote for over 140 years since the US won its freedom. Black women were purposefully suppressed from voting for another 40 plus years. All along unmarried women who for pregnant were scorned while the male went largely unscathed. In the UK unwed teen mothers had their babies taken from them by the Catholic Church. The church even looked down on women who tried birth control. And, in the US Roe v Wade came along to prevent women from dying from back alley abortions.

    Now some men want to change that back. It truly amazes that the US has gone backward changing a frame work that was working well but ruffled the feathers of a loud few. We are letting the tail wag the dog now. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well said, my friend. Yes, we HAVE gone backward, and while this (Dobbs) is bad enough, heartbreaking really, I cannot help but wonder if other of the rights we have fought so hard for over the past nearly three centuries are in danger of being reversed? “What’s next” is a question I generally try not to ask, but I find myself asking it a lot these days.

      Like

  6. I;m guessing the disparity is because women are much moore generous than men. A woman wearing the permabnently peeved expression of Kavanaugh is unlikely to be approached for sex by a man, whereas a woman would probably look beyond that and check qualities first..
    cwtch

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, that’s one possibility, and I’m sure you’re right about any woman who wore the face of Brett Kavanaugh! But most women … I say most, for there are certainly some pretty awful women out there, too … do look more for what’s inside a man.
      Cwtch

      Like

    • It’s really hard to say at this point, Ab. I no longer understand the mentality of this nation, of the people, and I sense that in more ways than one, we are already living in an authoritarian nation, we just have the illusion of a democracy. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ll tell you the story of the flying forks. My dear husband worked as a baker at the supermarket where we met. He tried to help make the department a better place but neither his manager nor the supervisor supported him. One day the supervisor was in the canteen to get lunch. He went to get his cutlery and suddenly the forks flew at him. There were witnesses to this. Whenever we experience injustice since then we say: “remember the forks”. These justices will get the energy back that they sent out: First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. Might or might not be by Gandhi. Take care my friend and the offer of Guinness, Malbec or tea still stands 😇

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s