The Naked Truth/Jamala Rogers

Jamala RogersColor

Courts are in Complicity with Criminalizing Abortions

The U.S. Supreme Court rendered their ruling on the Texas abortion ban, S.B.8. The High Court was an accessory to a lawless bite being taken out of Roe v. Wade. Conservatives have been whacking on this constitutional right since women and their allies fought to make it law in 1973. Those attacks are increasing and becoming more devastating.

Since the landmark case was established, states have implemented more than 1,300 abortion restrictions, nearly half of those occurring in the last decade. This year, a record one hundred abortion restrictions were put into place at a dizzying speed.

The Texas law bans abortion at around six weeks of pregnancy. To further criminalize the situation, there’s a hefty bounty available to private citizens who turn in anyone helping someone get an abortion — -from a doctor to a cabbie. So much for creating a trusting community.

We know these conservative court justices have not been bashful about their views on abortion rights. However, Chief Justice John Roberts surprised me by joining the usual suspects and warned in the dissent that the ruling was a threat to the rule of law and to the Constitution. This is exactly what’s at stake, even beyond the abortion issue. How do rabid opponents of abortion rights get to change the U.S. Constitution when they so choose?

Another Southern state (and there will be more) is also jumping on the Kill Roe Bandwagon. Thomas Dobbs is the Mississippi state health office at the Department of Health. He filed suit against the Jackson Women’s Health Organization. He’s back up by Governor Tate Reeves who has publicly stated many times that “there’s no guaranteed right to an abortion” in the U.S. Constitution. Either Reeves doesn’t know the Constitution or is exerting the racist rogue governance familiar in the South — or both.

The strategy of the anti-abortion movement is twofold. To use their right-wing buddies in the legislature and in the courts to systematically obliterate the constitutional law that gives women the right to choose if they must end a pregnancy. Then they trigger the extremists into action who bomb abortion clinics, murder doctors who perform abortions and threaten abortion supporters. The strategy has effectively led to the reduction of abortion services, the closing of clinics and the criminalizing of women seeking abortions. Ultimately, we could still have the raggedy law on the books but no abortion clinics.

The Jackson Women’s Health Organization is the sole provider of abortions in the entire state. It has been a target of vandalism, incessant lawsuits and death threats. Mississippi and five other states — Missouri, Kentucky, North Dakota, South Dakota and West Virginia — are all down to one abortion clinic in the state.

These legal assaults may seem like it’s about abortion on the surface. Below that surface is the unrelenting challenge to equality, justice and democracy by a system of racist and patriarchal oppression that is prepared to fight to the death to preserve that legacy. Women’s bodies are just the latest battleground. Constitution law may be the real casualty of war.