On December 1, as the Supreme Court heard oral arguments about whether to uphold a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, I streamed 1970s TV to Escape.
Usually, I am happy when the television of my youth is on the watch.
But instead of Comfort TV, I clicked on âMaude’s Dilemma,â a two-part episode of âMaude,â the sitcom created by Norman Lear, starring queer icon Bea Arthur.
In this episode, Maude (Arthur), 47, married to an adult daughter named Carol, after dying, decides to have an abortion. When “Maude’s Dilemma” aired in 1972, a year before the Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade to legalize abortion nationwide, it was legal in New York to terminate a pregnancy, but illegal in many states.
âWhen you were growing up it was illegal and it was dangerous,â Carol tells Maude as she contemplates having an abortion, âand you never got over it. “
I wish I could tell you that this episode of “Maude” is an old hat, just an excuse to revel in the fabulous aura of Bea Arthur, but without cultural, social or political relevance now.
If only our concerns that abortion is unsafe, unsafe, not to mention unaffordable, criminalized and / or stigmatized were a thing of the past.
Unfortunately for our country, the grim realities surrounding abortion before Roe v. Wade doesn’t establish a national abortion right coming back too quickly.
In recent years, especially since Donald Trump’s presidency, it has become increasingly clear that life in the United States is falling back to what it was before Roe.
Let’s take just one example: In May, Texas passed a law that allows individuals to sue anyone who performs or helps anyone obtain an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. (Many people don’t know they’re six weeks pregnant. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on this law this summer.)
In the historic December 1 argument before the Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court “appeared ready” to uphold Mississippi law prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, the New York Times and other news outlets. reported.
Sadly, for all of us who care about women’s reproductive rights as well as the rights of LGBTQ and other marginalized people, following Mississippi law will mean either overthrowing Roe or gutting him to the point of making no sense. .
It is not surprising that the Supreme Court is held in low regard by many. A recent Gallop poll found that only 40% of Americans approve of the Supreme Court’s job performance.
“Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public’s perception that the Constitution and its reading are only political acts?” Judge Sonia Sotomayor asked during oral argument on the tribunal (filled with people appointed by Trump).
It’s hard to imagine how devastatingly overthrowing or gutting Roe will impact women and LGBTQ people.
If Roe is dismantled, it will be up to states to determine whether women, trans men, or non-binary people have the right to abortion.
Abortion would become illegal in 26 states if Roe is overthrown, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
Good luck traveling to another state for an abortion, whether you are poor or uninsured.
If you’re gay, just thinking that Roe is reversed should make your neck hair stand on end.
Because overthrowing Roe could undermine Supreme Court decisions that have strengthened our rights, such as the Lawrence v. Texas of 2003 which struck down sodomy laws and the Obergefell v. Hodges of 2015 in favor of same-sex marriage.
âSo if Roe v. Wade crumbles, then the foundation upon which our own cases crumbles as well,â said Camilla Taylor, director of constitutional litigation for Lambda Legal.
We must fight to maintain our rights.
Kathi wolfe, writer and poet, contributes regularly to The Blade.