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April 20, 2007

Shocker

From The NY Times:

The emphasis in the court’s ruling was also much less on the health or well-being of the pregnant woman, but on the risks and consequences of an abortion to her and her fetus. This makes discussion of an abortion’s potentially negative consequences easier, the lawmakers said.

What an astonishing turn of events that a decision made by five men and no women seemed completely disengaged from concerns over the health and well-being of the mother -- and that the Supreme Court's conservative bloc was only able to pursue such reasoning after their one female member retired. It's worth occasionally mulling over the fact that this epochal ruling on reproductive rights was done by a body comprised of eight men and one women, and those who ended up winning the day were five men and no women. The patriarchy lives.

April 20, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

The patriarchy lives.

Please remember your pandagon days are behind you.

If you had Janice Brown or any other conservative female justice on the bench, it would have been the same....a conservative viewpoint that the fetus has consdieration. So what?

And just who is surprised? Those who voted for the majority are conservative justices. Hey, you like all the liberal decisions and loudly honor the wisdom of the courts, yada, yada, yada, when you get a decision you like. And now it's conspriacy time?? The patriarchy, INDEED!



Posted by: Fred Jones | Apr 20, 2007 8:56:15 AM

One can make an argument about restricting abortion to protect the interests of the fetus. But, I'm sorry, you can't make an argument about restricting abortion to protect the interests of the pregnant woman.

You'll notice in this judgment that the majority couldn't actually FIND any physical consequences to the mother that were more risky than a)outlawing a medical procedure designed to preserve her health or b) continuing a pregnancy.

So, they simply invented mental "consequences" of abortion, and pretend they affected pregnant women as a class. These "consequences" were based on their bizarre Victorian-era notions of women as full of feminine inconstancy (oh, those women! They don't know their own minds!) and a ludicrously romanticized vision of all-sacrificing motherhood.

The simple fact of the matter is that medical abortion is almost always physically safer for a woman than delivering a baby. Pregnancy is simply NOT the normal state of being for the human female, it's a medical condition and it's a pretty serious one.

So, if the majority would please spare us their sanctimonious paternalism, women would be much better off. We're well equipped to make these decisions ourselves, and since it's HAPPENING IN OUR BODIES, we'd appreciate you not telling us what we want or how we feel about this.

If the Supremes think they're better protectors of fetal interests than the mother, then we can have that argument. But it's ludicrous for them to argue they're better aware of and better protectors of maternal interests than the MOTHER.

Assholes.

Posted by: anonymous | Apr 20, 2007 9:12:28 AM

where "much less" means "not at all."

aimai

Terri Schiavo's case ought to remind us that under our current legal system adults are considered autonomous and capable of making their own medical and life decisions except in very extreme cases. Pregnancy isn't one of them. I believe I retained all my mental faculties right up to and through two pretty serious labors. Too bad I wouldn't retain my rights, now, as well as my wits.

aimai

Posted by: aimai | Apr 20, 2007 9:22:39 AM

I would genuinely feel better if more women were on the Court, no matter what judgments they came to, Fred. I'd disagree, but at least I wouldn't feel five men had gotten to decide what the country's women can and cannot do.

Posted by: Ezra | Apr 20, 2007 9:26:37 AM

Pregnancy is simply NOT the normal state of being for the human female, it's a medical condition and it's a pretty serious one.

I suppose for those who have a self-satisfied view of women as destined for a life of servitude and suffering, then pregnancy is THE normal state of womanhood.

Posted by: Amanda Marcotte | Apr 20, 2007 9:30:58 AM

The one comforting thing about the whole thing is that the paternalistic view of women as inconstant nitwits who need firm male guidance in order to tie their shoes, much less make their own decisions about their own bodies, was an utter shocker to pretty much everyone under 60, except of course the 15% of the country that's firmly misogynist. And even they have moved from paternalism towards more raw hatred in the wake of feminism---what used to be, "Oh, women are so CUTE when they're angry," has turned darker. Don't know what that means for future Supreme Court decisions---are we looking at a future 50 years from now where a justice strikes down some reproductive right by invoking "Girls Gone Wild" as evidence that women are too stupid to breathe?

Posted by: Amanda Marcotte | Apr 20, 2007 9:40:17 AM

It seems odd to me how the Supreme Court has so much power in the first place. I don't know how to change things, but they really shouldn't be able to arbitrarily decide incredibly important national issues. This is, I think, a bipartisan issue. Conservatives are still pissed off at Roe vs. Wade, and liberals hiss in anger at Bush vs. Gore.

Posted by: Korha | Apr 20, 2007 9:42:49 AM

I would genuinely feel better if more women were on the Court, no matter what judgments they came to, Fred. I'd disagree, but at least I wouldn't feel five men had gotten to decide what the country's women can and cannot do.

If you have an all white congressional district, are you saying that a black person cannot represent their interests? How is your argument any different?

But let's be clear, here. The Justices are representing not just women, but all of society. Men are also part of society and as such, have a stake in this issue. Feminists would like to argue that men have no stake. It simply isn't true.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Apr 20, 2007 9:43:11 AM

A sidenote:

Anytime you need to read an article linked, such as this one at the NYT and you don't wish to register, go to www.bugmenot.com for a password and key.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Apr 20, 2007 9:47:19 AM

Men are also part of society and as such, have a stake in this issue. Feminists would like to argue that men have no stake. It simply isn't true.

That's what it's all about, isn't it? Planting your stake in someone else's womb.

Posted by: Consumatopia | Apr 20, 2007 9:54:24 AM

if you had an all white district a black person would never been elected to represent their interest. and the irony of your statement of course is that the S Ct isn't elected, and nor are they meant to be. They are meant to protect us from our baser instincts, but conservatives being packed on the court now means those baser instincts are now a part of the courts thinking.

Posted by: akaison | Apr 20, 2007 10:05:38 AM

I suppose for those who have a self-satisfied view of women as destined for a life of servitude and suffering, then pregnancy is THE normal state of womanhood.

Interspersed with periods of "pre-pregnancy," of course.

Posted by: Jason | Apr 20, 2007 10:07:00 AM

I'm glad I wanted to stop at two kids anyway, because there is no way I would want to become pregnant in this country any longer.

It's absolutely horrifying that these men think they can decide for me that I'd prefer to die to have a third kid rather than live to raise the two I have. And, as my husband commented, they also feel free to make the decision for him to be a widower with three kids rather than a great husband and father of two. I suppose Fred is right in that some men have a stake in this. Those that value women more than their sperm, though, don't see this as a step forward.

Posted by: Magenta | Apr 20, 2007 10:15:16 AM

They are meant to protect us from our baser instincts.

No they're not. They are there to apply the law.

...but conservatives being packed on the court now means those baser instincts are now a part of the courts thinking.

Oh, where to start?
First of all, you characterize the court being "packed" only when the court's philosophy does not serve your agenda. I doubt seriously if you will use the same term when talking about a liberal majority. Secondly, what's all this characterization of Conservative philosophy as "baser instinct"? Because it doesn't agree with your philosophy?
Sorry things aren't going your way at this time, but the courts have been kind to your agenda for the last 30 years so excuse me if your angst about this decision doesn't bring a tear to my eye.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Apr 20, 2007 10:33:35 AM

there is no way I would want to become pregnant in this country any longer.

Yeah, I'm feeling that way these days, too. And what if I had a daughter?- I'd certainly have to leave the south (wouldn't miss it per se, but there are family considerations) and I'd probably need to be near Canada by the time she hit adolescence, just in case. I used to think that I certainly wouldn't be forced to do what my mom did with us-- carefully and persistently undermine almost all the cultural messages we received regarding race, religion, and sex, but it looks like the entire country is becoming too much like Mississippi now and it's almost impossible to move far enough away from that kind of culture. Cities can mitigate the effects, but not enough when the national government has been so determinedly ass-backward.

Posted by: latts | Apr 20, 2007 10:36:42 AM

Yes- Justice O'Connor was a great big ole liberal. Fred you are a fucking moron.

Posted by: akaison | Apr 20, 2007 10:42:45 AM

latts -- the rest of America is definitely not like the South. Come to the Northeast or California, it really is different.

Posted by: fiat lux | Apr 20, 2007 10:43:30 AM

If Congress were all white, and all male, it's entirely the case that it would be ineffective at comprehending the needs of America. Similarly, there should be more female representation on the Supreme Court. A man telling me men are sufficiently empathic to encompass the female perspective just sounds like someone protecting privilege.

Posted by: Ezra | Apr 20, 2007 10:44:26 AM

latts,

Now that's some really good America-bashing! We're talking *quality*!

Posted by: Fred Jones | Apr 20, 2007 10:45:39 AM

by the way one of the reasons I hate talking to low knowledge conservatives such as yourself is exactly because you have nothing to back up the shit you say other that idealogical bs. there is a difference between having the court do something you want, and that's a happenstance to fit your position and choosing a court that does your bidding. the warren court that decided brown v board which started all of this for conservatives, not roe v wade, was based on a court that was appointed by a Republican President. The issue isn't just that the justices have to be conservative- they have to be social christo conservatives. which is why those type of hated occonnor- she didn't check her brain at her idealogy like you do. in their mind, like yours- this makes someone like Oconnor liberal- because thats the only way your moronic argument makes any sense.

Posted by: akaison | Apr 20, 2007 10:47:35 AM

A man telling me men are sufficiently empathic to encompass the female perspective just sounds like someone protecting privilege.

If Janice Brown had been confirmed to the Supreme Court and was part of this majority decision, I guarantee you, she would not be a fair representation in your eyes even though she has a vagina...and we would be having this same argument. She would be a conservative "shill". A gender traitor. You simply would not buy into your own argument.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Apr 20, 2007 11:04:07 AM

Pregnancy may not be THE normal state of a human female, but it is normal for a human female to be pregnant. I understand that some people think that pregnancy is necessary for women, and that is just dumb. But it is how pregnancy is uniquely feminine that makes this an issue that needs to be decided by women - actually, by each woman for herself and anyone she chooses to include in the decision-making process.

It is indeed a problem that those Supreme Court justices issued a ruling based not upon the "rights" of a fetus or even the rights of a woman, but upon their superior ability to think of consequences.

I heard on TV last night a GOP operative talking about how "elections matter." I hope they keep saying that, and that Democrats say it repeatedly as well. Bringing this horrible ruling up and saying "elections matter" will bring a stampede of voters toward the Democratic side. This law may be "constitutional," but that doesn't mean it can't be repealed.

We need Dems in control of both Congress and the Presidency, desperately.

Posted by: Stephen | Apr 20, 2007 11:05:21 AM

Stephen,

One problem true believers, such as yourself, have is also believing that yours is the only rational vision that one could possibly have. Tens of millions of voters are actually happy with this ruling. I doubt seriously if this ruling will convert anyone politically.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Apr 20, 2007 11:14:44 AM

I think you should blog more about the patriarchy. Since your buddies blog about it ten times a day, it makes me wonder why you only blog about it a couple of times each year.

Do you not believe their posts? Do you not take the problems the patriarchy causes for us seriously? Or are you just cowardly and afraid of patriarchal wrath?

I assume you must believe their posts, because what sort of friend would you be if you knew someone was seriously making an ass of themselves day after day and you didn't say anything about it?

So yes, please more posts about the patriarchy.

(I am curious though, I have never seen a good discussion of what the world without the patriarchy would look like. Can you find and link to discussions of what the ideal patriarchal-less world will look like? Without such a description, I sometimes worry that patriarchy theory is untestable and just rant and bigotry.)

Posted by: jerry | Apr 20, 2007 11:17:05 AM

I understand that some people think that pregnancy is necessary for women, and that is just dumb.

I really don't understand why that is such a dumb idea.

I think it might be true and it might not be true, but I don't understand why it is per se a dumb idea.

Just yesterday, for instance, NPR was reporting that breastfeeding significantly reduces the risk of breast cancer. Scientists are not sure why. It could be chemical and hormonal differences. It could be fewer ovulations.

Given the amount of energy and resources a women's body devotes to reproductive organs, and the changes that due occur due to pregnancy, it certainly seems to have face validity to expect that organisms that could adapt to take advantage of historically expected changes would have a better chance of survival than organisms that don't.

I do like to be reality based, can you explain why the idea is "just dumb"?

Posted by: jerry | Apr 20, 2007 11:23:21 AM

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