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They fought like hell to bring you into this world, kid. Now, good luck to you. You’re gonna need it.

As everyone not recently returned from Pluto knows, a leaked draft of a decision that is going to reverberate throughout every corner (and back alley) of the nation was published in Politico on May 2. Conservative Justice Samuel Alito, an old white guy and big surprise there, wrote the opinion that strongly suggested that the nation’s top court is poised to overturn a 1973 decision that guaranteed abortion protection for women in the United States.

It is interesting to note that two of the men who shared in this cobwebbed judgment have a very checkered history of … shall we say interactions with the members of the sex that will be so monumentally impacted by the decision.

Reading the draft is like stepping into a time machine and turning the dial backwards. As they have been since the start of a pandemic that has thus far claimed one million American lives, the opinions of medical professionals, if the draft is prophetic of the final decision, will be relegated to a secondary status. The lives of millions of women will be subject to the will of religious extremists and the politicians who pander to their Mike Pencian sanctimony.

Roe vs. Wade was posted at the center of the religious rights’ target ever since its inception. The sheer gall that motivates such an arrogant intrusion into other peoples’ lives more than negates what credit they might be given for perseverance. I am personally opposed to abortion, but my opposition to it only extends as far as my own beliefs and values are concerned and I would no more try to impose them arbitrarily on other people than I would attempt to swim the English Channel.

It’s not a legal issue. It really isn’t even a moral issue. It is a deeply personal issue.

What is the point of this misbegotten legal witch-hunt other than to sooth the wounded sensibilities of people who actually believe that they are privy to the Mind of God? The Supreme Court is, in effect, bowing to the belief systems of people who offer God’s will as their core argument, a position that wouldn’t stand in any courtroom in the country and one that they couldn’t prove even exists if their lives depended upon it.

The problem is a lot of other lives do.

I listened to the Attorney General of Arkansas on the “NewsHour” shortly after the leak was made public. Leslie Rutledge made it a point to say that she is a good friend of the state’s “next governor,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders. (As if Arkansas doesn’t have enough problems.)

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You must remember Ms. Sanders. She of the perfected pout was one in the long line of White House press secretaries during the last administration. Their unenviable job was to try and spin some semblance of reason and/or dignity into the crude conduct of our past president. I am not sure that Sanders’ penchant for adding more lies to crouch his cacophony of them was the way to accomplish that. Rutledge’s evoking her name when she was so intent on relating her own worthiness for being welcomed one day through the Pearly Gates seemed misjudged.

Ms. Rutledge is no doubt a tireless champion of the political party that frowns on a child getting an extra helping of mashed potatoes in a school lunch. She was all teeth-whitened smiles and sunshine until she was asked about her state’s responsibilities toward the children who will be born into families that can’t — for whatever reason — support them. The poverty rate in Arkansas is the seventh highest in the nation. The education system ranks 41st.

Her answer, that they were going to “love them,” was more an affirmation for the advisability of those bags that airlines post on the backs of seats than it was a hopeful sign for the future of unwanted and at-risk children in Arkansas.

Witnessing waves of protest breaking all across the country that could possibly result in mudslides over their bright November horizon, the Republicans went into their indignant mode. For all the wrong reasons, but that goes without saying. The party’s big huff was over the egregious betrayal of a notoriously secretive body of jurists. How could it possibly have happened! The potential to usher women back into the era of back alleys and coat hangers didn’t seem to weigh too heavily on GOP minds, but then what is the point of debating implications on women’s health with a political party that meekly genuflects to a man who advocates drinking Lysol for what ails you?

No one is quite so good at affecting indignation as Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose patent refusal to even bring President Obama’s choice to fill a vacancy on the court to the Senate floor for consideration eventually led to the installation of one of the five we are galloping back in time with today. In a who-does-he-think-he’s-kidding moment, Mr. McConnell called the leak a left wing “insurrection.” That’s a pot-and-kettle accusation that the GOP should be very careful about hurling at this particular moment in time.

At their hearings, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh executed steps that Fred Astaire might have envied when they were asked about Roe vs. Wade. They both cited “precedent.” It seemed like an employer telling a job applicant that “we’ll get back to you.” It was enough, however, to convince Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, who perhaps now should be closely questioned about the Easter Bunny and Elon Musk’s good intentions.

Although an estimated 70 percent of Americans think that the decision to terminate a pregnancy should be left to a woman and her doctor, Alito arrogantly asserted that the court has made a lot of rulings that went against the public will. So there.

This time, however, their actions may recall a quote by Isoroku Yamamoto after Pearl Harbor: The Supreme Court may have “awakened a sleeping giant and filled it with a terrible resolve.”

One last point: If you think they are going to stop their outrageous intrusions into personal lives if they succeed with the abortion issue, it must be nice living in Wonderland.

Alden Graves is a regular columnist for Vermont News & Media. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of Vermont News & Media.


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