Urgent: Courts May Take New Direction!

I was trying to think of some Fox News-esque type headline. 🙂

To some people (a.k.a. Sujal), many people support or poo-poo a potential justice based on one issue — abortion. I disagree. The right to choose is a civil liberty, a symptom of the ills that still plague women’s status in society. Yes, even our modern American society. The issue is about social class, gender equality, separation of church and state, and “parents’ rights” — which as far as I’m concerned, if right-to-lifers want to follow their line of logic that life begins at conception, then they should be calling it Grandparents’ rights — because parents’ right would be the rights of the pregnant teen (or tween) daughter and the father of the unborn. So in essence, parents’ rights are still the rights of the pregnant young woman.

At the point that a girl is pregnant, parents should have already begun to impress upon their daughter the importance of sound decisions. This is also a reason I am in favor of sex ed in schools. None of this is new, of course. We’ve heard the arguments for both sides for a long time now. It makes me sad that this is still an issue. It makes me sad that people don’t see the word “bitch” as the epithet it is. These thoughts tie into my post-shower musings from today.

I had this funny jump of thoughts this AM that began with thinking about boy bands because of this link that Sujal showed me. One thought lead to another, and I had this memory that made me very sad. I believe I was in 9th grade, sitting in front of “Ray” in homeroom. Ray and I shared no classes, so I didn’t know him very well, but I liked him in terms of being a homeroom pal. My memory of him is that he was not wildly interested in school. He was in a clique (if I recall correctly) that we at my HS called the freaks — though freak was not as insulting as it is in regular speech (though being called a freak can rarely be construed as a positive thing.) Other terms for the group: heads (short for potheads), stoners, metalheads, etc. Really, there was this strain of classist divide going on there. My clique was the punk crowd, which was on the same side of the class divide as the freaks. Nonetheless, Ray, the freak, and I were homeroom pals. We also chatted with “Nicole”, who sat nearby. Nicole was also a freak, and as most freaker chicks, she was a “known slut.” I remember one day Ray, teasing I’m sure, put his hand on my back and caressed me. Being the prim and proper, naive girl that I was (i.e. good catholic), I turned around and said to Ray, “Don’t do that! Maybe SHE (pointing to Nicole) likes it, but I don’t!” So this morning, looking in the mirror, I uncovered that ugly wrinkle in my past.

How did Nicole end up being the target when she wasn’t even involved? I misplaced my blame and anger on an innocent girl. Why? She was an easier target. I also clearly recall “Michelle” who was also a “known slut.” She was in my gym class, and the other kids were really nasty to her, challenging her to fights, calling her a slut, etc. Being on the same side of the class divide, Michelle and I hung together during gym. She was one of the most soft-spoken, kind people I’d met in high school. How did she become a target for harassment by being labeled a slut?

I don’t believe that there is such a thing as a slut; there is only objectification and anger that is easily placed on women (often by other women). If I have a daughter, I am going to teach her that there is no such thing as a slut, to not judge people by a “reputation” like that. I’m going to teach her to recognize double standards, and that should she get called such a thing to try to recognize it is misplaced aggression. If I have a son, I will teach him these same lessons, though he cannot be called a slut and have it carry the same stab.

How does this tie in to the supreme court discussing an abortion law? I do not understand why there are still sluts in our society. I do not understand why people believe it is their role to control the behaviors and decisions of girls and women more than boys and men. Damn! This law is coming from New Hampshire — the Live Free or Die state. I read this article in the New York Times this afternoon. Here’s a snippet from the article:

In asking the justices to restore her state’s law, which was passed in 2003 but has never taken effect, Ms. Ayotte was sharply questioned by Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Anthony M. Kennedy and David H. Souter after she asserted that another state law would guard a doctor from legal action, and that in any event the state attorney general’s office would lay down a policy shielding physicians in such cases.

Justice Souter challenged Ms. Ayotte’s assertion that a doctor who performed an emergency abortion would be “constitutionally protected” from prosecution or civil liability. “What do you mean when you say it would be constitutionally protected?” asked Justice Souter, who is from New Hampshire.

Justice Breyer seemed skeptical about her statement that another state law would protect a doctor in an emergency situation. “How do we know that’s the law?” Justice Breyer asked. He said “people of good faith on both sides” might disagree on whether the other law conferred such protection.

If it is not clearly worded in the law, prosecuters will be able to try to prosecute doctors acting in an emergency. It will also cause doctors to have to make tough decisions, where they may want to abort because of imminent danger, but the imminent danger may be debatable. They may fear that another expert may say that the mother would have been fine to carry to term.

What troubles me more is this excerpt:

But Jennifer Dalven, a lawyer for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, which challenged the law, said that even a minor delay can be disastrous. “As the nation’s leading medical authorities have explained, delaying appropriate care for even a very short period can be catastrophic and puts the teen at risk of liver damage, kidney damage, stroke and infertility,” she said.

Ms. Dalven met with some skepticism when she said that the provision for a judge’s order can be a dangerous obstacle. “Once a minor arrives in the emergency room, it is too late for her to go to court,” she said.

Justice Antonin Scalia wondered what would happen if the state created “a special office, open 24 hours a day” to field just such emergencies: ” ‘This is the abortion judge.’ It takes 30 seconds to place a phone call.”

So Scalia has this brilliant idea to have an on-call judge. How will the judge be appointed? Now there’s a disaster of bias waiting to happen.

Instead, why don’t we stop treating pregancy as a punishment for premarital sex. The parental values of “might makes right” is actually quite juvenile. Teens and tweens need sincere input (driving input) into the major decisions that will affect their lives and bodies. Parental consent laws like this are for protecting those parents that are overprotective. Clearly, if a child wants an abortion without her parents knowing, there is a reason for that.

Most of us probably know girls who had abortions, particularly who really could not tell their parents without having had awful results. I recall a chat I had with two of my catholic relatives several years ago, and both disagree with abortions in general, yet they both agreed that a friend they had needed the protection of being able to make that choice without having to tell her parents. Her parents would have done something drastic. Ugh, and socioeconomic class is so deeply tied in as well, so no, I do not at all think that rejecting a potential justice based on his or her past rulings around the right to chose is a single issue at all. Not at all. I have no interest in hanging my rights on the coat-rack and grabbing my apron as I head into the kitchen. None at all.


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