Saturday, June 22, 2024

Religion Trumps Law – Supreme Court Judgement Aborted After Half a Century

When John Kennedy was running for the Presidency back in the olden days, he was challenged to assert whether his allegiance was to the Constitution or the Pope. Sadly, no one bothered to ascertain the same information from the Supreme court nominees. Currently, there are seven Roman Catholics and two Jews on the Supreme Court.

Predictably, all five justices who voted to allow states to nullify a woman’s right to make all medical decisions for themselves were Catholics. Unlike their fellow male citizens, women no longer have the right to decide their own reproductive choices but now are under the jurisdiction of whatever the current elected officials in their state of residence decide they can make for themselves or not.

Notably, most state legislatures are composed of white men who, since the beginning of this piece of the globe now called The United States of America, have arrogated to themselves the right to have domination and control over pretty much everything. For the first hundred and fifty or so years, white men decided it was acceptable to enslave non-white folks kidnapped from Africa and other spots to work for them. After 1865 or so, that was no longer considered legal, so other laws were put in place to control those same kidnapped folks and their offspring, including the offspring achieved by the rape of the women of color. This fight is ongoing.

Women, of course, had a more prolonged and fraught fight still ongoing. Women got the right to vote in 1920 after many decades of confrontation. Suffragettes were jailed, beaten, force-fed, and otherwise intimidated and ridiculed. It was not marches by ladies in white hats and dresses but a concerted and dangerous business that got the job done. Women are still subjected to harassment and assault from men who still seem to think their gender can operate as if women were their toys to use and treat as they please. Women are underrepresented in management and on Boards of Directors. Women are paid less for the same work. The women on the wildly successful American Soccer team fought long and hard for parity with the significantly less successful men’s team. Women make up slightly more than half of the population, but none of the bodies and institutions of government in this country are close to having parity in the representation of women.

Back in the sixties and seventies of the past century, there were developed interventions that could, reasonably successfully, control conception. Pills and devices came and went, none of which were foolproof and which all came with health risks. Curiously, there is a commercial today for a “new” way to avoid pregnancy, a germicidal foam. Those who were having sex and trying to prevent pregnancy back in the 60s and 70s will recognize that as one of the interventions offered to women then. Even in those days, the Catholic Church was opposed to contraceptive intervention.

It is sad that this country must rely on seven Roman Catholic people who were raised in the same tradition. Having been raised in and educated for 16 years in Catholic institutions, I understand that point of view and have no problem with Catholic doctrine. The problem is that this is not a Catholic country, and while some of our fellow citizens think otherwise, it is not a Christian country or white country, the Constitution specifically states that the government cannot make a state religion. The Republican party of Texas may want things otherwise, but that’s not the way it is.

I have, from the beginning, thought Roe v. Wade was argued wrongly and should have been approached as an equal protection issue, ensuring that all medical interventions and decisions should be made between a patient and doctor. It is past time that gender should be a consideration in making health decisions for both men and women. Years back, the right to refuse interventions and be allowed to die was an issue. In that situation, it was the medical establishment v. patients. That situation was decided on the side of the patient. Male adult patients are allowed all decisions. Female adult patients are not. This is a direct violation of equal protection. Those who argue that a zygote should have equal rights as the female in whose womb it is ensconced might want to consider the ramifications of that idea.

It is curious that none of the non-Catholic Christian folks aren’t concerned that they are not represented in the body that has such power over our lives. With seven Catholics and two Jews, no one else, the Supreme Court is overbalanced.

We are stuck with this now, but it would be wise to consider a wider diversity of viewpoints in the future.

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M.A. Callahan
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