LQCs: Wise Women and Men, How the Law Is Flimsy against Political Tides, and Why Conservatives Are So Anxious to Oppress Others

Several Fb friends have quoted this passage by the great Ursula K. Le Guin, originally posted at Reading Is Therapy, from her 1989 book Dancing at the Edge of the World: Thoughts on Words, Women, Places.

What was it like, if you were planning to go to graduate school and get a degree and earn a living so you could support yourself and do the work you loved—what it was like to be a senior at Radcliffe and pregnant and if you bore this child, this child which the law demanded you bear and would then call “unlawful,” “illegitimate,” this child whose father denied it … What was it like? […]

It’s like this: if I had dropped out of college, thrown away my education, depended on my parents … if I had done all that, which is what the anti-abortion people want me to have done, I would have borne a child for them, … the authorities, the theorists, the fundamentalists; I would have born a child for them, their child.

But I would not have born my own first child, or second child, or third child. My children.

The life of that fetus would have prevented, would have aborted, three other fetuses … the three wanted children, the three I had with my husband—whom, if I had not aborted the unwanted one, I would never have met … I would have been an “unwed mother” of a three-year-old in California, without work, with half an education, living off her parents….

But it is the children I have to come back to, my children Elisabeth, Caroline, Theodore, my joy, my pride, my loves. If I had not broken the law and aborted that life nobody wanted, they would have been aborted by a cruel, bigoted, and senseless law. They would never have been born. This thought I cannot bear.

And recall Mayor Peter, a wise man, earlier. “So let’s put ourselves in the shoes of a woman in that situation…”


Nigel Sellars today on Facebook.

Samuel Alito’s argument are, at best, medieval and pathological. Like far too many conservatives, he is a man of weak-will and troubled, toxic masculinity. Such men trawl the depths of human ignorance to give the impression they are thoughtful, intelligent men, when, in fact, they are barbarians scared of their own failings and terrified their paternal deity will send their “soul” to damnation, so they rain down hell on other living things. Alito is Donald Trump with a law degree and an inability to abandon a barren, hate-filled religious faith that seeks to brink darkness on the enlightened secular world. He makes no legal arguments, just theological ones, and monstrous theological arguments at that. Time for American to reject and banish the racist, bigoted, patriarchal faith from its public square. …


Washington Post, Paul Waldman, 9 May 2022: Republicans scramble to pretend they care about women and children

Here’s the reality: Where Republicans are in charge, maternal health is worse, infant mortality is higher, and families are more likely to lack access to health care and live in all kinds of precarity. It’s enough to make you think they aren’t as “pro-family” as they’ve been saying all these years.

But now they tell us they’re going to try. The New York Times has an op-ed from a fellow at a conservative think tank with suggestions for family-friendly policies Republicans might want to support, from extending the enhanced child tax credit to better maternity coverage in Medicaid to more child care. In other words, they should start acting like Democrats.

To which one has to reply: You’re just considering this now?


Do you believe them? Or do you think that once people get used to living in the post-Roe America, Republicans will forget all about their supposed commitment to mothers and babies, and keep doing what they’ve been doing all along, while they bask in the glow of their victory, knowing that those uppity women have been shown what their proper place is?

I think we all know the answer.


NYT, Charles M. Blow, 8 May 2022: The Supreme Court as an Instrument of Oppression

If you focus on the Supreme Court’s expansion of equal rights since the 1950s, you could see Justice Samuel Alito’s stunning, leaked draft opinion as a shocking, anomalous reversal, a decision at odds with the trajectory of the court.

But in doing so, you would also have to ignore the fact that for much of the court’s history, it has been used as an instrument of oppression.

The potential for persecution is always present in the court, lurking like a recessive gene, waiting for an opportunity to express itself.

Opponents of equality know this well. That’s why they focus so heavily on the courts. It is why Senator Mitch McConnell stole an appointment from Barack Obama and defied his own rationale for doing so ­— because it was an election year — to rush Amy Coney Barrett onto the court.

There are no inviolable rules for those bent on oppression. There is only winning, at all costs, no matter the casualties. Conservatives would abide a boor like Donald Trump because he could give them the judges they wanted, the judges who are now poised to reverse federal abortion protections.

The court is a product of the framers of the Constitution. And, for all their flashes of brilliance, they made some terribly flawed decisions about our government. That’s why originalists, those who believe that judgments by the court must conform to how the founders understood the Constitution when it was written, are so dangerous.

As Thurgood Marshall put it in a 1987 speech, when the founders wrote “we the people” in the preamble, “they did not have in mind the majority of America’s citizens.” They did not see white women as equal citizens. They didn’t see Black people as citizens at all.


NYT, Adam Liptak, 8 May 2022: If Roe Falls, Is Same-Sex Marriage Next?, subtitled, “The leaked draft opinion that would eliminate the constitutional right to abortion sent mixed signals about what other precedents might be at risk.”

Justice Alito, for his part, has made no secret of his hostility to Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 decision on same-sex marriage. In 2020, when the court turned down an appeal from a county clerk who had been sued for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, he joined a statement written by Justice Clarence Thomas that called the decision at odds with the Constitution.

“In Obergefell v. Hodges,” the statement said, “the court read a right to same-sex marriage into the 14th Amendment, even though that right is found nowhere in the text.”

What about those Unenumerated rights? The better question is, why are conservatives so anxious to prohibit such rights, that are so important to so many people? “The rights to same-sex intimacy and marriage, to interracial marriage and to use contraception.” What so upsets them about these things? Is it just that conservatives find these things icky? Is it at root religious rationale, based on Leviticus? Or is the underlying rationale simply the subjugation of women to the benefit of men? Haven’t heard one.


I said a few days ago I wouldn’t belabor this, but the story keeps shifting. From a genuine concern by some, in spite of evidence and reason, that a just-fertilized embryo is a human being worthy of full protection under the law… to the underlying motivation of conservatives to role back civil rights of the past 50 years, to MAGA, when straight white Christian men were in charge of everything. (Thus, as always, my lack of respect for the legal process. The courts are *obviously* political, and sway to political goals; unlike science, say, where conclusions must be justified by evidence and are subject to revision only by better evidence. I first wrote about this general topic back in 2014.)

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