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Move over, Hester: Speaker Mikey's in town...

Remember Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Puritan society in his novel, The Scarlet Letter?  Poor Hester Prynne violated the laws of the church, which meant that she broke society’s laws, too.  At the beginning of the novel, the reader joins Hester as she leaves the safety of the town prison and makes her way back into the society that jailed her.  Reading the book for the first time in the 11th grade, I had a hard time understanding how, in a free society, the religion of one group could also form its judicial system.  That makes the laws of God the same thing as the laws of man.   Separation of church and state was also an 11th grade U.S. history lesson, so we students figured no more Hesters could be jailed for breaking the laws of her religion .  Or so we thought.  We fought a war 250 years ago to separate the colonies from a king who was not only ruler of the government but leader of the church.  A quick walk through British history shows what a mess that ideal leads to:  remember Henry VIII

Nobody Won

If you’re celebrating the decision by the squad in black robes to leave Mifepristone on the market for now - don’t.  It’s not a win for anybody;  it’s status quo. 

It’s kind of like you had the winning lottery ticket and all you got was the dollar back for your purchase.  Not exactly a win. 

If you live in a state that allows abortion rights, nothing changed.  Doctors can still use oral drugs for abortions, just like they always have for a majority of women seeking health care.  That means when you woke up Saturday morning, you still had the right to abortion procedures, just like you had on Friday. 

And if you live in a state where abortion is limited or outlawed, and legislators have left the definition of “life of the mother” ambiguous, nothing changed.  You woke up Saturday morning with the same restrictions that you had on Friday, and an abortion is something you have to seek in another state, if you have the means to do so. 

So let’s rethink how we got here.  The same team that made this decision on Friday started the ball rolling down the hill of women’s rights with the Dobbs decision last June. Fifty years of Roe was not good enough to make it established law, so according to the guys in gowns,  the states would have the final say. 

And say they did. 

States on the right have been waiting for years for this court, with zealous lawmakers in the wings and protesters wielding signs that scream “Right to Life.”  And they immediately got to work to implement their life-long dream of limiting quality health care for women.  

Since June, thirteen states have banned abortion outright.  Another nine have restricted the right to an abortion, limiting legal time, adding ambiguous medical exemptions, and making the states pretty much abortion deserts.  For women in these states, the Friday ruling was a yawn, because they already had no rights.

This was a temporary ruling, so the fight is by no means over.  The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is duking it out now with oral arguments on May 17, with the FDA and a group of anti-abortion fanatics facing off for a decision that will wind its way back up to the Supreme Court.  Then the guys in black will have to decide whether they want to be in charge of the FDA, which was an unbelievable idea a year ago, or if they will follow precedent and allow the FDA to control medications in this country.  We can only hope that the court learned a lesson from the June decision, saw the chaos they themselves caused by overturning precedent, and decide to leave well enough alone. 

Or they could make things worse and rule in favor of the abortion zealots, once again.  Then, abortion as we knew if for 50 years, would be essentially dead everywhere.  And so would many women.

The choice is clear:  send the U.S. back to Handmaids status or return us in small part to the 21st century.  The decision will rest solely on the backs of an institution that has already failed America women.  

Sleep tight.  And vote.  

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Move over, Hester: Speaker Mikey's in town...

Remember Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Puritan society in his novel, The Scarlet Letter?  Poor Hester Prynne violated the laws of the church, which meant that she broke society’s laws, too.  At the beginning of the novel, the reader joins Hester as she leaves the safety of the town prison and makes her way back into the society that jailed her.  Reading the book for the first time in the 11th grade, I had a hard time understanding how, in a free society, the religion of one group could also form its judicial system.  That makes the laws of God the same thing as the laws of man.   Separation of church and state was also an 11th grade U.S. history lesson, so we students figured no more Hesters could be jailed for breaking the laws of her religion .  Or so we thought.  We fought a war 250 years ago to separate the colonies from a king who was not only ruler of the government but leader of the church.  A quick walk through British history shows what a mess that ideal leads to:  remember Henry VIII