The Crushing Blow of Dobbs to American Women and Autonomy
Pretty much everyone who can reproduce biologically, whether by accident or on purpose, is keenly aware of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health. Few took it as a victory, most took it as a decidedly frightening defeat.
It’s not just the loss of reproductive choice protections that were afforded us in Roe v Wade that met their demise with the Dobbs decision, and that is perhaps the most terrifying aspect. Many religious conservatives were joyful at the idea of the “protection of life” they believe the decisio offers. Did they really look at the opinions, though?
It is important to acknowledge the perfect storm of events that led to this cultural shift before digging in further.
A conservative power hold allowed that Obama’s justice choice of Merrick Garland was never installed on the high court, then the confluence of Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh aligned to tilt the court more steeply to the right than ever before. And this is supposed to be a politically neutral body. It is not.
So with what is now a 6–3 supermajority of conservative thinkers, the court condemned the Roe decision as the misuse of “raw judicial power” and in doing so also dismissed any semblance of judicial restraint in their own right. We’ll get to Clarence Thomas’ shenanigans later, but for now it’s worth noting that Kavanaugh made it a point to note that, about marriage equality and contraception, “overruling Roe does not mean the overruling of those precedents, and does not threaten or cast doubt on those precedents.” He even allowed that a state that bans abortion may not be afforded the power to prohibit its residents from traveling elsewhere. That’s a steep diversion from what might actually occur, though.
Some have speculated that the early leak of the decision was in part to allow Kavanaugh a bit of cooling time and the chance to separate from his conservative fellows. He did not, and that presents a threat of its own going forward. The only solace is that Kavanaugh did not line up directly alongside Thomas. Kavanaugh even seems to sense that he could be the deal-breaker in upcoming decisions that remove even more freedoms.