Many issues are apparent in the U.S Supreme Court’s draft opinion to overturn Roe v Wade. Here I will address two: the context for children of the presumed action by the Court and a reminder of the Court’s predominant history.
According to the draft opinion—and as expected—the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade, thus outlawing a procedure that had constitutional protection for 49 years.
Please note that this draft decision will force women to have a baby even if that baby is the result of rape or incest.
Abolishing abortion has been an admitted top objective for the right-wing in this country. Therefore, one would think they would pay attention to the new baby’s welfare. However, that is clearly not the case. These people are concerned about abortion, not children.
For example, the United States is far behind everyone else in the industrialized world in providing childcare. We spend less on families and children than in other advanced countries. In a list of countries, the U.S. is 30th in its expenditures for families and children.
The culprit is the ideology and not child welfare. Of course, childcare is beneficial for the developing child and the economy. But apparently, the right-wing does not care.
A study by UNICEF ranks the U.S. last among 40 countries for family-friendly policies. Every high-income country in the world has a paid maternity leave policy—except the U.S., and most have a paternity leave policy.
The U.S. also does not offer federally mandated paid leave for new fathers, while 32 other countries provide at least some paid paternity leave.
Some states offer paid parental leave insurance programs, covering only 14 percent of civilian workers. President Biden’s Build Back Better Act would create a national paid family and medical leave program, but it is held up by the same forces abolishing abortion.
And then, of course, there is the issue of medical care for the child. The abortion ban forces a baby into the world—this country—which does not provide medical care to everyone. In every other developed country except the United States, a child is born and automatically gets medical care without additional costs above the taxes the parents pay.
This inattention to child welfare illustrates what some people say, “They care only about unborn children.”
Congressman Jamie Raskin, a former constitutional law professor, reminds us that the Supreme Court is apparently returning to its “historic baseline of being a reactionary conservative institution.”
Many of us think favorably of the Supreme Court, considering the favorable rulings in the middle of the twentieth century, including Brown versus Board and Roe versus Wade. And there was also Griswold versus Connecticut, which protected the liberty of married couples to buy and use contraceptives without government restriction. In addition, Miranda versus Arizona ruled that an arrested individual is entitled to rights against self-discrimination and an attorney. And Loving versus Virginia ruled that laws banning interracial marriage were unconstitutional.
All these decisions happened during a two-decade period. However, Raskin notes that the Supreme Court was its usual self before this period. For example, they were protecting slavery and American apartheid.
In 1857 the Court told Dred Scott that he had no rights that white men are bound to respect. The Court articulated and legalized American apartheid in the 1896 Plessy versus Ferguson decision.
And since that nineteen-year period between 1954 and 1973, the Court has been moving back to its traditional role. For example, installing a president who did not win the election in Bush versus Gore, gutting the Voting Rights Act in Shelby versus Alabama, and now abolishing abortion.
Many institutions in this country need to be reformed, including the Supreme Court.