A “shouldn’t” too many

I was listening to a useful and interesting conversation on Fresh Air about the Supreme Court’s intention to kill Roe v Wade and then I hit a bump.

GROSS: This is FRESH AIR. I’m Terry Gross. Let’s get back to my interview with Ian Millhiser, who has been writing about the recent Supreme Court order allowing a restrictive Texas abortion law to go into effect. He’s also been writing about the court’s voting rights decisions, the increasing use of the shadow docket and the court’s larger move to the right. In his new book “The Agenda: How A Republican Supreme Court Is Reshaping America,” he writes that while Congress has become increasingly polarized and dysfunctional, the Supreme Court has become the locus of policymaking in the U.S., and the policies are largely conservative. Three of the six conservative justices were appointed by President Trump. Millhiser says some of the court’s least understood and most arcane decisions are fundamentally reshaping our nation. He’s a senior correspondent for Vox, where he focuses on the Supreme Court, the Constitution and threats to liberal democracy in the U.S. Millhiser is a lawyer and clerked for a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.

So if the Supreme Court either out and out overrules Casey or Roe or uphold restrictions that are so severe that it leaves no time to get an abortion, that would be a federal ruling, but states would still be able to make their own laws, right?

MILLHISER: That’s right. So for the moment, the fight that we are having is over whether or not states can pass abortion bans or very severe abortion restrictions. I suspect that the next chapter in this litigation fight, you know – anti-abortion groups, there are some that believe in a theory called fetal personhood, which – you know, basically what fetal personhood means is it’s a way of reading the Constitution to say that the Constitution bans abortions. And so if fetal personhood were to become the law of the land, that would mean that abortions would be banned in all 50 states.

But I think the thing to understand here is that we are primarily talking about rulings that impact poor women and, you know, women who do not have means – I shouldn’t just say women, you know, women, trans people, nonbinary people, people who can become pregnant – who do not have the means to cross state lines.

There, obviously, is the bump.

Yes you damn well should “just say women.” It’s women who get pregnant, including when they don’t want to. It’s women who need abortion rights. It’s women who will be harmed if Roe is overturned. Women, women only, “just” women; not men. No you shouldn’t say “people” instead or in addition, because that just obscures the reality that attacks on abortion are attacks on women’s freedom and autonomy. Don’t obscure the reality.

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