In which Power is explaining to Women

Dahlia Lithwick wonders why the fanatical conservatives on the Supreme Court opted to do it in such a sloppy and late-night haha sucks to be you way.

[A] careful look at the shoddy, contemptuous jurisdictional reasoning of the five justices in the majority suggests something even darker. It’s not just that the majority of the Supreme Court functionally ended abortion rights for most women in Texas last night merely because they could. And it’s not just that they did so because—as is so often the case with impressionistic, frayed shadow docket reasoning—their personal feelings about the constitutional right to abortion are quite robust. It’s almost impossible to not go one further and declare that the court opted to end virtually all abortion rights in Texas, in the full knowledge that they were blessing an unconstitutional and brutal piece of lawless vigilantism, because it’s only about women.

Well, yes. Women aren’t good for much but they are indispensable for making new humans, so if they won’t even do that…well really.

Forgive the hyperbole, but how else could the five justices in the majority—in the fullness of knowledge that by Wednesday morning Texas women would be isolatedterrified, and medically and psychologically endangered as a result of their own inaction—hide behind odious mansplaining about the “complex and novel antecedent procedural questions” that force them to stand by as clinics are shuttered and frantic women beg for services? In 2016, the Supreme Court conceded that a woman is 14 times more likely to die by carrying a pregnancy to term than by obtaining an abortion. The Texas law has no exception for rape or incest. And at six weeks of pregnancy—two weeks past a last missed period—vast numbers of women are unaware that they are pregnant.

[Shrug] It’s their lot. It’s what they’re for.

Don’t even bother asking what the five justices on the majority of this court would have done with a hypothetical California law that conscripted citizen bounty hunters into reporting their suspicions about a neighbor’s unlawful gun possession. That order would have been 20 pages long, full of robust and muscular constitutional claims and outraged howls about broken Second Amendment promises. But a court that comes to you in the dark of night, without logic or reason, whispering soothing words about how “this order is not based on any conclusion about the constitutionality of Texas’s law” as it upends the constitutionality of Texas law? That is the stuff of ancient gaslighting, reserved for those moments in which Power is explaining to Women that they are just being hysterical, and to kindly lie back and enjoy it.


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