Thoroughgoing mix of hypocrisy and dishonesty

Garrett Epps on Alito’s arrogance:

…one paragraph in Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization stands out for its thoroughgoing mix of hypocrisy and dishonesty. Advocates of legalized abortion, Alito writes, argue that “without the availability of abortion … people will be inhibited from exercising their freedom to choose the types of relationships they desire, and women will be unable to compete with men in the workplace and in other endeavors.”

Do they? I don’t know. I just argue that women should be able to stop being pregnant if they don’t want to be pregnant.

But, Alito explains, the foes of abortion have the answer to this lament:

They explain that attitudes about the pregnancy of unmarried women have changed drastically; that federal and state laws ban discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, that leave for pregnancy and childbirth are now guaranteed by law in many cases, that the costs of medical care associated with pregnancy are covered by insurance or government assistance; that States have increasingly adopted “safe haven” laws, which generally allow women to drop off babies anonymously; and that a woman who puts her new­born up for adoption today has little reason to fear that the baby will not find a suitable home. They also claim that many people now have a new appreciation of fetal life and that when prospective parents who want to have a child view a sonogram, they typically have no doubt that what they see is their daughter or son.

Blah blah blah blah. A woman can still not want to be pregnant, and that’s all that’s relevant.

Now there are three things wrong with this rosy picture of childbirth. First, the all-caring nanny state that Alito describes—guaranteeing medical care, pregnancy leave, and freedom from discrimination—not only does not exist for most Americans but also has been blocked in large part by Alito and the others who form his majority (we do not know whether he has five votes or six, though he writes with the assurance of a ward heeler who knows the fix is in to stay). As of 2020, 91.4 percent of Americans do have some form of health insurance—but 30 million Americans do not. One reason that many do not is that the Court’s conservative majority went out of its way to gut the Medicaid expansion provision of the Affordable Care Act, which offered health insurance to lower-income Americans; as a result of that decision, conservative states have refused to allow families within their borders to take advantage of this program. Since then, Alito himself, with the conservative majority, has made it clear that any employer with the vaguest kind of religious objection to contraception doesn’t have to provide insurance that covers it—a gap that harms women in particular.

Listen, we have to keep punishing poor people for being poor, abortion or no abortion. Eyes on the prize, folks.

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