Constitutional and Christian dogmatism
How Roe vs Wade’s overturning has placed the woman below the weapon
Illustrations by Megan Le Brocq
This article is part of The Broad's short series in response to the US Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v Wade. For more articles like this, search the hashtag 'Roe v Wade' on our website.
We still sit reeling in grief, coming to terms with the fact that a group of 5 individuals have the power to dictate an American woman’s right to privacy and her own body. These individuals represent The United States’ Supreme Court – 5 of 9 Justices, 4 of whom are male, have asserted judgment over 167.5 million women’s lives. On June 24th 2022, the court voted to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade, a decision that left women forced to reassess the meaning of their independence and, as the court’s three liberal justices said, “their status as free and equal citizens”.
The ruling included Alito’s reasoning that “The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision”. The argument behind this statement is inherently problematic on two main accords. The first being that the Court’s sole dedication to enshrined law does not seem buyable. At the very least, we are owed a plausible and honest reasoning – predictably the Justices’ anti-abortion beliefs. However, if in fact they are dogged disciples of America’s constitution, the decision remains insufficient. The Court’s reasoning bypasses all regard for varying religions and situations– shying away from issues of rape, health, and parental capability to name a few. It is this blind and unbending loyalty to the Constitution which is so dangerous – failing to adapt and apply Amendments to the 21st century. The Supreme Court remains dangerously outdated, with the overturning of Roe v Wade representing the first of many potential civil liberties to be revoked.
The decision feels all the more depressing when placed alongside The Supreme Court’s long renowned failure to pass stricter gun laws. The court’s hypocrisy is blatant. Riddled with anti-abortionists, how can the court protect the right to survival whilst indirectly inciting violence through the preservation of the right to bear arms. What’s more, as revealed by Andrew Whitehead, a sociology professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, there is a strong correlation between being a Christian nationalist and opposing governmental restrictions to gun laws. Painfully paradoxical, the connection between the two is shocking. As stated in the Bible, “Thou shall not kill” (Exodus 20:13), a sentiment which certainly does not align with the protection of gun laws. Furthermore, according to Vegter and Kelly’s research, white evangelicals are more like to possess a gun than any other religion in America, standing at 41%. As an extension of this statement, 47% of those who own guns in America are male. Surely these facts alone are enough to completely discredit any plausibility surrounding the pro-life argument.
It is these evangelical men who have successfully guarded The Constitution’s Second Amendment declaring the right to bear arms, in turn facilitating the tragedies of gun violence. It is also these evangelical men who stand by the immorality of abortion. And it is ultimately these evangelical men who now have the final say as to how a woman handles her body and her future.
Following the overturning of Roe v Wade, a further connection can now be made between guns and women. They are both tracked – women seemingly more so than guns. With worries that American police will be able to obtain warrants to access women’s search history, geo location and even period tracking apps, Google has announced its plan to delete location history data showing information such as a user’s visit to fertility centres. This is a stark reflection of the extreme lengths that one must go to in order to protect women’s rights. Meanwhile, the tracking of a gun fails to extend further than a simple background check and a generic form to be filled out by the user. With the Fourteenth Amendment’s “right to privacy” ignored, it seems that guns have more privacy than women.
The overturning of Roe v Wade marks a sombre moment in America’s judicial history. The comparison between the treatment of guns versus women is testament to this. As stated in the viral tweet (author unknown), “I want any young men who buys a gun to be treated like young women who seek an abortion.”
On Abortion Access in Scotland - Statement by Anna Cowan, campaigner for Back off Scotland
The verdict of Roe v Wade represents a huge step back in the progress we have made for equal reproductive rights. Allowing abortion to be banned does not ban abortions - it bans safe abortions.
Although decisions like this may seem incredibly far away, in Scotland we are facing a fight against abortion access in the form of anti-choice protests outside of clinics which provide abortions. These protestors come from Texas-funded organised 40 Days for Life, who are an insidious and restrictive religious group who's sole purpose is to ban abortion.
In Scotland we must show our solidarity with our American sisters and siblings, while also being vigilant and fighting against anti-choice movements. If you want to be apart of the cause to establish buffer zones around abortion clinics, please fill out the Scottish Government consultation to enact this into law at bufferzones.scot
Please fill in Gillian Mackay’s consultation on buffer zones here, open until 06/08/22.
You can write to your MSP here.