A lot of anti-abortion advocates are suggesting the furor over Justice Alito’s draft decision on Roe v. Wade isn’t merited because it doesn’t actually ban abortion. They say it just turns the abortion issue from a federal matter into a state matter. They quote Alito’s line that the abortion issue should be “resolved like most important decisions in our democracy: by citizens trying to persuade one another and then voting.”
They say this is fair. Voters get to decide abortion law for their own state. Some states will ban abortions, some will restrict the conditions under which abortions can take place, and some states will continue to allow abortions. This is federalism in action, they say.
That’s bullshit. Even if we ignore the reality that many states are restricting and limiting voter rights (and we shouldn’t ignore that), the notion that abortion should be a matter for individual states to decide is just fucking stupid. It boils down to this: a woman’s right to have autonomy over her reproduction will depend on her geographical location at the time she discovers she’s pregnant. Name me another legal right that is subject to GPS coordinates.
Consider this: some states have laws expressly forbidding pregnant people from leaving their state to obtain an abortion. What happens if somebody from a state where abortion is legal discovers they are pregnant while visiting in a state where abortion is illegal–a state in which it is illegal even to travel to another state to obtain an abortion? Can that person be detained until they give birth?
There are issues and matters that transcend state borders, issues that require or demand national responses. We cannot have patchwork civil rights and liberties. We fought a bloody civil war to develop a national stance on chattel slavery. We decided marriage can’t be illegal in one state and legal in another–every state must accept the legality of marriage from other states. The right to free speech and assembly can’t be abridged by state borders. If you have a valid driver’s license in Utah, you can drive legally in Georgia. You get the point; some rights should be national. Some rights MUST be national. Hell, some rights MUST be international.
The right of reproductive choice is one of those national matters. Roe v. Wade needs to remain the law of the land. People should have the right to decide if they want to be pregnant.
EDITORIAL NOTE: Burn the patriarchy. Douse it with oil, set it on fire, dance around the flames. Piss on the smoking embers.