Deeply rooted in this Nation’s (dark) history and tradition

The decision by the Supreme Court last Friday to overturn Roe vs Wade and eliminate a fundamental right of women in the world’s leading democracy for almost 50 years is a shock but not a surprise.

  • To say that this is a massive deal for the United States is an understatement.
  • To say this is a massive deal for women is an understatement.
  • To say this does major damage to an already deeply riven society (incredibly, a third of people still believe, without evidence, that the 2020 election was stolen – source) is an understatement.

And to think this decision was announced exactly a month after the avoidable slaughter of 19 children in Uvalde, yet on Thursday the same court said states can’t enact basic gun regulations, but on Friday said states can’t be limited from regulating women’s own bodies, dramatically undermines the credibility of the Supreme Court.

As an immigrant who wants to see America continue to succeed, to thrive and not decline, this is very troubling. Many US states now have more fundamentalist and less considered laws on abortion than Saudi Arabia (for example) (source), which makes it hard to reconcile with the ideal of a country based on freedom (but not of your own body).

As a husband of a wonderful wife who’s dedicated her professional life to women’s health, this is personal, as is the fact the United States already has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the industrialized world (and 4.5x Australia, as just one comparison), which this decision will only make worse (source).

Screenshot from The Commonwealth Fund, data from OECD

As a father of two daughters, this is personal. Underpinning the majority opinion is that a group of judges think women having sovereignty over their own bodies is not “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition” and “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty”. This is an afront to the sense that my daughters are more than the chattel they were counted as at the founding of the United States.

Like all countries, the deeply rooted parts of the history of the United States include some good things (Declaration of Independence) and some really bad things (some stand out examples include slavery, treatment of the Native American people, women not having the vote and before that many rights at all). And no doubt our great great grandchildren will look back at the present and see dark things (immigration, guns, etc). But for the Supreme Court to try and set the clock back and return to those darker days with deliberate design is a real kick in the guts, which once again the Onion nailed perfectly.

Unfortunately, I’m (a) personification of taxation without representation, and there isn’t much I can do directly. As a leader, I’ll continue to support my team where I can in alignment with our values.

While the underlying principles and perspectives of the abortion debate are rightly subject to a lot of civilized debate, I believe the complete elimination of a finely balanced right on the basis that the sovereignty of women isn’t “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition” and “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty” represents (another) dark day in the United States, especially in its standing as the leader of a “free” world.

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