Thousands Of Women Want Justice Kennedy To Know Abortion Was The Right Choice For Them
This Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt–which will either uphold or destroy the right to abortion for women in the United States. At issue is not just abortion, but also whether or not states can disingenuously create laws to outlaw things they can’t legally outlaw. In this case, since Texas can’t just outlaw abortion outright, they’re going around it by making laws that make it nearly impossible for abortion clinics to operate.
In hopes that Justice Kennedy will side with the pro-choice judges —as he once did in Planned Parenthood v. Casey — hundreds of women across the country are filing separate supporting briefs with SCOTUS explaining why abortion was the right choice for them–how it helped them control their future and plan their lives.
One of those women is actress Amy Brenneman, best known for her roles in NYPD Blue and Judging Amy. Brenneman filed a brief on behalf of over 3,000 other women, explaining to Justice Kennedy that her choice to have an abortion at age 21 was the best choice for her.
“It allowed me to choose when to become a mother. As a mother now, I know I was correct at 21. I didn’t have a college degree. I didn’t have an income. I didn’t have a marriage. I didn’t have anything a child needs. And I didn’t want it.”
These briefs are meant to counter Kennedy’s assertion in the 2007 Gonzales v. Carhart decision on late-term abortions that–despite having zero data backing up his belief–he was pretty sure women regretted their abortions after having them, and probably had bad self-esteem afterwards as well.
While we find no reliable data to measure the phenomenon, it seems unexceptionable to conclude some women come to regret their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained. Severe depression and loss of esteem can follow.
Helen J. Knowles, who wrote the book The Tie Goes to Freedom: Justice Anthony M. Kennedy on Liberty, says this may not be the tactic that will best appeal to him. Unfortunately, I am inclined to agree. The reason he voted in favor of maintaining abortion rights in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey was in the interest of upholding court precedent–not in the interest of women.
If Kennedy sides with women in this case, it will not be due to compassion or empathy, but due tot the fact that these laws create an “undue burden” on women seeking abortion.
What we have going for us is that what’s actually being argued here is whether or not states have the right to create disingenuous laws that they claim exist for one reason (protecting women) but in fact serve another purpose entirely–preventing women from exercising their legal right to abortion. And that’s a very slippery slope–and one which Kennedy will hopefully object to. Precedents like that could actually come back to bite conservatives in the ass with regards to rights that they cherish–like the Second Amendment.
If there is a precedent-setting vote on this issue, states run by politicians who oppose gun ownership could then make up ridiculous laws that serve no other purpose than to make it harder for people to legally own guns. They could make up a rule that all privately owned guns must be coated in 24 karat gold and set up to play ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” every time they were fired. Which is a thing we should immediately start arguing for in the event that SCOTUS decides against (or ties) Whole Women’s Health.