_ "Make no mistake, the goal is to force extreme, outdated,
religious-driven values on all of us through the courts." _
Demonstrator join the second annual Women's March in New York City on
January 20, 2018., Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images
ADVOCATES FOR REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM and LGTBQ+ equality on Saturday
pointed to a legal brief filed in a U.S. Supreme Court case that could
soon overturn _Roe v. Wade_
[[link removed]] as a crucial
example of the broader goals of those fighting to end abortion rights
across the United States.
"ALL anti-LGBTQ and anti-choice views stem from the same desire to
—Zack Ford, Alliance for Justice
"It's never just been about fetuses. It's about controlling sex,"
Muhlenberg College assistant professor Jacqueline Antonovich, a
historian of health and medicine.
Both Antonovich and Elie Mystal, _The Nation_’s justice
correspondent, responded to a portion of the brief flagged
[[link removed]] by New
York University School of Law professor Melissa Murray that challenges
previous rulings from the country's highest court on not only abortion
but also LGBTQ+ rights.
"Of course" the so-called "right to life" movement is also coming
after cases that established key LGBTQ+ protections, said
[[link removed]] Mystal,
"because it's never about 'life' and always about 'Christian
The amicus brief
(pdf) that Murray highlighted—co-authored by the architect of a new
in Texas—urges reversing _Roe_, the landmark 1973 ruling that
affirmed the constitutional right to pre-viability abortions, and the
related 1992 case _Planned Parenthood v. Casey_
The brief also takes aim at _Lawrence v. Texas_
[[link removed]], a 2003 case that
overturned homophobic state sodomy laws, and the 2015 equal marriage
case _Obergefell v. Hodges_
[[link removed]], suggesting
that the court should not "hesitate to write an opinion that leaves
those decisions hanging by a thread. _Lawrence and Obergefell_, while
far less hazardous to human life, are just as lawless as _Roe_."
Zack Ford of the progressive group Alliance for Justice said
[[link removed]] Saturday
that "this is hardly surprising. Conservatives know they've got the
Supreme Court in the palm of their hands and they'll ask for anything
and everything, including the return of sodomy laws. Remember, ALL
anti-LGBTQ and anti-choice views stem from the same desire to control
The alarm over the brief—submitted
for _Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization_, a case
about a Mississippi abortion ban
that the high court is set to hear this term—came exactly one year
after the death
of liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
In the wake of Ginsburg's death, then-President Donald Trump nominated
and the GOP-controlled U.S. Senate swiftly confirmed
Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Trump's third appointee to the
court—creating a supermajority
of six right-wing justices.
The high court's majority sparked concerns about how justices will
rule in the Mississippi case by letting
Texas law take effect earlier this month. Just one piece of a historic
on reproductive rights this year, Texas' Senate Bill 8 not only bans
abortion at six weeks but also empowers
anti-choice vigilantes to enforce it—which, as the U.S. Justice
in its lawsuit challenging the measure, is an "unprecedented scheme"
intended to make it harder to strike down in court.
The legal mind behind S.B. 8, Jonathan Mitchell, "has spent the last
seven years honing a largely below-the-radar strategy of writing laws
deliberately devised to make it much more difficult for the judicial
system—particularly the Supreme Court—to thwart them," according
_The New York Times_.
A former Texas solicitor general and clerk to the late Supreme Court
Justice Antonin Scalia, Mitchell also co-authored the legal brief
attacking _Lawrence_ and _Obergefell_. His brief for the group Texas
Right to Life—just one of several anti-choice filings submitted
to the high court in late July—also states that "women can 'control
their reproductive lives' without access to abortion; they can do so
by refraining from sexual intercourse.'"
As _The Guardian_ reports
the brief adds that "one can imagine a scenario in which a woman has
chosen to engage in unprotected (or insufficiently protected) sexual
intercourse on the assumption that an abortion will be available to
her later. But when this court announces the overruling of _Roe_, that
individual can simply change their behavior in response to the court's
decision if she no longer wants to take the risk of an unwanted
While the Biden administration is taking on
S.B. 8 in court and on Friday announced
another series of actions intended to assist abortion seekers and
providers in Texas, both the new ban and mounting concerns about the
Mississippi case have provoked calls
for the Democrat-controlled Congress to immediately expand the U.S.
Supreme Court and codifying _Roe_.
Although congressional progressives in April introduced
the Judiciary Act of 2021 (H.R. 2584
[[link removed]]/S. 1141
which would add four more justices to the Supreme Court, the measure
has not advanced and its low co-sponsor numbers suggest that will not
change during this session.
As for lawmakers reaffirming abortion rights nationwide, the U.S.
House is set to vote
on the Women's Health Protection Act (H.R. 3755
[[link removed]]/S. 1975
[[link removed]]) later
this month. However, unless the evenly divided Senate abolishes the
it is unlikely to reach President Joe Biden.
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