Women’s reproductive rights come up snake eyes at Supreme Court


People get excited about luck. They chalk up their outcomes to luck. Good or bad. When it's good luck, everyone is smiling, including, some people think, God. The stars have aligned in their favor. I got lucky, they might boast like a teenage boy. However, people in need whisper or shout, I need some luck. Then try to rub a bald-headed baby's skull. Or a pregnant woman's belly.  

Some people don't need luck. They make their own. People like Mitch McConnell. 

The lottery. That's where you need luck. That's why I have never understood why Michigan ever thought the lottery was a good way to help fund public education. Education is valuable. Worth the investment. It helps uphold our democracy. Protects the U.S. from going down like so many other countries.  

The lottery school aid fund connection has been going 50 years now. Basically, the same number of years that the Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade had been in place. That's 49 years; 1973. On Friday (June 24) that was reversed. 

You'd think that lottery players — people like me — would come to our senses. We are getting taxed twice. Our taxes go for public education, and then we buy lottery tickets with after-tax dollars that go to public education. My husband says playing the lottery is also a tax on people who didn't learn math. He's talking about the long odds of winning. For the big lottery games, the odds are 1 in more than 12 million chances.  

But rational thinking like that is no fun. Fun is playing the lottery when jackpots soar. Last week, Mega Millions and PowerBall jackpots were $312 million. It was high stakes. The lottery is like sex: exciting, pleasant, uncontrollable. You're going with a moment that is full of promise. The lottery impregnates a person's mind, unlike sex with a man, which impregnates a woman's actual body. 

Thirty-seven percent of Americans think they know what is best for the pregnant woman. It's a moralistic position, which is what Justice Samuel A. Alito wrote in the 6-3 Supreme Court decision. He used the word, "wrong." "Roe was egregiously wrong from the start." Wrong is a moral judgment word.  

Back in the day, judgy people thought a child was a price to pay. A price paid by women who have sex. We're here for someone else's pleasure and to be kept in check by a legal responsibility to care and provide for any resulting children. Seventy-four percent of people under age 30 and 62 percent of people age 30 to 49 want abortion to be legal, according to Pew Research Center Public Opinion Fact Sheet (May 2022). 

These people try not to judge; they try to help. And if they can't help, they don't get in the way. Like Mitch McConnell. 

This is a rough street game McConnell is playing. Getting the right number of votes was more like what Michigan State University football coach George Perles said about winning games: "They all count one."  

With Clarence Thomas. A Black man attorney accused, with good evidence, by Black woman attorney Anita Hill of not being justice material. She testified at Thomas' confirmation hearing about sexual abuse by him. When he was her boss. And her testimony was dismissed; The Senate said she was too late. She should have reported him before.  

With Brett Kavanaugh. In late 2018, Mitch McConnell said that the Supreme Court appointment was coming too late in Barak Obama's second term — even though Obama had more than one full year left in his term. McConnell refused to hold a confirmation hearing for Obama's appointee, betting that Donald Trump would beat Hillary Clinton to the White House. And he did.  

Kavanaugh was confirmed despite the testimony by three women — one from their days at Yale University, two from high school — at his confirmation hearing of sexual abuse by him. The women were accused of being too late. That's misogyny in action. 

With Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The notorious RBG waited too late to retire. She wanted Hillary Clinton to be president, but Trump won instead. RBG tried to outlive his presidency but did not survive a recurrence of cancer. Trump was the last man standing.  

He appointed Amy Coney Barrett. A white woman attorney, married with seven children, one disabled. The push back to American women was, she can mother a brood and still be nominated to the Supreme Court. Why can't you? Have that baby. It's no inconvenience to your life.  

Fact is, Ketanji Brown Jackson, an exemplary Black woman attorney who this year was appointed and confirmed with much nastiness to be the next justice, is more like the rest of us: college-educated, juggling husband, two children and a full-time job.  

Timing was everything. Barrett was McConnell's lucky number 3. Adding these three justices to justices Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Chief Justice John G. Roberts and the lucky number of votes to overturn Roe v. Wade came to 6.  

The majority of the Court is now not only blind, but deaf and dumb.  

A Pew Research Center survey found in March that 61 percent of polled Americans agree abortion should be legal. And just 37 percent disagreed. So now we are ruled by a minority position. The antithesis of democracy. But when you have the lucky number of voters, the decisions go your way. No matter your side, the key is to vote. Every. Time.  

(Dedria Humphries Barker, a Lansing resident is the author of a book about education for girls, “Mother of Orphans: The True and Curious Story of Irish Alice, A Colored Man’s Widow.” Her opinion column appears on the last Wednesday of each month.)

abortion, reproductive, rights, women, civil, rights, snake, supreme, court, SCOTUS


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