Along with the words of Justices Sotomayer, Breyer and Kagan.
The Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe was expected, but there was nothing that could prepare me (nor likely anyone else) for the devastation of the actual decision. My gut is reeling. I thought it would be useful to survey the landscape through the lens of patriarchy. Thanks to Carol Christ for having always written insightful comments about the roles of patriarchy. This is inspired by her work.
The dissenting judges were quite eloquent, so I will work off their words.
- “Whatever the exact scope of the coming laws, one result of today’s decision is certain: the curtailment of women’s rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens.”
- “After today, young women will come of age with fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers had. The majority accomplishes that result without so much as considering how women have relied on the right to choose or what it means to take that right away. The majority’s refusal even to consider the life-altering consequences of reversing Roe and Casey is a stunning indictment of its decision.”
My Commentary: Through the eyes of patriarchy here is no need to consider life-altering consequences because it only recognizes two roles for women: madonna or whore. We are never seen as full humans with civil and independent rights. Patriarchy doesn’t just hate the sexual freedom of women, it has spent millennia trying to quash it, make it into something dirty, control it. It’s a love/hate relationship with sex. Rape is really OK (look how hard it is to prosecute). Pedophilia OK too (look at the church). But a woman making her own sexual, reproductive choices . . . a bridge too far. Patriarchy will always force us to pay a price for having sex, for being alluring, for being female.
- “Today, the Court…says that from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of. A State can force her to bring a pregnancy to term, even at the steepest personal and familial costs.”
Commentary: I am so tired and angry. The very existence of my body is an affront to the sacredness of male sperm. That is patriarchy. Patriarchy is a system of destruction. Guns which are by their nature destructive, fine. Spreading poisons and destroying the environment, and mother earth, especially in the name of profit, fine. It wasn’t that long ago that women and children were considered the property of men. True to form, the Supremes are continuing to protect the property interests of men by focusing on women’s bodies.
- “The Court reverses course today for one reason and one reason only: because the composition of this Court has changed…Today, the proclivities of individuals rule. The Court departs from its obligation to faithfully and impartially apply the law. We dissent.”
Commentary: Another feature of patriarchy. Individuals especially those who feel they have a god on their side (always male) have the attitude they are holier than the rest of us. In the name of that male god, they claim the divine right to make decisions on behalf of everyone else. Really think about this: Of the six who overturned Roe, two of them are credibly accused of abusing women. Think about tha.t Two men credibly abused women have now ruled on what millions of women can do with our bodies thereby abusing all of us. It makes me sick. That is not only what patriarchy allows, it demands it.
- “No one should be confident that this majority is done with its work. The right Roe and Casey recognized does not stand alone. To the contrary, the Court has linked it for decades to other settled freedoms involving bodily integrity, familial relationships, and procreation. Most obviously, the right to terminate a pregnancy arose straight out of the right to purchase and use contraception. In turn, those rights led, more recently, to rights of same-sex intimacy and marriage. They are all part of the same constitutional fabric, protecting autonomous decision-making over the most personal of life decisions.
- “Today’s decision strips women of agency over what even the majority agrees is a contested and contestable moral issue. It forces her to carry out the State’s will… it takes away her liberty.”
- “As of today, this Court holds, a State can always force a woman to give birth, prohibiting even the earliest abortions…Some women, especially women of means, will find ways around the State’s assertion of power. Others—those without money or childcare or the ability to take time off from work—will not be so fortunate. Maybe they will try an unsafe method of abortion, and come to physical harm, or even die. Maybe they will undergo pregnancy and have a child, but at significant personal or familial cost. At the least, they will incur the cost of losing control of their lives.”
Commentary: Notice how those with wealth will still have options while the poorer among us will not. Another feature of patriarchy.
In patriarchy, women’s bodies are nothing more than a container to hold men’s sperm which is considered “sacred.” Our wombs only become community property when that “sacred” sperm has been introduced. And it must be protected against all threats. Each seed that finds purchase must be treated as sacrosanct. Incest, rape, abuse, not important, if the male seed is implanted, that mission becomes a holy mission. By decree, by law and by religious fiat. There is patriarchy in all its ugliness.
If there is any doubt about how deeply the Supremes are leaning into patriarchal culture and poison, the final opinion contains what was in the leaked draft: a citation from Matthew Hale who lived in the 1600s and sentenced women to death for witchcraft. (I have no words). Will the new witch hunters be a police force aimed directly at women for real or imagined reproductive “crimes”? Will the new Scarlet A refer to “fallen women” and their healthcare providers? Will we have special jails just for the “sinful women” who dared to claim control of their own bodies?
With heartbreak – I dissent!
BIO: Janet Maika’i Rudolph. “IT’S ALL ABOUT THE QUEST.” I have walked the spirit path for over 25 years traveling to sacred sites around the world including Israel to do an Ulpan (Hebrew language studies while working on a Kibbutz), Eleusis and Delphi in Greece, Avebury and Glastonbury in England, Brodgar in Scotland, Machu Picchu in Peru, Teotihuacan in Mexico, and Giza in Egypt. Within these travels, I have participated in numerous shamanic rites and rituals, attended a mystery school based on the ancient Greek model, and studied with shamans around the world. I am twice initiated. The first as a shaman practitioner of a pathway known as Divine Humanity. The second ordination in 2016 was as an Alaka’i (a Hawaiian spiritual guide with Aloha International). I have written three books: When Moses Was a Shaman, When Eve Was a Goddess, (now available in Spanish, Cuando Eva era una Diosa), and One Gods