The Untold Spiritual and Emotional Damage of the Supreme Court Overturning Roe

“What happens to the spiritual life of a young girl who is made to understand, consciously or subconsciously, that she has no place in the spiritual domain except as a consumer of someone else’s God?”

Sister Joan D. Chittister, an American Benedictine nun, theologian, author, and speaker wrote in the Heart of Flesh: Feminist Spirituality for Women and Men.

Much can be said and will continue to be said and written about the alarming precedent being set by Justice Alito’s overturn of Roe v Wade, which happened officially Friday morning with a 5-1-3 vote on a majority opinion that looks much like the leaked draft

5-1-3. Thanks to man installed by seat McConnell stole from Obama, man married to woman who tried to overthrow this government, an unvetted accused sexual assaulter and an unqualified religious cult member, here we are.

Due to the reckless nature of this activist court, the real world issues resulting from their opinions and indeed often even the facts they cite have not been investigated or proven. This means the premise is faulty, the implementation would be a legal clustermuck.

But there’s another equally important ramification of this decision. It’s an ironic harm, given that the justification for overturning Roe is bathed in intolerant Right wing extremist versions of Christianity.

This harm is the spiritual and emotional implications of a decision that tells women and girls they are not fully human. They are seen as vessels to carry cells to fruition for the state and ostensibly for all of those people who want to adopt children (criminalizing abortion doesn’t actually result in happy adoptions, of course, but that is just another example of how wild-eyed feverish cult members do not make good jurists).

The decision discusses fetuses as people as a matter of ancient law, which Professor of Law, at Yale Law School Amy Kapczynski points out : It talks about fetuses being people as a matter of ancient law (teeing up idea that fetuses are constitutionally PROTECTED – no abortion anywhere as matter of conlaw.) And its arguments undermine all of SCOTUS’s gay rights and contraception decisions.

The message is women and girls are not full citizens. This might not be the intention (though I’d argue that it is, in fact, a big part of the motivation based on the cited scholar, for one), but it is the impact.

“In Justice Alito’s draft opinion reversing Roe, he writes about “an unbroken tradition of prohibiting abortion on pain of criminal punishment,” up until Roe in 1973. He cites, as historical authority, Sir Matthew Hale. Let me tell you about Hale & his views toward women,” Ken Armstrong,  a reporter for ProPublica, tweeted:

3/ Hale became Lord Chief Justice of England in 1671. In his views of women, he was not a forward-thinking fellow — *even* by the abysmally low standards of his era.
4/ To Hale, English gentlewomen were “the ruin of families.” Young women were a particular source of despair. They “learn to be bold,” he complained, and “talk loud.”
6/ Hale believed that for women, it was easy to accuse a man of rape. He believed that for men, such accusations were hard to defend, even if innocent. He advised that jurors be warned — explicitly, and at length — about the threat of the false accuser.
7/ He came up with quite the list of factors for jurors to weigh. Jurors, he wrote, should consider: Is the woman claiming rape of “good fame” — or “evil fame?” Did she cry out? Try to flee? Make immediate complaint afterward? Does she stand supported by others?
8/ Hale’s words became a standard feature of criminal trials in the U.S. As long as 300 years after Hale’s death in 1676, many an American jury would be cautioned with what courts called the “Hale Warning”: an instruction to be especially wary of false accusations of rape.
9/ But that wasn’t Hale’s only legacy.
In 1662, at Bury St. Edmunds, Hale presided at the trial of two women accused of witchcraft. Hale instructed the jury that witches were real, saying Scripture affirmed as much.
10/ The jury convicted Amy Denny and Rose Cullender, after which Hale sentenced both women to hang. Thirty years later, Hale’s handling of this trial, preserved in written record, served as model in Salem, Massachusetts, in the infamous witch trials of 1692.

Citing a man who got women hanged for being witches as his authority, Justice Alito informs us all of his view of women. That this same man’s “thinking” was used to treat women as liars in a court of law, liars whose bodies did not deserve protection and defense and did not merit being owned by the woman solely, is informative.

There is no way to avoid this impact when the highest court in the land interprets the law to mean that cells in a womb have more value than the woman herself. They have more rights than the woman herself.

“(R)eligious toleration of a particular group needs to be dependable on its will to tolerate and accept others. This means we should not tolerate religious fundamentalists of any kind, or those non-believers who wouldn’t tolerate others,” CEA wrote in “Reflections on John Locke’s Letter Concerning Toleration.”

Women as whole human beings on their own, entitled to medical care and privacy just like a man is, is the standard of liberty for individuals. Women can’t be free if they have no rights over their own body.

The lack of care – indeed, the brutal failure to see women through a lens of humanity, is an unforgivable assault on the spiritual and emotional well-being of women and girls. This impact is already being felt, even before the decision.

Republicans decry the accusation that they are waging a war on women, but not only have they been doing so for decades, but they are now destroying the moral fiber of freedom.

 

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