Pro-Reproductive Rights Rally

6 May 2022

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Democratic incumbents and candidates at pro-reproductive rights rally in the Philadelphia Convention Center.

In the evening of 2 May, the news broke that Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito had authored a draft calling for the complete termination of the right to an abortion via the Roe v. Wade decision. The grouping was five of the Justices favored terminating that right, four supported keeping it. As of 7 May, those numbers haven't changed.

How did the draft make its way out to the public? The blogger here makes the very good case that it was Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who leaked the draft.

Now how do I know this was a coordinated provocation with a fixed strategy? Because by the time the leak occurred everyone working at Fox News, everyone appearing on Fox News to comment on the leak, every other conservative movement official or leader, conservative movement commentator or social media personality, and every Republican official all had the same talking points. There is only one person in the conservative movement who is in the senior leadership of a conservative movement group that meets to create and circulate comprehensive talking points on a regular basis to all of those listed above, who is plugged into almost every other conservative movement group in DC, and who is also tied directly to a member of the conservative wing of the Supreme Court.

The important issue, of course, is what it all means.


One very interesting source that Alito quoted as an authority on having condemned abortion from a very early time was Sir Matthew Hale, the Lord Chief Justice of England 1671 to 1676. One of the items in his resume is that in 1662, he condemned two women for being witches. The people conducting the Salem Witch Trials in 1692 were so impresed, they used his trials as a template for their own trials. Hale's words also provided a template for conducting rape trials that continued in the US until the 1970s.

...Hale warned that rape is a charge ``easily to be made and hard to be proved, and harder to be defended by the party accused, tho' never so innocent.'' The burden of proof was on the woman to prove her own lack of guilt, not on the man to prove that he had not committed a crime.

Generally, Hale felt that a woman was the property of either her father or, after she married, her husband. This meant that the modern concept of marital rape (Not made illegal in all 50 states in the US until 1993) was irrelevant as, how can you be held liable for abusing your own property?


Alito's condemnation of Roe was, as they say, "full-throated!" From the decision:

Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.

This descibes a ruling that has survived every challenge, and in fact has been expanded, for 49 years. Public sentiment has been examined since 1975. Support for banning abortion under all circumstances has ranged from 15% to 21%. To be legal under all circumstances has ranged from 21% to 34%. The majority opinion, to ban abortion under certain conditions, ranges from 48% to 61%. So Alito's thesis (Quoting Politico) that the abortion issue is just like that of Plessy vs Ferguson has a real problem.

Plessy remained the law of the land for nearly six decades until the court overturned it with the Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation ruling in 1954.

Quoting Kavanaugh, Alito writes of Plessy: “It was ‘egregiously wrong,’ on the day it was decided.”

But 1954 was during the second civil rights movement (after Reconsruction). By 1954, public opinion strongly favored overturning Plessy. By 1971, the Supreme Court "issued mandates that segregation be dismantled 'root and branch.'”  The trend on "banning abortion in all cases" has gone up and down, but has never exceeded 21%. Same problem applies to the Dred Scott decision. Public sentiment agains slavery dramatically expanded from 1840 to 1860. Problem with saying that the Supreme Court might take a "vanguard" position and outlaw abortion in the expectatin that the public will follow along is that there is no trend of opposition to abortion building since 1973. There is simply no public sentiment to follow Alito's lead.

State Senator Maria Collette.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had no problem telling senators during her confirmation hearing that she fully supported Roe and women's right to choose. Funny thing, all five Justices who currently support overturning Roe indicated that they were fully prepared to support it as it was "settled law." One could perhaps argue that Alito and Thomas were on the bench long enough that they changed their minds after saying in their confirmation hearings that they would support the "settled law" of Roe. The three Trump Justices have no such excuse. They all said they'd support Roe from a stare decisis point of view and all three have very conveniently changed their minds.

Governor Tom Wolf
Governor Tom Wolf

One of the problems that Ukrainian war refugees have faced is that Ukrainian abortion laws are more generous towards women than many East European laws. Poland has been a major reciever of Ukrainian refugees and they have considerably tighter abortion laws than Ukraine does.

In the absence of government help, the onus has fallen on nongovernmental organizations. The U.S.-based Center for Reproductive Rights is working with Federa and other local groups in countries bordering Ukraine to put pressure on the European Union to include sexual and reproductive health in their refugee-aid solutions.

The good news on the besieged city of Mariupol is that all civilians have all been evacuated. No doubt President Putin is frustrated that a defending force is still holding out. Ukraine is successfully re-taking territory from Russia. Russian losses:

Russia is now visually confirmed to have lost 3500 vehicles and other pieces of (heavy) military equipment since it began its invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

This includes well over 10k tanks.