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The end of Roe v Wade

Written By: - Date published: 8:40 am, May 4th, 2022 - 149 comments
Categories: abortion, feminism, law, law and "order", us politics - Tags:

America’s status as a potentially failed republic is growing stronger.

Its justice system has lost all pretense of being an independent arbiter of the law.  The current conservative majority’s only role appears to be to engage in the culture wars that Donald Trump cherished.

If nothing else his appointing of three Supreme Court Justices, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett will have an effect on American Jurisprudence for decades.

Politicisation of the court is nothing new.  Check out the decision in Bush v Gore which handled the 2000 Presidential Election to George W Bush if you need proof.

But the events surrounding the Court’s overturning of Roe v Wade clearly show that America has descended into banana republic territory.

The Guardian has the details:

The US supreme court has provisionally voted to overturn Roe v Wade, the landmark ruling that legalised abortion nationwide in America, according to a draft opinion reported on by Politico.

In what appeared to be a stunning and unprecedented leak, Politico said on Monday evening it had obtained an initial majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito and circulated in the court on 10 February.

Politico quoted Alito as saying: “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.”

The justice adds: “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. It is time to heed the constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

Four of the other Republican-appointed justices – Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett – voted with Alito in the conference held among the justices, the article added.

The opinion strikes down Roe v Wade, the court’s 1973 ruling that enshrined the constitutional right to abortion, and a subsequent 1992 decision – Planned Parenthood v Casey – that largely upheld that right.

It should be noted that the decision has not been finalised yet.  An early draft was leaked.  The motivation and reason for the leak is being the subject of some fierce debate but the timing and the fact of the leak could suggest an attempt to lock in Justices into a decision some may have been wavering on.

The decision is a draft.  If changes are made to it this will give outsiders a really good insight into what happened to the decision.  This twitter feed by Yale Law Professor Amy Kapczynsky contains some pretty compelling logic suggesting that conservative forces leaked the draft to make sure that it would be followed.

The right are trying to blame the left for the leak and are calling it an insurrection.  Apparently some Marxist Antifa law clerk was willing to blow up their career by leaking the draft.  And a leak is way more dangerous than an armed invasion of Congress.

The event brings into sharp relief what the new Justices said during their confirmation hearings.  The Hill has the details:

Barrett, the most recent conservative justice confirmed to the court and one of three nominated by former President Trump, deflected many questions about Roe v. Wade during her hearings.

Barrett, who succeeded liberal icon Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the court, repeatedly said throughout the hearings she would not answer hypotheticals or give opinion on public policy when asked about issues that pertain to abortion.

She also refused to say that Roe v. Wade was a “super precedent,” defining the term as a case that is universally accepted and that virtually no one advocates for overturning.

Gorsuch, another Trump appointee, pointedly stated in his hearing that Roe v. Wade was settled precedent and has been reaffirmed by the court more than once.

“Senator, again, I would tell you that Roe v. Wade, decided in 1973, is a precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court. It has been reaffirmed. The reliance interest considerations are important there, and all of the other factors that go into analyzing precedent have to be considered,” Gorsuch stated.

“It is a precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court. It was reaffirmed in Casey in 1992 and in several other cases. So a good judge will consider it as precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court worthy as treatment of precedent like any other,” he added.

Like Barrett, Gorsuch did not classify Roe v. Wade as a super precedent but said precedent itself deserves “quite a lot” of respect and is “the starting place for a judge.”

Kavanaugh, like Gorsuch, stressed the importance of precedent when discussing Roe v. Wade and the emphasis the court has put on reaffirming the case.

“Senator, I said that it is settled as a precedent of the Supreme Court, entitled the respect under principles of stare decisis. And one of the important things to keep in mind about Roe v. Wade is that it has been reaffirmed many times over the past 45 years,” Kavanaugh, who was appointed by Trump, said.

There should be a consequence for Justices who get appointment by saying something that on the face of it is subsequently completely contradicted shortly after.  Barret managed to skirt the issue.  Gorusch and Kaganaugh clearly did not.

Presuming the final judgment upholds the draft it is easy to see that other recently won rights such as same sex marriage will also be for the chop.  America is increasingly resembling a version of the Handmaiden’s tale.

149 comments on “The end of Roe v Wade ”

  1. Gosman 1

    All this does is move the abortion debate out of the legal system and in to the realm of public policy and legislation which arguably it should be. We don't have any legal protection to the right to abortion here and we passed laws governing what is and isn't allowed so why is this a bad thing that the US will now be doing the same?

    • weka 1.1

      Because large parts of the US population vote in state governments that will ban abortion (are already in the process of doing so). This will harm women, families, and communities. It will open the door to cultural shift that pushes women into roles considered appropriate by conservatives. Conservative men who are socially liberal will sit by and let it happen, or actively support it as the cultural change brings benefits to whatever class of men they belong to. Because women's rights are still secondary.

      It will also enable pushing back the rights of other marginalised groups.

      • Gosman 1.1.1

        Yeah it is called democracy. Technically it could happen here to as we have no constitutional protection for abortion.

        If this is as anti-woman as you believe then that is 50% of the electorate whose support is ripe for mobilisation to elect officials who will pass laws protecting the ability to access abortions across the nation.

        • weka

          What part of this did you not understand?

          Because large parts of the US population vote in state governments that will ban abortion

          Abortion rights in NZ are utterly dependent on having a liberal population willing and able to vote in socially liberal governments. This is the reality for women, our rights are not that well protected.

          • DS

            Supporting democracy if and only if it results in the outcome you favour is not in itself a particularly democratic sentiment.

            Honestly, rather than relying on the somewhat shaky legal reasoning of Roe, it would have been infinitely preferable for Carter in 1977, Clinton in 1993 or Obama in 2009 to have codified it into an actual federal law, passed by Congress.

            • James Simpson

              Federal law passed by congress can still be overturned by the Supreme Court if it breaches the constitution

              • Gosman

                SCOTUS is unlikely to rule abortion illegal especially if the logic of their ruling that was leaked was correct.

            • weka

              Supporting democracy if and only if it results in the outcome you favour is not in itself a particularly democratic sentiment.

              what is that in reference to?

            • mickysavage

              There should be some rights above the possibility of democratic interference. And blaming Democrat Presidents for this is a real big stretch.

              • weka

                spelling mistake in the post title micky.

              • mikesh

                There should be some rights above the possibility of democratic interference.

                There are. The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and also, the right to cycle lanes.

            • Populuxe1

              Supporting democracy if and only if it adheres to the standards of international human rights is plenty democratic, thank you.

              • Gosman

                Not sure access to abortion on demand is included in any officially recongnised "standards of international human rights". Do you have evidence that it is?

                  • Gosman

                    Did you bother to read that before you posted the link?

                    It states that Abortion can be regulated just that it should not be restricted if the life of the woman would be at risk if there was not an abortion. It certainly does not set a standard for abortion on demand as the norm.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Do you have reading comprehension issues?

                      Although States parties may adopt measures designed to regulate voluntary terminations of pregnancy, such measures must not result in violation of the right to life of a pregnant woman or girl, or her other rights under the Covenant. Thus, restrictions on the ability of women or girls to seek abortion must not, inter alia, jeopardize their lives, subject them to physical or mental pain or suffering which violates article 7, discriminate against them or arbitrarily interfere with their privacy. States parties must provide safe, legal and effective access to abortion where the life and health of the pregnant woman or girl is at risk, and where carrying a pregnancy to term would cause the pregnant woman or girl substantial pain or suffering, most notably where the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest or is not viable. [8] In addition, States parties may not regulate pregnancy or abortion in all other cases in a manner that runs contrary to their duty to ensure that women and girls do not have to undertake unsafe abortions, and they should revise their abortion laws accordingly.

        • Populuxe1

          I don't think there's any doubt it's anti-woman. The actual number of abortions won't go down very much. The only thing that changes is that they will be mostly dodgy coat hanger jobs in back alleys and if you can't see why that's bad you probably need to do some soul searching.

          As for whether it's democratic – we wouldn't even be having this discussion at all if a group of unelected Supreme Court Justices weren't making highly ideological interpretations of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights.

        • Foreign waka

          Well, that is all fine and dandy. There were times where alleyways abortions and the trusty coat hanger method were used. So many deaths, so much pain and lifelong suffering. No one seems to talk about those realities as it distracts from the semantics.

          I am absolutely (!) certain that if men would have to bear that cross there would be no debate at all. As for religion, its a a personal belief that should not be imposed on all.

          So why not introduce a law that imposes the dead penalty on rapists and a law for exceptions for endangering the life of the mother if the law gets overturned. Counter act to interference in a women’s affairs and body.



        • Leighton

          In theory the same could happen here, although any legislation which substantially erodes reasonable access to abortion would be highly vulnerable to being declared to be an unjustified limitation on the rights set out in the NZ Bill of Rights Act by the High Court in the same way that the defence force vaccine mandate and the MIQ lottery system were recently. Neither of those things still exist.

          • Ghostwhowalksnz

            Those High Court declarations have no effect

            Abortion is not a right set out in Bill of Rights. The reverse was true the right to decline a medical procedure which in many cases was declared 'justifiable'

            They did the same some years ago about prisoners voting rights, an actual right to vote in BORA. National put in more limits which courts ruled against , all the way to Supreme Court but as Parliament is supreme the courts cant overturn an Act of Parliament. Labour after 2017 did change the Act

      • Kiwijoker 1.1.2

        I’m considering investing in menstruation tents for the US market.

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    Looking like Trump may have predicted the future:

    In 2016, Trump said his victory in the election would mean that overturning Roe “will happen, automatically,” because he’d appoint justices who would get the job done.

    “I am pro-life, and I will be appointing pro-life judges,” Trump said.

    In this case, at least, Trump wasn’t telling one of the tens of thousands of lies he famously racked up during his presidency.


    Insofar as the judges who have contradicted themselves is concerned, perhaps the Biden administration could try prosecuting them for contempt of Congress?

    It would seem to be an open & shut case. If they vote repeal, having told Congress that they had no intention to do so. If found guilty by Congress would those judges have to go to prison? Or would they appeal the verdict to the Supreme Court??

    • weka 2.1

      Trump didn't predict it, he made it happen. It's part of why he was made the R candidate and why he was voted in.

      • Dennis Frank 2.1.1

        he made it happen

        Only true if you disallow the free-will of the judges. Remember those judges decided against Trump's attempt to relitigate the Biden victory. Disobedient!

        • weka

          Only if you believe that Trump didn't intentionally appoint anti-abortion judges.

          Trump was deranged. There’s not way that conservative judges would support everything he wanted, they’re not stupid. But they agree very strongly with Trump on abortion.

          I think there is some chance that they will change the ruling during the normal process, but agree with the argument that the point of the leak was to cement it in.

        • Ghostwhowalksnz

          The Supreme Court never 'decided' any of Trumps or similar election cases.

          Like around 90% of the applications made for a full hearing, they were declined the review ( a full hearing of both sides and judgement by majority) . This left the last court judgment standing


          • Dennis Frank

            Deciding to decline the review is a decision against Trump's false claim. What part of that don't you understand??

            • Ghostwhowalksnz

              Law clerks would do the assesments

              Its not a Court decision when they have merely an application to review in front of them. Theres no hearing , no evidence for either side, no written opinion based on facts , law or precedent.

              You seem to be misunderstanding what judicial review as done by Supreme Court is. Trumps cases werent reviewed.

              being you , you wont let it go as you have these sort of fixations

              • Dennis Frank

                you wont let it go as you have these sort of fixations

                Yeah, sometimes. On this situation I'm willing to defer to any specialist knowledge of court systems in general & the operation of the US Supreme Court in particular.

                Your view that law clerks are able to defeat an ex-president in the US does seem somewhat out there. Trump hasn't tweeted that those law clerks defeated him, has he? So why should we believe you?

                If he agreed with you, he would have issued a public statement. Probably gone on Fox primetime to bleat "My guys on the Supreme Court got screwed by some fucking law clerk underlings! Can you believe it??"

                The Fox host would've responded "You mean Biden-voting scum? You bet I can believe it!" NRA fellas toting guns would have marched in the streets calling for all law clerks to be strung up…

                • Ghostwhowalksnz

                  Time to learn something isnt it. Not dissapear down new rabbit holes

                  ' Further, Rule 10 of the U.S. Supreme Court's rules states that it will only grant a petition for cert. if there are "compelling reasons."[4] The writ is usually granted only when there are important questions of law that need to be addressed; it is rarely used when the petition alleges errors in the findings of fact.'


                  This is why the law clerks who handle the paperwork, read the application and provide a recommendation based on Rule 10.

                  • Dennis Frank

                    Ah, I get it. The arcane priesthood ploy. Yep, that's an authentic tradition. If law clerks operate as a privileged caste, entitled to decide whether petitions present compelling reasons for deciding if important questions of law need to be addressed, I can see why you'd jump to the conclusion that they serve as a filter for the SC.

                    Nonetheless, it kinda raises the question of what if they got it wrong. However, the relation between truth & history has always been tenuous so best let any sleeping dogs lie…

                    • Ghostwhowalksnz

                      You really are making my point about dissapearing down rabbit holes

                      The was no SCOTUS judicial review of any Trump type election cases The previous court decisions , sometimes by trump appointed judges was left to stand.

                      As an aside even NZ courts have long lists of rules for applications and appeals etc. No priesthood either . Its just like 'rules of the road' to manage traffic

      • Gosman 2.1.2

        And yet a large part of the left could not bring themselves to vote for Hilary Clinton to stop this from happening.

        • weka

          Oh, so now you are arguing that it's federal issue not a state one?

          US doesn't really have a large left.

          Did you read the post? Mickey pointed to what the Trump appointee judges were saying and what they have subsequently done. There is a lot of deception in US politics. Not that I think most people vote based on SC appointments. In fact the reasons that people vote are complex and vary a lot. But many people would have assumed Roe v Wade was not going to be overturned, and I heard that argument made from the left.

          • Gosman

            They were wrong then. Next time perhaps they will be aware of the threat of right wing candidates who are openly against the SCOTUS rulings on abortion rights and are seeking to get more Judges sympathetic to their view appointed.

            • weka

              yes yes, ordinary citizens should closely follow what the judiciary are saying and pre-empt them lying, and then base the voting on that 🙄

      • Sabine 2.1.3

        Trump is one thing, but Lisa Murkowski and Susan M Collins both voted to confirm these judges. Both supposedly 'moderate' and 'pro – choice'………..:) on the republican side.

        Never mind that the left can't even define and defend those that need this service and their last nominee for SC could not even define who or what a birthing body is. How can these clowns even just begin to think they might 'protect' the things they can not name nor define them? I mean they are not biologists aren't they?

        But in saying that, RvW is only the first step, next Griswold vs Conneticut (right to contraception for 'married' couples).

        There are a few rulings which are based on the presumption that privacy is a right. Until it is not and this right is taken away.

        But currently in the US it sucks to be a potential birthing body. You can vote for the left who wont dare to define and simply will not define birthing bodies and their sex, or a birthing body can vote for the right who will define them and their sex. And that is the crux of the matter, innit? That potential birthing bodies are going back to a time where when it bleeds it breeds and rights are something others then birthing bodies have.

        • weka

          to which I would add, this is neoliberalism giving liberals an apple and liberals saying sweet! and opening the door to hell. It's like the left has just given up and is settling for the crumbs and trying not to think about the future.

          • Sabine

            the sexism is the same on the left and the right.

            its the ownership model where they disagree. The rights wants private ownership, the left wants public ownership. Both sides are however very interested in using these birthing bodies as they wish, and personally i believe they will get their wish sooner rather then later.

            The best women can do now is to organise themselves again outside of the public square.

            • Molly

              I agree, that Dworkin comment about ownership seems to be proven everytime I read both right wing and left wing comments talking about women. Unfortunately, as you say, at the moment the left has forgotten even how to use the words, women and female, and we find that the only ones even giving time to women to talk about womens rights are on the right.

              But we all know, that will only last as long as it suits them. (True of the left as well).

              • Nic the NZer

                Your in luck. Women is about to make a big come back with the 'why aren't women voting for Biden (to protect their interests against Trump) narrative'. As long as ownership (of voters) is established nobodies gonna complain there.

                But the first act is Democrats creating federal abortion legislation which can be easily dismantled by a Republican administration.

                • Molly

                  US women are badly served by both the Democrats and the Republicans.

                  Abortion as a women's rights issue, has already been concreted in as a: left/right, progressive/conservative, Democrats/Republican issue, and the Democrats can leverage this to make it seem as if they care. In the same way that they care about lower income/inequality/climate change.

                  Which is, not enough to do something about it.

                  Other women's rights are being dismantled alongside the threat of an abortion ban. Let's see if the US steps up to the plate on those issues. Starting with the use of the women to refer to women.

            • weka

              The best women can do now is to organise themselves again outside of the public square.

              completely agree.

  3. Visubversa 3

    Anybody who thinks that elections don't have consequences needs to remember this.

  4. tc 4

    Totally mickey.

    Watching the first few seasons of handmaid's tale I wondered how much closer to that dystopian tale they were with orange45 at the helm….wonder no more.

    • Gosman 4.1

      Except the Handmaids tale is set in a totalitarian dictatorship. The US is a democracy where people have the ability to get elected and set laws governing abortion in individual States and even the nation as a whole. Instead of moaning about this people who want to keep access to abortion widespread should be motivated to get out and support candidates who agree with them.

      • weka 4.1.1

        The US is now classified as a flawed democracy. It is continuing to decline.


        It's also a political system that favours men and men's politics, and is hugely influenced by finance and now by social media. The impact on this for women is obvious. If men needed abortions, they'd be legal. Women's politics and needs are subservient. You can't magically organise out of that, and to point out the bleeding obvious to support candidates who agree with abortion as a right you have to have those candidates in the first place.

        • Gosman

          Wow a Wikipedia entry. I guess I'm beaten here boys and girls / sarc.

          If you look at the associated map that goes along with that flawed democracies are very common. India and South Africa are both classified at a more flawed level than the US as is most of Eastern Europe and South America. A flawed democracy is still a democracy.

          • weka

            you're missing the point. The US has had a high degree of democratic rating and that is now steadily declining. Yes there are more flawed democracies than the US, and the US is heading in their direction.

            Wiki just record. This is who does the index.

            The Democracy Index is an index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the research division of the Economist Group, a UK-based private company which publishes the weekly newspaper The Economist.

            • Gosman

              I've addressed the index. The US is still quite a way away from being a dystopian totalitarian nation where people's democratic rights are trampled upon. The fact is if this is such a slap in the face for woman as you suggest that should allow great gains by political movements who appeal to females. This should be something you are happy with.

              • weka

                The US is still quite a way away from being a dystopian totalitarian nation where people's democratic rights are trampled upon.

                Really? Because Trump got pretty bloody close.

                The fact is if this is such a slap in the face for woman as you suggest that should allow great gains by political movements who appeal to females. This should be something you are happy with.

                Fuck off. I'm thinking about the women this year who will be forced to give birth or try for a back street abortion. You think they will be happy? But hey, all in the name of the bloke-ocracy.

                • Gosman

                  No he didn't. His efforts were quite amateurish. Noone in any position of actual authority to influence the outcome of the last election in any meaningful way did anything untoward. His Vice-President presided over the certification of the Electoral college votes despite immense pressure not to do so. US democratic institutions are still strong.

              • Macro

                I don't think that women in the US really want to be continually in a state of activism as you comment suggests. Remember that it was only 2 years ago that the Equal Rights Amendment was finally ratified by the necessary 38 States for it to become the 19th Amendment to the Constitution – that is after 98 years of constant activism by women in the US.

                Regrettably this draft finding by the SCOTUS undoes a raft of progressive initiatives over the recent past and is a direct result of Trump and McConnell's right wing and pernicious agenda to stack not only the Supreme Court but also Federal Courts across the country with fundamentalist right wing "justices". This attack on basic human rights will not end here. All things that now offend the religious right minority in the mid-west and southern states of the US are on the table. It is a time to be very afraid for many citizens in the US.

                As for the rights of individuals to vote in the US you have to be joking when you say

                The US is still quite a way away from being a dystopian totalitarian nation where people's democratic rights are trampled upon.

                Jailing a woman for 5 years because she was given incorrect advice as to her eligibility to vote?

              • aom

                Good heavens Gosman, democracy and US don't belong in the same realm. The start point has to be that the 'founding fathers' engineered a half- arsed approximation of democracy that is controlled by an electoral college (not a one person one vote system) and an activist Supreme Court that is not fit for purpose. The irony is that many so-called 'authoritarian states' don't have to do much to prove themselves more democratic than the US. Many leaders must earnestly aspire to having the same power as a US President, the leader of the Free World (cough cough!).

              • mpledger

                The thing is that men hold the finances that get people elected (by and large). That means men's issues always win.

                I think a political win versus women being criminalised and victimised isn't a great alternative.

                Anyway, here is how it is playing out in Texas


        • Visubversa

          As we said back in the 1970's "If men got pregnant – abortion would be a sacrament".

      • KJT 4.1.2

        The USA was deliberately set up with "checks and balances" so that the "pesky" majority could never upset the power and wealth of their ruling elite.

        That was intentional, including a Supreme Court composed of the "elite" to ensure "Democracy" never goes so far as to interfere with inherited privilege.

        To call the USA, a "Democracy" is an abuse of the term.

        • Gosman

          Well technically it is a Republic whose control is determined by vartious democratic ways.

        • lprent

          The Supreme Court in the US took it upon itself to interpret the constitution back in 1803 in Marbury v. Madison. It isn't supported by their constitution, amendments, or statute.

          Perhaps it is time for US citizens to kick off their self-appointed task and revert it back to an elected body. Something like the house of representatives – which, unlike the senate, is roughly based on democratic voting principles.

          After all the current court seems to be ruled by textual interpretation principles. Perhaps they should look at the lack of textual support for their self-appointed task.

          • Ghostwhowalksnz

            Judicial review ( of laws) in the UK system was invented by a Judge in 1610

            I think they are expressly forbidden to do so in NZ


            Thomas Bonham v College of Physicians, commonly known as Dr. Bonham's Case was a decision of the Court of Common Pleas under Coke in which he ruled that

            in many cases, the common law will controul Acts of Parliament, and sometimes adjudge them to be utterly void: for when an Act of Parliament is against common right and reason, or repugnant, or impossible to be performed, the common law will controul it, and adjudge such Act to be void[3]

    • Temp ORary 4.2

      As I understand it, the Constitution of the USA guarantees separation of church and state. If as Alito argues: It is time to heed the constitution, then surely that means all parts of it, not just the ones cherry-picked by one side of a deeply polarized political system.

      This comes to mind, in that context:

      On December 20th, 2021, the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas issued a ruling staying The Satanic Temple's lawsuit against the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. TST is suing the state for impeding on its members rights to perform their abortion ritual under both the First and Fourteenth Amendments.


      And as for state rights:

      Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego), Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) and Governor Gavin Newsom released the below statement following news reports detailing a preliminary U.S. Supreme Court majority draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade and end federal constitutional protections for the right to abortion:

      “California will not stand idly by as women across America are stripped of their rights and the progress so many have fought for gets erased. We will fight. California is proposing an amendment to enshrine the right to choose in our state constitution so that there is no doubt as to the right to abortion in this state. We know we can’t trust the Supreme Court to protect reproductive rights, so California will build a firewall around this right in our state constitution. Women will remain protected here.”


      Solidarity is what is needed:

      Alito's draft opinion explicitly criticizes Lawrence v. Texas (legalizing sodomy) and Obergefell v. Hodges (legalizing same-sex marriage). He says that, like abortion, these decisions protect phony rights that are not "deeply rooted in history."…

      The New York Times found that if Roe v Wade was overturned, “41 per cent of women of childbearing age would see the nearest abortion clinic close, and the average distance they would have to travel to reach one would be 279 miles, up from 35 miles now”.


      Not division:

      Please don’t call racist and anti-LGBTQ+ attacks a culture war

      Call it what it is. Don’t look away. The next time somebody tells you we’re in a culture war, tell them they’re mistaken…

      Pretending marginalized minorities aren’t marginalized isn’t neutral. It’s actively hostile…

      Let’s be crystal clear about something. Teaching students that LGBTQ people deserve to be supported, safe, and treated like ordinary human beings IS NEUTRAL. That’s as neutral as you can get in a society where LGBTQ people are in fact common and ordinary members of a minority. Not letting teachers say that with words or symbols is hostility that should be fairly classified as hateful. Public schools exist, after all, to serve the public, and that means members of minorities too.

      Pretending marginalized minorities aren’t marginalized isn’t neutral. It’s actively hostile.

      Let’s talk about racism. Want to call that a “culture war” too? Check this out:

      Not taking action to protect Black voters from racist state policies/laws that reduce their ability to vote isn’t neutral. It’s actively hostile. That happens all the time. Republicans aren’t even coy about their intent. But they sure will puff up about being “neutral.”

      Not making efforts to open up higher education to Black students traditionally excluded from opportunity isn’t neutral. It’s actively hostile. It’s an attack.

      Not reining in an epidemic of cops killing Black men isn’t neutral, it’s actively hostile. Claiming police policies are “race neutral” when they continue to result in the hugely disproportionate deaths of Black men is an active attack.

      “Culture War” is a euphemism that implies neutrality

      America is not having a “culture war.” Conservative people, mostly conservative Christians, are waging war on queer PEOPLE, on Black PEOPLE, on women, on immigrants. Real PEOPLE, even kids, are getting beat up, losing jobs, losing health care, losing opportunities to thrive. Black PEOPLE are losing the right to vote and literally losing their lives.

      When we call those attacks a “culture war,” we are ignoring truth’s painful sting. We are softening reality. We are looking away, pretending a war against PEOPLE is a war on some nebulous concept called culture.

      What’s going on at MacArthur and at schools all over the U.S. isn’t a “culture war,” it’s a violent war against LGBTQ teenagers. Say it. Face it. Don’t neutralize it.

      Governments refusing to reform law enforcement agencies killing Black people isn’t a “culture war,” it’s a violent attack on Black people. Say it. Face it. Don’t neutralize it.

      Passing laws to stop teachers from talking about trans and gay people isn’t a culture war, it’s a vicious assault on trans and gay people. Say it. Face it. Don’t neutralize it.

      Passing laws to keep Black people from voting or Black votes from counting equally (as in Florida last week) isn’t a culture war. It’s far worse. It’s a racist attack on Black people. Say it. Face it. Don’t neutralize it.


      Passing laws to keep pregnant people from accessing health care isn't a culture war. It's a sexist attack on those people. Say it. Face it. Don't neutralize it.

      • Ad 4.2.1


        • Temp ORary

          I was just riffing on James Finn's phrasing there Ad (but thanks for the +100 anyway). The piece is worth reading in full, though it is a bit longer than my quote, which is long enough itself!

      • AB 4.2.2

        Alito's draft opinion … says that, like abortion, these decisions protect phony rights that are not "deeply rooted in history."…

        And there you have it: the appeal to an idealised past that pre-dates what is seen as contemporary depravity. Behind it is also a misconstruing of rights as natural, fixed, permanent, sanctioned by God and centred on the protection of private property and power – rather than broad-based, equalising, negotiated and changing.

        It's a fascist attack on modernity. All hell will break loose – and it should.

        • Temp ORary

          AB – this fascist attack on modernity has been looming for a while now, but at least it is now somewhat out in the open. From September last year (by Tannehill, author of: American Fascism: How the GOP is Subverting Democracy):

          When the Supreme Court first failed to prevent Texas’ “bounty law” banning abortions after 6 weeks (and before most women even know they’re pregnant) from going into effect, it likely signaled the beginning of the end for LGBTQ rights in the US… Indeed, the new law in Texas greatly resembles a proposed 2015 law that would have deputized citizens to sue schools for a $2,500 bounty if they saw a trans person in a bathroom.

          We can also expect that a far-right court, especially one that eventually tilts 7-2 should Democrats lose the White House in 2024, will go along with anything that makes life for trans people impossible…

          For cisgender LGB readers, you might be asking why you should care; after all, none of this impacts you. This is true, but the far right has not forgotten about you either. They just make it a point to go after the low hanging fruit first and come back for you later. They see every gain for LGB people as a loss for themselves, and they want vengeance for what they see as the community’s role in displacing them (cis, straight, white Christians) from the highest rung on the social ladder.

          As a reminder, Roe v. Wade stood for 49 years. Compare that with the 25 years of Romer v. Evans, which found that states can’t pass laws that directly discriminate against LGBT people. Lawrence v. Texas (which found sodomy laws unconstitutional) has only been around for 18 years. Obergefell v. Hodges has only been the law for 6, and two of the authors of the decision are dead. Bostock, Zarda, and Harris (prohibiting job discrimination against lgbt people) was decided only a year ago, and one of the authors of that decision is dead, replaced by Federalist Society flack and arch-Catholic Amy Coney-Barret.

          A Supreme Court that has no problem overturning Roe on the flimsiest of legal arguments will have no problem reverting to Antonin Scalia’s argument that “community morals” are a basis for law…

          This won’t happen all at once. It took 20 years for SCOTUS to go from overturning the Civil Rights Act of 1876 to Plessy v. Feguson, which legitimized Jim Crow for 58 years.

          However, the end of Roe signals dark decades ahead for the LGBTQ community, with no political or legal recourse in a system defined by voter suppression, gerrymandering, non-proportional representation, the Electoral College, and a GOP prepared to overturn elections to get what their base wants, particularly revenge upon LGBTQ people, and a return to a legal landscape that looks like the 1950s.


      • Molly 4.2.3

        Bodily autonomy for women is a discussion by itself.

        I'm both familiar with the tactic of dragging in both racism and LGBQT+ into discussions about women. Because why the hell not?

        Women's rights are boring. Let' bring in something else and claim it is all one.

        But at least then, it can be all right wing rhetoric. So, lump them all together, so that you know that you are on the right side. A pre-packaged superpack of 'movements' that you have been told are all the same. Don't worry if some of it is hard to swallow.

        "Pretending marginalized minorities aren’t marginalized isn’t neutral. It’s actively hostile."

        Assuming all minorities are marginalised in the same way, is problematic. Assuming some marginalised minorities do not also engage in marginalisation is simplistic.

        The adoption of marginalised via a gender identity by many white, middle-class people is a phenomenon worth examining. But that's another topic.

        Women of all classes and races will be harmed by not being able to access safe, timely abortions.

        • Temp ORary

          My point was more about the need; to pursue solidarity, and to eschew division in the pursuit of the common goal of retaining abortion rights. But I admit that that may have been lost with the length of my quotes. I do think Finn's language is rather inspirational, so didn't want to trim it down too much.

          So you'd go the way of Judith Collins former press secretary then Molly? And refuse to take action to support abortion legislation because you disagree with wording that is inclusive of trans men and nonbinary pregnant people?

          Imagine my frustration when an event popped up this week promoting a "national day of action" in regards to the active Abortion Law Reform Bill, completely omitting the word 'woman' from its material.

          One of the women's groups hosting this apparently woman-less event, the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand, is also pushing for the legislation to exclude the word 'woman' in favour of the phrase "people who get pregnant"…

          While I won't be taking part in a "national day of action" for abortion law that detests the word that describes we who might one day seek an abortion, I do support the bill and the removal of the legislation from the Crimes Act.


          • Molly

            You read Finn's language as inspirational, I read it as confused and rhetorical. To each their own.

            You may wish to associate me with Judith Collins previous press secretary, whoever that is. That's a game people play who want to redirect, and to use the phrase "tar you with the same brush".

            I don't need someone else's words to state plainly:

            I support women having access to safe, timely abortions.

            My use of the word women is strictly in regards to biological sex. And only biological sex.

            I believe there are many negative impacts for women – and also those that wish to identify as such even though they are men – by the conflation of sex and gender in legislation, the medical profession, and the ongoing work of women's rights activism. We can see how that is playing out in real time, for those that choose to look.

            Also, the fact that there are women that disagree with my stance isn’t a persuasive tactic. Women are not a hive mind, and some individuals are willing and able to aid the oppression of their sex class.

            • Temp ORary

              You have expressed support for SUFW before; Molly, so I assumed you knew that their (former?) spokesperson Ani O'Brien became press secretary for Judith Collins sometime last year before scurrying off that sinking ship. I think she has something to do with The Platform nowadays, though haven't been interested enough to find out.

              I don't believe you have any more knowledge of biological science than RMcD does. You are however, aware that other people use the word women differently than you do; otherwise you would not be at such pains to stress your simplistic definition. So much for solidarity then.

              Have the last word if you want.

              • Molly

                "You have expressed support for SUFW before; Molly, so I assumed you knew that their (former?) spokesperson Ani O'Brien became press secretary for Judith Collins sometime last year before scurrying off that sinking ship."

                Assumed wrong.

                Unless I know someone really well IRL, or their works extremely well, support is usually in regards to what is being said, rather than who is saying it. Of course, emotional support is another form of support entirely. Maybe you are conflating the two?

                "I don't believe you have any more knowledge of biological science than RMcD does. You are however, aware that other people use the word women differently than you do; otherwise you would not be at such pains to stress your simplistic definition. So much for solidarity then."

                Trying to shame women into changing their defence of the word women to mean biology is the opposite of solidarity. But words have a fluidity in gender ideology that is both purposeful and obscuring. If others have a different meaning for the word women, I condemn it. That different meaning that includes men, is having the negative impacts I mentioned above. You – and others – who continue to use it, have no regard for the ability of women to define themselves accurately.

                I don't want the last word. Check out what it is below.

                I use the word women to represent women. Not men.

              • Tabletennis

                "I don't have to be a vet to know what a dog is" Rosie Parker

                Definitions are there to be able to understand each other correctly.
                People who use the definition women as "any-body who says they are" don't make good laws, nor its implications for privacy, dignity and safety (think children).
                Pregnant people, as a gender-neutral terms risks dehumanising women and harming achievements in women’s health.

                On the linguistic issue, the challenge of making society more affirming of people who do not identify with their birth sex has not seen the corresponding rise in terms such as “people with penises”, “sperm producers” or “upstanding urinators”. It is only women who are being erased and objectified by people who think they show solidarity.

                • roblogic

                  +1 By quibbling over words the TRA extremists succeed in making every women's issue about themselves

                • Temp ORary

                  Tabletennis – that is evidently not the opinion of some cis feminists and midwives:

                  Fear over the erasure of the language of female biology, especially in maternity services, has become central to the gender-critical discussion of trans versus women’s sex-based rights, and yet, as someone who has been pregnant recently, it doesn’t seem to bear out…

                  Yet the notion that trans people want to wipe out the language of maternity persists to the point that it has become, in my view, something of a moral panic.

                  In her nine years as a midwife, the author Leah Hazard has, to her knowledge, only treated patients that identify as women. However, she feels that inclusive language is an important part of her practice.

                  “Inclusive language and behaviour aren’t about erasing one group. It’s about including all groups,” she says. “It allows all people to feel included and seen and cared for and honoured. And that really is the essence of midwifery.”


              • Populuxe1

                Crikey! You're a bold one! Foolhardy in these parts, but bold!

                • Temp ORary

                  Not that bold Populuxe1 – I have been commenting on TS (on and off, under various pseudonyms that evolved over time) for over a decade now. I was here before the Gender Essentialists started up their hate fests in the past few years, and will likely outlast this storm as I have others (unless LPrent pulls the plug on it). Hell, I remember when Weka was conceded the name from (then) Greyweka to avoid ambiguity way back when she was but one commenter amongst many. Fewer now, but those who do contribute seem to make up in quantity what they lack in diversity.

                  It does strike me that the site does better when Labour and the wider left are in opposition rather than government. It's easier to criticize a government's errors than deal with your pet peeves not being all that important to the politicians you have supported.

                  • Molly

                    "I was here before the Gender Essentialists started up their hate fests in the past few years,…

                    Didn't realise emotive rhetoric was part of academic discourse, you considered yourself to be engaged in.

                    I would like to hear your definition of "Gender Essentialists" and be given examples of "hate fest", but it is likely that your ability to be accurate and coherent was demonstrated fully, as when you (failed to) provide coherent definitions for the Q and the + in the alphabet soup.

                    "…and will likely outlast this storm as I have others (unless LPrent pulls the plug on it). …"

                    That might be a subtle hint to Lprent, but it is indicative of your reluctance to engage in good faith. I'm sure you would much prefer for anyone who disagrees with you to be de-platformed. I have no recollection of any those women who you disagree with suggesting – slyly – that those they disagree should have the plug pulled. #NoDebate lives on in your world obviously.

                    You are actually a personification of the usual derailing and bad faith discussion. I think your contributions offer up prime examples of incoherence and ad hominems, so have no problem with your continuing efforts being published here. It is your lack of coherence and good faith discussion that I will continue to call out.

                    If you keep going, you might even improve.

                    "Not that bold Populuxe1 – I have been commenting on TS (on and off, under various pseudonyms that evolved over time) for over a decade now. "

                    So stunning, so brave. Understand the use of pseudonyms, but not so much the need for several.

                    "Hell, I remember when Weka was conceded the name from (then) Greyweka to avoid ambiguity way back when she was but one commenter amongst many. Fewer now, but those who do contribute seem to make up in quantity what they lack in diversity.

                    It does strike me that the site does better when Labour and the wider left are in opposition rather than government. It's easier to criticize a government's errors than deal with your pet peeves not being all that important to the politicians you have supported."

                    My daughter and I have a running joke on this kind of comment. We've noticed if someone writes something along the lines of "I'm not going to comment anymore.", "I'm done", or "Have the last word if you want." – without fail, they will pop up very soon after, on another thread or post and pontificate about the quality of discourse, and imply that women setting boundaries are lowering "The Standard."

                    This usually takes the form of mutual back-patting with other commenters who also contribute very little information, and listen even less.

                    (Let's see if knowing that people are getting a laugh out of watching that pattern of what can only be described as the opposite of stunning and brave, will be enough to stop it happening.)

          • weka

            My point was more about the need; to pursue solidarity, and to eschew division in the pursuit of the common goal of retaining abortion rights.

            Will you express solidarity with GCFs on abortion?

            • Temp ORary

              I would express solidarity with those people who might be affected by a law limiting abortion before a time when the foetus would reasonably be able to survive outside its parents body. And; if they were (temporarily) willing, to share the space without bullying or insulting myself or my community, then I would be willing to march alongside Gender Criticals to this end.

              But would I would I be willing to concede all points of contention as precondition for dialogue with GC's? No. Nor do I see why that should be necessary. I see GCs as a small subset of cis women, who presume to speak for those who are not in agreement with them despite a lack of consultation. If I were to look for the consensus view of the women of Aotearoa, it would not first be to GC organizations such as SUFW (established 2017?), but rather:

              The National Council of Women of New Zealand, Te Kaunihera Wahine o Aotearoa (NCWNZ) is an umbrella group representing 245 organisations affiliated at either national level or to one of our 19 branches. In addition, about 350 people are individual members. Collectively our reach is over 350,000 with many of our membership organisations representing all genders. NCWNZ’s vision is a gender equal New Zealand and research shows we will be better off socially and economically if we are gender equal. Through research, discussion and action, NCWNZ in partnership with others, seeks to realise its vision of gender equality because it is a basic human right…

              From as early as 1932, NCWNZ has had resolutions on abortion. In 1937 abortion was seen as a social evil and that fathers or potential fathers played a part in the decision-making. More recently, in 2014, NCWNZ was seeking a review of abortion law and practice with a view to simplifying it and ensuring a woman’s right to choose.


              • weka

                if I have understood correctly, you see solidarity as important, and for you it is conditional on feminists not insulting LGBT communities but it's ok for you to insult feminists you disagree with.

                NCW don't speak for me. They do good work. It's a nonsense to suggest that any one group holds a consensus view for all women in NZ. And certainly not around gender/sex war because No Debate has prevented most women from even knowing what the issues are.

                Solidarity for me is about relationship. As such I cannot imagine wanting to be able to insult people while at the same time requiring them not to insult me. I can't even see how that would work.

              • Molly

                The National Council of Women is as representative of women in NZ, as the Taxpayers Union is of all taxpayers in NZ.

                They don't speak for me in this regard. Just because their committee has decided that they will take an inclusive stance on this, does not mean that a unilateral decision has been made by which all NZ women must abide.

      • Rosemary McDonald 4.2.4

        …pregnant people…

        Women. Go on…give it a whirl….pregnant women.

        'Pregnant people' is just so overwoke, and makes one appear a little dim.

        Two sexes are involved in pregnancy. Men and women. Males and females. Only one of these can actually be pregnant. Biological fact.

        • Temp ORary

          Ki ētahi tāngata āniwaniwa, pā mai ai te mae takatāpui, te mae irawhiti me te whakahāwea taihemarua i ia rā, me te aha, ka pāngia kinotia te hauora me te oranga.


          I do have a postgraduate education in biological sciences; Rosemary, so I am aware of the biology of human pregnancy. I am likewise aware of the distinction between; gender and sex; phenotype and genotype; allele and gene; gamete and zygote. I am not convinced that you have any education in the biological sciences beyond school cert, so doubt your ability to tell a biological fact (slippery concept that that is) from an oversimplified story for children.

          In any case, we are social beings who exist within a milieu of social practices that have evolved over milenia. Unless you also observe the biological fact of; living your brief life naked, and afraid, without any tools beyond flint axes? Your commenting on the internet suggests not.

          However being takatāpui myself, I do know trans men and nonbinary folk who are, or have been; pregnant. The only one who has their story already publicized (under their own name rather than as an anonymous post on some social media site) is Barbour-Evans:

          Scout remains determined to guard their child's identity, keeping her birth name private.

          "She didn't choose to be born into my life. My life has always been considered public property, which is pretty rough, and I don't want her to live with the direct consequences of that."

          Added to this are the ongoing attacks about Scout's personal life, which they lament often belong in the gutter.

          "I've got really broad shoulders, but a lot of the attention I get online is pretty vile. I've had journalists speculate on social media about what genitalia I have. Imagine growing up and reading those things about your parent. What if she googles me one day?"

          As the dozing Pēpi nuzzles into her papa's chest, Scout has one clear message to those who question their ability to raise a child: "It's simple really. Mind your own business! She's growing into someone who knows herself and has security in the people around her and it's everything I wanted for her."


          • Molly

            Gender identity does not equal biological sex.

            The insistence on conflating terms such as sex/gender/gender identity as if they are interchangeable has lead us here.

            Women as a biological sex class – not only share a material reality – they also share the expectations of the culture in which they live, which treats them differently (often oppressively) based on those sexed bodies.

            That fact has nothing to do with how individual women within that category choose to express themselves.

            And it really has nothing to do with men who choose to identify as women. They have their own unique challenges which needed to be identified and addressed, but women's rights and health and reproductive concerns have nothing to do with their male sexed bodies.

            "As the dozing Pēpi nuzzles into her papa's chest, Scout has one clear message to those who question their ability to raise a child: "It's simple really. Mind your own business! She's growing into someone who knows herself and has security in the people around her and it's everything I wanted for her."

            This appeal to kindness to a individual is a common tactic. Which BTW provides no clarity or justification for the misuse of the word women. People questioning the ability to parent and love based on professed gender identity are wrong to do so. That has nothing to do with using accurate words for women, females, birth, etc.

            And no matter how much Scout wants to pretend otherwise, there are real conversations to be had when those who choose medical transitions then decide to go through the very female act of having a baby.

            If we could speak clearly about this, we could insist on research projects looking into the possible effects of hormones on both conception and gestation, and whether the high levels of hormones affect the eggs of a female child, recognising that when she is born all the eggs that will be released from her ovaries are already present.

            There are also interruptions to the hormone levels that prepare a woman for both giving birth, nursing and caring for her child. For some, those increased dopamine levels are the reason why they are able to move through the sudden change in lifestyle, sleeping patterns and otherwise with sanity.

            Actually, I can think of a whole range of concerns anyone taking cross-sex hormones may be concerned about when contemplating giving birth.

            Worrying about being called a woman – in regards to your biological sex – as opposed to your own personal expression of identity – is deliberately conflating the two into one, and seems the reaction of someone who lacks a desirable level of maturity to be a parent.

          • Rosemary McDonald

            I do have a postgraduate education in biological sciences; Rosemary,

            Mate, I'd be asking for a refund.

            Pregnant trans men are, by definition, women.

            Folks can choose to bugger around with this as much as they like, but the pure fact of the matter is that women get pregnant, not men. The future of the species kinds of depends on accepting the reality of biological sex.

            And try as hard as you will…all your determined sounding statements will not change this.

            I would argue that Scout Barbour-Evans chose to live life in the glare of publicity…they could have simply lived quietly,and unobtrusively, without drawing attention to themselves.

            • Temp ORary

              No Rosemary, pregnant trans men remain men – adjectives modify nouns. That you are unable to understand this says more about your capacity to understand new information than it does about the facts of the matter.

              Actually the future of the species likely lies in the advent of artificial wombs tech such as A Flake's Biobags (gotta love the awfulness of that name for the research field). Combined with In Vitro fertilization, that may render the present conception of women as those who bear children as obsolete. At least for the wealthy. The ethical considerations are daunting but the biotech is fascinating. This link is a bit old now, but easy to locate. Plus I doubt your ability to comprehend anything more current and specific:


              I would argue that Barbour-Evans chose to to live life in the glare of publicity because of a deep seated sense of social inclusion and justice. But then, I have actually spoken to them – have you?

              • RedLogix

                Transhumanism – the coolest of all the pseudo-spiritual fads.

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  So many 'flavours' of transhumanism – pick a fad, any fad.

                  Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended. – Vinge, 1993

                  If Vinge was right then superhuman intelligence is imminent – hope it deems the problems we've bequeathed future generations and spaceship Earth to be worth solving. Otoh, imagine a superhuman intelligence guided by the 'principles' of capitalism and other behavioural flaws.

                  The wisdom of refraining from unqualified ‘grand’ predictions about what will happen within one's own lifetime is evident if some of the examples in these 'just for laughs' links are anything to go by.

                  Timeline of Failed Predictions (Part 1)
                  f there’s one thing I’ve learned recently it’s that people love predictions. Why this is the case I’m not sure. I think it’s partly because bad predictions can be really funny (i.e. with the passage of time they turn out to be hopelessly wrong) or because they are highly provocative (how could anyone intelligent possibly think such a thing?)

                  23 Hilarious Predictions About the Year 2020 That Are Way Off


                  • RedLogix

                    I like Vinge a lot because he was an actual computer scientist and wrote very presciently in that space. His best works such as A Deepness in the Sky are cracking good space operas.

                    The logical question that Vinge and other better known figures like Ray Kurzweil asked was – was it possible for humans to create something more intelligent than ourselves? Well my view is this is a more complex question that assumes a lot about humans and what we really are. And a conversation for another thread.

          • weka

            I would have thought school cert science entirely sufficient for understanding the biological science involved in reproduction of the human species and other mammals.

            Also don't think there's anything to sneer at in someone having that education, nor a need to assert that having a post grad education in biology means you have a better grasp of the issues. Plenty of people out there with good educations saying some pretty daft shit atm.

            Myself, I don't think we even need to science to tell who is male and who is female nearly all of the time 🤷‍♀️

            I haven't seen you say anything science based in this conversation today (might have missed it). Everything you've said is around social experiences of sex (aka gender). You assert superiority in science, then you go on to say this,

            However being takatāpui myself, I do know trans men and nonbinary folk who are, or have been; pregnant.

            So either you think that trans men are biologically male*, or you know full well that trans men are female and that when GCF say they are women that is what they mean. You may not like it, but you appear to be playing a semantic game where you pretend that the other person's argument is different from what it is. We all know that trans men and NB females can and do have kids. We all know that TW and NB males can't and don't.

            *there are people who believe this, I have no idea if you do.

            The argument here is about who gets to use what language and concepts and who doesn't. Males can't have babies, abortion is women's business.

            • Molly

              "However being takatāpui myself, I do know trans men and nonbinary folk who are, or have been; pregnant."

              That sentence does not even make sense.

              • Rosemary McDonald

                That sentence does not even make sense.

                Good. This means you have not become a(nother) victim of this mass delusion.

          • Foreign waka

            Temp ORary
            People who are born male and living as men cannot get pregnant. A transgender man or nonbinary person may be able to, however. It is only possible for a person to be pregnant if they have a uterus. The uterus is the womb, which is where the fetus develops.

            • Incognito

              … however. It is only possible for a person to be pregnant if they have a uterus. The uterus is the womb, which is where the fetus develops.


              Nope, not entirely accurate. There’s such a thing as advanced abdominal pregnancy. It’s rare with high rates of morbidity but it does occur.

              • foreign waka

                Abdominal pregnancy is defined as the partial or total insertion of the embryo into the abdominal cavity. It is rare, and can evolve towards the full term if it is not recognized in the early pregnancy. It carries a high risk of maternal-fetal morbidity and mortality.

                With abdominal pregnancies, fetal mortality rates range from 40 to 95%, while maternal mortality ranges from 1 to 18% [2]. Because diagnosis is typically made late, the fetus is often already dead when the abdominal pregnancy is recognized.

                So all in all, not a usual pregnancy but rather a sad circumstance of mother and child.

                • Incognito

                  Ectopic pregnancy is not common but not rare either with estimates of 1-2% of all pregnancies. However, advanced abdominal pregnancy is rare but does occur. The point is that an uterus is not an absolute requirement for pregnancy, as you asserted before.

              • Molly

                Incognito, I'm trying to grasp what you are trying to say in your comments.

                In terms of gender identity, I can understand, while not believing that a man can say "I identify as a women".

                We also have the universally and historically accepted category of biological sex that is "women" and "female".

                As an accommodation – some said – we need to allow men who identity as women to be able to call themselves women, all the while understanding that this was an accommodation of an internal "gender identity" category. (Which now sits alongside other gender categories such as "furry" "non-binary" "catgender" etc. – none of which relates to biological reality.)

                But now it appears that you are saying that women/female can no longer be used in terms of biological sex either. Is that right?

                So women who want to define themselves not as a gender identity, but a separate sex class are not permitted to use that word with clarity. Given the importance of knowing sex in statistics, data, medical, safeguarding, and some social situations this is a boundary that many women are unwilling to let break.

                Q. What is the sex of someone with a catgender identity?

                (A. Either man or woman. There's no confusion here, because the accommodation of the word women for gender identity doesn't muddy the water)

                Q. The sex of a man that identifies as a catgender?

                (A. A man – because biological sex is not related to gender)

                Q. The sex of a woman that identifies as a man?

                (A. A woman)

                • Incognito

                  Try my another comment and see if you can grasp it now: https://thestandard.org.nz/the-end-of-rowe-v-wade/#comment-1886549 [it is directly above yours, at present].

                  • Molly

                    Oh, OK.

                    Off topic to the main point. Using anomalies as counterpoint to specific statements without addressing the whole.

                    • Incognito

                      Crap in, crap out.

                      You can never truly and genuinely understand “the whole” if it is based on faulty (used in broad sense) and/or incomplete information (aka ‘facts’). It is a good test of grasp, knowledge, and mutual understanding of all participants in a debate and how they respond to being called out for ‘anomalies’. If too many object to self-correction (aka listening to others) then it renders the whole debate futile and void, IMHO, which is one of the two main reasons I don’t join in on certain topics and don’t dive down certain rabbit holes. The other reason is time & energy.

                    • Molly


                      The response you gave to my comment, was to point to your correction of someone else's anomaly. Now you might consider this good faith engagement, but I don't. But it has become familiar.

                      You didn't indicate that you had read anything I had written, or had anything to contribute either to say you understood or disagreed. You just pointed me to your correction of someone else's comment further up the thread.

                      Crap in, crap out.

                      Have the courage to call what I say crap, and explain why you think that is. Don't be so cowardly as to imply it without being specific.

                      I have not treated anyone on this forum with disdain or resorted to name calling. But it appears by saying I will not be compelled to agree is considered beyond the pale.

                      " If too many object to self-correction (aka listening to others).."

                      I do take the time to read and consider comments before replying. And if I disagree, I will say why. I think you will find this is normal practice for me, although I'm sure you will find further anomalies where this is not the case.

                      Where are your comments indicating you have read and understood before replying? If this one is an indication, you may re-read it and find it contains no alternative perspective, or information that may improve discussion.

                      But it does contain the now familiar dismissal for …. reasons.

                    • Incognito []

                      Sorry for the confusion, it was a reply to you but not about you; you take it personal when it was meant as a general comment with one eye to the commenter who introduced the inaccurate statement. Instead of “you” I should have used “one”, which is my bad, so my apologies. You see, my English is not as good as it should be.

                    • Molly



      • Ross 4.2.5

        It's a sexist attack on those people.

        Yes, those bloody sexist female Supreme Court judges. What were they thinking? Let’s replace them all with men!

        • Temp ORary

          What Ross? There are only 3 female Supreme Court judges to 6 male at this time, with 2 of those appointed by Obama, 1 by Trump. But in any case, the draft majority opinion was authored by Samuel Alito, and of those 3 only Barrett has (allegedly) put her name to it.


          What I find most interesting in that link is that while it is often stated that Supreme Court judges serve for life, at least 3 of them have chosen to retire this millennium (in 2006, 2009 & 2018). Of them I only vaguely recall Kennedy.

      • Populuxe1 4.2.6

        Not entirely. The "separation of church and state" guarantees that the US will not appoint a national religion in the same way that, for example, the UK has the C of E. Something like 70%+ of Americans affiliate to an anti-abortion religion. It stands to reason that a substantial percentage of them will be anti-abortion themselves.

        • RedLogix

          Yes – it is reasonable to separate church and state at an institutional level – but for the individual faith and politics will inevitably entangle.

        • mpledger

          25% of women in America will have had an abortion by the end of their child bearing years ( https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/12/14/upshot/who-gets-abortions-in-america.html ). Just because someone affiliates to a religion, it doesn't mean they agree with every precept. Some of the affiliation is cultural rather than religious.

          • mpledger

            The same story shows that women getting abortions were more likely to have voted for Biden. The Repub are killing Republicans with their covid policies and creating Democrats with their abortion policies. It doesn't seem the greatest of strategies.

            • Populuxe1

              None of which contradicts what I said, the point being that a significant proportion of Americans vote along religious lines even if they don't agree with the whole dogma. The Electoral College as it stands tends to amplify this in the bigger political picture.

  5. DS 5

    Its justice system has lost all pretense of being an independent arbiter of the law.

    You speak as if this was ever the case.

    The USA has always been Exhibit A for why judicial review of statutes is profoundly dangerous. It politicises the judiciary, and hands social policy – and even economic policy – over to the unelected and unaccountable.

  6. Ad 6

    Its good red meat for Democrats at November mid terms.

    Nothing like losing something you took for granted to focus the mind.

    If they don't rally round for this they are seriously out of energy.

    • weka 6.1

      how will this help women living in places where there is no legal abortion?

      • Sabine 6.1.1

        It wont' but then this is not about being helpful to women, this is about being helpful to a political party who needs birthing bodies to vote for them, lest they lost. Priorities, men have them and birthing bodies should just do as the are told.

        Vote for us, we are going to be a smidgen less then unbearable.

      • Ad 6.1.2

        If the right is lost at a Federal level it devolves to state medical system funding and state politics.

        Hence the moves by Texas. Alabama, Missouri and California.

        • weka

          yes, and that's what is being lost as we speak. We might get really lucky and they make changes, or more likely, it goes ahead. My question is how the Dems doing something at the mid terms will change that. Isn't the key issue here that the Republicans have the majority on the SC and that can't be changed until one of them dies?

          • Ad

            You won't get liberal SC judge replacements unless there's a solid Dem Senate majority. Hence critical mid-term elections with several likely to change allegiance on current polling.

            As we've seen over 3 years they do pop off inconveniently.

  7. Sabine 7

    The democrats could send the filibuster to a waste bin and simply codify the right to abortion, to medical care into law. But then for some reason they won't. Go figure? Maybe the left needs the fight for abortion as much as the right needs the fight against abortion, it makes for nice headlines, good for fundraising and furrowed brows.

    Never mind the women/ girl who can get pregnant from 8 – 9 years on wards until they reach their mid fourties and later even. But then, they are just birthing bodies, uterus havers, cervix havers, chest feeders, front holers – are they even human, and can they be called a word just for them, and can they be defined?

    What a choice the women of hte US have, vote left – they think you are a feel something imagined, vote right, they think you are a helpmeet, a sandwich maker a child provider. Might as well not vote at all, but rather organise outside of the system to once again go back to underground abortion, refuges, rape centres etc etc etc.

    And men still believe that this does not affect them. LOL…..LOL ….LOL

  8. Sabine 8

    Also its Row vs Wade. Not Rowe.

    Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973),[1] was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman's liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.

  9. Tiger Mountain 9

    Community organising and big turnouts are the only way to fix problems like this in the USA.

    Non Trumpers have the overall numbers, but, district gerrymandering, voter suppression laws, partisan secretaries of state and Governors, Electoral College where underpopulated states have the same representation as highly populated ones, and corporate domination of the upper echelons of the Democratic Party mount up.

    You cannot give someone waiting in line to vote a bottle of water in some states now! And polling booths are reduced in number–what is wrong with these people…if that is democracy they better get their skates on and improve things or the US will become Gilead.

  10. Molly 10

    As usual, Suzanne Moore writes informatively on this topic and current US situation:

    A Birthing Body Speaks: You Can't Defend What You Can't Define

    …In the States though it has always been different. I lived in a house in New Orleans with a friend who worked in an abortion clinic and a housemate who worked with prisoners on death row. He was up at all hours for stays of execution. She would come home with extremely weird stories. At the time I was too young to even see the irony of this. I just always knew that America was a very different country to ours.

    POLITICO’S leak that Justice Samuel Alito wants to strike down Roe v Wade, the federal constitutional protection of abortion rights is no huge shock. Biden won the election, Trump won the Supreme Court.


    • weka 10.1

      smaller copypasta please. Quotes are meant to support the commenter's points. People can click through if they want to read more.

      • Molly 10.1.1

        Sorry for giving you extra work. Keep forgetting what looks small to me on the desktop can be really long on a phone.

        • weka

          it's also the principle. If you reall feel the need to quote more to support something you are saying, that's fine. But one or two paragraphs is sufficient if just supplying a recommended read.

          • Molly


            • Molly

              Here are the two paragraphs from the article that speak about the failure to address the long-standing movement to restrict abortion, and how it is set up all ready to go.

              This is not a new threat, but it has been ignored by the fact that the progressives in the States assumed that with the election of a Democrat, the threat is lessened.

              As the title of the article indicates, Suzanne Moore also critiques the failure of so-called progressives to recognise the negative impacts of being unwilling to use the word women to define women.

              Trigger laws are already in place to ban abortion if Roe v Wade is overturned in Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Texas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming. Another 13 states are poised to act. This will affect primarily poor and ethnic women, those least able to travel to get an abortion.

              This fight has been a long time coming and a long time predicted and yet there is a huge messiness around the politics of talking about female autonomy. Once upon a time there were bad right wing people, often religiously motivated, who like all fundamentalists want to limit female sexuality and female autonomy. Now though, the left or liberals or whatever many fools self-ID as, cannot begin to fight the backlash against women’s rights because no one dares define womanhood.

              You cannot defend what you cannot define.

  11. Sanctuary 11

    The easiest solution is for the Democrats to move to re-align the number of supreme court justices (currently nine) with the number of regional court circuits (currently twelve). The Democrats can then appoint three young and reliably liberal justices and restore balance to the court.

    Historically they've always had the same number anyway.

  12. roblogic 12

    This is one of those culture issues that the Republican establishment don't actually care about, but it is a useful tool to ignite their (nominally) Christian supporters. They use it to frame the Demon-crats as "them evil liberals destroying Murica" and to distract from their class war and assaults on democracy


  13. Ad 13

    If this judgement stands as final in late June, we will need to prepare for the abortion v adoption v Oranga Tamariki debate.

    We have about 100 adoptions per year here and very few to strangers, with a long waiting list.

    The adoption debate is the shadow of the abortion debate in the US. So it will hit here too.

    • Peter 13.1

      The adoption aspect is a fascinating angle of the American debate. There are some stridently opposed to abortion who no doubt realise many of the babies born will be born into dire situations.

      How many put their hand up to adopt? How many will be involved in ongoing assistance and support as the child grows?

      The pregnancy and the child are toys to the mass, the issue a hobby, a religious token to keep them amused.

      • Molly 13.1.1

        Peter, did you come to a decision re your mask wearing at your hospital appointment?

        (No need to reply if you don't, just wondered since you posted the question here what you had decided).

        • Peter

          The question was raised by the blanket statement that 'masks are useless.' (Paraphrased.)

          Masks aren't useless to me. I am immunocompromised, there is really no decision for me to make. The professionals I am interacting with, and have interacted with, would say masks aren't useless to them. There is no question about them wearing masks.

          If masks are of no use are we going to see their use cease, worldwide, in all situations? If someone claims they are of no use in preventing Covid being spread, is that in all situations and environments, for every individual, all people at any time, for all strains of the virus?

          The massive majority never have their car seatbelts as a preventive measure tested. Does that mean they are a waste of time?

  14. Molly 14

    Many layers to the reproductive realities of women, including their increased risk of being a victim of domestic homicide rising due to pregnancy.


    The researchers found that US women who are pregnant or were pregnant in the past 42 days (the post-partum period) die by homicide at more than twice the rate that they die of bleeding or placental disorders — the leading causes of what are usually classified as pregnancy-related deaths. Also, becoming pregnant increases the risk of death by homicide: between the ages of 10 and 44 years, women who are pregnant or had their pregnancy end in the past year are killed at a rate 16% higher than are women who are not pregnant.

    “For more than 20 years, researchers have been talking about pregnancy-associated death and homicide of women,” says Phyllis Sharps, a nurse-scientist at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in Baltimore, Maryland. The consensus, she says, is that this is happening in large part because of violence by intimate partners.

  15. Temp ORary 15

    This has fascinating graphical representations of the likely results of overturning Roe v Wade on abortion access in the USA:

    But traveling to another state for an abortion may not even be an option. People who seek abortions are disproportionately likely to have low incomes, and most already have children. Experts also warn that states may pass laws to restrict women from traveling out of state to seek abortion services.


    The most notorious of such laws is Texas' SB8, which has very precise yet rather incomprehensible wording (at least for me, not having a legal background). Though many interpretations are available by many commentators.

    Which brought to mind this dire warning from a couple of weeks back:

    This tug-of-war between white, Southern conservative states and the North and West has played out in American history before, and it didn’t end well.

    The U.S. Constitution established that slaves who escaped to abolitionist states were still slaves, and were to be returned to their owners in the South… Finally, there was the Supreme Court decision of Dred Scott v. Sandford. Scott had lived for 10 years in states where slavery was forbidden, namely Illinois and the Louisiana Territory (by the Missouri Compromise of 1820). The Taney court infamously ruled in 1857 that, as a Black person, he was not a US citizen, and therefore lacked the standing to sue for his freedom in a US court. This effectively ended any legal remedy for Black people in the United States, including northern freemen kidnapped and sold into slavery…

    What happens when southern states can reach deep into free states to tear families apart? What happens when you make it a criminal offense to help people escape from the old South because they can no longer exert basic bodily autonomy? What happens when you eliminate the safe harbors of cities and states in the North and West, and force them to participate in acts of cruelty that violate their fundamental ethics? What happens when the only safe harbor left for women and LGBTQ+ people is Canada?

    You get secession and a Civil War, whether it’s 1861 or 2025. Like Taney, the court is going to come down on the side of the South again and again. Unlike Taney, though, they have the benefit of history to tell them exactly where this leads, which makes them even dumber than their intellectual forebears.


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