The “Catholic” Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of the United States has nine justices. Six of them are Catholic; one other justice identifies as “Anglican/Catholic.” Catholicism specifically condemns abortion. Of those seven, six oppose abortion.

Now, I don’t have a problem with Catholics who oppose abortion. I do have a problem with Catholics, and those of other religions, who use and interpret the law to force their beliefs onto others, particularly when those laws are effectively targeted to reduce the rights of half the population and when the other half is largely unaffected. Regardless of “religious” beliefs, that’s blatant discrimination.

About six-in-ten U.S. adults (61%) say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 37% say it should be illegal in all or most cases, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted this past March. These figures have remained remarkably constant over the past thirty years. Yet a male-Catholic-dominated Supreme Court [Sonia Sotomayor is Catholic and opposes the draft opinion, while Amy Coney Barrett is Catholic and supports it] appears determined to effectively outlaw abortion in over half the states.

In addition to such laws and legal interpretations being discriminatory – and against the views of almost two-thirds of the American population – they also effectively enshrine the religious beliefs of a minority into law, and, in doing so, violate the intent of the First Amendment which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

As a side note, one of our distinguished founding fathers – Benjamin Franklin – printed and distributed a medical treatment book containing ingredients and procedures for inducing a pharmaceutical, do-it-yourself abortion. So did others during that time period, so Justice Alito is slanting the history more than a little when he says that the Founding Fathers made no reference to abortion, since it was definitely known and practiced at the time, and it might just be that it wasn’t mentioned because it was practiced and wasn’t particularly controversial.

Allowing women to choose is not the same as mandating abortion. Study after study shows that the vast majority of women who have abortions don’t make that decision lightly.

Given that over 60% of Americans have consistently felt that abortion should be legal in all or in most cases for more than 30 years, as far as I’m concerned, the draft opinion is nothing more than an attempt by a male patriarchy to continue to oppress women and to reduce their power. For all the rhetoric about the “rights” of the unborn, history demonstrates clearly that beliefs and governments that restrict the rights of women to control their own bodies also have abysmal records in protecting human rights, and virtually all of them oppress women and children. And, by the way, in a surprising coincidence, the Taliban have now abolished school for women and again mandated the burka.

Is it any surprise that justices appointed by a political party that has opposed equal legal rights for women also oppose them having rights over their own body?

7 thoughts on “The “Catholic” Supreme Court”

  1. Let'sJustBeSensible says:

    You were recently railing on about not being an extremist, and how most people are centrist. Yet, I find this and the previous post to demonstrate extremism: any restriction on abortion is “male dominance”, “women not having equal legal rights”, etc.

    Europe has laws allowing abortion, but past the first trimester, elective abortions are usually forbidden.

    Once the fetus is conceived there are 2 beings involved (a man and a woman). Not that long ago, men would marry women if they conceived, because that was the responsible thing to do. If they weren’t involved, why would they do such a thing?

    Once the fetus feels pain (12 weeks) or has consciousness (20 weeks or earlier), there are 3 beings involved. Pretending there is only one being involved, the woman, and that this is just “healthcare”, is disingenuous.

    The question left is how to minimize harm for 2 or 3 beings. Most of Europe found this harm was minimized by choosing the 12 week limit

    If the baby will kill the mother, the question is much clearer. Unless the baby can be removed and will be viable, both will die, so banning abortions in such cases is stupid. You’ll find that most of the preexisting state laws at the end of Alito’s brief actually account for this, even though they date back to the 1880s.

    If everyone in this country were just willing to come to a sensible compromise, and talk to each other, like the Europeans did, even the Catholic Europeans, we wouldn’t be relying on ridiculous interpretations of the “privacy clause” of the constitution.

    1. I could have been clearer. What I thought I said was that the total prohibition of all abortion, as well as prohibiting most forms of birth control, which are what the far right and the “right to life” movement are advocating, are nothing more than an attempt at male dominance. Personally, I favor a middle ground, and I’m definitely opposed to late term abortions unless the life of the mother is at stake or the unborn child cannot possibly survive.

      1. R. Hamilton says:

        I would not view the “right to life” movement as anywhere near that monolithic.

        My view is not entirely dissimilar to yours, save that I’m opposed to abortions at any time with the exceptions you mention.

        I also favor that non-married people (male or female – I’d if anything hold men to a stricter standard, and despite being male, have no use for predators or double standards) do not have intercourse at all, but NOT that it be enforced by government, which would be intrusive. However, I’m rarely fond of any excuse for creating public burdens – and rather than abortion, I’d favor self-restraint…or for those with a pattern of abuse, something less voluntary, like sterilization and/or enforced child support.

        I actually favor that all who have intercourse and do not wish children USE BIRTH CONTROL, preferably of a form that prevents fertilization rather than acting later – although whether preventing implantation is a moral problem, I DO NOT KNOW (nature isn’t a full-on breeding machine, there are natural failures of implantation, and natural miscarriages when something is wrong enough that there would be no viable child resulting anyway), although I’d rather err on the side of caution.

        My personal view is that those who object even to forms of birth control for married couples that prevent fertilization, do so not so much on moral grounds (if someone is really “meant” to be born, none of those methods are 100.00% effective, so I don’t see that speculation as an issue), but rather desire demographic advantage (out-breeding) vs all who are not aligned with them; and that’s a matter of not male but ideological dominance, and I’d just as soon people left each other alone rather than playing such games.

        In other words, I kind of go with Pascal’s Wager and much of what fundamentalists might view as following from that, but not with quite the level of certainty nor the desire that some have to impose all of it forcibly. But I do NOT go with anyone can do anything that isn’t PROVEN to harm another PROVEN person; that’s chaos, and self-indulgent to the point of actually doing quite a bit of harm to others as well as self.

        Which means I probably don’t please anyone, and that’s fine with me, because I don’t expect to – but my liberty is still reduced (taxes, kids running wild, etc) when others behave irresponsibly.

  2. Tom says:

    “ … The question left is how to minimize harm for 2 or 3 beings. …”

    While there is obvious merit in some of what is pointed out this concept depends heavily on assuming the ‘2 or 3 beings’ are equal, in meriting protection from “harm”, whatever way one wishes to consider the merit. This is not possible even considering them each with the belief determined-sole or the slightly less-belief determined-mind.

    The woman, the fetus, the male are all centered at the woman. If the fetus becomes a human then the woman becomes a care-giving mother; the male is a resource for the basics of physical life – food, clothing and protection from the elements; and initially the child continues to be a parasite in negative terms or the reason for human life in positive terms.

    Consider human life after each entity ceases to exist. The child can be replaced by another child – if the woman and man continue to be preserved. The male can donate the sperm and disappear but the woman’s life will be shorter with consequences for the child. If the woman dies then not only would the child’s existence be shorter but, according to research regarding longevity of married men compared to single men, so will the male life become shortened.

    All three humans are important: but their relative importance is different as is their interdependence. It is difficult imaging humanity without any of the three but mostly without women. Science can replace the child and the male but, so far, not the female. Thus minimizing harm to humans is relative (or needs to be viewed in a balanced manner) and it seems to me that one can list relative importance most clearly as woman, child, and man.

    Perhaps God got it wrong: “Honor your father and mother” should read “Honor your mother and father”. Since it seems that many 21rst century Christians, of every stripe, seem to ignore the Ten Commandments, I guess it doesn’t matter.

    1. Tom says:

      PS The US Supreme Jusdices are ahead of us all:-

      Motherless babies could be on the horizon after scientists discovered a method of creating offspring without the need for a female egg. Sep 13, 2016 — The Telegraph (of course)

      Scientists in the Netherlands say they are within 10 years of developing an artificial womb that could save the lives of premature babies. BBC 16 October 2019

      An artificial womb would mean complete reproductive parity between the sexes: all anyone needs to do is throw in their gametes and the rest is taken care of. Mar 25, 2021 The Guardian

      1. Lourain says:

        These methods of reproduction, like in-vitro fertilization, are for the well-to-do. The rest of humanity will have to reproduce the old-fashioned way.
        Sexual parity would be an illusion for most people,

  3. Ryan Jackson says:

    Let’s not forget that several states are trying to claim miscarriage as abortion and make it a felony. (in fact already happened, a pregnant woman got in a fight in Alabama, got shot and was sentenced to 20 years for second degree murder.).

    What happens when you get a felony? Oh, you can’t vote.

    What happens is women as a whole are uanble to prevent pregnancy, unable to choose what happens to their body? Well, congrats, you’re either busy with a child you likely can’t afford or you end up unable to vote, either way too tired to stand up for rights.

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