April 17 should go down in infamy as the date when the United States Supreme Court made it official: women don’t matter, thanks to macho Justice Samuel Alito.
The court’s decision to uphold a ban on late-term abortions — even when the mother’s health is endangered — codifies what pro-choicers have suspected (and warned about) for decades. Abortion opponents grant the fetus “paramount right-to-life” status, while pregnant women apparently have no right to any life.
If, in month five of a pregnancy, a woman faces a medical situation guaranteed to injure or even kill her through pregnancy-related complications discovered at that time, compassionate conservatives say, “Tough!”
The burden will now be on states to clarify how each will deal with second- and third-trimester abortions — only about seven percent of all abortions, but usually those involving the most dramatic circumstances. The Alan Guttmacher Institute’s statistics for 2000 show that such terminations represented about 2200 of the total 1.3 million performed. This is 1 in every 515, since 93 percent of abortions are done before week 13.
Do most reasonable people agree that the later in a pregnancy a decision to abort is made, the more complicated the issue becomes, medically, morally, and legally? Yes, and they should.
Do those same reasonable people believe a woman ought to be sacrificed to infirmity or even death in a complicated pregnancy emergency? No, they don’t. Neither do they believe that the physicians to whom women turn while making such complicated medical decisions ought to have the possibility of jail hanging over their heads when weighing the best medical options for patients.
Justice Alito has done the dirty work for which he was chosen: the once moderate voice of a truly compassionate conservative, retired Justice Sandra Day O’Conner, is silenced.
As an Italian-American woman, I am ashamed of his performance and even more disgusted by all the macho men in my own community who blindly supported this man for purely ethnic reasons. The cockiness of “Italian-American, Right or Wrong” has come home to roost.
When these same men call, as they do, seeking advice when their daughters, granddaughters, wives, or girlfriends face unintended pregnancies and abortions to resolve such crises, it will be difficult not to remind them of this moment.
If women lose their reproductive freedom altogether, as Justice Ginsburg fears in her minority opinion, we’ll have Alito — and all the other “sons” of Italy — to partially thank for the life-threatening dilemma to be faced, for years to come ,by America’s daughters.
Apparently, women haven’t progressed for some in the Italo ethic beyond their description in an old Neapolitan proverb: Femmine, ciuccio e capre tenene ’a stessa capa (“Women, jackasses and goats are of the same mind”).
Related: Alito: public enemy, Ditched, Thoughts on the 36th anniversary of Roe V. Wade, More more >
  Topics: This Just In , Health and Fitness, Medicine, Medical Specializations,  More more >
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