The Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade completes the GOP's three-step nanny-state plan

·6 min read

Women's decisions about their reproductive healthcare are no longer theirs to make. It's now up to the individual states to decide whether or not you can terminate a pregnancy, because the Supreme Court has decided that there is no constitutional right to an abortion.

That's right, the U.S. Supreme Court has officially overturned 50 years of established legal precedent, effectively sending American women back to pre-1973 America, before Roe v. Wade was decided and then repeatedly upheld, and the right to seek an abortion depended on which state you lived in.

That's true again, today. As of June 24, it is now a question for state legislatures whether women should be allowed to access abortion care. 

In a 6-3 decision, the court decided that there is no constitutional right to an abortion, and that it is up to the states can choose whether or not to impose extreme restraints on reproductive healthcare (including the possibility of criminalization).

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Before the decision 13 states already had trigger laws in place to severely restrict or prohibit abortion depending on the Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. Today's ruling sets those laws into immediate effect.

These are the steps the new Right is taking to build its pro-gun, anti-abortion nanny-state, where women's bodies are regulated, but guns are not. In the end, we're headed for a country that looks more like the 18th century with high-powered weapons, where white, heterosexual land-owning men have all the power.

Norma McCorvey, Jane Roe in the 1973 court case, left, and her attorney Gloria Allred hold hands as they leave the Supreme Court building in Washington after sitting in while the court listened to arguments in a Missouri abortion case, Apr. 26, 1989. A leaked draft of a U.S. Supreme Court decision suggests the country's highest court could be poised to overturn the constitutional right to abortion. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Norma McCorvey, Jane Roe in the 1973 court case, left, and her attorney Gloria Allred hold hands as they leave the Supreme Court building in Washington after sitting in while the court listened to arguments in a Missouri abortion case, Apr. 26, 1989. A leaked draft of a U.S. Supreme Court decision suggests the country's highest court could be poised to overturn the constitutional right to abortion. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Step 1: Ignore the people; ignore the law & revert to 18th-century ideas

Most of us would probably agree that many restrictions (traffic, taxation, employment discrimination, etc.) placed on individual rights have been largely for the benefit of society. Similarly, most Americans agree that women should have the right to choose if and when to grow a family. Where our views have always reasonably differed, however, is on what type of restrictions should be placed on that right.

The justices knew that just like they knew that over half of women of childbearing age would be affected if they overturned Roe. They also knew the law's history of being upheld by the Supreme Court. They overturned it anyway, ignored the four factors used to overrule precedent, and decided that the constitution must be interpreted according to 18th-century ideals (think: Women have no rights).

Terminating pregnant people's ability to make choices about their reproductive health, depending on the state they live in, is not only out of step with society – it's out of step with clearly established legal precedent in a judicial system that honors well-established law.

And Roe was very established law.

More: My great-grandmother died from an illegal abortion. Her story could be one you know soon.

Step 2: Deregulate firearms; regulate abortion

In the 23 years since the deadly shooting at Columbine High School, we've seen this new breed of Republicans argue for excessive government intervention of the most intrusive kind: That of bodily intervention. The rising Right has, at the same time, built a movement for unimpeded rights to gun ownership, which culminated in the Supreme Court's decision this week to strike down a New York law restricting who could carry a firearm in public.

Even in its most simple version, one that completely ignores the guiding rule of stare decisis, the far-Right's arguments make no logical sense. If we're restricting abortions because they kill babies, then the same must be true for guns (because they kill babies and adults). If we're not restricting gun rights because they're part of the framework of our expressly granted individual rights, then the same should be true for abortion care since it was granted in Roe under the 1st Amendment right to privacy, and later repeatedly upheld and relied upon by women, and courts, across the country. And if gun control is not up to the states to decide, but abortion is, how does that make legal, logical sense based on our concept of federalism?

This is what the left has been warning about for years: The realization of the new-Right's vision of America where, in spite of our country's uniquely horrific record on gun violence, in 2022, the highest court of the land is rolling back reproductive healthcare rights, while the rising Right seeks to simultaneously expand access to firearms.

Another example of this upside-down reasoning: On May 25 of this year, the Governor of Oklahoma signed into law a total abortion ban. But, according to Everytown Research, which advocates for gun control, the state has "some of the weakest gun laws in the country." We saw that play out on June 1, when a man bought a gun in that state a few hours before turning it on his doctor and four others in an Oklahoma medical facility.

The logic simply doesn't follow.

More: Abortions in Mexico? If Roe v. Wade is overturned, women have fewer options

Step 3: Resort to lies and hysterics if necessary

For young folks reading this, know that conservatives haven't always been this ideological. For instance, I was 8 when Roe v. Wade was reaffirmed by a conservative Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. I was 10 when then-President Bill Clinton signed a bill banning assault rifles with bi-partisan support in Congress.

This post-truth, pro-Trump Right resorts to lies and borderline hysterical vituperation to achieve their ends on guns, reproductive health and other issues that are part of an obvious, fanatical ideological agenda. No need to look further than the May Congressional hearings on abortion care, or the confirmation hearings of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, recent attacks on Critical Race Theory, as well as political attacks on LGBTQ youth. We've also seen the strategy in action after every big mass shooting, including the school shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, and the supermarket shooting in Buffalo.

But there's more to lament than just the loss of decorum when it comes to State intrusion on women's rights, the simultaneous refusal to reign in gun violence, and the attacks on other vulnerable groups of people in this country. This sanctimonious and venomous breed of GOP has decided to take a "by any means necessary" approach to dismantling decades of wins for women's social, political and economic progress.

That's how the conservative nanny-state works: Deregulate guns, regulate women's bodies, take on gay rights and keep going until white, heterosexual, land-owning males hold all the power again, with all other groups subjugated.

If that doesn't sound like the kind of country you want to live in, then make sure you're registered to vote in November. Because all we have left is our vote.

Carli Pierson is an attorney, former professor of human rights, writer and member of USA TODAY's Editorial Board. You can follow her on Twitter: @CarliPiersonEsq

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Roe overturned means Republicans completing their nanny-state