The psychologist and sex/intimacy coach, who sets the tone as the measured voice of reason for the UK’s wildly-addictive television program Open House: The Great Sex Experiment, says that Justice Alito’s initial draft opinion on upending Roe v. Wade “cited Lord Hale eight times to evidence abortion being a crime at the time of the constitution and this is seen as justification to reinstate the criminality in the present day.”
Hale – a man who wrote in defense of marital rape and asserted that women were contractually obligated to their husbands, like property, held “views about women’s rights (or lack thereof) in marriage [that] remain part of British common law, and as a result formed the basis of common law in all of the colonies, including the United States. The main theme of Lord Hale’s legal opinions was that giving women rights, particularly over their own bodies, threatens men. Please read that again.”
Bisbey notes that while marital rape in the UK was finally criminalized in 1991 – the US followed shortly afterwards in 1993 – Lord Hale’s legacy of misogyny remains. She further clarifies that many people “don’t understand that opinions and judgements that restrict autonomy in one private area of life set precedent for the government to restrict autonomy in other areas. Whenever the government steps in and says, ‘we know better what is best for you’, and the lawmakers have no lived experience in the areas it seeks to restrict and control, this is a threat to individual autonomy.
“In an evolved and modern society, people have equal rights under the law, and that includes the right to bodily autonomy. Society has evolved since the constitution was written; the roles of men and women have changed, and it is no longer right or allowed to view another human being as property. We create laws that refer back to the original constitution at our peril as they will be, by definition, outdated and not able to take into account our current society.
“In the quest to protect ‘all life’, some would forfeit the mother’s life in an ectopic pregnancy by waiting until the zygote died, which doesn’t usually happen until the Fallopian tube ruptures and the mother’s life is gravely at risk. People who have never experienced these tragic circumstances feel there is only one acceptable way of managing them and that is by attempting to bring a pregnancy to term.
“I am one of many women who has antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that often occurs alongside systemic lupus. Also known as ’sticky blood’, antiphospholipid antibody syndrome causes blood clots, and carrying a pregnancy to term without treatment is nigh on impossible. Women with this disorder miscarry over and over again, often in the first trimester, but tragically sometimes in the second or third trimesters as well.
“After my second and third miscarriages, I had to have the inside of my womb scraped to remove the ‘retained products of conception’ — the parts of the pregnancy that did not leave my body when I miscarried. The doctors were clear that this was necessary to protect my health.
“The second time, I was in a room next to a woman who had an abortion because her foetus died in the womb but her body did not miscarry naturally. Both of us were devastated. I imagine how much worse that would have been if we had to deal with people who were suspicious of whether or not we had experienced ‘legitimate pregnancy loss’ or if we were told we had to wait until our bodies completed the miscarriage even if waiting placed our lives in danger.
“Totalitarian regimes often take away rights bit by bit until one day people wake up to realise that they no longer have autonomy at all. When rights are not equally granted and enshrined in law, they become favours bestowed upon the few by those in power and can be just as easily taken away.
“If we do not wish to find ourselves in a more literal version of Margaret Atwood’s Republic of Gilead, we need to act now to preserve our right to choose in all aspects of our lives… choice is fundamental to autonomy, and the first area of choice is over our bodies.”
Read the Medium.com article in full here and at DrLoriBethBisbey.com/on-the-demise-of-roe-v-wade.