Bringing Hope

Well, I managed to psych myself; instead of the Christmas novel I checked out of the library yesterday making me feel cooler, it made me think the Christmas season is upon us. Although I am horrified — and terrified — by all I am learning about the ramifications of the recent Supreme Court ruling, I heard myself think, “I can’t write about that because it will ruin people’s holiday season.”

Though truly, it’s better to ruin an end-of-year holiday — no matter what one celebrates — than to ruin lives.

I always think of the Addams Family cartoons when I see an issue of The New Yorker magazine, but although a recent article in the magazine was as macabre as the cartoons, there was nothing humorous about it. The author of the article, Jia Tolentino, mentioned that we’re not going back to before Roe vs. Wade, we’re going somewhere worse. Already, the ruling is affecting treatment of women in the midst of miscarriages since doctors in “ban” states fear being charged for aborting the fetus. But repercussions will go much further than that. In fact, some states want to pass “fetal personhood” laws, granting full rights to the fetus, and none, apparently, to the mother. (Under such laws, women can be arrested and detained and held hostage for doing anything that could be considered inimical to the fetus, even having a single drink or driving too fast.)

The police state is at hand — phones, internet searches, social networking sites, purchases will all be tracked to make sure that no pregnant “person” (it’s always a pregnant “person” now; you can no longer say “pregnant woman”) escapes surveillance. And if they do, the authorities will rely on information from neighbors, fellow workers, and acquaintances to fill in the record. (Some “ban” states are even planning on arresting women — oops, sorry, pregnant persons — on drug trafficking charges if they order the abortion pill from compliant states.)

The harshest thing about the ruling is that the majority of people in this country believe in a woman’s right to choose. Since it has been shown that the will of the people is seldom taken into consideration when decisions are made and laws are passed (the lobbyists see to it that their corporate clients are the beneficiaries), it makes me wonder who will be making money off all this.

Even ignoring any potential financial aspect, there are so many ways this ruling will come back to bite fertile people (even so-called pro-lifers) that . . . well, that I don’t want to think about it anymore lest it ruin my Christmas holiday even if it is almost six months away.

Luckily, I am too old to be personally involved (except in the way that any rescinding of rights affects us all).

And even luckier, I have new blooms in my garden to bring me hope.


Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.