Cross-posted from Mike Malloy
Eleanor McCullen, lead plaintiff in the case before the Supreme Court, outside the Planned Parenthood clinic in Boston.
(Image by (NPR)) Permission Details DMCA
Women are under attack once again. Still. Always?
It all started with Eleanor McCullen, a sweet-looking grandmotherly-type, who is a devout parishioner at St. Mary's Church in Grafton, Mass. Mrs. McCullen had a problem. She's a good Christian, you see. She's a helper. She wants to do something to improve people's lives and make the world a better place. Why, some call her a saint! All she wants to do is pray with and counsel women who are seeking services from a particular Planned Parenthood clinic near Boston. To help them, you know. Help them understand God's love and grace and divine plan for us all. Some ladies might just offer up some tasty lemon squares to the church bake sale, but Mrs. McCullen had a greater purpose.
Only one thing stood in her way -- a mean ol' 2007 law that was keeping her from helping all these poor women in an up-close, personal way, as she was called to do. The law made her stand behind an ugly, un-Godly yellow line, 35 feet away from the wayward ladies and those tiny, helpless lil' embryos she so desperately wanted to help! With that yellow line in the way, how to give these misguided women her little knitted stocking caps filled with Good Christian advice about the sanctity of life? How was she supposed to minister to these lost souls from 35 feet away? Her faith was strong, but her voice was weak -- and her arms lacked the power necessary to hurl her little bonnets and booties at the women entering ... that place!
What's a saint to do? Appeal to a higher power, of course. No, silly, not that higher power. Mere prayer to the Almighty wasn't working so well. No matter how hard she prayed, God didn't erase the evil yellow line. So Mrs. McCullen sought the help of an even bigger, supernatural force. She needed something omnipotent like ... Antonin "Fat Tony" Scalia. And Sammy "the Fish" Alito. And the other good Catholics and even a couple of Jews on the Supreme Court. Believers all. Amen.
And lo and behold, her prayers were answered. Seek and ye shall find. Indeed. The Supreme Court's Thursday ruling on McCullen v. Coakley was unanimous. Praise Jesus, it's a miracle! After September first, self-appointed "sidewalk counselors" like dear Mrs. McCullen can cuddle right up in a woman's face (if not her skirt) for some quality one-on-one time to explain, gently, why she's about to burn for eternity in a fiery hell for murdering her precious little baby. Now remember, a lot of women who enter these clinics are not seeking abortions, but prenatal care. Or birth control (which is at least slightly less evil in the eyes of these Rapture Right fanatics), or breast exams, or pap smears. Many clinics offer diabetes screening, cholesterol tests, and flu shots. Does that matter? Of course not! The non-pregnant patients will get attacked with the other
whores women who are attempting to murder their babies terminate their pregnancies.
The 2007 law that allowed for 35-foot buffer zones around abortion clinics, was enacted because of historic violence and harassment outside these facilities. Specifically, the 1994 shooting rampage by a not-so-grandmotherly madman that killed two innocent, non-pregnant receptionists. But, apparently, constitutional protection favors one group over another, as far as the Supreme Court is concerned. Free speech (as they interpret it) trumps privacy rights. Some animals are more equal than others -- to borrow from Orwell, once again.
Slate has this:
"[T]he court held that Massachusetts' 2007 abortion clinic buffer zone law, which requires that abortion opponents stay 35 feet away from clinic entrances, violates the First Amendment. Writing for the whole court, Chief Justice John Roberts says that the law, which makes it a crime to knowingly stand on a 'public way or sidewalk' within 35 feet of an entrance or driveway to any 'reproductive health care facility,' is unconstitutional. The Massachusetts law was passed after two clinic workers were shot and killed by a gunman at abortion clinics in Brookline in 1994. The challengers in McCullen want to approach women seeking abortions, and said the buffer zone thwarted their ability to offer face-to-face counseling."
What else do you expect from a Court that decided corporations are people and money is free speech? The Supreme Court reserves for itself a buffer zone that is much larger than 35 feet. Polling places have 100-foot limits. Once again, the hypocrisy (and misogyny) is stunning. Voting booths are more deserving of protection than women.
You have to wonder, how would Fat Tony and the crew have decided if the case was brought by anti-war, or Occupy protesters? The last time Mike attended an organized protest, he ended up in a Washington, DC detention center. Jailed for exercising his right to peacefully assemble. Does this ruling now set the precedent for all protests, or just those carried out by religious extremists who want to bully and harass women and their health care providers? For example, can atheist protestors now get really up close and personal and walk with people to their church doors each Sunday, "counseling" them as to why their belief in Christian mythology is shameful and wrong?
And what were the women on the high court thinking when they ruled with the misogynist, conservative majority? Do they not realize that these buffer zones are often the only protection standing between a woman and a crazed gunman? The female Supremes may be of an age when pregnancy is no longer a personal concern, but do they not have younger women in their lives that might want to be free to visit a clinic without fear of abuse?
Thirty-five feet may not be much, but come September there will not even be a 35-centimeter barrier between the women of Massachusetts and their unwanted "counselors." And does anybody really believe that all of these "counselors" will be mild-mannered, soft-spoken genteel souls who will gently caress the shoulders of women seeking medical services, give them hand-knitted presents while quietly and politely suggesting abortion alternatives in soothing, sympathetic voices?