On Sunday, March 30th the Supreme Court ruled on the landmark case of Humanity v. Republicans, overturning decades old legislation that has denied women bodily autonomy since its creation. Many of the laws restricted and effectively inhibited a person’s right to abortion, freedom from sexual assault, and in general created a society in which women could not be considered equal members.
The Republican Senate Committee spearheading the efforts to inhibit equality, Men Imposing Sexist Official Guidelines Yet Nefariously Ignoring Safety Totally (MISOGYNIST), voted to implement numerous pieces of legislation that has been denying women bodily autonomy for years. Among these were the infamous Project Incubator, which designated all women of reproductive age “incubators for the sacred human life,” and imposed harsh penalties on those who did not wish to be pregnant. These and many more restrictions were struck down after the ruling came down.
During debates leading up to the formerly instituted laws, many quickly pointed to the issue of pregnancy via rape, but one former Republican lawmaker Todd Akin reassured citizens by explaining that rape is already rare, and that “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.” The president, Ronald Grump, was quick to come to the aid of the Republican lawmakers who have defended him countless times as some 23 women have accused the president of sexual misconduct.
The sudden reversal shocked the country, with Evangelical leaders quickly calling for the entire committee’s resignation. One prominent evangelical leader was quoted angrily stating “Well how else will we impose our personal religious beliefs if we can’t use the law to criminalize these sluts?” Another leader expressed “heartfelt sympathy for the Christian nation he knows and loves.”
The court ruling recognized a person’s sovereign right to control their own body, with Chief Justice Woodford stating that “Anything less than complete and unrestricted control over one’s own body would make an individual fundamentally unequal to another who retains these liberties.” Woodford went on to say, “Furthermore, the attempts to create a culture in which women are silenced or their promiscuity is called into question when they report assault has only contributed to the notion that women must guard themselves and their bodies, instead of men learning consent, respect, and the inherent dignity of each individual.”
Challenges to the laws came immediately, with the progressive caucus raising the alarm of an America that was hurtling towards something depicted in the popular TV show The Handmaid’s Tale. These accusations did not seem to dissuade one prominent MISOGYNIST member who quickly bought up multiple copies and started a reading group with his fellow members.
One week later MISOGYNIST announced a formal platform based on the scenario put forward in the book by Margaret Atwood. The platform included reclassifying women as possessions, an action many noted the Republican Party had been attempting in thinly guised forms of legislation for years. Another guideline criminalized flirty behavior on the behalf of women without the intention to “put out.” The last piece of policy outlined a varying scale of punishment for women who were “out of line,” ranging from public shaming to more violent sanctions on behavior.
Though the Supreme Court struck down all related legislation, MISOGYNIST quickly mobilized, calling for a citizen referendum to implement their goals more broadly, arguing that if they had legitimacy in the eyes of America, nothing else mattered.
The future may be uncertain but this ruling marks the first time in history that Republicans must grudgingly respect women’s bodily autonomy, at least under the law–for now.