With Roe v. Wade in danger of being overturned, it’s time for Canada to offer gender asylum to American women

Advertisement

Advertise with us

Whenever “The Handmaid’s Tale” starts trending, I wince.

Read this article for free:

or

Already have an account? Log in here »

To continue reading, please subscribe with this special offer:

All-Access Digital Subscription

$1.50 for 150 days*

  • Enjoy unlimited reading on winnipegfreepress.com
  • Read the E-Edition, our digital replica newspaper
  • Access News Break, our award-winning app
  • Play interactive puzzles
Continue

*Pay $1.50 for the first 22 weeks of your subscription. After 22 weeks, price increases to the regular rate of $19.00 per month. GST will be added to each payment. Subscription can be cancelled after the first 22 weeks.

Opinion

Whenever “The Handmaid’s Tale” starts trending, I wince.

This can only mean something weird is happening across the border and it’s probably not good news for women. And so it was on Monday night. I was out for dinner with a friend when the alerts lit up my phone.

It all started with a Politico exclusive: “Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows.”

ELLY DASSAS - BELL MEDIA The far right in the United States doesn’t see the TV series “The Handmaid’s Tale” as dystopian fiction — they see it as inspirational, writes Vinay Menon.

The 98-page opinion, written by Associate Justice Samuel Alito, alleges the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing constitutional rights over reproductive decisions “was egregiously wrong from the start.”

Alito argues the 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey was also a Supreme gaffe: “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision …”

Yes, well, there are technically no constitutional provisions that protect the right to bear an AR-15 because there were no semi and automatic assault weapons in 1787. The founders lived in a world of muskets and blunderbusses. They also lived at a time when women were generally seen as chattel, biological property to be owned and subjugated.

Women were background props in their own lives. They had no agency.

This tsunami of a draft opinion at the U.S. Supreme Court, which Politico reports had a 5-4 majority vote in February, amounts to a time machine if passed: it will nuke a legal precedent that has existed for nearly 50 years. And it will prove some of the four justices who agree with Alito — Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett — had their pants on fire during confirmation hearings when they claimed Roe v. Wade was “settled law.” The truth is, every conservative justice on the Supreme Court sees reproductive rights the way Russia sees Ukraine: something to be conquered, to obliterate, an animating cause to be corrected.

Apparently, stare decisis is optional in the polarized culture wars.

If you are in a same-sex relationship in America, I would strongly urge you to get hitched before gay marriage gets overturned next. That’s where this is going. Somehow, American conservatives went from the party of Lincoln and Reagan to the party of QAnon and Marjorie Taylor Greene. The GOP writ large embraces conspiracy theories and old-timey bugaboos that no longer dovetail with majority consensus. It exists in a parallel universe where reality takes a back seat to seething rage over any threat of social change.

Tucker Carlson’s audience is made up of viewers shaking their fists at clouds.

Show me a MAGA maniac who does not have profound shortcomings when it comes to tolerance and civilized behaviour and I’ll give you a thousand bucks. I was so inspired by conservatives as a teen because, back then, they were the voices of reason. It was liberals who were out of their minds.

But you know who suffers the most no matter which party is craziest?

Women. Why is Samuel Alito — or any man — telling women what they can or can’t do with their own bodies? This is insane. If female politicians started championing strict scrotal laws, dudes would revolt in the streets: Keep your hands off my nutsack! What I honestly don’t get about the pro-life brigade is how this is an in utero abstraction that ends at birth. If an unwanted pregnancy, even by rape or incest, should be forcefully carried to term under threat of prison, shouldn’t the state cover that child’s expenses through the age of 18? No? You’re not cool with welfare? You just want to protect the idea of human life until it is actually a human life and then you’re out?

That’s like being pro-pillow until bedtime.

I think Canada should grant gender asylum to any American woman who wants to escape the creeping Republic of Gilead. We have a great track record of welcoming the persecuted and there is clearly now a war on American women. Open the borders! Give them jobs and homes! American women should not have to suffer in a country where GOP candidates like Michigan’s Robert Regan blurt out the quiet part: “I tell my daughters if rape is inevitable, lie back and enjoy it.”

Yes, go to your happy place when you are violently abused. Pretend it’s Timothée Chalamet holding a knife to your throat. And then if you get pregnant, remember any zygote termination will result in getting handcuffed by the gestation cops. Remember your body is not your own.

Your body is now a cultural theatre of war.

Look, I get that abortion has moral complexities both sides will never bridge. I am very much against late-term abortions unless maternal health is at risk. But this push to outlaw any and all abortions — including before most women even know they are pregnant — is as bonkers as laws against flying a kite.

One of the biggest problems in America these days is that another bedrock principle — the separation of church and state — is viewed by those on the far right as dead wrong. Marjorie Taylor Greene and her addled ilk want to live inside a theocracy that rolls back freedoms. They don’t see “The Handmaid’s Tale” as dystopian fiction — they see it as inspirational.

Come to Canada, American women. Enough is enough. You’re getting blamed for everything from sputtering purchasing power to upending the traditional family unit by wanting to, you know, enter the workforce. I’m not saying you’ll enjoy the weather, taxes or endless construction here.

But in Canada, your body is your body and that’s the end of it.

Vinay Menon is the Star’s pop culture columnist based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @vinaymenon

Report Error Submit a Tip

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Analysis

LOAD MORE ANALYSIS