Four months ago, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, unleashing havoc on the health system, denying care to child rape victims and cancer patients, preventing teens from accessing life-saving medications, and threatening doctors across the country with prison time. But, as it turns out, the real victim wasn’t our bodily autonomy, it was Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito and his conservative colleagues.
On Tuesday, while addressing the Heritage Foundation, a far-right think tank, Alito claimed that when the opinion draft leaked in May, it made the justices “targets of assassination.” The leak, he said, amounted to a “grave betrayal of trust” and “gave people a rational reason to think they could prevent that from happening by killing one of us.”
Alito insisted the threats to him and the other justices were very much non-theoretical, but, of course, the worst thing that actually happened to any of them was Brett Kavanaugh being forced to leave a Morton’s Steakhouse before finishing his dessert. Here they still are, speaking before anti-abortion groups, shielding their favorite politicians from accountability and waxing poetic about their own victimhood, while abortion providers and patients are threatened and harassed—sometimes within an inch of their life—every day. Since 1977, there have been at least 11 murders and 26 attempted murders of abortion providers. There have been 42 documented bombings of clinics and providers’ homes, 194 incidents of arson (including the burning of a Tennessee Planned Parenthood clinic last Christmas), and routine stalking, assaults, and threats.
If Alito is so eager to talk about non-theoretical threats to people’s safety, perhaps he should consider starting with the very people—who hold considerably less power than he or Kavanaugh—whose safety he jeopardized in the first place. In 2014, the Supreme Court decided in McCullen v. Coakley to strike down clinics’ right to maintain buffer zones to protect from routinely violent anti-abortion protesters.
The fall of Roe means pregnant people will die, and already jarringly high maternal mortality rates—particularly for Black women—will soar. These rates don’t even include homicides targeting pregnant people, often perpetrated by intimate partners who don’t want them to be pregnant—a leading cause of death for pregnant women.
Every experience that Alito and conservative justices have whined about is, in reality, something they’ve directly inflicted on pregnant people and abortion providers. Yet, naturally, it’s the justices who are protected by security legislation that was rushed through Congress, because they’d pissed people off by revoking half a century of American bodily rights.
It goes without saying that the violent anger towards the Supreme Court—in response to its violent lawmaking—isn’t unfounded. Nor are the justices the victims of the violence and chaos that they’ve used their disproportionate, non-democratically obtained power to inflict on us.