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Perspective After my father raped me, access to abortion saved my life
Michele Goodwin is a professor of law at the University of California, Irvine, and the author of “Policing the Womb: Invisible Women and the Criminalization of Motherhood.”
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi that provides no exceptions in cases of rape or incest. What’s at stake in this case matters to the countless girls and women who have been raped — including those who, like me, were raped by a father, an uncle or another family member.
It was the early morning of my 10th birthday the first time that I was raped by my father. It would not be the last. The shock was so severe that I temporarily went blind before I began the fifth grade a few weeks later. By the time the school year began, my father had taken me to see a battery of doctors — a medical explanation would paper over the fact that the trauma caused by his sexual violence had caused my body to shut down.
The physiological suffering that I endured included severe migraines, hair loss and even gray hair — at 10 years old. While other girls may have longed for puberty, I loathed the idea of it. My body became a vessel that was not mine. It had been taken from me. I lived in fear of the night, and the footsteps outside my bedroom door.
I gravitated to closets — I would find the deepest corner, sit with a flashlight, read and rock myself. Only years later, while in therapy at 16, would I understand that my involuntary rocking when relating to these experiences was the manifestation of my stress and anxiety.
My father’s predations were hidden behind wealth, social status and his acting the part of a committed and attentive parent. I attended elite schools in New York City, studied ballet at a renowned academy and took private violin and tennis lessons. My father never missed a parent-teacher conference. However, that veneer of normalcy belied intimate family violence that began years before with his physical abuse of my mother. At times he was so violent that she was hospitalized.
At age 12, I was pregnant by my father, and I had an abortion. Before we got to the doctor’s office, I had no idea that I was pregnant. My father lied about my age and the circumstance of my pregnancy, informing the doctor that I was 15 and that I had been reckless with a boyfriend. My father shook his head, explaining to the doctor that he was doing all that he could as a single parent — my parents had divorced by this time — but that I was out of control. Both men seemed to convey contempt toward me. For many years, the shame of my father’s lie lingered with me — the stereotype embedded in the narrative of the risky, hypersexualized Black girl.
Read the story on NY Times
More of This Latinas are becoming judges in record numbers
A number of Latina judges recently have been nominated to U.S. federal courts, which for many years saw few Hispanics and Afro-Latinos on their benches.
Why it matters: Decisions made in courtrooms can affect people in ways large and small, with cases on voting rights, abortion, healthcare and more playing out in courts across the country.
By the numbers: Since 1789, only 140 of more than 3,400 federal judges have identified as Hispanic or Afro-Latinos. Of those, 34 have been women, according to Federal Judicial Center data.
Details: Myrna Pérez, a voting rights expert, was confirmed as a Second District Court of Appeals judge in late October.
Read the story on Axios
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Less of This Conservatives on the Supreme Court lied to us
Yes, I’m talking about the conservative justices on the Supreme Court, and the abortion rights those justices have now made clear they will eviscerate.
They weren’t just evasive, or vague, or deceptive. They lied. They lied to Congress and to the country, claiming they either had no opinions at all about abortion, or that their beliefs were simply irrelevant to how they would rule. They would be wise and pure, unsullied by crass policy preferences, offering impeccably objective readings of the Constitution.
It. Was. A. Lie.
We went through the same routine in the confirmation hearings of every one of those justices. When Democrats tried to get them to state plainly their views on Roe v. Wade, they took two approaches. Some tried to convince everyone that they would leave it untouched. Others, those already on record proclaiming opposition to abortion rights, suggested they had undergone a kind of intellectual factory reset enabling them to assess the question anew with an unspoiled mind, one concerned only with the law.
Read the story on Washington Post
Speaking Of… The Supreme Court broke the voting rights act
The Justice Department sued Texas on Monday, challenging its newly drawn electoral maps at both the state and congressional levels. At its core, the lawsuit claims that Texas’ new maps discriminate against the state’s “growing minority electorate.” And clearly, they do. The problem with the lawsuit is not its factual premise; it is the significant steps the Supreme Court has taken in the last eight years to make it easier for conservative states to get away with exactly such anti-democratic (and anti-Democratic) manipulation.
And although Congress could fix much of the damage the Supreme Court has caused, its efforts to do so remain mired in Senate Democrats’ inability to overcome or eliminate the filibuster. Simply put, the latest front in the battle between the Biden administration and Texas reinforces just how fragile our democracy is becoming — and how directly the Supreme Court is responsible.
Texas fared well in the 2020 census: The second-largest state added 4 million residents between 2010 and last year’s count. Most of that growth came from minority groups, which now constitute a majority of the state’s population. Indeed, the statewide population of “Anglos” (non-Latino white Texans) was responsible for only 5 percent of that growth. Among other things, this population boom netted Texas two new seats in the U.S. House — it will now elect members from 38 districts, second only to California.
When the Texas Legislature met to redraw both the U.S. and state house districts in response to the new data, it adopted maps that, put most charitably, do not reflect the actual sources of population growth. As the Justice Department’s lawsuit explains, the two new congressional seats both have Anglo majorities; a West Texas district with a large Latino population was redrawn to turn a Latino majority into a minority, and minority communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex were, in the Justice Department’s words, “surgically excised” by being attached to different districts with Anglo majorities — some stretching over a hundred miles from Dallas-Fort Worth. And the redrawn lines in the state House are even more, shall we say, aggressive.
Read the story on MSNBC
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