Smart people saying smart things (5.19.19)

Smart people saying smart things (5.19.19) May 19, 2019

Dahlia Lithwick, “Alabama’s Extremist Abortion Bill Ruins John Roberts’ Roe Plan”

Whatever your feelings about the death penalty, the point is that Thomas and Alito are ready to do away with pretenses. Their admitted interest in having the states kill people faster and with less process is, in its way, refreshingly honest. And now, the good people of Alabama, Ohio, Georgia, and Louisiana are demanding that the Supreme Court similarly shed the decades-long pretext that concerns for maternal health and well-being are more urgent than the imperative to undo the constitutional right to abortion at any cost. Women will die in those states as a result of these new laws, and women will go to jail. That’s the point, and that is increasingly apparent as the point.

Amy MacKinnon, “What Actually Happens When a Country Bans Abortion”

In 1966, the leader of Romania, Nicolae Ceausescu, outlawed access to abortion and contraception in a bid to boost the country’s population. In the short term, it worked, and the year after it was enacted the average number of children born to Romanian women jumped from 1.9 to 3.7. But birthrates quickly fell again as women found ways around the ban. Wealthy, urban women were sometimes able to bribe doctors to perform abortions, or they had contraceptive IUDs smuggled in from Germany.

Yet Romania’s prohibition of the procedure was disproportionately felt by low-income women and disadvantaged groups, which abortion-rights advocates in the United States fear would happen if the Alabama law came into force. As a last resort, many Romanian women turned to home and back-alley abortions, and by 1989, an estimated 10,000 women had died as a result of unsafe procedures. The real number of deaths might have been much higher, as women who sought abortions and those who helped them faced years of imprisonment if caught. Maternal mortality skyrocketed, doubling between 1965 and 1989.

Natalie Wynn, “How to Recognize a Fascist”

Julie Zauzmer, “The Bible was used to justify slavery. Then Africans made it their path to freedom” (WaPo)

As America commemorates the 400th anniversary of the creation of representative government in what would become the United States, and the first documented recording of captive Africans being brought to its shores, it is also grappling with the ways the country justified slavery. Nowhere is that discussion more fraught than in its churches.

“Christianity was proslavery,” said Yolanda Pierce, the dean of the divinity school at Howard University. “So much of early American Christian identity is predicated on a proslavery theology. From the naming of the slave ships, to who sponsored some of these journeys including some churches, to the fact that so much of early American religious rhetoric is deeply intertwined . . . with slaveholding: It is proslavery.”

Rachel Held Evans, “Lent for the Lamenting”

Whether you are part of a church or not, whether you believe today or your doubt, whether you are a Christian or an atheist or an agnostic or a so-called “none” (whose faith experiences far transcend the limits of that label) you know this truth deep in your bones: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return.”

Death is a part of life.

My prayer for you this season is that you make time to celebrate that reality, and to grieve that reality, and that you will know you are not alone.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.


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