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Paula Puryear Martin Headshot

It's 1984 All Over Again and I've Got a Doublespeak Headache

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First, a disclaimer:

I'm a lawyer but I do not practice law.
I did not fact-checked this post. (Okay, I kinda did, but I didn't break my back).
I have not produced anything here that should be considered scholarship. This is a thought experiment, or else a trip down the rabbit hole.

I read George Orwell's 1984 in high school and found his notion of "doublespeak" highly amusing. But I didn't think it was prophetic. Oh the good old days when the things people said made sense. Now, here we are, 19 years after the real 1984 -- so Orwell's predictions were off by a bit -- and I've got a doublespeak headache. Logic and facts have gone out the window, replaced by a rhetoric that's no less persuasive in the public square for making absolutely no sense.

Exhibit A: Five members of the United States Supreme Court profess to believe that "bang, bang, the racism witch is dead" -- even as they argue in their own majority opinion that, "Voting discrimination still exists; no one doubts that." and that "There is no doubt that these improvements [in voter turnout] are in large part because of the Voting Rights Act." They then proceeded to gut it anyway, with the full knowledge, I'm sure -- for these are smart people, if smarts are to be counted in book learnin' and fancy degrees -- that their decision will disenfranchise voters in Alabama, where efforts to disenfranchise voters happened as recently as 2010 or Texas, where the disenfranchisement of Latino voters was already underway just hours after the Court's decision came down.

Exhibit B: Creationists. Fun! Honestly? I'm tempted to pull a Nancy-Pelosi-smacks-down- Michelle-Bachman and just mutter a weary "who cares," but where's the fun in that? So here's the deal: God did not create the world in six days. We know that for sure because the Earth is four and a half billion years old, give or take a smidge. We have evidence and everything. We call that science.

Exhibit C: The anti-abortion/anti-birth control lobbies. I'm pretty sure these are the same people but I'm too lazy to look it up (see didn't fact check above). These lovely men and women are none too eager to sacrifice women's bodies/lives on the funeral pyre of a bankrupt idea -- namely, that a fetus counts more than an actual live woman who's already left her mothers's womb. And for the record, you do have to choose -- unless and until you invent a mechanical womb.

Mind you, I get it. If we uppity women would just not interfere, some of those fetuses would eventually exit our wombs and become actual live humans. Until they do, the choice to gestate them in my body is mine. We can argue the moral "rightness" of this (I'll take Jessica Winter's side every time), but we can't argue -- and allow me a bit of hyperbole here -- the legal rightness of it. That is, if we leave all legal interpretation to me (which couldn't be worse than leaving it up to the silly men of SCOTUS --yes it's only the men, save one who think racial yucky-ness is, wink, wink, a thing of the past.)

And so, if it please the Court, I would like to set forth the following tongue-in-cheek yet I-kind-of-mean-it arguments (see this is not scholarship, above):

The Declaration of Independence which holds "these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal" (let's toss women in just to keep up with the times), and are "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights" among these being "liberty" and a couple of other things, but today let's focus on liberty. I'd like liberty over my own womb and all the other parts that are attached to me.

The Fourth Amendment prohibition on illegal searches and seizures which provides, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." I'm a "people," as are all women, so I'm wondering, do you have a search warrant for that womb?

The First Amendment prohibition on the establishment of religion which provides, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." I know, I know, I feel your pain. Your God thinks abortion is wrong. Here's the good news about that: you have a Constitutional right to worship your God and I've got a Constitutional right to worship mine. Mine thinks abortion is fine, though he frowns upon executing live human beings who have left their mother's wombs and leaving live born children to grow up in dire poverty when you lose interest which happens, from what I can tell, right around the time they exit my womb.

The Eight Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. I know I'm out on a limb here -- the Eight Amendment is about the death penalty, and drawing and quartering and such things -- but I promised you hyperbole and here it is. It is definitely cruel and unusual punishment to force me to rent out my womb so that you can worship your God. As for protecting me from myself (because I know, you're concerned about me), I am neither property nor child. I'm a full grown "people" and I can take care of me myself (if not, you really should reconsider the wisdom of forcing me to have a child).

The Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime. Yes, I know, this is silly. That was 'bout freein' the slaves, but once you force me to lend me your womb, I start feelin' like a slave all over again. Ya'll rented my ancestors' wombs like nobody's business ("you know you're a slave if they commandeer your womb) and they didn't like it one bit.

Okay. I'll stop here as I've run out of ridiculous, yet wise, things to say.