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Kudos to Arizona's wingnut Supreme Court, who in their deranged upholding of an 1864 abortion ban so extreme even GOPers are fleeing it have dragged us back to a time when doctors used leeches, snake oil, opiates and a nice long asylum stay to treat women with "hysteria." If the law's upheld, "People will die." Still, a stalwart group of zealots took to the Senate floor to kneel, pray, babble in tongues and implore, "Let it be so, Father God." Be warned: "This is today's Republican Party."

The court's ruling came in the case of Planned Parenthood v. Hazelrigg, in which Dr. Eric Hazelrigg, who owns a chain of anti-abortion clinics and declares himself "guardian ad litem for all Arizona unborn infants," appealed a 2022 decision upholding the state's current, already-extreme 15-week abortion ban. Instead, the good doctor urged the court to reinstate a long-dormant law passed 160 years ago - as the Civil War still raged, before Arizona was a state, decades before the vast majority of those affected by it could vote - which allows abortions only if the mother’s life is in danger, provides no exceptions for rape, incest, non-viable fetuses or other ugly facts of life, and suggests abortion providers be prosecuted.

It also passed when male doctors with no clinical experience relied on the ancient concept of balancing the Four Humors: blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile. Women - frail, submissive, emotional - were deemed especially prone to illness, most often hysteria, or "womb disease," because their uterus, "the great central pivotal organ of her existence," moved and caused mood swings. Aggravating factors: too-tight corsets, sexual urges, reading, challenging the status quo. Treatments: bloodletting, magnetizers, snake oil, smelling salts, leeches on the abdomen to reduce blood in the womb, clitoral stimulation via pelvic massage to create orgasm and release excess fluid, "patent medicine" or opiates - most addicts were women - and the asylum, a "convenient, socially acceptable excuse (for) potentially scandalous behavior."

Laws then on the books addressed the possible pernicious results of said scandalous behavior: "If any woman shall endeavor, privately, either by herself or the procurement of others, to conceal the death of any issue of her body, which, if born alive, would be a bastard, so that it may not come to light, whether it shall have been murdered or not, every such mother being convicted thereof shall suffer imprisonment in the county jail for a term not exceeding one year." Other laws made it illegal to entice Black people to leave the state to be sold into slavery. But in the name of mercy another law creates the category of "excusable homicide" if, say, "a man is at work with an axe, and the head flies off and kills a bystander,” or a parent is "moderately correcting his child, or a master his servant."

Cue today's Arizona, or "Fetuzona, where all zygotes matter," the hateful likes of Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs can get elected, and GOP governors can pack a helpfully expanded Supreme Court - thanks then-Gov. Doug "Fucking Douchey, Anus Maximus" - with seven, male, far-right ideologues who can pass a "devastating, cruel" anti-choice law "wildly out of step with where Arizonan voters are at." Democratic, female state officials have made it very clear they will not go gentle into the night. "Let me be clear," said Gov. Katie Hobbs of an extreme ban that "hurts women." "Let me be completely clear," said A.G. Kris Mayes of an "unconscionable" ruling and "stain our state" she's already vowed not to enforce, with help from a proactive Hobbs who already gave Mayes' office sole enforcement authority.

Last week, reproductive rights organizers announced they'd collected over 500,000 signatures, far over the requisite 383,923, for a November referendum on a constitutional amendment enshrining the right to abortion, and activists and lawmakers vow, with abortion on the ballot, extremists will "feel the power of pissed-off women voters." Sadly, doctors and those they care for are caught in the middle. Lamenting she'll be "phoning lawyers for guidance on what i can do" rather than "making clinical decisions based on what my patients are telling me," one doctor decried "legal jargon (with no) ability to capture the nuance of taking care of a patient." "It completely wreaks havoc on our ability to do our job," she said. "And patients are going to be the ones who suffer."

Of course the "Republi-nazi terrorist attack" in Arizona, while more extreme than some, reflects a nationwide GOP war on women; today, more than one in three women of reproductive age live in a state with an abortion ban. Still, a glaring dissonance persists: Since the 2022 Dobbs ruling on Roe, voters in Kansas, Kentucky and other states have voted for expanding not restricting access to abortion, and similar proposals are on ballots in multiple states. Meanwhile, right-wingers on the wrong side of history remain stubbornly clueless about the grim possible consequences - fury, sorrow, sepsis, bleeding out in parking lots - facing millions of women. Citing Arizona's "earthquake of epic proportions," one GOP strategist admitted, "Anytime Republicans are talking about abortion, they’re losing."

Cue hapless rich white dude in a bad Beatles wig Mark Simone, who went on a Fox panel of more rich white dudes to discuss lady parts and say it's all good. A radio host who online trashes "Biden's kids who've all been involved in horrible drug scandals," lauds a brilliant Trump "who builds 100-story skyscrapers in his sleep," and claims Bernie Sanders "never held a job until age 53 and lived off welfare and four different women," he shrugged that any sloppy, pregnant ho has it easy with a simple, solo bus ride: "If you had to travel to another state for an abortion, buying a bus ticket to (go) get it is not the worst thing in the world." Says the guy who def doesn't know how grief, terror, vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, financial panic, ectopic pregnancy or worrying about who's watching the kids feels.

Nationally, he's got much oblivious company, with even anti-choice GOPers so freaked out by Arizona's illustration of "what happens when abortion policy is left up to the (often rabid) states" they're running away from it. That night, Fox talking heads literally ignored the ruling, though they found time to accuse NPR of being liberal and Kamala of doing "abortion hit jobs." While a coalition of right-wing sages has reportedly published a 920-page, Comstock Act -based plan for a Trump Mandate for Leadership to target abortion pills, Trump continues to just say whatever he thinks will keep him out of jail - which rightly hasn't stopped anyone from laying Arizona at his tacky door, from Elizabeth Warren - "Remember, this is brought to you by Trump" - to Biden: "This is Trump's fault."

Arizona's GOP pols are flip-flopping so fast they forget what they just said. Kari Lake, who once proclaimed she was "incredibly thrilled we (have) a great law that's already on the books" - from 1864 - now says the law is "out of step with Arizonans,” which never stopped her before. Rep. David Schweikert, a Roe opponent and six-time sponsor of a radical Life at Conception Act up for re-election, now says abortion should "not be legislated from the bench." Rep. Juan Ciscomani, who fought to ban health insurance that covers abortion, called the ruling a "disaster" and wants the 15-week ban back please. As stupid as these people are, they've evidently grasped that "Let The Men Decide" - the sign of a protester rigged in top hat and mutton chaps - may not be the greatest campaign slogan.

Not state Sen. and Jan 6-er Anthony Kern, though. The day before the ruling, Kern led a small prayer group onto the Senate floor - the Senate seal, actually - where they kneeled, cried out in tongues and summoned "the hovering glory of God almighty" to, yes, let the men decide. "Lord, we ask thee to release the presence of the Lord in the Senate chamber," Kern bellowed, as acolytes who regrettably missed out on 1692 Salem wailed, "Let it be so, let it be so, let it be so." Kern was an apt guru. Now under investigation as a fake elector for Trump in 2020, he turned his back on Gov Hobbs during her State of the State speech and just successfully pushed through a Senate bill permitting the Ten Commandments to be recited aloud in public schools: "This is the guy the writers of our Constitution warned us about."

After the head of Secular Arizona pointed out Kern's garish play-acting on government property - "So this happened today" - the reaction was swift. Most people agreed, "If you believe, fine, but believe on your own time, not mine." Also on "archaic beliefs in imaginary bearded sky daddies": "Yup. Freedom of religion. Support sky pilots, that's your option. But keep it out (of) public facilities." They raged - "The Taliban has infiltrated state government" - mourned - "God cringes" - snarked - "The state of Arizona is showing the long-term effects of living in an Easy Bake Oven," "Oh those zany GOP politicians - next he's bringing snakes and a goat to sacrifice" - mused, in the 21st century, "You actually have to put effort into being as willfully ignorant." Many imagined the furor if, say, Muslim prayers were recited.

The "speaking in tongues" shtick also sparked debate. Given they're Repubs, maybe it's just gibberish, or one of the migrant languages Trump says "no one has ever heard of." In the Bible, it was noted, the apostles spoke in tongues when the Holy Spirit filled them, and each person heard them in their native tongue; if it's not understood by all, it's just showmanship. Or theocracy. "They weren't speaking in tongues - they were articulating Republican policy," one argued. And, "This is how Republicans make decisions for your family and future." Our fave: "My wife spoke to me in tongues and I couldn't understand her, so with her preacher's advice she divorced me. We were 'unyoked.' After a few years, I met and married a wonderful woman. Best thing that ever happened to me!"

After the response, Kern sneered, "Looks like our prayer team stirred up some God-haters." In the venerable traditiion of learning nothing, ever, his House colleagues also acted like douchebags - or kids sneaking out before their mom can make them clean their room - by twice blocking Dem efforts to repeal the 160-year-old baby mama law and then up and quitting, voting to adjourn until "cooler heads prevail." "Democrats were screaming at us and engaging (in) insurrectionist behavior," one whined, and besides, "removing healthy babies from healthy mothers is not health care." Jesus. They never seem to realize maybe they have to go so far back in time to strip women's rights because it's been that long since we wanted to live like that. As GOPers left, Dems chanted, "Shame! Shame! Shame!" If only they had some.

"Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past." - George Orwell.

This content originally appeared on Common Dreams and was authored by Abby Zimet.


[1] Arizona Supreme Court upholds near-total abortion ban | AP News ➤[2][3] MSN ➤[4][5] Attorney General Mayes Statement on Planned Parenthood of AZ v. Mayes | Arizona Attorney General ➤[6][7][8][9] ➤[10] ➤[11] 'Enormous Victory': Kansas Voters Resoundingly Defeat Anti-Abortion Amendment | Common Dreams ➤[12] Kentucky voters reject constitutional amendment on abortion | PBS News ➤[13] ➤[14] ➤[15][16] Common Dreams ➤[17][18];!!Ivohdkk!gR24r1un6YBrGsFQp3_zKP6QVDIazfGBXsFgz-DRHPB-2UPFNzqCOnEbj6WYX-QCYZiMiBopKk0%24[19][20] ➤[21][22] Daily Kos Elections - 2022 House crossover districts - Google Sheets ➤[23] ➤[24] Daily Kos Elections - 2022 House crossover districts - Google Sheets ➤[25] Details for H.R. 7: No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2023 - ➤[26] ➤[27] ➤[28] Arizona lawmaker leads prayer circle on state seal on Capitol floor ➤[29] ➤[30] ➤[31][32] Gloria Steinem: 'If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament' | Gloria Steinem | The Guardian ➤