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The Right to Reproductive Autonomy

If the court makes this mess, America will have to clean it up.

If the circulating draft is anything like the decision by the Supreme Court, there is but one remedy: amending the Constitution.

To that end, here is a draft article of amendment:

Section 1. The right to reproductive autonomy must not be denied or abridged by the United States nor by any State.
Section 2. No pregnancy may be terminated upon viability, except when it particularly threatens the mother’s life.
Section 3. The Congress has the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

What does that mean?

  1. Abortion will be legal and not subject to the whims of madmen. Any pregnancy may be terminated, whether for rape or incest or any other reason, up to viability.
  2. Pregnancy cannot be terminated once a fetus can live outside the womb. The only exception to that is when continuing the pregnancy or inducing labor or caesarean birth would result in death or major health complications for the mother.

I am not sure this would be the best language for a Constitutional amendment, but it’s what I think would work. Lawyers and experts will surely propose their own language and whatever is eventually ratified will differ somewhat.


It will take time and work to achieve such an amendment, but it is the only reasonable guarantee of a natural right to reproductive autonomy. The people of the United States will support the passage of such an amendment, though it will take a decade to get there.

First, what is required to amend the Constitution? Either you go through a convention (called by two-thirds of the states; has never happened before) or you get two-thirds of both Houses of Congress to propose it to the states. Three-fourths of the states (that’s 38 total) must ratify it.

Efforts will be made on both methods of proposal. Liberal states will quickly pass resolutions calling for a constitutional convention, and there will be proposals in states with mixed government, some of which may pass. There will be proposals floated in Congress. But without a reshaped politics, it will come down to grinding out better elected representatives to make it happen.

For the court to strip away women’s rights would reshape politics. There will either be moderate pro-choice Republicans elected, or that party will be throttled in their ambitions to allow for a mixture of independents, third-parties, and Democrats to do the work needed to enshrine this natural right in our written Constitution. Some of that will require new political alliances and forms. Some of it will result naturally from the media publication of the harms of denying women bodily autonomy.

That last part means citizens will suffer very real oppression from a pseudo-Christian cult’s misinterpretation of scripture and law. Some will die from bleeding and sepsis. Some will be imprisoned for working to secure healthcare for the vulnerable. But we live in a media age where hiding or dismissing the real harms will be impossible. Politicians, likely including Republicans, will have no choice but to affirm women’s rights.

That’s not to say it will be an easy struggle, but it will be necessary and it will happen. All of it will take a lot of work and voting. Please register to vote. Go on Ballotpedia and other resources to look into who’s and what’s on your ballot and when you vote on it.

There are other things that will likely happen along the way. The Supreme Court will be reformed. The filibuster rule may go away. But none of that changes the fundamental goal and outcome: Constitution or bust.

Earth Day 2022

Another year in the books for the planet we all call home.

Please register to vote (Vote.gov). Please vote for candidates who will fight carbon pollution.

Month after month, year after year, we read about the climate crisis. The greenhouse effect was taught to me in school so long ago I barely remember the teachers’ names. And every year more carbon goes up, while many politicians still do not take the problem seriously.

Even as we face catastrophe, we learn the fascinating bits: how tree rings can tell us wet and dry years, or how layers of sediment in the oceans hold tiny shells that confess the atmosphere of their day, as do bubbles trapped in polar ice. (See Wikipedia: “Paleoclimatology”: Proxies for climate.) And it feels like sitting in a doctor’s office, being told of the scans and chemistries used to diagnose us, the doctor waving a slide rule as they tell us our odds of survival from a cancer or a heart attack unless we make a change.

We learn when distant cities will be underwater. How they will be flooded, first during storms, then tides. After that it won’t be flooding, it will have become part of the sea. There are maps showing the water moving in, from a centimeter every few years to a centimeter every year and beyond, if the carbon keeps flowing. The waters will skip the hills and makes them islands, for awhile anyway. If the waters keep going up, the new islands will be drowned. We see an artist’s rendering of what a mall looks like under ten feet of water.

The other disasters: major hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, the arctic vortex, droughts and floods. The own-goals: deforestation, methane leaks. And all the tips for reducing our carbon footprints. Less meat, reusable bags, changing lightbulbs, recycle, buy used. The media talks them up and then moves on to the latest politics, celebrity. We forget long enough to feel better, partying between hangovers.

The people making decisions aren’t worried, because they’re not paid to cut carbon. They’re paid to make sales. There are few jobs on the planet where the compensation goes up if the carbon goes down. They are renewable electricity generators, mostly. But the world has not put a price on carbon pollution. If it did, most everyone would earn more by cutting carbon, and the crisis would end. That’s the theory.

For those selling carbon offsets to wealthy people seeking to allay their guilt, there’s no extra money for lower carbon. Car makers don’t get a better price for making a more efficient car (though in some markets their days to sell carbon-powered vehicles are numbered). Oil drillers don’t have to pay for venting methane, as farmers don’t pay more for wasting water.


On Earth Day 2022, the situation looks the same as it has for decades. There are some modest efforts, far short of what’s needed. At the rate we are going, we will reach carbon neutrality later than needed, but we will get there. Not so optimistic, but not so pessimistic. We’re betting that knock-ons won’t turn out worse, that there’s no domino effect that will push us over a cliff.

It all feels like a missed opportunity, a lucrative one that the business community and the politicians were too dumb to take up. One that many of them agitate against out of some bizarre obligation to a sick system. There are many solutions that all miss the mark in one key area: the votes needed to pass anything.

Please register to vote (Vote.gov). Please vote for candidates who will fight carbon pollution.