My maternal grandmother was a "fire of the converted" Catholic. She went to Mass every day. Her purpose in life was to make abortion illegal. She burned for this.
So talk of abortion was always in the air.
My parents tell the story that it came up once while I was a really little kid. I said from the backseat, "How did the baby get in the woman's belly?"
After puberty, I bought into the line "the woman's choice is whether to have sex." (As someone with almost zero luck with the opposite sex, I readily repeated this.) There was a redneck joke that the best birth control pill is an aspirin held firmly between the knees. (Those people had clearly never had interesting sex.)
Alito's opinion overturning Roe shows just what a lie this "woman's choice" has always been.
In the draft opinion, Alito cited Matthew Hale to support his anti-abortion argument. Hale was a 17th century “jurist” who had at least two women executed for witchcraft.
Hale had also written a treatise saying a husband could never rape his wife. This is because the woman is, for all intents and purposes, his property. She has no agency. She has no choice.
All this was clearly pointed out when the draft opinion was leaked. Alito did not need to cite Hale. His argument, such as it was, didn't hinge on some obscure guy from hundreds of years ago. Hale's opinion had no bearing on “giving the decision back to the states.”
Alito chose to approvingly cite Hale, holding him up as a legal mind who should determine our laws today.
And even though Hale's witchcraft and rape assertions were clearly spelled out following the leak, Alito and his radical cohort all chose to keep Hale in the final decision.
They could have cited any of the great minds in U.S. history. They chose to site a rape apologist to whom women were wenches or witches.
They make it very clear. Women have no agency. The majority of the Supreme Court of the United States believes women cannot choose to not have sex. They cannot choose if and when to be pregnant. They cannot choose to terminate a pregnancy.
Women exist to serve the man and bear as many of his children as he chooses to have. That is their “legal” argument.
They could not be clearer on this. The Handmaid's Tale is not a "hysterical overreaction." It is their playbook, their ideal.