Chen-ou Liu's Translation Project: First English-Chinese Haiku and Tanka Blog

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Roe v. Wade – Then and Now

the clinic
under a slate-gray sky
protesters shouting 
at counter protesters
with their arms linked

outside the closed clinic ...
a teenager
stretches her hand to catch
falling rose petals

the space telescope
launched to explore the birth
of this universe ...
safe haven baby boxes
wrapped in Mississippi sunset

bans off our bodies
as firm as marble steps ...
against the Supreme Court
a phalanx of women

once shouting 
my body, my choice, my life
in the pandemic ...
the MAGA crowd chant, Hey, hey. Ho, ho. 
Roe v. Wade has got to go 
(FYI: MAGA stands for Make America Great Again)

anger boils
over the Roe v. Wade leak
on TV
Afghan women covered 
head to toe in black
(FYI: The Washington Post, May 7,: Taliban orders head-to-toe coverings for Afghan women in public)


1 My tanka sequence,  Roe v. Wade – Then and Now, was written in response to the shocking leak of a draft of a Supreme Court majority opinion as well as a WARNING to complacent Canadians, especially to constitutionally ignorant Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who assured Canadian women yesterday by the following tweet:

Every woman in Canada has a right to a safe and legal abortion.

FYI: Why Canada's Roe v. Wade didn't enshrine abortion as a right: Experts say landmark 1988 ruling — R. vs. Morgentaler — did not establish abortion as a charter right, CBC News, May 4, 2022

... while there are no laws barring women in Canada from having an abortion, it's also not considered an enshrined right in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as it has been in the U.S. Constitution since their top court's 1973 ruling.

"That's going too far," Bernard Dickens, a professor emeritus of health law and policy at the University of Toronto, said about Trudeau's use of the word "right."

... That's because, technically speaking, no Supreme Court in Canada has ever said in a majority decision that a woman has the constitutional right to an abortion, said Daphne Gilbert, a University of Ottawa law professor who specializes in criminal and constitutional law...

Scrapping Roe v. Wade would mean that, in regards to abortion, Canada and the U.S. would on the surface be similar — in that neither country would have a Supreme Court case enshrining the right to abortion.

2 The US safe-haven laws allow parents to anonymously surrender their babies. These safe-haven laws were questioned in the Supreme Court hearings for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (the Mississippi case about a "fifteen-week abortion ban, with no rape or incest exception"). On Monday evening, "Politico published a draft of a Supreme Court majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito that would overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that guaranteed a constitutional right to abortion in certain circumstances, and limited the ability of states to ban abortion procedures" (For more, see "Unpacking the Draft Supreme Court Opinion Set to Overrule Roe,"  Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, May 3)


New Life

cellar shelter
her newborn suckles
in sleep 

smoke-filled sky
beyond the cellar window ...
look on her baby's face

night of artillery fire
her breastmilk runs dry