Mittwoch, 17. April 2024 – Arizona

Ich blogge nicht mehr über die USA, ich habe nicht für jede brennende Müllhalde geistige Kapazitäten. Aber über einen der stets informativen Newsletter von Heather Cox Richardson aus der vorletzten Woche bin ich immer noch nicht hinweg.

Richardson, die in Boston Geschichte lehrt, schreibt auf Substack „Letters from an American“ und kommentiert fast jeden Tag aktuelle politische Debatten. Am 9. April schrieb sie über das neue bzw. uralte Abtreibungsgesetz, das in Arizona wieder Anwendung findet. Worum geht es?

„In a 4–2 decision, the all-Republican Arizona Supreme Court today said it would not interfere with the authority of the state legislature to write abortion policy, letting the state revert to an 1864 law that bans abortion unless the mother’s life is in danger. “[P]hysicians are now on notice that all abortions, except those necessary to save a woman’s life, are illegal,” the decision read.“

Richardson ordnet diese Entscheidung historisch ein:

„The Arizona law that will begin to be enforced in 14 days was written by a single man in 1864.

In 1864, Arizona was not a state, women and minorities could not vote, and doctors were still sewing up wounds with horsehair and storing their unwashed medical instruments in velvet-lined cases.

And, of course, the United States was in the midst of the Civil War.

In fact, the 1864 law soon to be in force again in Arizona to control women’s reproductive rights in the twenty-first century does not appear particularly concerned with women handling their own reproductive care in the nineteenth—it actually seems to ignore that practice entirely. The laws for Arizona Territory, chaotic and still at war in 1864, appear to reflect the need to rein in a lawless population of men.“

Richardson beschreibt, dass es dem einsamen Gesetzesautoren vor allem darum ging, Duelle unter Strafe zu stellen, sowie Vergiftungen – die auch dazu genutzt wurden, Fehlgeburten einzuleiten. Das Gesetz sollte dazu dienen, (weiße) Männer vor Verletzungen zu schützen, und schwangere Frauen waren mitgemeint.

„Written to police the behavior of men, the code tells a larger story about power and control.

The Arizona Territorial Legislature in 1864 had 18 men in the lower House of Representatives and 9 men in the upper house, the Council, for a total of 27 men. They met on September 26, 1864, in Prescott. The session ended about six weeks later, on November 10.

The very first thing the legislators did was to authorize the governor to appoint a commissioner to prepare a code of laws for the territory. […]

The second thing the legislature did was to give a member of the House of Representatives a divorce from his wife.

Then they established a county road near Prescott.

Then they gave a local army surgeon a divorce from his wife. […]

These 27 men constructed a body of laws to bring order to the territory and to jump-start development. But their vision for the territory was a very particular one.

The legislature provided that “[n]o black or mulatto, or Indian, Mongolian, or Asiatic, shall be permitted to [testify in court] against any white person,” thus making it impossible for them to protect their property, their families, or themselves from their white neighbors. It declared that “all marriages between a white person and a [Black person], shall…be absolutely void.”

And it defined the age of consent for sexual intercourse to be just ten years old (even if a younger child had “consented”).

So, in 1864, a legislature of 27 white men created a body of laws that discriminated against Black people and people of color and considered girls as young as ten able to consent to sex, and they adopted a body of criminal laws written by one single man.

And in 2024, one of those laws is back in force in Arizona.“

Hier nochmal der Link zum gesamten Text (er ist nicht viel länger als dieser Blogeintrag).