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The Dobbs decision has been leaked. Gathered outside of New York City's St. Patrick's Old Cathedral, pro-choice protesters chant: "Not the church, not the state, the people must decide their fate."

A white man wearing a New York Fire Department sweatshirt and standing on the front steps responds: "l am the people, l am the people, l am the people, the people have decided, the court has decided, you lose . . . . You have no choice. Not your body, not your choice, your body is mine and you're having my baby."

Despicable but not unexpected,³ this man's comments provide insight into the meaning of the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization and the conditions it creates for women, girls, and others capable of pregnancy. Despite the Supreme Court's assertions that it is returning the decision of abortion back to "the people," a disingenuous assertion from the start, American society currently finds itself facing judicial opinions about whether pregnant people are even allowed to access modern medicine – the abortion medication (mifepristone) - to exercise control over their own bodies and lives.

This Article is an exegesis of the statements of this man pontificating on the Cathedral steps. His statements and the instincts that support them tell us a great deal about the condition of U.S. society, the state of our democracy, and the relationship of both to the concrete meaning of Dobbs and its "theory of life."⁷ The Dobbs decision facilitates conditions that encompass the forced continuation of a pregnancy, forced birth, involuntary servitude, disturbing outcomes of "permissive" rape, and the false idolatry of adoption. These conditions have real consequences for women, girls, and others who are capable of pregnancy, including trans and gender-diverse people. They are eerily reminiscent of the reproductive subjugation imposed on enslaved Black women. While these conditions admittedly do not mark the chattel slavery of the past they are part of a broader notion of slavery, of involuntary servitude. And, these conditions of servitude no longer apply to just a single group of women but now extend to all those capable of pregnancy.

Postscript: Alabama Supreme Court recently ruled that frozen embryos are children thus jeopardizing invitro fertilization practices generally and families’ control over their frozen embryos, in particular.

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CUNY Law Review

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