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Let’s Unpack the Chilling Phrase ‘Domestic Supply of Infants’ in the Supreme Court’s Draft to Overturn Roe v. Wade

Under his eye.

Elisabeth Moss as June in Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale.

There is so much that is horrific and frighteningly dystopian about the Supreme Court’s leaked draft to overturn Roe v. Wade. There’s the blatant lying from the conservative justices who swore before the Senate to uphold the statute. There’s the willful betrayal of what most Americans want. There’s the fear of what other civil rights will face the chopping block next. But mostly there’s the clear and present danger for anyone who is currently seeking a safe, legal abortion, or will need one in the future. It’s a terrifying time to be a human with a uterus right now.

But I cannot stop thinking about a particularly insidious phrase within the draft opinion penned by Justices Samuel Alito and Amy Coney Barrett. The draft refers to adoption as a reason for abortion to be overturned, a common argument from pro-forced birth groups. The draft references nearly 1 million women who were seeking to adopt in 2002, “whereas the domestic supply of infants relinquished at birth or within the first month of life and available to be adopted has become virtually nonexistent.”

The “domestic supply of infants”. Let’s sit with that for a moment.

There is something so insidious, so heinous about referring to children as a domestic supply, like they are tubs of margarine or paper straws or chapstick. This argument is built on the idea that that women who don’t want to be pregnant should just SUCK IT UP for 9 months so that other families can make their adoption dreams come true. And it makes a twisted kind of sense in the minds of Coney Barrett and Alito. After all, America is built on the backs of low paid workers whose tireless production lines the pockets of the wealthy.

Why shouldn’t motherhood be treated the same way, as a commodity made by workers with no individual rights and no support so that nice well-to-do Christian families can adopt a little Bryndleigh or Braxton of their own? And lest you think there’s some sort of adoptable child shortage in America, according to recent statistics more than 400,000 children are currently in foster care in the United States.

If this set up reads like a page out of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, then it is no surprise that it comes from Handmaiden-in-Chief Amy Coney Barrett. Coney Barrett, a devout Catholic, belongs to a fringe Christian group called People of Praise. The group requires its members to swear a lifelong covenant to the group, and are assigned personal advisors called “heads” for men and “handmaids” for women. Very normal, well adjusted stuff.

And this says nothing of the systemic racism inherent in forced birth and adoption. Across the globe, white colonists have practiced forced adoption as a means of separating Indigenous children from their parents, adopting them out to white families to be assimilated into Christianity. This heinous practice occurred for decades in Australia, Canada, the U.K., and America.

During these scary times, it’s easy to feel helpless and alone. But we’re not alone. Planned Parenthood and a coalition of progressive groups are launching a “Bans Off Our Bodies” Day of Action on May 14. If you can’t make a march, or if you can and are still looking for ways to help, you can find and donate to your local abortion fund. You can also donate to the Repro Legal Defense Fund, which covers bail and funds strong defenses for people who are investigated, arrested, or prosecuted for self-managed abortion.

(image: Jasper Savage/Hulu)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. She currently lives in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, son, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.