Skip to main content

Roe v Wade

Why I despair of America

The Handmaid’s Tale: one step closer?

Having grown up in America, I always “defended it staunchly to its many detractors” here in the UK, says Zoe Strimpel in The Sunday Telegraph. Not any more. How can I, when “40 million American women have been plunged into a surreal Handmaid’s Tale-like hell of clandestine activity, border crossings, and underground abortion pill shipment networks” should they need to end their pregnancies? And when the Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas is already talking about also repealing rulings that protect contraception? The reversal of Roe v Wade is “first and foremost a despicable assault on women”. But it’s also a sad reflection of the fact that “America is no longer fit for purpose”.

Everywhere you look, the country is falling apart. Mass shootings have become punishingly frequent tragedies. Rioting and looting are now “common protest tactics”. Homelessness is rife along the coasts; crime-ridden New York and San Francisco feel “apocalyptic”. More concerningly, “America’s institutions of state are being trashed”. Trump’s supporters are so in thrall to conspiracy theories that they have zero confidence in the electoral system. Democrats are now “questioning the legitimacy of the Supreme Court” itself. There is no longer any middle ground, on any issue, because “each side now thinks it has to beat its opponent comprehensively”. All of this – the erosion of norms, the refusal to compromise, the win-at-all-costs mentality – is “turning the constitution into a suicide note”. If America’s warring factions can’t find a way to lower the temperature, the whole country is in danger of imploding.