This episode is part of a short current crimes series in which Laura discusses the astrology of events in the news. This episode is on the history and astrology of Roe v. Wade.
For sources, visit killerastrologypodcast.com.
Follow on Instagram:
Book a reading:
Hi Everyone, welcome back to Killer Astrology. I’m your host, Laura, and I’m back from a long hiatus to discuss some real issues that are happening in the world right now. This episode and the next two episodes are part of a short Current Crimes series, where we’ll discuss relevant topics in the news. This first episode is on the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, which until June 24th of this year gave women access not just to abortions but to life-saving healthcare. While this episode isn’t about a specific killer or criminal, it is relevant because of the implications that the recent decision has on all of us, and the issues it exposes, or reminds us of, within our legal and social systems.
Before we start, I want to say a few things. 1: I am going to start with a few stories about events that have happened very recently to women in this country, and they may be hard to hear. 2: I am not in any way trying to push one side of the abortion argument. I’ve been told that I have a hard time hiding my feelings about things, which isn’t too shocking given my cancer moon and mercury/uranus conjunction. But I need to say that while my views on this topic may be obvious, they’re not meant to alter anyone’s beliefs. Lastly: I use the term pregnant women throughout this podcast, but I recognize that there are many women who do not identify as such who can get pregnant and also have abortions, so the commentary in this episode applies all.
The recent Supreme Court decision has big implications. There is now a greater potential that thousands of women, thousands of our sisters, friends, mothers, nieces, cousins, teachers, doctors, coworkers..many of the people we love and respect..could be considered criminals for making decisions involving their healthcare OR for not making decisions at all, but for accidentally or naturally losing a pregnancy. As many of us know, enforcing laws against abortion may deter some pregnant women from seeking the procedure, but will most likely just encourage more dangerous abortions. Those who choose to get an abortion illegally will be risking their health and their livelihood, but they are not the only women at risk without Roe vs. Wade. The door is now open for women to be punished for loosing their fetus for reasons other than abortion.
Legal consequences for pregnancy loss have already been happening.. In many states throughout the US, women have been brought up on charges for having miscarriages or stillbirths. It’s happened in Arkansas and Virginia and Indiana and Alabama and California and New York–and all within the past 15 years, while Roe Vs. Wade was active.
Women have been indicted on various charges for losing their fetuses for a variety of reasons; they have even gone to jail after seeking medical attention for a misscarriage or still birth, sometimes when it could not be proven to be caused by how they cared for their pregnancies.
Marshae Jones, a black woman from Alabama, was shot in the stomach during an argument with another woman, and miscarried. While the perpetrator got off unscathed, Marshae was indicted by a grand jury on manslaughter charges. The reason? She shouldn’t have gotten into a fight while she was knowingly pregnant.
Another woman, Jennifer Jorgensen, who is white and from New York, was indicted a year after she got into an accident that caused enough trauma for her baby to die after an emergency c-section. She wasn’t wearing her seatbelt and was claimed to have been driving recklessly. She was actually indicted on three counts of manslaughter because the two people in the car that she hit had died, but interestingly, the only manslaughter charge that stuck was the one for the loss of her baby, after it was born. She was 34 weeks pregnant at the time of the accident, and the injury was caused when she fell onto her steering wheel from the force of the crash. The baby died 6 days after birth.
Bei Bei Shuai, a chinese immigrant living in Indiana, was arrested in 2011. Bei Bei had been rushed to the hospital after a suicide attempt during which she ingested ray poison. Her baby was placed on life support but would not survive, and in her grief she was arrested on murder charges.
In South Carolina in 2001, Regina McKnight, who was black and 21 years old at the time, had a stillbirth. She had been using cocaine during her pregnancy and even though the still birth was shown later to have been caused by an infection, she was charged with murder and given a sentence of 20 years in prison.
Then, there’s the case of Anne O’Hare Bynum, a white woman from Arkansas, who had a stillbirth in the bathtub at her mom’s trailer and brought the baby to the hospital two days later. Ann had ingested the drug misoprostol, which is the drug in abortion pills, becuase she mistakenly thought it would induce labor.--just adding a plug for patient education there–She had been hiding her pregnancy from her family because she believed she would be kicked out of her mother’s house if she were to be found out. She was preparing to give the baby up for adoption, and wanted to speed up the process because she was afraid she’d become too attached to it if she waited longer. She was charged with concealing a birth and abuse of a corpse.
The decisions in many of these types of cases were eventually overturned, but in many cases not for years. For example, the manslaughter charges against Jennifer Jorgensen weren’t overturned until 2015. The accident happened in 2008. In the court document from the appeal, it is explained that the appeal was successful because it was not the goal of the state law to hold a pregnant woman accountable for behavior that accidentally resulted in the death of their fetus, even after it was born. However, the court document states, “The issue is strictly one of statutory interpretation.” And therein lies our challenge. Today, and in the future, with rights now rolled 50 years back, what will happen to women who find themselves in situations like the ones I’ve mentioned here? Data shows that miscarriages occur in up to 25% of pregnancies for any number of reasons, and the infant mortality rate, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, was an average of 5.4 deaths per 1000 births in 2020, though it was higher for most women of color and over 1% for black women. What will happen to women in the most conservative states who lose their fetuses, and which of those thousands or tens of thousands of women will they choose to prosecute? This is not just an issue about abortion, and it’s not just a women’s rights issue. It is an issue of health equity, race, class, and politics, and the right to choose is not always isolated to abortion, but also to birthing decisions.
There are two more stories I’d like to share that I think drive home the potential realities of situation we now find ourselves in. I’m not implying that the same situations will happen again, just providing examples of what has happened when the legal system has interfered with women’s personal healthcare decisions in the past.
The first is the story of Angie Carder, a 27-year old woman who in 1988, was 6 months pregnant and dying of cancer in Washington, DC. Her family and lawyers knew that she would not want to have a c-section in her sedated state, but the courts took an interest. A baby born at 26 weeks is very dangerously premature, but the courts decided that Angie would have a c-section. So, doctors performed the surgery, and the baby died in just 2 hours. Angie died in 2 days.
In 1999, Laura Pemberton, who was living in Florida with her husband, was pregnant and about to deliver naturally. She had delivered her previous child by c-section, and the state believed that it was too dangerous to the fetus to deliver naturally. So, the police showed up at her house, literally strapped her legs together to hold the fetus in, and took her to the hospital where a c-section was mandated. A hearing was already in process by the time she got to the hospital, and her wishes were completely negated. She had the baby by c-section under a court mandate. Laura went on to have 3 children through natural birth.
It should be noted that many recent stories of prosecutions against pregnant women involve some additional circumstances other than a simple miscarriage or still birth, and they are outliers. But they still happened, and they are frightening examples of what could be more frequent occurrences in a future without Roe v. Wade. The states now have complete authority over abortion regulations, and its state laws that have led to the circumstances we’ve just discussed.
The bottom line is that this change iluminates the power that the judicial system has seized over women’s rights to choose: not just whether to have an abortion, but how and when to deliver their babies, and their level of autonomy in making their own healthcare decisions. Now, it’s not my place to tell anyone what to believe – whether you should believe in a woman’s right to choose or not. But what is important for us all to understand, whether we agree with the supreme court’s decision or not, is just how impactful this reversal is to real people. The states have always had their own laws on this subject, but there was some overarching standard to abide by. Now there is none.
So, a deep breath and, while, we’re all processing all of that…Let’s backtrack to the origins of Roe vs. Wade. The case began in 1969 when a 21 year-old texas woman named Norma McCorvey sought an abortion after her third pregnancy. She was a poor white woman who had dropped out of high school in grade 9 and was struggling with drug addiction. She had already had two children; both of whom were adopted: the first by Norma’s mother, and the second by another family. By the time she became pregnant with her third child, Norma had decided she did not want to go through with another pregnancy, especially at a time when being pregnant would significantly impact her ability to get a job and support herself. She wanted to terminate her pregnancy, but that was illegal in Texas. So, she was left with two options: procuring an abortion illegally in her home state, or leaving Texas to get one legally, without as much risk. But both of those options were expensive, so she sought another route.
Norma was directed to two female lawyers who had wanted to take on a case to fight the restrictive Texas law, and she agreed to have them take her case. She was 5 months pregnant when she agreed to work with attorneys Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee, who would go on to argue in favor of abortion rights at the Supreme Court trial, after the texas court system ruled against them. The Roe vs. Wade's decision wouldn’t come until 1973, 4 years after Norma brought her case forward. She had her baby and placed her up for adoption.
Roe vs. Wade was actually heard on the same day as a case called Doe vs. Bolton, which came out of Georgia. Both cases asserted that prohibiting abortion conflicted with the 14th ammendment, which outlines citizens’ rights to privacy, though to someone who’s not a lawyer, it actually doesn’t appear to be about privacy at all. So I had to look into that.
I’m going to read some of the 14th amendment text directly from the constitution as it’s written on the National Archives website. The amendment is divided into 5 sections, the first of which reads:
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
The key phrase here is “equal protection”. Because of that phrase, this amendment is in essence, a non-discrimination amendment. It affirms that all United States citizens, regardless of race, class, or gender, are afforded the same protections under the constitution–that fundamental rights are fundamental for all citizens. That’s where privacy comes in. Quoting from Russel Galloway’s Basic Equal Protection Analysis in the Santa Clara Law Review:
“The test for determining whether a particular right is fundamental is whether the right is ‘explicitly or implicitly guaranteed by the constitution,” and “the noninterpretive right of privacy is a fundamental right, because the court has held that it is protected by the due process clauses.” (148-149).
In really simple terms, this means that something becomes a right if the supreme court has ruled in previous cases that it is so, and that previous ruling is precedent for any cases that come after. Privacy became protected under the 14th amendment with the 1965 case Griswold vs. Connecticut, when the supreme court ruled that based on the text in the first, third, and fourth amendments, citizens of the united states have a right to privacy. Due process is one of the reasons why this decision is so impactful: if a case that set precedent for other cases is overturned, the right no longer exists.
Ultimately, the 1973 Supreme Court Decision determined that abortion fell under the 14th amendment and that women could make their own health decisions under the right to privacy. However, it also stated that states were able to maintain interest in protecting what they referred to as “potential life”. And the political debating on abortion we’ve seen in the past few decades is a result of that clause.
The 14th amendment was the basis for a number of other supreme court decisions, including Brown vs. the Board of Education, which integrated schools, and other cases during the civil rights movement. It was also the basis for Oberfell vs. Hodges in 2015, which legalized same sex marriage.
Though Roe v. Wade determined that abortion was a right for US citizens, the issue has continued to be bounced around the justice system. The 1973 decision still allowed states to enforce regulations in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, as long as they took into account that an abortion may be necessary to save a pregnant woman’s life. So, states continued to enforce their own regulations and a number of cases made it through to the supreme court after the 1973 precedent. The famous case of Planned Parenthood vs. Casey challenged Pennsylvania’s Abortion Control Act of 1982, which included provisions around informed consent, reporting practices for clinics, a 24 hours waiting period, gaining parental consent if the person receiving the abortion is a minor, and, last but not least, that the woman sign a legal document stating that she has informed her husband. The Supreme Court heard the case in 1992 and in its ruling maintained that abortion was a constitutional right, but it did allow for all of Pennsylvanias provisions except the one about informing the husband. Thank god for that…
In the decades following Roe v. Wade, the right to abortion became more and more of a partisan issue for complex political reasons. And now, with Roe vs. Wade and Planned Parenhood vs. Casey officially reversed, for many americans it feels like the human condition has been overtaken by the political agenda. For others, it’s a victory.
On December 1st, 2021, the case of Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, was argued in front of the supreme court. Jackson Women’s Health is an abortion clinic in Mississipi that sued the state on the premise that its Gestational Age Act which was enacted in 2018 to outlaw abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, violated the 14th amendment right to an abortion under the precedents of Roe vs. Wade and Planned Parenthood vs. Casey. The counter argument was that those two cases were “wrongly decided” and, the republican-appointed supreme court majority agreed. Reading from the Syllabus of the case, the majority decided after a review that “The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.”
So, through the lens of astrology, why did this happen NOW?
Just a little background info on my interpretation of the US’s birth chart, before we go any further. The chart I use for the US is the July 4th, 1776 chart with a time of 4:50pm Eastern, which has the sun in 13 degrees cancer, Saturn in 14 degrees libra. The interpretation I’m holding in the back of my mind is that America is a paternalistic society with a central theme of conflict when trying to balance justice, authority, and altruism.
So, back to the question: why now? Well, now is actually the time of the 8th saturn return for the constitution. The constitution was signed on September 17th, 1787 and is a Virgo sun with Saturn in 23 degrees of Aquarius. To me, the fact that the constitution is a Virgo is so fitting it’s almost comical. Like, you know when something is just SO right that it makes you laugh? That’s how I feel about the constitution being a Virgo. Virgo is detail oriented. It likes rules and regulations and contracts. It likes to have a plan and a set of rules to follow. And that’s just what the constitution is: a schedule of guidelines by which the judicial system is contracted to abide. And interestingly, but not at all surprisingly, the constitution chart has mercury and venus in a close conjunction, also in the sign of Virgo. Mercury rules communication, data, and exchanges of information, and venus rules values and desires and currency. And when you combine the two planets you get a contract: a tangible promise in the form of a written agreement about what two parties or entities own and owe to each other. We typically think of this exchange when we think about money. When we make an arrangement to take out a loan, for example, we have a written document (mercury) about how we plan to exchange our currency (venus). In the case of the constitution, the contract is about the rights rights and privileges, and it is between the entities of the government and the american people. The conjunction of mercury and venus in this chart is evidence of the tangible agreement that is the constitution.
Another place we see a conjunction between venus and mercury is the signing of the 14th amendment. Another contract. Venus and mercury were conjunct in Cancer and when you lay that chart on top of the chart for the united states, you can see how the 14th amendment became woven into the fabric of the united states. It was ratified within the period of the US’s solar return, venus return, mercury return, and when uranus was conjunct the us’s sun.
Now, I mentioned that the constitution is in its 8th saturn return. The saturn return is a time of revision. It takes into consideration all of the paths we have taken up to that point, and during the return, some paths abruptly end and others emerge to send us on our way to new experiences. This is what is happening right now for the constitution. Saturn is saying that it’s time for some of the contract’s provisions to be reviewed and revised. This happens on a regular basis: if you look back at the timing of when each amendment was ratified, the majority of them were affirmed within a year of either a saturn square, opposition, or return.
Now, this process isn’t inherently good or bad, it just is. And the truth about a Saturn return, whether for a structure like the constitution or a person like you and me, is that it can feel really bad when it’s happening, and its gifts may not be visible until it’s over. For a concrete example of this, I’ll present you with a little portion of my own saturn return: I was in a relationship for 10 years, Married for 4 of those years, and then my marriage abruptly ended. I wouldn’t call that experience a lot of fun. There was a lot of drama that occurred (which is 90% of the reason I took such a long break from this podcast), but at the end of it I was gifted with a totally new path in life, and I see now why everything happened the way it did. The point is that Saturn has an agenda, and sometimes we’re in the dark about where it will leave us, but we do know that change is on the other end.
We can’t overlook the fact that we are currently experiencing the pluto return for the united states, which won’t be complete until 2023. Pluto holds our traumas, and a lot of other things that we’ll certainly be discussing in the next two episodes of this series. But when pluto returns, those traumas come to the surface. The pluto return is a slow process; it’s been happening for a couple years now, and we can think back to all of the issues that have surfaced in that time from racial inequity to gaps in the healthcare system to violence of various types and problems in so many other areas of life. This issue is connected to many of those issues, but gender inequality is a big one. The constitution was written by white men for white men and if you look at the original, unedited text, that is very, very clear. Now, in the time when pluto is returning to its original position in the chart for the United States, we’re seeing how our country has changed and not changed in that time. It’s an opportunity to decide whether we want to take our traumas with us, or leave them behind. That’s a really big problem to grapple with as an individual human, and an even bigger one to work out as a nation comprised of millions and millions of people.
With Jupiter in Aries right now, we are all having our own unique reactions to this decision, just as we had them when Roe vs. Wade was originally signed (Jupiter was in Aries then, too). This is a ruling that impacts the individual lives of individual people in the most personal of ways, and the astrology reflects that we are reacting accordingly.
As always, I could say SO much more about the astrology here, but this has been a long episode and I don’t want to overwhelm you.
To all my listeners, whether you’re a loyal fan or this is your first time listening: I appreciate you. Thank you for being here and sticking around while I took a break to get a handle on my life. Things are finally evening out and I anticipate that I will be on a much more regular schedule very, very soon.
Thank you for listening to another episode of Killer Astrology. I’ll be back soon with episode two of the Current Crimes series. Until then, remember: people may lie, but the stars never do.
If you like Killer Astrology, please share the podcast with your friends and consider leaving a 5 star rating. You can follow the podcast on instagram @killerastrologypodcast or follow laura @lauracarrieastrology. Visit lauracarrieastrology.com to book a reading, and killerastrologypodcast.com for more information about the show.