Friday, July 4, 2014
In recent years, let's say since Pluto entered Capricorn, I have made a point of reminding myself on a regular basis that as a woman, I am extremely lucky to be an American and not a citizen of a country where women are routinely abused, treated as chattel and as perpetual baby containers, must cover up most of their bodies so as not to incite the beastly lust of men who are not compelled to go around with lampshades on their heads, and/or must rely on the kindness of their male relatives or husbands to survive, if not thrive. As an American woman, I still have a very high degree of autonomy; I can live on my own if I choose, at least in theory work in any field I desire, and manage my own finances. I also have the right to make decisions that pertain to my health and overall well-being. This includes birth control and abortion. For the past week, however, I and many of my fellow American women have been feeling considerably less lucky. Two decisions reached by the Supreme Court on June 26 and July 1 have made it very clear that while corporations and unimplanted zygotes are people, women do not quite make that grade. I could make an unfunny joke about how this nation should rename itself the United States of Islam, but that would be doing a great disservice to Islamics who do not pervert the Quran to their own twisted ends. Perhaps the United States of Christian Fundamentalism would be more appropriate. I am still perplexed as to the unanimous verdict of June 26 that struck down as unconsitutional the 35-foot "buffer zone" Massachussetts State law that protects women who are entering and leaving sexual and reproductive health-care facilities (and I feel compelled to emphasize here that women go to Planned Parenthood and other such clinics for checkups, not just pregnancy termination). I understand the concept of our First Amendment, i.e., free speech, and that sidewalks and the like belong to "We the People." Yet the Supreme Court building itself has an extremely generous buffer zone of 252 feet -- for the purpose, according to the regulations, of maintaining "suitable order and decorum" on the property. "We the People" are not allowed to congregate or protest anywhere near federal buildings, and remember what happened with Occupy Wall Street? Granted, there is a legitimate fear of political assassination -- but what about the safety of women and their health-care providers? What about the fact that there are lunatics out there whose God-ordained mission is to kill "baby killers"? My own father, a retired OB-GYN, had to deal with these nutjobs back in the 1980s when he volunteered at a nearby clinic on Saturday mornings. Police became a constant and necessary presence in the parking lot. And let's just cut the crap: "pro-lifers" do NOT want to conduct quiet, respectful discourse with women entering clinics. If they did, they would not be carrying bullhorns and signs depicting mangled fetuses. If they were truly respectful, they would understand that no woman wants to be badgered about a decision this personal and this upsetting, and also realize that no woman is unaware at this point of her other "options." And again, they never seem to take into account that a woman might be entering the clinic for a PAP smear or pelvic exam. The Hobby Lobby case decision, coming on the heels of the buffer-zone smackdown, is even more upsetting, as it shows that the laws of the USA are basically in the hands of five old, white, conservative Roman Catholic men who may hang around another couple of decades to erode even more rights for women (and maybe some other "less than" groups -- but racism, anti-Semitism, even homophobia are simply not as tolerated in the US as antipathy toward women and poor people of both genders). The backup for this travesty is not to be found in the Constitution, but the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. The RFRA was to apply to people; now that corporations are people (per the Citizens United case of 2010), the 5-4 Hobby Lobby decision states that RFRA applies to regulations that govern the activities of "closely held" for-profit corporations, and therefore such companies cannot be required to cover birth control and contraceptives. Never mind that Hobby Lobby is hardly a "closely held" enterprise, with nearly 600 stores in the US; never mind that a corporation cannot attend church, temple, or a shamanistic peyote ritual; never mind that birth control is not the equivalent of abortion and is also used to treat such conditions as endometriosis; never mind that many of Hobby Lobby's wares are made in China, where contraceptives and abortions are necessary to maintain its "one child per family" policy; never mind that Hobby Lobby covers Viagra and vasectomies; never mind that pre-ACA (aka Obamacare), Holly Lobby apparently had no problem with covering women's health-care needs. Never mind any of that. Floodgates for futher indignities that will hurt REAL, ACTUAL people who have to work for a living, please open now. You may be wondering when I'll start astrologizing. Okay, here goes: both of these Supreme Court decisions occurred with Mercury still retrograde in Gemini, which personally gives me some hope for a double overturn. (Gemini in general is adept at "flipping," and Mercury in Gemini in particular is an expert.) What's particularly troubling is that these decisions were made on an approaching opposition between the Sun in Cancer and Pluto in Capricorn (exact today at 4 a.m. ET) and even more ominously, the opposition between Jupiter in late Cancer and US Pluto in 27 Capricorn (exact early tomorrow a.m. ET -- should make for some interesting fireworks and possible protests). Cancer is THE female de tutti females of the zodiac; Jupiter is law and religion (as well as philosophy, long-distance travel, gambling, and higher education). Pluto in Capricorn represents the conservative, status quo power, often winning by dubious, unscrupulous means. I do worry that things will get darker before they get lighter; we have another decade of Pluto in Capricorn, and almost that long until the first US Pluto Return (Pluto takes about 248 years to make just one orbit around the Sun). Pluto eventually kills off the compulsive, destructive side of whatever sign it transits; Capricorn is the domain of banks, CEOs, corporations, and government. The last time Pluto was in Capricorn, we had a little something called the American Revolution, which culminated in the Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776. Our Founding Fathers may be rolling over in their graves today, but all the same...Happy Birthday, America. The US Solar Return chart has Cancer Rising, Jupiter in Cancer exactly opposing US Pluto, and Moon and Mars in Libra in the 4th House, indicating that most of the harm done during the next year will be at home, and in the home. Mercury and Sun in 12th House indicate plenty of behind-the-scenes action and secrecy. I guess that means that whatever the public hears about, there's plenty more that's not being shared...but then, what else is new?