“SNL” gives a sharp, frustrated look at abortion rights

In seeking historical precedent for the upcoming Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Judge Samuel Alito went far beyond the ideology of originalism – the guiding tenet of a certain conservative faction that constitutional law should not deviate far from the constitution. His leaked 98-page statement, which aimed to revoke women’s right to privacy and bodily autonomy at the federal level by denying access to abortion, dated back to 13th- and 17th-century England when new laws passed the Giving men more control over pregnancy and therefore over women’s bodies.

The one from last night Saturday night live blasted Alito’s notion of tradition by venturing back into the Middle Ages and delivering a searing reply. During the Cold Open, host Benedict Cumberbatch and performers James Austin Johnson and Andrew Dismukes played 13th-century men debating the need for an abortion ban. The sketch underscored the monumental gulf between them then and now to attack the restrictive beliefs that shape the opinion of the conservative judiciary.

In the play, Cumberbatch stumbled upon the idea of ​​banning abortion while “cleaning up the hole… where we poop.” The idea initially puzzled his compatriots. “You mean like the law we have against pointy shoes?” Johnson asked. “Or the law of cutting off one’s genitals if one hunts deer in the forest?” Dismukes added. Cumberbatch replied with ironic seriousness, “Exactly. Something fair and reasonable like these laws. We should make a law that will stand the test of time so that hundreds and hundreds of years from now they will look back and say, “There is no need to update this law at all. They nailed it again in 1235.’”

SNLThe cold openings of are typically ambitious sketches targeting the week’s biggest headlines. More often than not, the show strives to mock several different brands rather than focusing on a single point. But last night’s opening delivered a concentrated barrage of punchlines about how medieval men understood the world and viewed women, and questioned why the principles of that time should serve as a legal precedent for our age today. Cumberbatch summed up the point aptly: “Well, I realize we’ve reached the limits of human knowledge,” he said, gesturing at his bowl-shaped hair. “We found that haircut; we know that the sun is the moon when it is happy; and we entrust all our money and our children to the Catholic Church.” Cecily Strong deepened the debate between the three men, playing a townswoman who challenged their arguments. “I was just wondering,” she asked, “since I’m almost 12 of child-bearing age, shouldn’t women have the right to vote since having a baby means a 50 percent chance of dying?”

SNL did not contain the subject of abortion just open to the cold. Weekend Update compared Alito’s decision to pick positions from English lawyers, who lived in a time when women had few, if any, rights to an angry social media post. The election, the show claimed, feels less like a rational court ruling and more like a fallacious argument that a fringe Facebook group could be circulated as fact. Meanwhile, Kate McKinnon criticized the Conservative judges from a different angle. She delivered a deadpan performance by Judge Amy Coney Barrett; Her character advocated for women to “make their nine months” and put their babies up for adoption. McKinnon’s Barrett displayed a void meant to further comment on the court’s aloof attitude.

The show’s take on abortion rights built on the frustrated tone Strong had established earlier in the season. She appeared in a similarly memorable “Weekend Update” following the September 2021 vote by the Texas state legislature to ban all abortions after six weeks. In her role as “Goober the Clown who had an abortion when she was 23,” Strong artfully exaggerated the complicated conditions that create post-abortion silence and shame.

In the conversation about reproductive rights, the conservatives have dominated and told “better” stories, the writer Rebecca Traister recently argued. But last night SNL debunked the regressive story Alito founded with his opinion and crafted his own hard-edged rebuttal. “SNL” gives a sharp, frustrated look at abortion rights

Jessica MacLeish

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