Judging by the energy and fury that has been put over the past nearly 50 years into reimposing the power of government over American women's reproductive rights,
specifically to decide when, with whom and under what circumstances they choose to welcome children into this world, it's clear today that the GOP obsession with "small government" is an illusion at best. Quite the contrary, in fact--if anything, the GOP has forged alliances that weld conservative religious doctrine to political power and they are determined to impose that doctrine on everyone, regardless of belief. If we ever wondered why our founding documents called for the separation of Church and State, this is it, everyone: we're not burning witches at the stake for upsetting the local Puritans, but we're coming very, very close. Not surprisingly, if the Right has its way, we're about to see the disadvantaged in our society become even more so. From MSNBC:
"And while we have been trained by pro-life arguments to think about abortion as a moral issue, it is also an economic one. Any reversal of rights will have grave implications for women who are poor, have limited access to prenatal care or abortion fees, or are underage. Young, financially insecure victims of sexual assault are at particular risk. Rich women will almost always be able to obtain abortions, legal or not. Other women will scrape up the means from partners. Other women will go without.
The writing is on the wall of the Supreme Court. But the drafts of that writing can be found in churches around the country. The court, which Justice Brett Kavanaugh said should be “scrupulously neutral on the question of abortion,” is definitely not neutral in its present iteration. That may be surprising to some — but it represents the message that has been broadcast for decades from pulpits around America."
It's important that we frame this issue as the demographic campaign it really is, not as the soft, sentimentally moralistic one the GOP would like us to think. If we take the longer view (we need to), they're harking back to a sorry, but not entirely unpredictable historical precedent called the "Battle for Births" that Mussolini pushed during his fascist regime in Italy:
"Established in 1927, ‘Battle for Births‘ was a demographic campaign aimed at increasing the Italian population from 40 million in 1927 to 60 million by 1950.
In order to make this idea more appealing to the public, pre-marital loans were offered to couples to pay for their weddings in order to encourage them to marry. On top of this, each new child they produced was used as commodity to cancel out part of said marital loan. Married men with 6+ children also became exempt from taxation, and were more likely to receive promotions within work, over their single, childless co-workers. For women, they received the Mothers Medal as public recognition for their contribution to the scheme if they produced more than the state’s target of 5 children per family."
|A WWII-era Fascist Italy "Mother's Medal"|
"Mussolini feuded with the Catholic Church over a number of issues in his time in office, but their views, at that time, coincided on the issue of gender roles and contraception: both felt that women should assume a role as wife and mother, and both disagreed with contraception and abortion, with Mussolini banning the former. The Battle for Births began in 1927: Mussolini introduced a number of measures to encourage reproduction, with an objective of increasing the population from 40 million to 60 million by 1950...Mussolini, who had developed a cult of personality, argued that the Italian people had a duty to himself to produce as many children as possible...
In correspondence with these incentives, laws were brought in to penalize any citizens who proved to be less productive. Bachelors were taxed increasingly, and by the late 1930s, the civil service began recruiting and promoting only those who were fertile and married. The state exercised some control over the number of women in employment through nationalized businesses, and the state-owned railway company sacked all women employed since 1915, with the exception of war widows. These policies extended to private industry as well, with the majority of companies reserving promotions for married men."
Apparently, the Italian people didn't respond to this "battle" for population growth quite the way Mussolini had hoped:
"Mussolini felt that the lack of enthusiasm shown by the Italian nation had cost him 15 army divisions in World War II, in which Italy had fought alongside the Axis Powers."
At least Mussolini was transparent about why he wanted a higher birth rate; in the GOP states, the reasoning may seem more subtle, but the ramifications are equally stark -- higher population numbers translate into more political power within our representative government. That's why slave states were allowed 3/5 of a person for each slave on a plantation--to somewhat equalize state power across North and South.
So maybe now, with increased numbers of poor and the likely bump in incarcerations that's sure to follow from the abortion ban, GOP-led states will have engineered their self-perpetuating way of consolidating more power in wealthier (and presumably whiter) hands. To guarantee this, of course, they must keep the voter suppression laws they've passed in place--and maybe even institute well-armed state militias, as Ron De Santis is planning for Florida, (autocrats have to be able to quell unrest among the disadvantaged). Taken all together, these measures could very well help them create a permanent conservative stranglehold on the nation at large.
Just to be clear, we should be under no illusions that the GOP is pursuing this in a "colorblind" way, either--they've read the same studies that show who will be disadvantaged by the abortion ban as those defending Roe have, and they're apparently just fine with that. Toxic capitalism demands a permanent underclass, so just when we think some progress might be made...
About small government
Perhaps I'm not the only one who feels a chill running down her spine at the thought that the glorious creative role we women play in the perpetuation and nurturing of human life on this planet is less our business and more the business of governments looking to swell their hold on power, military or otherwise.
Astrologically, it seems unsurprising to me that we may be witnessing the final death rattle of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that has, since 1973, protected a woman's reproductive rights in this nation, including the right to abortion up to the point of fetal viability (approx. 24 weeks).
Over the ensuing years, of course, the right enshrined in that 1973 decision has been chipped away at and eroded by state legislatures (in fact, the current challenge before the Supreme Court will likely protect one of those state-level efforts), but we'd be naive to think that some deep corporate pockets and their vested interests haven't also played a role in this effort since day one. Indeed, a powerful coalition has arisen in this country between the conservative religious/ideological and the corporate Right; I recommend Katherine Stewart's 2020 study, The Power Worshippers (1) for more on that chilling story.
On the other hand, Fortune magazine has recently catalogued the many harms that will be realized by corporate America if Roe v. Wade is overturned. For starters:
"Companies that already compete for top talent will find that the majority of employees will not be willing to relocate based on what lack of abortion access signals about the culture and politics of the state. Six in 10 women would be discouraged from taking a job in a state that has tried to restrict access to abortion. And 54% of men ages 18 to 44 say they also would be discouraged from taking a job in a state that has recently tried to restrict abortion access. A majority of women (56%) say they would not even apply to a job in a state that has recently banned abortion....The consequences of a Roe reversal would be devastating for the communities where corporate America operates. If Roe falls or is further diminished, more than 20 states would prohibit abortion outright. And 11 states—including Mississippi—currently have trigger bans on the books, which would instantaneously ban abortion if Roe is overturned."
While realistic about the challenges women have always confronted in the corporate world, the authors of this FORTUNE article also focus on the harm that state economies will suffer if Roe v. Wade is overturned:
"Because women have been historically less valued as employees, as demonstrated by gender-based pay inequities across race, it is all the more important to highlight the economic impact of banning abortion. Recent research by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research estimates that state-level abortion restrictions cost the U.S. economy $105 billion annually. Depending on the state, the existing abortion restrictions cost states from hundreds of millions to even billions annually by reducing labor force participation and earnings levels and increasing turnover and time off from work among women 15 to 44 years old."
Ironically (or maybe not so), generations of corporate support for GOP political races and policy priorities have helped fund the assault on women's rights that dominates Supreme Court headlines at the moment, but the Fortune writers suggest that corporations will benefit more from supporting their female employees' needs than they will from standing by impassively:
"Since diminished access to abortion has been among the collateral damage of corporate support for Republicans, companies must increase their due diligence when it comes to political giving. Companies can limit political giving to candidates who uphold shared values and norms in line with revised investor and employee expectations.
If nothing else, employers should highlight for their workforce how existing policies like paid time off and other benefits can be tapped to help employees access the health care they need. And given the existing barriers that vary by state in accessing abortion, employers can bolster financial assistance, caregiving benefits, and employee assistance programs for workers who face extraordinary burdens in obtaining essential health care. Some employees who are able to do so may choose to relocate because of looming restrictions—their employers should allow them to."
It's nice to imagine that corporations could respond to their female employees' needs as the Fortune article suggests, but color me skeptical--despite some stand out examples, their track record simply doesn't support such imaginings. The idea that corporations would somehow compensate for the loss of a pregnant woman's self-determination is a stretch--besides, what about those women who will find themselves stuck in situations where there is scant to no help, corporate or otherwise? How many abused and battered women will find themselves without recourse and even more deeply vulnerable than usual? How many children will suffer the fall-out from all this?Universal Pre-K monies that should be provided for in the Build Back Better bill. All in the name of their conservative preference for "small government."
I'm sorry, the magnitude of this hypocrisy cries out for a response here: is there anything "small" about a government (state or federal, does it matter?) imposing its power over women's bodies and reproductive choices, not to mention denying its citizens important benefits that are available to them? Tyranny takes many forms, including passive aggression fueled by callous disdain for people's needs.
And those fighting to overturn abortion in these states have the gall to claim that they will protect and support women who have their right to self-determination taken away? Considering the source and the track records, I can't think of a more hollow promise.
This is a good leaping off point for a look at the chart for this past week's (12/1/2021) hearing at the Supreme Court. The news reports indicate that several of the Justices indicated a willingness to at least uphold the Mississippi ban on abortion after 15 weeks that sits at the heart of the case, if not a willingness to go even further to overturn Roe v. Wade entirely. Chief Justice John Roberts seemed to be signaling that he considers the 15 week ban an acceptable "compromise" of sorts, falling short of overturning Roe v. Wade, but putting a more onerous time constraint on pregnant women.
The political ramifications of this decision would be unavoidable, of course. IMHO, Justice Sotomayor asked the most pertinent question of the entire hearing:
"'Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts? I don't see how it is possible.'"
This is an especially interesting question to have in mind as we read the charts below--first for the December 1st hearing on its own (Chart 1), and then that chart, set against a noon chart for the 1973 passage of Roe v. Wade (Biwheel 1). As all-powerful as the Court may seem in our system of government, its legitimacy as the ultimate arbiter of what's constitutional and what isn't does depend upon the trust and respect of the American people. It has made mistakes based upon unfortunate biases before and we have to imagine it will make them again. This has undoubtedly had something to do with why members of the Court have been making speeches lately about how "apolitical" their decisions are, but even in making those speeches they are signaling political concerns.
IMHO, the partisan "politics" of all this may be simply a smoke screen for the deeper, more pervasive peril--the serious blurring of the boundary between Church and State that is supposed to be quite definitive in our system of government. That GOP mission has evolved from knocking down resistance to prayer in schools over decades to redefining the concept of "religious freedom" to mean the freedom to discriminate (against LGBQT individuals, especially), to under Trump most recently, hosting prayer breakfasts and Bible study groups in the White House that promote a deeply conservative world view.
A worldview that, not incidentally, views environmentalism as a "false religion" and freedom for women as a non-issue (women are meant to be subject to men, in their book). In fact, according to Katherine Stewart's chilling study documenting all this, referenced above, ultra-conservative religious lobbyists roam the halls of Congress making suggestions for wording in bills, dropping into offices to "pray" with representatives and much much more. Stewart cites the activities of one particularly powerful organizer named Ralph Drollinger, who is deeply involved in all this:
"'Good laws are informed by Biblical morality, over and above personal liberty,' as Drollinger writes. 'Opposite the theory of Theocracy when it comes to lawmaking (wherein every precept and tenet of the religion is incorporated into the laws of the State) is Libertarianism,' which he disparagingly characterizes as tending 'toward amorality.'1
Those who work to impose narrow (often deeply regressive) views of morality on people, especially by trying to codify THEIR OWN religious perspectives within the systems of government themselves (as theocracies do) are no friends to democracy and are ultimately out to destroy any civil rights that clash with their dogmatic views. In the past this has led to the Court supporting racial segregation laws and other forms of xenophobia and discrimination against minorities, including women, of course.
Players like Drollinger would like to see a return to those days, according to this, from Stewart's study:
“'The institution of the state” is “an avenger of wrath,' he explains in another sermon, and its 'God-given responsibility' is 'to moralize a fallen world through the use of force.'"2
Did I mention that Drollinger eagerly supported Trump and is undoubtedly working hard to help reinstate him? Very little morality there, but so much vengeance and wrath! And the very same lust for power.
Returning our focus to the specific matter of Roe v. Wade and its potential demise, let's examine Chart 1 below for the 12/1/2021 hearing. The 10 a.m. timing I've used was gleaned from news reports of the day and the Court's schedule, so I'm fairly certain we can take the angles, houses and Moon placements of this chart seriously.
Chart 1. U.S. Supreme Court hears Roe v. Wade challenge, December 1, 2021, 10:00 a.m. ST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast on Kepler 8.0 and courtesy of Cosmic Patterns Software.
My thanks go out to a colleague for pointing out that Neptune turned direct barely an hour-an-a-half before this hearing started yesterday morning; as we'll see, this may have some bearing on the matter at hand because Venus (Capricorn) sextiles Neptune (Pisces) at the same time it rises conjunct Pluto on the 1st house side of the Capricorn ASC. So clearly, this so-called "woman's" issue has far-reaching collective implications. Venus is also out-of-bounds here, so perhaps a bit more empowered than usual. This may also reflect the fact that two women argued the case in front of the Court against Mississippi's challenge to Roe v. Wade. From the Washington Post:
"Mississippi Solicitor General Scott G. Stewart said the landmark decisions of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey 'haunt our country' and 'have no home in our history or traditions' as he defended a state law that bans most abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy.
Attorney Julie Rikelman, a lawyer representing an abortion provider that sued, pushed back, saying the Mississippi law would do 'profound damage to women’s liberty, equality and the rule of law.' U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth B. Prelogar, also arguing on behalf of the provider, warned that 'the real-world effects of overruling Roe and Casey would be severe and swift,' predicting a wave of new restrictions in many states."
As we've seen, arguments in favor of "liberty, equality and the rule of law" fall on deaf ears with ultra-conservative activists, and they're certainly not worried about the idea of "new restrictions" -- that's exactly what they're after! So, it's hard to say from this if that easy Venus-Neptune sextile aspect denotes success for Roe v. Wade's defenders or a relatively effortless caving in of the Court to demands for more restrictions. To my mind, the Court's main concern is not meant to be "history and traditions," as the Mississippi argument goes: these can be (and are) rife with crimes against humanity, but the federal rule of law is the Court's business, and that's supposed to protect all of us from the vagaries of local cultures, traditions and biases. Why else would we have a federal government and Constitution? Let's dig a little deeper.
Saturn rules this chart from the 1st in Aquarius, Square 4th house Uranus in Taurus. This becomes a t-square if we factor in the Scorpio MC. So yes, there are no easy answers to the matter before the Court, and no matter what they decide, grass roots unrest is likely to follow. There's a kind of "gender war" energy built into this, as well--Aquarius is hard-nosed yang energy, especially strong when Saturn (a co-ruler with Uranus) is involved. Taurus brings in the yin perspective, which of course dominates the defense side of this case, but that willful yang desire to control and restrict the yin perspective weighs heavily here. Aquarius is co-ruled by both planets involved here, however, which suggests to me that Roberts' "compromise" (he's looking more and more like a latter-day Solomon splitting the baby between two mothers right now) may have to prevail.
|Atty-General Lynn Fitch helped craft Mississippi's arguments before the Supreme Court.|
"As a close observer of the court, I believe the justices have three options rather than two:
• Maintain Roe fully, solidifying abortion rights.
• Overturn Roe entirely, ending all abortion rights.
• Focus only on the specific factual question of the Mississippi law – when does personhood emerge? – allowing individual states to determine that line for themselves.
Based on his questions and commentary during the oral arguments, Chief Justice Roberts appears to favor the third approach. Roberts’ first question to the solicitor general of Mississippi was about the arbitrariness of viability, citing the revelations of Blackmun’s original views. Roberts returned several times to viability as the core issue, asking the lawyer for the Mississippi abortion provider, 'Why is 15 weeks not enough time?' to obtain an abortion, emphasizing that 'the thing that is at issue before us today is 15 weeks.'
The question as the court deliberates is whether the more conservative justices – especially the newest member of the court, Amy Coney Barrett – will join Roberts’ limited focus, or instead rule on the constitutionality of the right to abortion."
Given all that, it's probably significant that the Court's hearing began under a balsamic Moon (Scorpio, less than 45 degrees from the Sagittarius Sun, which suggests something is being completed, not begun anew. Again, differing interpretations of what that means are possible, but it does suggest to me that Roe v. Wade's long saga might finally be put to rest somehow. Whether that's good news for its defenders is unclear, but we may be able to glean a bit more about this when we compare this chart to the 1973 Roe v. Wade chart in Biwheel 1 below.
Before we do that, however, let's consider quickly that Jupiter (Aquarius) also plays a key role here, as ruler of the Sun's sign and a strong presence in the 2nd house, square 11th house Mars (Scorpio). Jupiter is in its post-retrograde shadow period here, however, so its ability to deliver on Aquarian ideals like democracy and civil rights may fall somewhat short of expectations. It's sobering to realize that this same square manifested pretty horrendously just one day prior to this Court hearing, in a school shooting in Oxford, Michigan. Jupiter both expands and amplifies whatever it touches, and when Mars is involved, violence is always a possibility.
That violence can take many forms, of course: in Oxford, Michigan, it was pre-meditated, gun-based and deadly physical; in the case of abortion rights, this move to destroy an important basis for women's self-determination in this society is also absolutely pre-meditated and long sought after. Nobody wants to need an abortion, but to impose governmental power over women's choices in this most personal of matters is indeed, an act of violence. The same ideologues who are pushing for this evisceration are also in a tizzy about Biden's life-saving vaccine mandates; what's WRONG with this picture??
One big question that emerged for me during the Court hearing--and comes to mind with Jupiter's 2nd house placement here was whether this is a purely ideological contest over the fetal "personhood" question, or if there's much, much more at stake materially in how this works out? Justice Amy Coney-Barrett's line of questioning seemed to suggest the latter. From MSNBC:
"Meanwhile, Barrett turned her focus to 'safe haven' laws, noting that 'in all 50 states, you can terminate parental rights by relinquishing a child.' Detailing how Jackson Women’s Health Organization and other briefs supporting the abortion provider discussed the problems of 'forced parenting, forced motherhood,' Barrett then asked the provider’s lawyer, Julie Rikelman, 'Why don't the safe haven laws take care of that problem?' While Barrett went on to acknowledge that ending abortion rights would restrict 'bodily autonomy,' she also immediately suggested that such restrictions were comparable (if not equivalent) to vaccine mandates."
Maybe I'm jaded here, but listening to Coney-Barrett default to work-arounds at every turn when the defense raises valid concerns that women have about abortion access suggests that she empathizes more with the adoption industry than she does with the rights (or plights) of women. Indeed, the safe haven laws may be the solution for the dilemma some women find themselves in, but those laws are hardly a blanket justification for stripping all American women of their right to choose. Pregnancy can be a health hazard as much as a blessed event--that's why individual choice is so essential and appropriate here.
I would guess that the outcome here will hinge pretty heavily upon how the Mars to Venus-Pluto sextile manifests: Mars rules both the 11th house of governmental power and the 4th house of the grass-roots, so it will be interesting to see how the issues of control and domination play out. We needn't see this entirely as a gender war, however: Mars has both yang (Aries) and yin (Scorpio) ruling signs, and women looking to the Court to protect their control over their reproductive lives isn't a a bad use for a Scorpio Mars.
Biwheel 1. (inner wheel) Roe v. Wade decided, January 22, 1973, 12 p.m. (noon, no exact time known), Washington, D.C.; (outer wheel) U.S. Supreme Court hears Roe v. Wade challenge, December 1, 2021, 10:00 a.m. ST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast on Kepler 8.0 and courtesy of Cosmic Patterns Software.
We can't really count on the houses, angles and Moon placement of the Passage chart (inner wheel) for our interpretation here, but it is suggestive to me that the Challenge chart Neptune (Virgo, outer wheel) opposes Passage Moon from Pisces. Neptune naturally erodes and undermines everything it touches, but as the natural ruler of the 12th, it also obfuscates and confuses people into undermining their own interests. How many of the women who were spared government control over their own bodies after the 1973 decision have since joined the chorus of those railing against Roe v. Wade?
We addressed the Challenge Venus-Pluto-to Neptune sextile in Chart 1; here we see that this same Capricorn Venus-Pluto conjoins Passage jupiter (and more widely, Passage No. Node) and that Jupiter, of course, sextiles Challenge Neptune. These soft aspects sound relatively harmless, but if we consider that the challengers of Roe are the ones pushing the whole case, and that even a sextile from Challenge Neptune could erode Roe's protections even further, the picture may not look quite as rosy for Roe's defenders.
These soft aspects could signal some kind of compromise solution, but I suspect other factors would need to reinforce that possibility. Challenge Mars (Scorpio) also sextiles Passage Jupiter and Passage Moon (if we can count on this Moon placement), which puts this Mars at the Challenge Moon/Jupiter midpoint. In fact, midpoints expert Michael Munkasey offers a pertinent interpretation of this combination for our discussion:
"An added element of rashness and temper; increased dimensions for your opinions; harshness to your religious or philosophical ideas; energy and activity for projects done together as or for the family."
The question is, will the Court overturn the civil rights of millions of American women on the basis of the Right's dogmatic crusade? Or will something of our American democracy be left on the table?
Notice that Passage Venus conjoins Passage No. Node and Quincunxes Passage Saturn Rx (Gemini); the passage of Roe v. Wade was supremely well-timed (Venus-No. Node) and numerous socioeconomic reforms followed its passage, such as women's increased presence in the labor force and in positions of influence (Challenge Venus square Passage Uranus/Pluto midpoint in Libra). This progress is, of course, exactly what the GOP is trying to reverse, judging by the extremist ideas driving their actions these days.
In fact, if we think about it, the pandemic has been a godsend for such extremists: what better way to keep women home with their children and out of the labor force than to simply refuse to support their efforts in the workforce with enhanced childcare benefits? What better way to keep them home than to rail against vaccines that might liberate them to move about more freely? Could this explain what's going on with the Challenge Mars-Neptune trine (Scorpio-Pisces), and why there's still such GOP resistance to vaccine mandates in corporate workforces? The issue of Roe v. Wade may seem unrelated, but with Neptune, the boundaries between such dynamics become blurry indeed.
Notice that in the Passage chart, Jupiter squares Uranus (Capricorn-Libra); this was the first (waxing) square of that cycle, which began in December, 1968 at 3+Libra. So very reform minded and with Venus disposing it, focused on women. Fast forward and Challenge Jupiter-Uranus (Aquarius-Taurus) is in the waning 3Q mode of the 2010 cycle that launched in 0+ARIES. We touched upon the Challenge Mars-Jupiter square (Scorpio-Aquarius) earlier in regards to the issue of the ideologically-tinged domination and control of women; unfortunately, this 2010 cycle may reflect the social-change campaign that's pushed that trend and is very focused on finishing what it started.
In the interest of keeping this a manageable length, I won't add the U.S. Sibly chart into this mix, but if you know that chart at all, you will have noticed that Challenge Jupiter conjoins Sibly Moon, that Challenge Venus-Pluto conjoin Sibly Pluto and Challenge Neptune opposes Sibly Neptune. So yes, far-reaching social and collective dynamics are in the works with this case before the Supreme Court, and yes, demographic campaigns and ideological crusades fit here, as do challenges to the very soul of our democracy.
Hopefully, the relatively strong status of transiting Venus in the Challenge chart will protect women's rights here in the U.S., but to be clear, I'm not overly optimistic. For one, there are far too many American women who support overturning Roe v. Wade (we are often our own worst enemies), or are simply too well-heeled to pay attention. The fact is, many societies are in a state of transformation during these times and women are among the most vulnerable citizens everywhere we look. Perhaps we forget that women only gained the vote in America about 100 years ago, and if the voter suppression states have their way, many of us will effectively lose that right, not to mention our voice in the direction of this nation. Unfortunately, we only need to look to history to see that when autocratic ambitions take hold in a country, women's rights are often the first to go.
Our Sibly return will be a few months in the rear-view mirror by the time the Court hands down its final judgment on this case in June: I hope by then we will pull back from that autocratic brink, I really do.
Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former educator. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, U.S. history, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. She’s published articles on these topics in several key astrology journals over the years, including most recently, the TMA blog. For information about individual chart readings, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Raye Robertson 2021. All rights reserved.
1 Katherine Stewart, The Power Worshippers: Inside the Rise of Dangerous Religious Nationalism, Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition, pp. 40-41.
2 Stewart, p. 40.