Opinion: Banning abortion is not where this lustful GOP will stop

Bring out the long, red, hooded dresses made famous by "The Handmaid's Tale," the now-not-so-futuristic-and-dystopian book, movie and television series from author Margaret Atwood.

Written in 1985, Atwood's novel was set in a fictional New England, patriarchal, white-supremacist, totalitarian state known as the Republic of Gilead, which had overthown the United States government. There, women who could still bear children despite environmental toxins were forcibly assigned to be "handmaids" and produce children for the "commanders," the men in Gilead's ruling class.

The only thing Atwood, a Canadian, got wrong was the New England setting. She should have chosen the American South - Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi or Texas - states that, for all intents and purposes, have not waited for Friday's ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court striking down Roe v. Wade, which for nearly 50 years has protected women's right to abortion.

Already, Tennessee and Georgia had passed draconian abortion restrictions - basically no abortions after six weeks, a time at which many women don't even know they are pregnant. Georgia's law has been on hold in the courts, but now likely will take effect until the state passes a tougher one. Tennessee already has passed a "trigger" ban that would activate to halt all abortions should Roe be overturned by the high court. Which, of course, now has happened.

With the stroke of a pen, Roe - the 1973 case that finally made it clear women were full citizens of America with as much control over their bodies as men is now gone.

Now the legality of abortion is left to individual states, and as a practical reality that means about 52% of women of childbearing age - basically those in the nation's 25 "red" states - face total or near-total abortion bans.

But here's a prediction. Republicans who so politicized our country and fought for this ruling may find their celebrations brief. It isn't just women who won't go back. And it isn't just Democrats.

Polls have consistently reported a majority of Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Even in Tennessee in 2019, 51% of us told Vanderbilt pollsters that Roe v. Wade's establishment of legalized abortion was the right decision. Only 42% said it was not. And please note it wasn't just women who responded to those polls.

Around mid-day after the morning announcement of the high court's ruling, President Joe Biden promised a continuing fight.

(READ MORE: Reaction in Tennessee and Georgia from leaders opposing the overturning of Roe v. Wade)

(READ MORE: Reaction in Tennessee and Georgia from leaders welcoming the overturning of Roe v. Wade)

"Today the Supreme Court expressly took away a constitutional right for the American people. They didn't limit it, they simply took it away. But it doesn't mean the fight's over.

"This fall, Roe is on the ballot. Personal freedoms are on the ballot. The right to privacy, liberty and equality are all on the ballot," Biden said. "Congress must act. You can act. And with your vote, you can have the final word. This is not over."

It was a welcomed statement, but despite the president's call to intellectual arms, things do still feel dystopian.

In 2019 - around the same time 51% of Tennesseans told Vandy pollsters Roe v. Wade's legalized abortion was the right decision, the Tennessee legislature turned a deaf ear and passed one of the country's "trigger" laws, the Human Life Protection Act. Signed by Gov. Bill Lee, the law automatically bans abortion in the first and second trimesters within 30 days after any major changes in Roe v. Wade - like Friday's Supreme Court decision.

It makes abortion not only illegal but also a felony for providers carrying out the procedure, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The anti-abortion law has only one exception: an abortion necessary to prevent death or "serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function." By the way, a woman's mental health is explicitly excluded as a "serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment."

Women seeking an abortion would face no criminal penalties. But don't take that to the bank. Our governor and supermajority Republican lawmakers are no doubt cooking up some other "trigger" bill to fix that even as we speak.

One would think they'd give us some real "gun trigger" laws, seeing our rising gun deaths. But no. Our lawmakers instead have given us permitless gun carry, increasing the guns we have now everywhere.

And this, of course, is something else the Supreme Court muddied this week when it ruled state efforts to limit gun carry rules are unconstitutional.

Say what? We - states - can limit abortions but not how and where guns are carried?

We're pro life for babies who've not yet drawn a breath, but not pro-life for those among us - breathing children included - who are gunned down daily by deranged or simply evil shooters toting weapons of war?

Nope. Sorry! Gun carriers' rights have superseded the rights of millions of already-breathing Americans' to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It seems we may as well consider ourselves transported to Atwood's Gilead where our super-right-wing Supreme Court, linchpinned by three Trump-appointed judges, is out of control. The Republican Party and many of its lawmakers - first propelled by religious fanatics, but now simply by a lust for power - is out of control.

Elections matter. Both in our state houses and in Washington, D.C., where this Supreme Court will continue - without stating it this way - to make women and people of color and any other group not expressly white and male go back to being subordinate, second-class citizens.

Will we wait for them to outlaw our votes, too?