SNL Just Got Medieval on Justice Alito’s Abortion Views

“No need to update this one at all! They nailed it back in 1235!”

"I was outside watching the sheriff throw left-handed children into the river and I couldn’t help but overhear you talking about a new law."Will Heath/NBC/Getty

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

The big topic on last night’s Saturday Night Live, surprising absolutely no one, was the Supreme Court. For its cold open, the show took aim at Justice Samuel Alito’s now-infamous leaked draft opinion, which would overturn the abortion rights enshrined in Roe v. Wade

Alito’s extremely dubious reasoning is based on an ahistorical rendering of abortion as fundamentally inconsistent with American “history and tradition.” As my colleague Becca Andrews smartly pointed out, that simplistic formulation ignores the history of abortion and reproductive care among indigenous American women, let alone enslaved Black women and other women in the colonial era.

The SNL cast, noting that Alito’s opinion relied on a “treatise from 13th-century England,” turned back the clock to “that profound moment of moral clarity, almost a thousand years ago, which laid such a clear foundation for what our laws should be in 2022.” In a vaguely medieval setting, three men (Benedict Cumberbatch, Andrew Dismukes, and actually-good Trump impersonator James Austin Johnson) debate the appropriate punishment for abortion—until a woman played by Cecily Strong intercedes. Although she still hasn’t hit “the child-bearing age of 12,” she insists that women deserve “the right to choose.”

The three dudes are less than receptive to that incredibly popular idea. Instead, says Cumberbatch’s character, expectant mothers should simply receive maternity leave—”when you’re done with 20 years of continuous maternity, you can leave!”

Watch the rest of the sketch here

WE'RE TAKING A SHORT BREAK…

from the big banner at the top of our pages asking for the donations that make Mother Jones' nonprofit journalism possible. But we still have upwards of $300,000 to raise by June 30, whether we get there is going to come down to the wire, and we can't afford to come up short.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please join your fellow readers who pitch in from time to time to keep our democracy-advancing, justice-seeking journalism charging hard (and to help us avoid a real budget crunch as June 30 approaches and our fiscal year ends).

payment methods

WE'RE TAKING A SHORT BREAK…

from the big banner at the top of our pages asking for the donations that make Mother Jones' nonprofit journalism possible. But we still have upwards of $300,000 to raise by June 30, whether we get there is going to come down to the wire, and we can't afford to come up short.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please join your fellow readers who pitch in from time to time to keep our democracy-advancing, justice-seeking journalism charging hard (and to help us avoid a real budget crunch as June 30 approaches and our fiscal year ends).

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate