In seeking historical precedent for the Supreme Court’s next decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Justice Samuel Alito went well beyond the ideology of originalism – the guiding precept of a certain conservative faction that constitutional law should not stray from the Constitution. Her leaked 98-page opinion, intended to federally revoke women’s rights to privacy and bodily autonomy by denying access to abortion dates back to 13th and 17th century England. centuries, when new laws gave men greater control over pregnancy and, by extension, women’s bodies.

Last night saturday night live blasted the notion of Alito lore by venturing into the medieval period and delivering a searing retort. During the cold open, host Benedict Cumberbatch and cast members James Austin Johnson and Andrew Dismukes played 13th-century men who discussed the need to ban abortion. The sketch underlined the monumental gap between so and now to tackle the limiting beliefs that drive conservative justice opinion.

In the track, Cumberbatch stumbled upon the idea of ​​banning abortion while cleaning up “the hole… where we poo.” The idea initially baffled his compatriots. “You mean like the law we have against pointy shoes?” Johnson asked. “Or the law that if you hunt deer in the forest they cut off your genitals?” 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, “No need to update this one at all.” They nailed it down in 1235.”

SNLCold opens tend to be ambitious sketches aimed at the big titles of the week. More often than not, the series strives to satirize several different brands rather than focusing on a single point. But last night’s open delivered a focused barrage of punchlines about how medieval men understood the world and saw women, and questioned why principles from that period should serve as legal precedent for our contemporary period. Cumberbatch summed up the point nicely: “Well, it’s clear to me that we’ve reached the limits of human knowledge,” he said, pointing to his cupped hair. “We have found the Haircut; we know that the sun is the moon when it is happy; and we trust the Catholic Church with all our money and our children. Cecily Strong deepened the debate between the three men, playing a townsman who challenged their reasoning. “I was just wondering,” she asked, “since I’m almost 12, shouldn’t women have the right to choose, because having a baby means, like, a 50% chance of dying ?”

SNL did not contain the topic of abortion just cold open. “Weekend Update” compared Alito’s decision to positions taken by English jurists who lived in a time when women had little or no rights over a furious social media post. The choice, according to the show, looks less like a rational judgment by the Court and more like a spurious argument that a fringe Facebook group might circulate as fact. Meanwhile, Kate McKinnon criticized the Tory judges from a different angle. She delivered a blank-eyed portrayal of Judge Amy Coney Barrett; her character pleaded for women to “turn nine” months old and give up their babies for adoption. McKinnon’s Barrett displayed a recklessness intended to further comment on the Court’s out of touch position.

The show’s take on abortion rights builds on the frustrated tone Strong established earlier in the season. Following the Texas State Legislature’s vote in September 2021 to ban all abortions after six weeks, she appeared in an equally memorable “weekend update.” Playing “Goober the Clown Who Had an Abortion at Age 23,” Strong cleverly skewered the convoluted conditions that breed silence and shame after an abortion.

In the conversation about reproductive rights, conservatives have dominated, telling “better” stories, writer Rebecca Traister recently argued. But last night SNL dismantled the regressive tale that Alito established with his opinion and crafted his own cutting rebuttal.