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

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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

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