By far the biggest news from the recent Pennsylvania Senate debate between far-right Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz and Democrat John Fetterman was Oz's claim that abortion decisions should be between "women, doctors [and] local political leaders."
That dystopian and nakedly fascistic quote is disturbing enough on its face, but even moreso given that Oz continues to gain ground in recent polls.
Amid all this drama, an old sketch from comedian Amy Schumer's Comedy Central show Inside Amy Schumer has resurfaced about how difficult it is for women to access birth control--and the notion that women need to ask permission of mostly men to get it–even all the way back in 2015 when the sketch was produced, back when Democrat Barack Obama was still President.
The sketch is all too real given today's climate, and seemed to predict the Republican Party's current position that "political leaders" should be involved in the health decisions of women.
The relevance has many on the internet feeling like it was more of a prescient warning about the future than a funny comedy sketch.
Using the format of the ubiquitous pharmaceutical ads in the U.S. which implore viewers to "ask your doctor" if a medication "is right for you," the sketch sees Schumer having to ask an increasingly absurd list of men for permission to use birth control.
The fake ad's voiceover directs:
"Ask your doctor if birth control is right for you."
"Then ask your boss if birth control is right for you."
"Ask your boss to ask his priest."
From there it becomes even more absurd.
"Find a Boy Scout and see what he thinks. Tap a mailman on the shoulder, tell him you didn't mean to startle him, and then ask him if birth control is right for you."
Of course, each of the men--and it's only men--Schumer asks for permission to manage her own reproductive health shakes his head no.
The sketch was a funny piece of hyperbole back in 2015, but it's anything but in 2022.
After the Supreme Court's Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health decision overturned Roe v. Wade and with it federally protected abortion rights, many conservatives have suggested using the same rationalization in Dobbs to overturn birth control rights.
SCOTUS Justice Clarence Thomas explicitly threatened access to contraceptives in his concurring Dobbs opinion. And in a July House vote to codify birth control access federally, all but eight Republicans voted against it.
Meanwhile, politicians like Dr. Oz try to couch their incredibly fascistic abortion stances as moderate efforts toward simply upholding "states' rights."
Oz claims to want no federal-level involvement in abortion, even coming out against Republican Senator Lindsey Graham's proposed federal ban in favor of leaving the issue to "women, doctors and local political leaders."
Of course in practice, there is little difference between federal abortion oversight and leaving the issue up to "local political leaders." Any way you slice it, it is government control of women's bodies.
It's making Schumer's ad feel more like a glimpse into the future than a sketch, and on Twitter, people are definitely feeling anxious and angry about it.
Here's hoping voters do what needs to be done November 8 to keep Schumer's sketch in the realm of fiction.