saturday night live opened tonight with something a little different: the show returned to 13th-century England to poke fun at Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s leaked draft opinion that threatens to overthrow Roe V. Wade.
The skit opened with a narrator announcing that Alito had explained that “no woman has the right to an abortion and that abortion is a crime”.
He cites a 13th century treatise on the acceleration of fetusand a second treatise which says that if the child fast to die in his body, it would be a big misunderstand. We then move on to that profound moment of moral clarity nearly a thousand years ago that laid such a clear foundation for what our law should be in 2022.
Out comes Benedict Cumberbatch, playing a medieval character, who wonders if they should pass a law banning abortion. “We should have a law that can stand the test of time,” he says, “so that hundreds and hundreds of years from now they look back and say, ‘No need to update this one at all. They nailed it down in 1235.”
Earlier this week, Politico released the draft notice, raising alarms that the days of legalized abortion across the country could be coming to an end. In the opinion, Alito, arguing that Roe had been ill-decided, wrote that “an unbroken tradition of prohibiting abortion on pain of penal sanction persisted from the earliest days of the common law until 1973”.
the SNL cold-open parodies that position as well as other exercises in originality, even finding absurdity in the idea that rights can be withdrawn.
Near the end of the skit, Kate McKinnon appears as a witch who can see the future.
“Don’t worry, my dear daughter, these barbaric laws will one day be overturned by something called progress – and then, about 50 years after progress, they will say, ‘Perhaps we should undo progress ‘”, she says. “I don’t know why all my visions of that time are so confused. It seems like all the power comes from a place called Florida. And if you think our customs are weird. You should watch the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial!”
The skit also riffs on the right-wing’s revolt against Covid mandates while seeking restrictions on abortion.
Cecily Strong, as a peasant woman, says to Cumberbatch and the other medieval men, “I don’t understand why you are so obsessed with this problem. What about the fact that no one can read or write? Everyone dies of the plague.
One of the men said to him, “Oh, you think because I have the plague active that means I have to wear a mask. It’s my body, my choice!
Tonight’s cold open sketch can be found above.