Seeking “moral clarity” for the best laws on abortion in human history, the crew of “Saturday Night Live” — like Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito — traveled back in time. The show’s cold open was set in 1235 — when “they nailed” reproductive rights, crowed host Benedict Cumberbatch, in character as a medieval man.
The scene starts with bizarre quotes from Alito’s draft opinion leaked this week that would gut Roe v. Wade, calling abortion a “crime,” based on a treatise from 13th-century England (and from the 1600s).
Wearing a wig and tunic, Andrew Dismukes wonders, though, about allowing abortion in cases of “rape or incest.” James Austin Johnson’s character complains: “But those are the only kinds of sex!”
Peasant Cecily Strong suggests that other problems might be more urgent to focus on, like “no one can read or write, and everyone’s dying of plague!”
“You think just because I have active plague that means I need to wear a mask?” asks an irate Dismukes. “It’s my body, my choice!”
Cumberbatch decides that “we’ve reached the limits of human knowledge” in 1235, when “we trust the Catholic Church with all our money and our children.”
And “we have birth control now,” adds Johnson. “You can’t get pregnant as long as when the man ejaculates, he whispers, ‘Just kidding.’”
Seer Kate McKinnon turns up to predict these “barbaric laws will someday be overturned by something called progress.” Then 50 years later they’ll say: “Like maybe we should undo the progress.”
But “no matter how many choices they take away from women, we’ve always got the choice to keep fighting!” says McKinnon, fist raised, to whoops from the audience.
“You’re a witch,” says Cumberbatch, “and we’re going to set you on fire.”
Check it out in the video up top.