‘Saturday Night Live’ goes medieval on Supreme Court’s opinion on abortion: “we’re going to set you on fire!”

Justice Samuel Alito’s majority draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked on Monday

On the leaked Supreme Court version that would overturn Roe v. Wade this weekend, “Saturday Night Live” went wild.

The episode noted in the cold open that Alito cited a 13th-century treatise by Henry de Bracton that, in his opinion, outlines the penalty for the killing of a fetus.

“The eminent common-law authorities all describe abortion after quickening as criminal,” Alito wrote in his opinion. “Henry de Bracton’s 13th-century treatise explained that if a person has ‘struck a pregnant woman, or has given her poison, whereby he has caused an abortion, if the fetus be already formed and animated – and particularly if it be animated – he commits homicide.'”

Saturday Night Live Supreme Court abortion Law
Saturday Night Live / Youtube

Instead of impersonating current political personalities, as most cold opens do, the sketch show went back in time to visualize Alito’s historical reference in the 13th century, which it sarcastically called a “moment of clarity, almost a thousand years ago, which laid such a clear foundation for what our laws should be in 2022.”

The sketch started with guest-host Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange) dressed in mediaeval attire in an English castle, asking similarly dressed cast members James Austin Johnson and Andrew Dismukes if there should be an anti-abortion law, as per The New York Times.

“Like the law we have against pointy shoes?” Johnson asked.

“Or the law that if you hunt deer in the royal forest they cut off your genitals?” Dismukes added.

Cumberbatch said that he wanted to create a law that would “stand the test of time” and that people would look back in hundreds of years and say, “No need to update this one at all. They nailed it back in 1235.”

The three considered potential penalties for women who had abortions, Cumberbatch stated, “The worst thing that could happen is if someone leaks this conversation to the town crier.”

Cast member Kate McKinnon entered the room with a dramatic thunderclap, waving her hands like a sorceress.

“My God, an ogre!” Cumberbatch cried to which she assured him she was just “a woman in her 30s.”

She claimed, though, that she could see the future and that anti-abortion law would someday be overturned by “something called progress” and that about 50 years after that “they’ll be like maybe we should undo the progress.”

She added that “no matter how many choices they take away from women, we’ve always got the choice to keep fighting!”

McKinnon’s statement was “inspiring,” but Cumberbatch said it also made him realize she was a witch, and “we’re going to set you on fire!”

The show featured Cumberbatch as a guest host and Arcade Fire as a musical guest.


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