It’s been a bad week in America—which is to say, it’s been a bad couple of years in America, and this week saw that badness manifest in one of its most obviously upsetting forms—as a number of states, including Alabama, Mississippi, Ohio, and Georgia passed or publicized frighteningly restrictive laws on abortion. You know things are taking a dispiriting turn for the dystopian when not even Stephen Colbert—who’s kind of an expert in voicing America’s worst right-wing excesses with a straight face—can’t quite keep the rage or fear out of his voice as he delivers the late night comic’s traditional sermon, the nightly monologue.
Despite the occasional musical stings or rimshots, Colbert’s monologue last night pulled no punches, suggesting that Alabama—whose just-passed law is now the most restrictive in the nation—might be doing some sort of viral marketing for the upcoming season of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale. He also poked fun at legislators suggesting that women seek out abortions before they know they’re pregnant—which we guess qualifies as “preventative care.”
But honestly, it’s not hard to see Colbert—who’s walking here in the gloriously righteous footsteps of his fellow Daily Show alum, Samantha Bee—hitting the limits of his considerable satirical skills as he takes aim on these bills, or lawmakers who don’t seem to understand the female bodies they so recklessly seek to legislate. At least he gets in a quick primer for folks not-in-the-know about why this is happening now, pointing out that these various laws are designed to push a confrontation on Roe v. Wade into a Supreme Court currently packed with conservative, anti-abortion judges, including noted beer lover and accused rapist Brett Kavanaugh. Jesus fucking Christ.