My Turn: An assault on personal rights

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Published: 5/5/2022 3:52:41 PM
Modified: 5/5/2022 3:51:10 PM

The media have interrupted their coverage of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s carnage in Ukraine and massive new government investment in our arms industry. Imagine weapons lobbyists sitting back in easy chairs with cigars and drinks, having no immediate need to target members of Congress.

President Joe Biden is obliged by a 77-year tradition to ask manufacturers to speed production of missiles, howitzers and tanks. Indeed, our steady arms buildup in Eastern Europe itself may have provoked Putin’s malicious response.

Instead, we learn Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito has authored a detailed preliminary opinion that will reverse the 49-year-old decision to allow women, should they need or choose to end a pregnancy, legal right to decide to do so in a safe way. This is an assault on U.S. women!

Despite the fact that at confirmation hearings both Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh said Roe v. Wade was settled law, each is signed on to reverse the ruling. They lied to get confirmed. Of course we watched Kavanaugh sweat, rave, and lie about other matters at his confirmation. Justice Clarence Thomas also lied to get confirmed to his lifetime appointment.

Why is it women may want or need an abortion? The pregnancy may be caused by date rape, rape after a home break in, gang rape, divorce or ending of relationship with a partner, failed contraception, determination of a seriously defective fetus, health risk to the mother, inability to financially provide for the newborn or — simply, women’s right to choose. By contrast, consider, men retain unrestricted right to choose to father, or not father a child, to join a health club, or take up golf.

Alito wrote “abortion is not deeply rooted in the nation’s history or traditions.” Washington Post columnist Monica Hesse responded in a May 3 piece that Alito “makes no mention of things that are rooted in the nation’s history and traditions: slavery, disenfranchisement, discrimination.”

There are other dreadful, not to be forgotten, elements of this nation’s history, like trying to kill off the continent’s native people, killing Chinese and other immigrants of color, confining Japanese for years in concentration camps, the 1960s assassinations of prominent opponents of the Vietnam War and the celebration of white supremacy.

I’d include as well the support among many politicians for unrestricted ownership of military-style weapons that members of our populace daily use to kill others, for planned massacres in public places, doing-in attendees at religious meetings and services, and even little children in attendance at an elementary school.

Sorry Justice Alito. You’ve spent too long with your nose inside the spine of law books. You have a history around women’s issues. You’d oppose the Equal Rights Amendment. You’d have opposed women’s right to vote, but were born too late. Your profile as “originalist” says only that men should rule. You led opposition to admission of women to your alma mater, Princeton. How could we expect unbiased court opinions from you?

Democrats work to codify women’s right to choose into law, but Republicans block that possibility in Congress. The most recent Republican president was a laughing, strident abuser of women.

MSNBC’s Yamiche Alcindor interviewed an abortion opponent outside the Supreme Court who was pleased by the court’s pending decision, saying, he could now focus on related issues. What are these?

Republicans have a list. Next is reversing the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges Court decision that followed provisions of the 14th Amendment allowing same-sex couples to marry. Roe v. Wade is the opening salvo in a zealous Republican campaign to reduce the power of people and of their private rights. It is demonstrably fascist. It will target contraception, marriage between ethnically different parties (miscegenation) that was illegal in most states until 1968, and consensual sex between same-sex persons, illegal until 1986.

Republican leaders, and a majority of followers, are on a mission to drag the country into the century past, when the handicapped had no rights, the mentally ill were institutionalized, and the eugenics movement that inspired Adolph Hitler was created and popular here.

Republicans presented no political platform in 2020. Denying voting and personal rights is their plan in the states, their unpublished agenda for the future.

Banning abortion will be completed in the states, where that process is well under way. Success is promised by parallel efforts to disenfranchise voters who threaten the Republican grip on power.

Two dismissive abortion ending comments are deeply troubling. One is, if your state prohibits abortion, “take the bus.” Not all rape victims would have the fare. The other is “the defective unborn can survive.”

Charlemont resident Carl Doerner is an author and historian currently at work on a re-examination of and challenge to the “American narrative.”


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