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Power prevailing over reason


To the editor: 

During the last 20 years, the Supreme Court’s Republican-appointed conservative majorities have disfavored the most powerless and ruled repeatedly in favor of corporate interests. Judged by a standard political science measurement, the court’s last term was the most conservative since 1931. Its major decisions on the Second Amendment, climate change, religion in public life and abortion will have far-reaching and negative effects on American life and representative democracy.

The six-to-three ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade was described in a dissent by the three liberal justices as replacing “reason with power.” It “has always despised” Roe and Casey “and now has the votes to discard them.”

This decision will have devastating consequences — potentially criminal and life-threatening — for pregnant women and medical providers in nearly half of the states. Remarkably, the Court has taken away a 49-year precedent based on the right of privacy in Griswold v. Connecticut, and the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. The majority pointed out that abortion is never mentioned in the Constitution’s 7,600 words. Neither, however, are the words “fetus” and “unborn.”

It also presented a distorted version of 19th century American history, when abortion often was an accepted practice. The restrictions that did occur were efforts to control a woman’s body: part of a mission led by men to restrict the rights of over half of the population in the family, workplace and political world.

Thomas Jefferson challenged the majority’s fixation on “original intent” that underlies its Roe decision. He wrote, “Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence and deem them like the ark of covenant, too sacred to be touched. … Laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind.”

Howard Elterman


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