SCOTUS & Reproductive Freedom

May 4, 2022

The Supreme Court of the United States is currently embroiled in one of the most divisive cases of the 21st century.

I offer some comments to them.

REF:    Docket No. 19-1392:  Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

Honorable Justices:

I’m a retired man of European ancestry who has enjoyed a great life in America. I was raised in a family which celebrated equal rights among women and men; valued the importance of education; encouraged everyone to work to their potential; and gave our neighbors an opportunity to live their lives to the fullest.

I have lived in 3 states, and I’ve always thought that one of the great benefits to all who are residents of the United States is the breadth and depth of the 10th Amendment, which strives to ensure equal rights to all U.S. residents regardless of which state they were born in, or where they currently reside.

That said, I am extremely alarmed and disappointed by recent media reports which indicate a high potential for The Court to negate the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision (410 U.S. 113), in addition to reversing a subsequent and related decision from 1992 — Planned Parenthood v. Casey (505 U.S. 833).

A variety of research surveys over time have found that the majority of Americans believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. When religion has been included in the demographics of survey participants, the vast majority of white evangelical Protestants say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.

The 1st amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

Whenever people bring their personal religious beliefs or values into any public debate, they risk imposing illegal, unwanted or restrictive religious practices and beliefs on others who have been granted the Constitutional right to pursue their own — perhaps different — beliefs.

The great majority of published public opinions opposed to open unrestricted access to comprehensive reproductive health care over the past 4 decades — including both contraception and abortion — center on personal ethical, moral or religious issues, with the loudest voices opposing open access generally emanating from a small minority of predominantly college educated white evangelical Christians, an economically privileged cohort.

Restrictions imposed on open access to comprehensive reproductive health care services have disproportionate adverse economic impact on — and directly deprive basic human rights to — young women; low-income women; and women of color. These are socially and economically disadvantaged women, frequently members of a protected class.

The longitudinal negative social and economic impacts on women who are denied access to a voluntary abortion — and to the children who are born as a result — are often devastating. The spillover of these social and economic impacts into our larger society is chilling.

I urge you to reject the religious, ethical and moral arguments embedded into the Dobbs case, and to instead codify the right of all women residents of the U.S. to unfettered access to comprehensive reproductive health care, regardless of current residency; education; economic status; age; disability; religion; national origin; pregnancy; race/color; sex, sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

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