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U.S. Senator Chris Murphy On The Abolition Of Privacy

Murphy

It sometimes seems that controversy on important political and cultural issues showcased in Big Media is a one-way street, a no-exit cul-de-sac. To some it may seem that reading commentary on issues of moment is pretty much like overhearing a one-way phone conversation. The un-recorded voice, rarely heard or given sufficient space to make a detailed presentation, must always be inferred, often incorrectly.

Following a “leaked” first draft of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the right of state legislatures to decide whether or not states should pass laws regulating abortion, one discovered, in Connecticut and elsewhere, the usual explosion of opinion on the Supreme Court’s attempt to chuck Roe v Wade overboard.

The Alito decision found serious errors in Roe v Wade and concluded that in the future the Court should not preempt state legislative authority in deciding abortion issues. In this way all the hustle and bustle surrounding abortion, not in the least stilled since the Court had “decided” Roe v Wade a half century ago, would move from courts to state legislatures where, the Court apparently decided in its draft decision, it had always belonged.

Even Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsberg thought the Court in its initial Roe v Wade decision had overstepped its bounds.

In a recent piece titled “LGBTQ groups wary of Roe leak,” both U.S. Senator Chris Murphy and Michael Lawlor, once co-chairman along with Andrew J. McDonald of the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee, are quoted at length on what they regard as constitutionally protected privacy issues.

Murphy said, “The Supreme Court’s draft decision would effectively end the right for millions of women to make decisions about their own bodies. And we know the far right won’t stop at abortion. The same right to privacy enshrined in Roe v. Wade — which would disappear if overturned — is a significant part of the basis for rulings on same-sex marriage, gender-affirming care for trans individuals, and even contraception. I fear this increasingly political court could come after these protections next.”

None of these propositions are reliable. The Alito draft decision, if it remains unchanged, need not end the right of women to make decisions about their own bodies, for a host of reasons not often mentioned in news reports. And fetal life, we are reliably informed by science, ultrasounds and the unerring perceptions of mothers-to-be,  is not “a part of a woman’s body” in the same sense, say, that a diseased liver or a rotten tooth is “a part of a woman’s body.”

Even Roe v Wade, which held that the Constitution protected a woman’s right to an abortion prior to the viability of the fetus, recognizes this meta-difference by setting up an architecture of legal permissions to abort fetal life.

According to The Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute, “The Court divided the pregnancy period into three trimesters. During the first trimester, the decision to terminate the pregnancy was solely at the discretion of the woman. After the first trimester, the state could ‘regulate procedure.’ During the second trimester, the state could regulate (but not outlaw) abortions in the interests of the mother’s health. After the second trimester, the fetus became viable, and the state could regulate or outlaw abortions in the interest of the potential life except when necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.”

The “right” established in Roe v Wade therefore was a right contingent on viability. Pro-abortion extremists such as U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal, unwilling to make any regulatory exceptions to their iron-willed support of Big Abortion, cannot rationally argue that the “right” established in Roe v Wade is unconditional, nor can Murphy. If the right is contingent -- and it is -- the notion that Roe v Wade itself had fatally undermined a “right to privacy” is little more than a laughable absurdity.

Neither Murphy nor Michael Lawlor, quoted at length in a recent story, have been asked by reporters in Connecticut to explain how an exception to a rule – i.e. a restriction on abortion – necessarily invalidates rather than proves the rule.

“The same right to privacy enshrined in Roe v. Wade, which would disappear if overturned,” Murphy continued, “is a significant part of the basis for rulings on same-sex marriage, gender-affirming care for trans individuals, and even contraception. I fear this increasingly political court could come after these protections next.”

One hopes laws punishing bank robbery, which severely constrict the presumptive “right to privacy” of thieves, will not fall victim to Murphy’s reasoning – for all laws, and all regulations, and all the work done by legislatures that create laws, executive departments that enforce laws, and judicial departments that sentence bank robbers found guilty of breaking laws are, in one way or another, invasions of privacy.

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