So I’m watching all the news of the attempts by politicians across the country trying to erode women’s rights, in particular women’s right (or the right of any person with a uterus) to an abortion. Whether or not you personally, spiritually, or religiously agree with abortions or what you personally would decide to do if you or your partner were pregnant and in a bad situation, I want to remind everyone of the freedoms that we have that are protected by the Constitution.
1-Freedom of religion. This also means freedom from religion, to an extent. We are not a Christian nation. If you don’t believe me, read the Treaty of Tripoli. In particular, see Article 11. This was written shortly after the founding of our country. It was also written at a time when some states still had religious requirements to hold office. Religion, the founders thought, was something best left to the states. As a nation, however, we would not be Christian. Of course, this fell apart when, around the time of the Civil War, we realized that we could not live our values as stated in the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal and have an unalienable right to the pursuit of happiness if we allowed some states to deny these rights to some citizens. The short of it, this means that we cannot base our laws–state or federal–on your religion.
2. Freedom to have an abortion. Don’t look for the word “abortion” in the Constitution. It’s not there. The Constitution does not give us our rights. The Constitution limits what the government can do. I am dismayed by how many people forget this. In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court determined that people who are pregnant have a right to an abortion if exercised within a certain time frame. They found that this right was Constitutionally protected by the ninth amendment, which states that just because a right is enumerated in the Bill of Rights does not mean we as citizens or persons living in the United States do not have other rights. It is also found in the 14th amendment which carries in it a right to privacy. I think it’s very important to remember this: when the right wing seeks to take away our right to an abortion, they are trying to take away a constitutionally protected right. It’s not something less sacred, like the right to a cup that will hold 32 ounces of soda.
If politicians are trying now to take away a constitutionally protected right, what right will they attack next? We’ve seen them move on to contraceptives, which is already constitutionally protected. What is next? A tubal ligation? A vasectomy? What about plastic surgery? Or maybe it won’t be a medical right. Maybe it will be a woman’s right to work. Already in this country there is opposition to the idea that women are entitled to as much money for performing the same work as men. How long will it be before, in this bad economy, politicians realize that to fix the unemployment rate, women should get out of the work force. Traditionally, fathers are the providers for their family. And the Bible tells us that wives must honor and submit to their husbands. Women should not hold jobs outside the home. It’s bad for the family and bad for the economy. It has already happened where a religious awakening caused women to lose their right to hold a job. How many more rights will be challenged–or will we lose–before we realize that we cannot base laws that will govern a diverse populace on one religion?