My Thoughts on the Dobbs Decision
I've hesitated to post or comment on political issues for a variety of reasons. The first and foremost is that I value ALL of my friends - and am loathe to put those relationships at risk... especially when most of this is better discussed face-to-face. Nevertheless, I think we live in important times and dialogue is MORE important than ever. So in a spirit of citizenship, charity and concern, here goes nothing...
I am constantly perplexed by some of the "pro-choice" rhetoric and rationale:
Regarding the sanctity of legal "precedent" and "settled law." Precedent is never absolute and shouldn't be. It is an important reference point, yes, but it is not immutable in principle. How could it be so? Does anyone really believe that legal precedent should be absolutized? Do we know our own history in this respect (eg. Dred Scott decision)?
I'm reading that the overturn of Roe was a "theological" decision. Really? Or is it basic civics? Meaning - rights are not granted by judicial fiat. Do we really want unelected jurists (of whatever ideological persuasion) to be the arbiters of human rights? In our system, that is not their job - far from it. This was one of the central civic errors of Roe. Even Ruth Ginsberg recognized this. The court did not diminish anyone's rights with this decision. Frankly, it curtailed its OWN power by returning the issue to the PEOPLE and our democracy. This is not a power play - this is about SEPARATION of powers and empowering citizens. The pro-choice lobby has every opportunity to codify abortion as a constitutional right. That is NOT off the table. It just has to be done in a manner consistent with our civics. Good grief. Some intellectual honesty would be nice.
I will readily concede that there is a moral dimension to this - and thus, "religion" plays a part. However, this cuts both ways. ALL law is an expression of some form of morality, which arises from somewhere. Pretending that a secular morality can be devised or discerned in a completely areligious way is a secular fantasy and intellectual lie. The "establishment clause" is about preventing the state from institutionally establishing a particular faith. But it is NOT about trying to decouple just and moral laws from "religion" per se. That would be epistemologically, philosophically, and intellectually impossible. A cursory reading of any of our Founders show us that their political action was rooted in their particular faith. So let's just be honest - there is "religion"/philosophy/ethics from every corner on this. There is no avoiding it. Everyone needs to consciously own their individual worldview. It's where the real debate is.
Is this really about men making laws to control women? Handmaids Tale? I know SO many women - thoughtful, educated women... many who have had abortions... who are adamantly "pro-life." Would you like me to make some introductions? I just don't see how this is simply a men vs. women issue. There's too many women of all creeds and colors who are thoughtfully and passionately pro-life for me to wrap my head around this rhetoric.
The sloganeering about "women's rights" is so wearisome to me. Does anyone truly want women to be second class citizens with fewer rights? No one I know... the ISSUE is - is the "fetus" a human life? That's it. Surely no one thinks a woman has the right to end a human life? So the issue isn't about women's rights - it is about - IS THIS FETUS A HUMAN LIFE THAT SHOULD HAVE LEGAL PROTECTION? Period.
I hear that if this were about babies and "life," conservatives would be for universal cradle-to-grave care. Again, we have a civics question. There is a legitimate distinction between the role of government PROTECTING life and PROVIDING for life. These are not the same. We ALL agree that government's primary role is to PROTECT life. We do not all agree that it is appropriate for government to PROVIDE for life cradle-to-grave. Having said that, I think the level at which we can collectively PROVIDE for one another via government is a good discussion. But let's keep this distinction in mind.
I love you all. I love our country. I love life. I'm praying for civil and peaceful dialogue that advances our common humanity.