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Choices and rights


Justice Samuel Alito wrote that women have no “right” to choose abortion. He says a “right” is written in the Constitution, or “deeply rooted in this nation’s history and tradition and implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.”

The Founding Fathers did not include all “rights.” The Ninth Amendment says: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” What other “rights”?

Requiring a “right” to be “deeply rooted” is unrealistic. Do you have a “right” to have a cellphone? Or have your ears pierced? Plainly we have a “right” to privacy. But Alito’s argument asserts there is no “right” if people disagree. That’s wrong. There’s always disagreement. As Alito acknowledges: “We begin with the common laws, under which abortion was a crime at least after quickening ...” In other words, before “quickening” he admits some abortions were lawful.

Today, most Americans believe choice is a “right.” Must we wait hundreds of years before Alito says the “right” exists? Most Americans today were born after Roe v. Wade and have spent their entire lives believing Roe was correct.

Why should a disagreement with Roe by a minority deny the majority a 49-year-old “right?” Why should the court turn away the dispute? And why can’t we compromise as Roe did without having pro-lifers impose their will (their “rights?”) on all others?

Parker Maddux


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