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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/22/12

If America's future is to be secure, regressing to a religious state is not the answer

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It would seem to any reasonable person watching the drama unfold in the 2012 Presidential race that efforts in our Nation would involve economics, trade and green, sustainable energy initiatives but instead, the focus has been on abortion and contraceptives. Acting as if the negation of our right to privacy will fix all of America's woes, the candidates and their constituents at the State level have centered their efforts on this single issue despite the Supreme Court's decision to protect not only the right to choose on abortion but also the right to utilize birth control.

In listening to the rhetoric of late against these freedoms, one would be led to believe this issue had never been decided upon in the past. As would seem typical of late in America's selective amnesia surrounding social and political issues, many people have been quick to forget that the highest judicial authority in the nation has already made the decision involving birth control in any form.

On June 7, 1965, the Supreme Court ruled in Griswold v. Connecticut that a "right to privacy" can be found within the U.S. Constitution which includes the use of contraception by married couples. This decision paved the way for Eisenstadt v. Baird in 1972, which extended the right to single people. Since the Griswold decision, many rights to choice have emanated from these privacy decisions, including the right to abortion including Roe vs. Wade in 1973. More recently, in the 2003 decision Lawrence v. Texas , the Supreme Court relied upon it to extend privacy rights to gay and lesbians within their homes.

In their continued resistance of decisions by the Supreme Court and push for autonomy, many States have begun to deny their obligation to protect citizen's rights to privacy and by proxy, choice by enacting tougher, anti-abortion laws. Although many States do not directly negate the Court's decision, they have engineered tactics to make the procedure unconscionable or demeaning for the women involved and redefining abortion to involve even contraceptive products.

The recent decision by the Virginia's House of Delegates and Senate would require a woman to view an ultrasound of the fetus 24 hours before the procedure and demands that the physician performing it to show the results to the patient. Similarly in Texas, providers must both make an audible heartbeat of the fetus available and provide a detailed description of the fetus pictured in the sonogram. There are currently, 26 other States which require ultrasounds but the most intrusive by far will soon be mandated in Virginia, Iowa and Texas. The decision involves the use of a transvaginal scan which some have deemed legislated rape .

As Dahlia Lithwick states , "The whole point of the new abortion bans is to force the Supreme Court to reverse Roe v. Wade. It's unconstitutional to place an "undue burden" on a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy, although it's anyone's guess what, precisely, that means. One would be inclined to suspect, however, that unwanted penetration with a medical device violates either the undue burden test or the right to bodily autonomy. But that's the other catch in this bill. Proponents seem to be of the view that once a woman has allowed a man to penetrate her body once, her right to bodily autonomy has ended."

These laws are not only intrusive, they add to the war against women and their rights in this nation by some in the radical political fringes. If any evidence need be viewed to back up this claim, all one has to do is look at the recent Congressional review board on the issue of contraception and the Healthcare Reform Act on Capitol Hill, recently. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform assembled a panel chaired by a male and consisted of eight men who felt personally persecuted by the requirement. Not a single woman was allowed to participate .

How long are us Americans going to allow these emerging Theocrats (mostly men) to determine our Nation's future and slowly negate the right of women to choose for themselves on abortion and birth control? It is reasonable to believe that partial birth abortions or abortifacients as an alternative form of birth control is largely viewed as a selfish and irresponsible act but to take that to the personal druthers of terming contraception as a form of abortion and penalizing any who use it, is going off the edge of that reason especially when women are not included as an integral part of the discussion.

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Steven Forrest is a Project Architect living in St. Petersburg, Florida. Currently, he is working to implement Green Building initiatives in several communities across Florida. Given the current situation in America and the continued (more...)
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