Taylor Carey: Constitution silent on abortion
During the inevitable rhetorical ramp up to the Trump-infused Supreme Court’s assault on Roe v. Wade, you will both read and hear a great deal of disingenuous nonsense insisting that a woman’s right to dominion over her body and the right to abortion do not exist because they are not expressed in the text of the U.S. Constitution.
While it is true that no such right appears in our founding document, it is of no matter. Would you like to know why? Because the Constitution is not a grantor of rights. The Constitution does not dispense rights. It establishes limits on federal power. In this capacity, it is the protector of recognized rights against invidious encroachment by governmental excess.
There is no right to abortion enumerated in the Constitution, neither is there a right to marry, to own property, to own guns for personal use, to travel without interference from place to place, to engage in a trade or profession, or any number of other fundamental aspects of life that we regard as universal characteristics of liberty.
Understood in its proper context, the Constitution is not a universal declaration of human rights, nor was it intended to be.
It is first and foremost the blueprint for the structure of the government of the United States. Even those rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights (first 10 Amendments) are not established by the Constitution but protected by it through the restriction of federal power. Rights are established by the general agreement of societies themselves.
When certain aspects of life, tradition, and conduct reach that level of acceptance where they are regarded as universal, the weird and excruciating alchemy of constitutional jurisprudence finally grants them the blessing of constitutional recognition and protection.
The Declaration of Independence fully embraces the philosophy of inchoate unalienable rights that are the natural birthrights of humanity. The right of privacy under which the right to have an abortion exists, is among these, and under Roe has been granted constitutional recognition and protection.
What the tyrannical forces within the various states seek to do through the Supreme Court is to amputate this fundamental incident of human liberty and consign it to oblivion. Don’t be misled into believing otherwise.
Taylor S. Carey lives in Nevada City.
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