Opinion: Where is the line to be drawn?

Published: 5/13/2022 6:01:51 AM
Modified: 5/13/2022 6:00:13 AM

Allan Herschlag lives in Concord.

From tyranny of the majority to tyranny of the minority. The draft of Justice Samuel Alito published by Politico shows just how far the pendulum has swung.

From protecting minorities from abuse by a majority — think slavery, separate but equal, gay rights — to a minority imposing their will on the majority.

The draft from the Supreme Court written by Alito, showing a majority of the court willing to overturn Roe, shines a glaring light on the flaws of our election system and governance.

Gerrymandering, the electoral college and an apathetic electorate all contribute to allowing a minority to seize control of our government’s institutions, moving us ever closer to a country ruled by the tenets of a religious theocracy.

Canon law was never expected to dictate our governance. In fact it was explicitly barred from our legislative statutes. Yet we continue to see those like Jerry Falwell and his ilk, imposing the will of a few religious zealots on all of us.

How often have we seen the far right rail against theocracies in countries in other regions of the world? Decrying their abuses and stripping of rights from their citizens. How often have we seen the far right rail against women being treated as second and third class citizens in other countries? Yet their dogma here is no better.

The dogma of a theocracy requires you to think and act as they do. We see religious institutions in our country that require absolute allegiance to their beliefs. But we have been careful to not breach the guard rails that separated individual and religious dogma from our laws, until recently.

How low will we allow the bar to be set, allowing the intrusion of religious rule into our secular laws? Where is the line to be drawn? For constitutionalists I thought there was a clear line. But it appears the originalists, those claiming to be constitutionalists, are willing to carve out an exemption for their (not yours) religious tenets.

Not only are they saying women should not be able to have control over their bodies, they are saying women aren’t responsible enough to make those decisions. How is it that a doctor or the ones involved in carrying out an abortion would (will) be held criminally liable, but the person making the decision isn’t? 

Is it because they (those who would take away women’s rights) don’t believe you are capable of making rational decisions about your body? That you don’t have the capacity to think for yourself? The answer is they absolutely believe you are not capable of making decisions effecting yourself.

They believe you are not capable of making decisions that men make. They believe that you do not and should not have the same participatory rights in our society as men do.

And while they claim there will be an exception for the mothers life, that too is in doubt as expressed in a second Politico article related to the harm the Court’s decision will have.

In an opinion piece in Politico titled “The New Abortion Restriction No One is Talking About,” Michele DeMarco writes that states have enacted draconian (my term) laws against abortion, saying “Nothing in these laws specifically outlines what constitutes life-endangering or how “serious” a circumstance must be in order to intervene. For physicians, who can now be fired and sued for “aiding and abetting” an unlawful abortion, this ambiguity may be determinant: Not only could it dissuade a person from performing an abortion, but also it could delay them performing one.”

Demarco continues, explaining the increased threat to a woman’s health, a woman’s life, by the changing of a single word in these draconian anti-choice laws.

“On the surface, the subtle shift in language from “imminent” to “immediate” may seem negligible, but in practice it could mean the difference between life and death.”

While the draft penned by Alito claims to limit this decision specifically to Roe, overturning an established precedent will surely be used when other cases arrive at the court. Looking to overturn laws that have extended rights to minorities that originalists contend can not be found in the constitution.

This is a dire time for our country. Two groups whose philosophies appear to be incompatible with each others, who have aligned to impose their will, their values (or lack of values) on us. Libertarians, free staters, who believe you should be able to do what you want and that any shared societal responsibilities should be abandoned. And the religious right, working day and night to ensure you either act and think like they do or be removed from their society, placed where you can’t challenge them, can’t voice your opinion or practice and share your values.

How ironic, that it is the right accusing the left of a cancel culture, when it is they who will cancel us.

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