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View Diary: Understanding the Right to Privacy And the Right to Choose (322 comments)

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  •  Here is the "neutral" position: (4.00)
    Quoting from Justice Stevens' concurrence in Casey (Emphasis added):

    The fact that the State's interest is legitimate does not tell us when, if ever, that interest outweighs the pregnant woman's interest in personal liberty. It is appropriate, therefore, to consider more carefully the nature of the interests at stake.

    First, it is clear that, in order to be legitimate, the State's interest must be secular; consistent with the First Amendment the State may not promote a theological or sectarian interest. See Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 476 U.S. 747, 778 (1986) (Stevens, J., concurring); see generally Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, 492 U.S. 490, 563-572 (1989) (Stevens, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part). Moreover, as discussed above, the state interest in potential human life is not an interest in loco parentis, for the fetus is not a person.

    Identifying the State's interests--which the States rarely articulate with any precision--makes clear that the interest in protecting potential life is not grounded in the Constitution. It is, instead, an indirect interest supported by both humanitarian and pragmatic concerns. Many of our citizens believe that any abortion reflects an unacceptable disrespect for potential human life and that the performance of more than a million abortions each year is intolerable; many find third trimester abortions performed when the fetus is approaching personhood particularly offensive. The State has a legitimate interest in minimizing such offense. The State may also have a broader interest in expanding the population, [n.3] believing society wouldbenefit from the services of additional productive citizens--or that the potential human lives might include the occasional Mozart or Curie. These are the kinds of concerns that comprise the State's interest in potential human life.

    In counterpoise is the woman's constitutional interest in liberty. One aspect of this liberty is a right to bodily integrity, a right to control one's person. See e. g., Rochin v. California, 342 U.S. 165 (1952); Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535 (1942). This right is neutral on the question of abortion: The Constitution would be equally offended by an absolute requirement that all women undergo abortions as by an absolute prohibition on abortions. "Our whole constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds." Stanley v. Georgia, 394 U.S. 557, 565 (1969). The same holds true for the power to control women's bodies.

    ModestNeeds.org Response For Hurricane Evacuees

    by socal on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 10:23:45 PM PDT

    •  Exactly (none)

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 10:24:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Outstanding, important-thanks for posting (none)
        'matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State.'

        Cannot recall any administration more radically extreme, invasive and intrusive in blatant violation of these basic essential tenets of the 14th amendment regarding personal privacy and civil liberties than this current corrupt pack of crooked cronies. Deeply disturbing and completely unacceptable. Thank you for posting this--these are extremely important considerations and people need to understand how radically extreme, dangerous, dishonest and illegal/crooked these folks really are, and in this case incredibly sick and misogynistic. period.

    •  When did I become a person? (none)
      So what is the judicial position on the definition of being a person?  When did I or you or anyone make the legal transition from non-person to person?  
      •  That is answered in the same opinion (none)
        Again quoting from Justice Stevens' Casey concurring opinion, linked above.

        The Court in Roe carefully considered, and rejected, the State's argument "that the fetus is a 'person' within the language and meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment." 410 U.S., at 156. After analyzing the usage of "person" in the Constitution, the Court concluded that that word "has application only postnatally." Id., at 157. Commenting on the contingent property interests of the unborn that are generally represented by guardians ad litem, the Court noted: "Perfection of the interests involved, again, has generallybeen contingent upon live birth. In short, the unborn have never been recognized in the law as persons in the whole sense." Id., at 162. Accordingly, an abortion is not "the termination of life entitled to Fourteenth Amendment protection." Id., at 159. From this holding, there was no dissent, see id., at 173; indeed, no member of the Court has ever questioned this fundamental proposition. Thus, as a matter of federal constitutional law, a developing organism that is not yet a "person" does not have what is sometimes described as a "right to life."  This has been and, by the Court's holding today, remains a fundamental premise of our constitutional law governing reproductive autonomy.

        ModestNeeds.org Response For Hurricane Evacuees

        by socal on Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 08:46:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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