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

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  •  The other question is (none)
    would you criminalize it?

    I simply don't know.  I would hope that anyone in that situation would try to help the child.  But what if your only hope for your own survival is to leave it behind?  Either both die, or one dies.  Is it then okay to save yourself?

    Life is full of grey areas, including when a fetus should be considered a person and whether bystanders are obligated to help someone.

    While it is in a woman's body, I say it is part of her.  Others disagree.  I don't get my way with everything - nobody does.  The majority of Americans support the right to abortion.  Abortion should be legal.  Most Americans accept some limitations, such as how late in the pregnancy it can be done.  Fine.

    •  good (none)
      then let's repeal RvW and let the majority decide
      •  Roe v. Wade isn't a law (none)
        so it can't be repealed.  And if it could be put as a referendum to the nation, I would not object.  But that's not how our system works.  Laws are made by Congress, and we know well that the Congress is not representative of us, that small conservative states and white males have outsize representation, and that money rules far too many of our legislators.  

        Additionally, Roe v. Wade was decided correctly and a woman's right to choose is a Constitutional right.  Shall we also "repeal" decisions such as Brown v. Board of Education and then vote on it?  At the signing of the Constitution, black people were slaves.  Women couldn't vote.  Etc., etc., etc.  That does not mean that the Supreme Court can't appropriately determine Constitutional rights two hundred years later.

        •  tomato tomat-o (none)
          The supreme court can 'repeal' Roe just as it did Plessy. OK, the more precsie terminology is reverse...same thing.

          You are correct that blacks were slaves and women could not vote when the country was founded. But they did not get their rights from the court, but from the legislature using the democratic process via ammending the constitution (13th and 19th ammendments).

          Had the court simply decided that women could vote without the 19th ammendment, that would have been an illegitimate ruling. That's how many people see Roe.

          By contrast with the 19th ammendment, there was never a time when the people of this country decided that women had a right to abort.

          Brown is an outgrowth of the 14th ammendment since segregation violated the equal protection clause of the 14th ammendment.

          •  I'll refer you to a better response (none)
            •  while i'm willing to debate with ya (none)
              i'm not really willing to debate some 3rd party speaking for ya.
              •  I wasn't precisely looking for a debate (none)
                I'm not a constitutional scholar.

                However...

                Had the court simply decided that women could vote... that would have been an illegitimate ruling.

                U.S. Constitution, article I, section 1, clause 1:  The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States

                Women aren't "people"?  Seems to me the Supreme Court could have ruled very legitimately - interpreting the word "people" in the Constitution to include women, and no amendment would have been needed.

                there was never a time when the people of this country decided that women had a right to abort

                Wrong.  When the country was founded, abortion was practiced and everyone knew it.  Sometime mid-19th century it changed.  Yet the pendulum swung back again and for decades now, at the minimum, a majority of the people of this country have decided that women have a right to abort in all or most cases.

                •  an exchange of ideas (none)
                  "Women aren't "people"?  Seems to me the Supreme Court could have ruled very legitimately - interpreting the word "people" in the Constitution to include women, and no amendment would have been needed."

                  Not as the term was meant when ratified. Just as black did not have the vote either. Remember that even today, we don't let children vote and they are people. We don't let felons vote in some states.

                  I guess i would say that women 'could' vote if the state laws permitted it. Since women had no right to vote, the states could not be required to allow them to vote.

                  "Wrong.  When the country was founded, abortion was practiced and everyone knew it.  Sometime mid-19th century it changed.  Yet the pendulum swung back again and for decades now, at the minimum, a majority of the people of this country have decided that women have a right to abort in all or most cases."

                  That meant that it was legal, not that it was a right. Huge difference. There are many things which we are legally allowed to do that we do not have a right to do.

                  if the people decide that they want it legal, that's democracy. If the people decide that they want it to be a right, and ammend the constitution to make it so, that's democracy.

                  If seven judges decide that the right exists when the people had never codifed that right, that's not democracy.

                  The people are the ultimate authority, not the judges. Judges had no authority to declare a right for women to vote. Likewise with abortion.

                  •  I feared that would be your response (none)
                    If you think that our Constitution is a dessicated old object that meant only what was in the minds of the framers, then we are too far apart.  I see it as a living, breathing creation that was beautiful in its conception because it managed to encompass more than the mere words on the pages.

                    I realize that the Declaration is a different document from the Constitution, yet some of the same people came up with both.  

                    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed....

                    First off, naturally "men" has been used for centuries to mean "human beings," so if Jefferson meant to include only Caucasian men, and if he meant to exclude women, then he should have been more specific.

                    Next, the 15th and 19th amendments did not CREATE rights for black people and for women.  The amendments ACKNOWLEDGED these rights.

                    XV.  The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

                    XIX.  The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

                    Note the amendments do not say "The right to vote is hereby given."

                    As for children, it is true that the Constitution says that "People" and that could be construed to include children.  Who knows, the voting age could get lowered later.  It is widely acknowledged at this period in our history that a vote by a six-year-old would be meaningless or perhaps too easily influenced by politicians promising free candy.  Americans may change their minds someday.  

                    •  I fear living documents (none)
                      If you think that our Constitution is a desiccated old object that meant only what was in the minds of the framers, then we are too far apart.  I see it as a living, breathing creation that was beautiful in its conception because it managed to encompass more than the mere words on the pages.

                      One could easily use that line of thinking to decide that the living breathing constitution now encompasses the unborn. I suspect you would object to that. Others might want rights extended to animals. The document just needs to take a few more living breaths. Without the anchor of the historic meaning, we could decide that the document means Anything.

                      With enough breaths, it could mean the opposite of what was meant by the people who wrote it. After all, it keeps living and breathing.

                      Living and breathing often seems to mean that someone doesn't like what it meant when enacted and want their values imported to the document without all the bother or amending it.  Why even include an amendment process.

                      I realize that the Declaration is a different document from the Constitution, yet some of the same people came up with both.

                      We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed....

                      First off, naturally "men" has been used for centuries to mean "human beings," so if Jefferson meant to include only Caucasian men, and if he meant to exclude women, then he should have been more specific.

                      When reading this, you must remember that the man who wrote it OWNED other humans as property at the time. Clearly the language was more sweeping than the practical application. So the meaning of all `human beings` is contradicted by reality. Of course the DoI is not law, but an expression of ideals.

                      Men also often means men. (e.g., I'm going to the men's room)

                      It also suffers from the problem of proving too much. If you think it can be extended (to woman/slaves), then how can you oppose the extension to the unborn? Who's extensions are legitimate and how is it determined which extensions are corruptions?

                      Next, the 15th and 19th amendments did not CREATE rights for black people and for women.  The amendments ACKNOWLEDGED these rights.

                      XV.  The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

                      XIX.  The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
                      Note the amendments do not say "The right to vote is hereby given."

                      As for children, it is true that the Constitution says that "People" and that could be construed to include children.  Who knows, the voting age could get lowered later.  It is widely
                      acknowledged at this period in our history that a vote by a six-year-old would be meaningless or perhaps too easily influenced by politicians promising free candy.  Americans may change their minds someday.  

                      If they always had those rights, why were they slaves, why could they not vote? I think you're not making the distinction between natural rights and rights that the government is prevented from transgressing. I can believe that all people have a right to free speech. But I also know that the Stalinist Russia that such a right did not exist in any meaningful enforcable sense.

                      The amendments turned natural rights into legally enforceable rights.  Actually, voting probably isn't even a natural right since it presupposes a democratic form of government. Did an Egyptian in Pharaoh's Egypt have a right to vote?

                      And I'm not sure that right is even the proper word (perhaps the word is being used in a different sense) since felons can lose that `right' and adolescents don't possess it. Seems more like a privilege, like a drivers license.

                      That's a good test; does a 15 year old have a right to vote in America? Could he go to court and get the franchise? The language of those ammendments is pretty specific about what causes are impermissable for withholding the vote. That suggests that other causes ARE permissable.

                      •  Dude... (none)
                        As I said, we are too far apart.  

                        If you think it can be extended (to woman/slaves), then how can you oppose the extension to the unborn?

                        Quite simply - the living breathing humans (women/slaves) are people.  "Unborn" is an absurdist term.  Are we all "undead" as well?  After all, we're going to be dead some day, and right now we're not dead.  So if there is a soul somewhere and it hasn't been born, then I suppose it's unborn.  But only if you believe in souls.  Your choice of words tells me you are almost certainly quite religious and believe in imposing your religious beliefs on others.  

                        Incidentally I know many people who go to church, have children, and support full abortion rights.  But I've yet to meet a nonreligious person who decides that the womb is the business of the state.

                        Naturally, if you have been following along, you know that I am reasonably well-informed and already know full well that Jefferson was a slave-owner.  Original intent and strict constructionism are about as smart as believing the Christian bible is entirely factual.  If you really want to live in the past, I hope you're not black or female, and I also know a Medieval Times restaurant where you might feel at home.

                        Regarding the word "right," it means different things to different people.  In my agnostic belief, people do have inherent and inalienable rights.  Just because a government tells them they don't have a certain right doesn't mean the government is correct.  To me.  I realize others will define the word differently.

                        does a 15 year old have a right to vote in America? Could he go to court and get the franchise

                        I would imagine a 15-year-old could, under the current Constitution, make a case for suing to vote.  And should that happen, well, our society will consider it.  No problem by me.  Perhaps if the "culture of life" people like Bush attack Syria, they'll need to start drafting 15-year-olds and wind up giving them the vote for the same reason that the 26th Amendment was established.

                        You have taken to debating on reasonably civil terms (I'm speaking of myself as well), and I appreciate that.  I don't know if you're a Democrat who opposes abortion, or a Republican or conservative trolling around dkos.  So long as we remain civil, well and good.  

                        If you recall, my original analogy was about the so-called "culture of life," and the hypocrisy of those who use that phrase. But you haven't convinced me or vice versa, and we'll have to continue to work for the side we favor.  Democracy in action.

                        Our system of government has more than one way to function.  Everything need not be a constitutional amendment.  The bar is set quite high for amending the Constitution.  Further, a Constitution with endless amendments loses power, authority and clarity.  That the courts have interpreted the Constitution in ways that have expanded rights in practice for many Americans is a good thing.

                        •  yup (none)
                          If you think it can be extended (to woman/slaves), then how can you oppose the extension to the unborn?

                          Quite simply - the living breathing humans (women/slaves) are people.  "Unborn" is an absurdist term.  Are we all "undead" as well?  After all, we're going to be dead some day, and right now we're not dead.  So if there is a soul somewhere and it hasn't been born, then I suppose it's unborn.  But only if you believe in souls.  Your choice of words tells me you are almost certainly quite religious and believe in imposing your religious beliefs on others.  

                          The concept of person is one of those ideas that can live and breathe and change isn't it?

                          My point seems to have been missed. If the constitution breathes and lives, it is capable of expanding (or perhaps has already expanded) the definition of people to include fetuses just as it has grown in the past.  Or does living and breathing not allow that? Some state laws treat the murder of a pregnant woman as a double homicide so by law it is treated (quite inconsistently) as a person.

                          One tires of writing fetus thousands of times. Makes the writing look tired. Unborn is in the dictionary and includes the meaning  `still to appear' and is commonly enough used that you understood my meaning. Undead according to the same dictionary refers to Vampires and Zombies so it's (hopefully) not an accurate term for us.

                          Religious yes, imposing no. You're free to choose your own path to damnation. :)

                          Important Question: How should the limits of personhood be determined in our country? I think you have 3 choices, by the individual, via democratic/legislative processes, via judicial rulings.

                          Incidentally I know many people who go to church, have children, and support full abortion rights.  But I've yet to meet a nonreligious person who decides that the womb is the business of the state.

                          You should visit communist China. Whole lotta atheists there mandating abortions.

                          Naturally, if you have been following along, you know that I am reasonably well-informed and already know full well that Jefferson was a slave-owner.  Original intent and strict constructionism are about as smart as believing the Christian bible is entirely factual.  If you really want to live in the past, I hope you're not black or female, and I also know a Medieval Times restaurant where you might feel at home.

                          The fact that he owned slaves shows that either he did not think that life/liberty/happiness applied to slaves (not men) or that he was as great a hypocrite as could be imagined. I mean if he believed that all those slaves were endowed by God with a right to liberty, then for him to take that right from them makes him one nasty evil SOB. Then again I guess we could subscribe it to cognitive dissonance...he was never able to connect the dots and draw the conclusion.

                          Regarding the word "right," it means different things to different people.  In my agnostic belief, people do have inherent and inalienable rights.  Just because a government tells them they don't have a certain right doesn't mean the government is correct.  To me.  I realize others will define the word differently.

                          It works philosophically and I believe it too. But it's often not a useful practical outlook. That a Jew has an inalienable right to liberty, private property and life in Nazi Germany didn't quite work out since he was alienated from his freedom, his property and his life. Rights that are not respected by the people/government are as useful as rights that don't exist. Sad but true.

                          does a 15 year old have a right to vote in America? Could he go to court and get the franchise

                          I would imagine a 15-year-old could, under the current Constitution, make a case for suing to vote.  And should that happen, well, our society will consider it.  No problem by me.  Perhaps if the "culture of life" people like Bush attack Syria, they'll need to start drafting 15-year-olds and wind up giving them the vote for the same reason that the 26th Amendment was established.

                          If it is truly a right, then our country needs to do more than consider it. The country HAS to allow it. Rights cannot be denied. Same with a 10 year old, a 5 year old etc. Does a felon have a right to vote? Given the limits that have historically been placed on the ability to vote, it does not seem like a right in the `bill o rights' sense. I think that it's a case of sloppy language usage.

                          You have taken to debating on reasonably civil terms (I'm speaking of myself as well), and I appreciate that.  I don't know if you're a Democrat who opposes abortion, or a Republican or conservative trolling around dkos.  So long as we remain civil, well and good.  

                          conservative yes, troll no. I enjoy discourse with people of differnt outlooks. one is not challenged by talking to people you agree with.

                          If you recall, my original analogy was about the so-called "culture of life," and the hypocrisy of those who use that phrase. But you haven't convinced me or vice versa, and we'll have to continue to work for the side we favor.  Democracy in action.

                          I see nothing that makes me think I'm a hypocrite...so far.

                          Our system of government has more than one way to function.  Everything need not be a constitutional amendment.  The bar is set quite high for amending the Constitution.  Further, a Constitution with endless amendments loses power, authority and clarity.  That the courts have interpreted the Constitution in ways that have expanded rights in practice for many Americans is a good thing.

                          Funny, I would think that having a constitution that the courts feel free to ignore would lose authority. Amendments having passed such a high bar would seem to have authority based on the express will of the people. Democracy in action.

                          I would say that the people via amendments have expanded rights far more than the court.  14th-16th, 19th all coming quickly to mind.

                          When the court rules something out of bounds, my liberty right to enact legislation I favor is reduced. Courts also act to reduce rights, Dred Scott and Plessy, so their record is mixed. And their errors are so much harder to rectify.

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