Roe v. Wade: 35 years of compassion continues

Contemplation of Justice, statue outside Supreme CourtToday is the 35th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion legal in America.

Despite the highly visible, sometimes violent protests, the law still stands. Why? Because it represents the enlightened compassion and understanding of the majority of Americans. The majority believes in a woman’s constitutional right to privacy, including the right to make her own decisions about what happens to her body.

Without Roe v. Wade, abortion would not be protected as a legal option for all women. It could again be prohibited by state or local laws that would criminalize both women and their physicians. Many such laws existed before Roe v. Wade. Women of means could and did circumvent them by traveling to places without such laws, even if that meant going abroad. However, there were many women for whom a safe, legal abortion was not an option because they lacked either money or access. Such women, if desperate enough, resorted to back-alley methods like the infamous, symbolic coat hanger. And some of them died as a result.

Roe v. Wade simply ensures that all women, regardless of means, will have the option of a safe, legal medical procedure if that is their choice. It is the individual’s decision, not the government’s, not society’s, and certainly not that of anonymous protesters trying to push their own beliefs onto women in crisis.

© 2008 Some rights reserved.

Last words on race issue before tonight’s debate

If one really wants to split hairs over the last Democratic debate, one could say Hillary did not play the race card. “All” she did was dismiss Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights efforts and give the credit to President Lyndon B. Johnson because he signed the legislation into law. “It took a president to get the job done,” or words to that effect. She didn’t say King was a black man; she just credited Johnson with the achievement.

So, was she playing the race card? Either way, she unquestionably was denegrating MLK’s civil rights efforts. It’s unimaginable that anyone could have heard her statement and interpreted it any other way.

Reports today say Hillary and Barack Obama have agreed to put this issue aside. It may not stay buried very long. Tonight’s debate should be interesting, especially since it will allow the candidates to ask questions of each other.

© 2008 Some rights reserved.

Barack Obama to America: Yes we can!

Borrowing from the 2006 immigration reform protestors’ chant “Sí se puede,” Barack Obama tonight launched the next phase of his campaign with the mantra “Yes we can.” Not original, but a desperately needed change from “Change.”

Losing to Hillary Clinton in a tight Democratic primary in New Hampshire, Obama was still confident and his words inspiring. CNN noted the plan had been for him to take the stage to the strains of “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.” A bit of understandable overconfidence. And a mistake that certainly won’t be repeated.

Now the fight really begins.

© 2008 Some rights reserved.

Impeachment call too late; voters on the move

Former Senator George McGovern, in Sunday’s Washington Post, said George W. Bush and Dick Cheney should be impeached. True, there’s still time to make the White House accountable for trampling the Constitution. There is a point to be made, and simply allowing Bush and Cheney to serve out their terms in office does not suffice. They should be held accountable.

For House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to have taken impeachment off the table and, in essence, sweep all that White House dirt under the rug, was infuriating to those hoping to see the administration taken to task. McGovern makes a good case for revisiting the issue, but he makes it too late. In this already red-hot election year, it looks like the voters may be about to take things into their own hands.

© 2008 Some rights reserved.