Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis wrote that a “state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory [for democracy].” The mad scientists have delivered.
Throughout most of human history, women have typically been second-class citizens. Now, the sperm lobby, exemplified by the legislatures of Alabama, Georgia, and Missouri, seem determined to ensure male dominance of women. Those legislators have adopted laws requiring females to give birth even in cases of rape or incest. The time allowed for abortion by those laws is too brief to be exercised. One state adopted criminal penalties for women who engage in the practice. That, of course, cannot stand because, currently, women have a constitutional right to abort a pregnancy.
Another state made it a crime for a doctor to conduct an abortion. This type of draconian legislation would essentially give male sperm sacred status. It is also hypocritical. Most assuredly, males have insisted that a pregnancy resulting from an illicit relationship be aborted to protect their reputation, their marriage, or to avoid support payments.
These laws were apparently written with the belief that they will be appealed and will give the U.S. Supreme Court an opportunity to overturn women’s constitutional right to abortion. The Supreme Court decides which cases it will hear. The court may or may not review the constitutionality of one or more of these state laws.
The U.S. senators who seat nominees on the Supreme Court often try to select a future justice who is sympathetic to the senators’ political persuasions. However, once seated, Supreme Court justices frequently adopt a very professional view of their responsibilities. Fortunately, most justices are not reliably partisan.
Polls taken during the past three years indicate that from 60 to 70 percent of Americans believe that the constitutional right for women to abort a pregnancy should be retained. The hierarchy of the Catholic Church is adamantly opposed to abortion. Six of the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices are Catholic. That places those six justices in an unenviable position.
Elimination or severe restriction of abortion rights would have serious consequences. Legislators need only review what happened when the sale of alcoholic beverages was prohibited by a constitutional amendment in 1920. It was a disaster, and the sale of those beverages was legalized again only 13 years later.
A law does not eliminate demand for a service or a product. If the demand cannot be met legally, it will be supplied illegally. Abortion, illegally provided, yields health problems. Health care may not be available if something goes wrong. Health insurance certainly will not cover the procedure.
The abortion issue is divisive. It arises, again, at a time when our nation is already seriously splintered over other issues. It arises at a time when our foreign competitors are gaining momentum, when our potential enemies are building their military strength and attempting to infiltrate our electronic systems.
Those who are attempting to impose their views on everyone by legal means are also challenging the laws of nature. Nature will win.
Jack Stevenson is a retiree who served two years in Vietnam as an infantry officer, retired from military service, and worked three years as a U.S. Civil Service employee, as well as in Egypt as an employee of the former Radio Corporation of America.