Thursday, January 12, 2006

Equal Rights Under the Law

I am going to break a personal rule here and talk openly about my religion and how it affects (or doesn't affect) my views on abortion rights. There are some things I leave close to my heart, because they are difficult and complex issues for me; but the time has come to process the way I feel about all this, seeing as scAlito will likely usher in the reversal of Roe v. Wade.
Alito edged closer to suggesting that he might be willing to reconsider Roe if he is confirmed to the high court, refusing, under persistent questioning by Democrats, to say that he regards the 1973 decision as "settled law" that "can't be reexamined." In this way, his answers departed notably from those that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. gave when asked similar questions during his confirmation hearings four months ago.


Alito told several senators that he felt constrained from saying whether he regards Roe as settled because abortion remains a live issue in the courts. Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) reminded Alito that he has willingly said other areas of the law were settled even though they remain in play and that, in a 1985 application for a promotion in the Reagan administration's Justice Department, he had written he did not believe the Constitution protects the right to an abortion.
I am a practicing Roman Catholic. Very practicing. And proud of it. My faith is something so engrained in my identity that I can't imagine my life without it. It's what fuels my passion for social justice issues and fostering fellowship. I read about the vigilance of some of the Saints in their tireless work for the poor and downtrodden, and it revs me up to seek the same devotion to make this world better.

The past several years have been just-short of unbearable as I hear the uniting of platforms between conservative Catholic prelates and groups with the Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertsons of the world. It utterly disgusts me when I hear more decrees coming out of the Vatican regarding homosexuality or abortion rather than economic relief for the poorest of the poorest or the spread of war.

The truth is, the notion of "abortion rights" is a smoke-screen for the real issue: equal rights under the law.

Roe v Wade is not the bogeyman reason for the destruction of human life that the pro-life movement claims, it is the law of the land that provides women the exact same rights as men to have control over their bodies. By stripping this precedent, our society will revert back to a time when a husband or significant other lorded authority over their mate.

Are conservative wignuts like Senator Coburn of Oklahoma so distrusful of women that he would rather rule their medical decisions with a heavy hand than allow them equal rights in our country? The answer is a big neon-light flashing YES, and since he's representative of the freakish of the freakish, the Republican Party gave the freshman Senator a powerful voice on the Senate Judicial Committee overseeing the confirmation hearings of the Supreme Court.

My friends, we are truly on the brink of sending our democracy in a backwards slide rather than moving forward. We are experiencing a time of governance that seeks to restrict rights rather than expand them. It is appalling to me and I feel utterly helpless because even my so-called representatives in Congress won't ask the tough questions that I demand.

My faith has given me a powerful tool: my conscience; but it's an empty tool if I don't listen to it. That is why I try to spent more time using my ears rather than my mouth.

I firmly believe that if our elected officials spend more time listening rather than pontificating, then Samuel Alito will not be confirmed to the SCOTUS. I have very little hope though, given the past couple of days of questioning.

"Of the people, by the people, for the people" - what a joke.

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