Letter: Human rights should not be state by state


Are we one country? Should we not all have the same basic human rights?

The United States, as it says in the name, is a group of states that joined together for the common good of their citizens. Citizens with rights and protections that shouldn’t radically change by stepping over a state boundary line.

The Supreme Court’s draft decision, striking down Roe v. Wade, takes the stance that, state-by-state, a person’s basic rights, and even their position in society, change.

There is much wrong in the draft, including defending its stance by referencing writings from a period in history when women and children were considered the property of men. But just concentrating on the topline, that the individual states should define basic human rights, the decision, if implemented, will eventually fail.

Can any of us envision “medical refugees” within our own country? Women having to move out of their state if they choose not to bring a pregnancy to term. Will there be pregnancy checks at the borders? Will there be a registry of women of childbearing age in states banning abortion with a requirement for periodic “checks?” Will neighbors or friends be solicited for information by the state…”Do you suspect your neighbor of being pregnant?”

Can any of us imagine a country where there are “bounty hunters,” seeking out women who have traveled to another state to access health care, capturing them, and returning them to their state for punishment for obtaining an abortion or, forcing them to become a brood mare for an “adoption market” if they were unsuccessful in obtaining one?

The examples of the absurdity that would ensue could go on for pages. And, yes, this sounds dystopian, but it is a reality if this ruling goes into effect. Think through the real-world implications of having a state-by-state law on abortion (or, for that matter, birth control) and the controls that would have to be put into place to enforce it.

Also very real is the fact that women without means will resort to dangerous methods to relieve themselves of unwanted pregnancies. Women have been doing so since before the time of Christ. (If we want to talk about what is historically customary, Mr. Alito.) Why would we make a difficult decision such a burden on those of us who have the most to lose and very few options? The members of the court are all people of privilege. They are educated, have familial support, have jobs that provide medical care. Many women that are facing a decision about having a child have none of those elements in their lives. Do we force them to have children that they cannot care for because the court says there is a ripe market for newborns? The members of the court fail to take into consideration the stigma attached to a woman giving up a child for adoption or the burden to a woman that is dependent on a job she may not be able to do while pregnant.

Women make up more than 50% of the population of this country. We have the right to manifest our own destiny. We are no longer the property of fathers, husbands or the state. If we lose control of our own body, we are not equal to our male counterparts. One has to wonder if that’s what’s really driving this decision.

This unbalanced court is the product of an unbalanced system. Our country is at a tipping point. If our institutions are looking for respect (looking at you Mr. Thomas) then they need to be respectful of the people they serve. They also need to be comprised of people that resemble the population for which they make life altering decisions.

In the parlance of my youth, “We’re not picking up what you’re putting down, man.”

Inge Morascini