Culture Wars/Current Controversies

No, They Won’t Stop at Roe

By Robert Reich, LA Progressive

Overturning Roe v. Wade is extreme, but what’s just as alarming is the logic Justice Samuel Alito used to justify it, which puts a whole range of other rights on the chopping block, too.

We enjoy many rights that are protected by the Constitution but not explicitly mentioned in it. One of these is the right to privacy. The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that the 14th Amendment’s due process clause protects individuals’ privacy against government interference.

In 1965, in Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court used privacy to make it illegal for states to ban birth control. In 1973, in Roe v. Wade, the Court used privacy to decide that women have broad rights to determine whether to end their pregnancies. In 2003, in Lawrence v. Texas, the Court protected LGBTQ Americans from arrest and prosecution for engaging in consensual sex in the privacy of their own bedrooms. In 2015 in Obergefell v. Hodges, the Court legalized gay marriage.

These landmark court cases all rest on the principle that the Constitution protects the liberty of an individual to make decisions about certain private matters without government interference.

But in his leaked opinion, Justice Samuel Alito argues that since the Constitution contains neither an explicit right to an abortion nor an explicit right to privacy, Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and must be overturned.

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