Women’s Constitutional Rights

I wrote this post to serve as a reference, conversation tool and as fuel for action.


There is now no federal constitutional right to an abortion.

The decision made to overturn Roe v Wade allows for precedent to argue that women don’t have full rights in the constitution.

Before diving in. Abortion is healthcare.

Abortion is the medical term for the termination of a pregnancy.

A termination that can occur for many reasons. Treatments for a D&C or an ectopic pregnancy are referred to as abortions. Even if the patient didn’t intend to end the pregnancy, it’s still the medical term used. The overturn of Roe v Wade can now affect the care a patient receives during and after experiencing miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies and previable preterm premature rupture of membranes, where abortion is often medically indicated to prevent infection, sepsis and death in a woman.

1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage. 1 in 100 women experience recurrent miscarriages (3 or more in a row). 1 in 50 pregnancies are ectopic. PPROM occurs in approximately 5-7% of pregnant women.

I personally know women who have experienced 1 or more of the above. In several of those cases, the woman’s life was at risk. In all of the cases, the woman was devastated.

Nearly 70% of the US supports abortion rights.

roe vs wade overturned facts

The support for stages varies. But again: 70% of the US supports abortion rights.

According to the post Roe v Wade model abortion law issued by the National Right to Life offered for states to adopt, abortion should be illegal in all cases except to prevent death of mother. Telehealth prohibited, criminal penalties enacted, organizations that provide abortion healthcare be treated as organized crime syndicates and much more.

It also stated:

“”Unborn child” means a living individual organism of the species homo sapiens throughout all stages of the unborn child’s development from fertilization to birth.” “”Fertilization” means the time when the penetration of a male human sperm into a zona pellucida (outer layer of egg) occurs.”

Justice Alito stated “Abortion destroys potential life”.

This means that even if there are privacy laws in the constitution, the rights of a woman are secondary to the potential life of fertilized eggs.

This would mean it can become a crime to terminate a fertilized egg.

This could also mean that once a woman gets pregnant, she becomes subsidiary to a fertilized egg, so will a state and elected representatives be able to have a say on what a woman eats and does during her pregnancy? Or how a woman lives prior to pregnancy, since a woman can conceive at any time?

i.e. A woman’s life controlled to protect the potential life she may one day carry.

As for IVF patients: The statutes that ban abortion at moment of fertilization or that grant personhood to embryos could make it a crime to discard eggs fertilized in labs via IVF. More than 2% of the 3.7 million births in the US in 2019 were conceived through IVF federal data shows. Many embryos created through IVF aren’t usable and others that aren’t transferred into a uterus are generally discarded.


Women’s rights and their medical decisions should not be up to elected representatives. Women’s rights should be constitutional.

The problem is: Women are not in the constitution.

You read that right.

Women aren’t in the constitution. Women are in a few amendments, but are not in the constitution.

Constitutional rights are limits on the power of a government. They also limit the power of individuals acting on behalf of any government. Constitutional rights can ensure a women’s body is not governed and controlled.

This is why the equal rights amendment is imperative. It would matter of factly state in the constitution that women do have rights and they are the same as men.

The ERA states:

“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

This is what has been tried to get written into the constitution for 50 years. The ERA was introduced one hundred years ago and went out for ratification 50 years ago.

Anti-choice activists argue the ERA could make it harder to restrict abortions.


If an amendment stating that women have equal rights makes restricting abortions harder, then restricting abortions violates equal rights for women.


Women need to be written into the constitution.

A little reminder to show some of what women had to fight for up until just 50 years ago:

  • Women could not get a credit card in their own name.
  • Women could not serve on the military front lines.
  • Women could get fired for getting pregnant.
  • Women could not take legal action against workplace sexual harassment.
  • Women paid more in health insurance.
  • Women were unable to take their husbands to court for rape.

Leaving this decision up to the elected representatives:

A state and elected representatives will be able to impose it’s moral choice on a woman.

  • Low-income women will have to spend money they don’t have to travel out of state to get an abortion. These same women, who cannot risk losing their job(s) will have to miss work to travel out of state to get an abortion. They will have to find/pay for childcare while doing so.
  • As for middle-income and high-income women, although at a lesser financial risk, they will still have to spend excess money traveling out of state to get an abortion and it will still affect their job because of missing work.

Since yesterday’s decision was made, some companies have released statements that they will essentially offer a woman pardon whether helping financially and/or without penalty.

This means a woman in this position will have to tell her employer that she needs to get an abortion. No medical privacy. This also affects equal rights at work as it puts women in a disadvantage in the office.

This goes for women that both want and do not want their pregnancy. There will be women that will want their pregnancy, but due to personal medical reasons will have to undergo an abortion and will still need to do all of the above should a state make abortion illegal.


“The legitimacy of the SCOTUS is hanging by a thread.”

75% of the US public reports lacking confidence in SCOTUS, and this was pre Roe v wade overturn.

The majority in the SCOTUS voted to overturn Roe v Wade. Out of those majority, there were justices that in their confirmation hearings, their opinions on overturning Roe v. Wade were arguably misleading.

“That’s the law of the land. I accept the law of the land.”- Gorsuch

“It’s settled as a precedent of the Supreme Court.”-Kavanaugh

“What I will commit is that I will obey all the rules of stare decisis, that if a question comes up before me about whether Casey or any other case should be overruled, that I will follow the law of stare decisis”- Barrett

Stare decisis means to stand by things decided. Why is this important? Stare decisis is a legal doctrine that obligates courts to follow historical cases when deciding a ruling on a similar case. Stare decisis requires courts to follow legal precedents set by previous decisions.

Precedent is a legal principle or rule that is created by a court decision. This decision becomes an example, or authority, for judges deciding similar issues later. Stare decisis is the doctrine that obligates courts to look to precedent when making their decisions.

Alito said he respected precedent, especially in cases that have withstood many challenges, as Roe has.

“I think that when a decision is challenged and it is reaffirmed, that strengthens its value as stare decisis for at least two reasons,” Alito testified. “First of all, the more often a decision is reaffirmed, the more people tend to rely on it. And second, I think stare decisis reflects the view that there is wisdom embedded in decisions that have been made by prior Justices who take the same oath and are scholars and are conscientious, and when they examine a question and they reach a conclusion, I think that’s entitled to considerable respect.”

Now Alito stated: “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences.”

Going back on his word and more importantly, disregarding stare decisis. Because now Alito and his majority think it’s important to define liberty as what the men who wrote the word liberty in the 14th amendment meant it as in 1868. Except these men were not thinking about women. I don’t think I need to go on about what these men of 1868 (just 3 years after slavery was abolished) thought was liberty.

There is no liberty unless a woman has the ability to make a medical and healthcare decision only with her doctor. There is no liberty if a woman is not able to decide when and if she has children. There is no liberty if women are chained to a past that never cared about their liberty in the first place.

Dissent arguments:

*The dissent are the justices who were in the minority in this case.*

The dissent stated abandoning stare decisis is hypocritical and dangerous. The dissent cited dozens of cases that counter the majority’s claim that it was necessary to abandon the precedent set in Roe v Wade and Casey.

The dissent also argued that the majority basing their decision on what is “deeply rooted in history” is problematic, because they mentioned “there was no support in the American law for a constitutional right to obtain contraceptives.” Yet it passed during Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479. It’s also fundamentally unsound, because then you could not uphold the rights to gay or interracial marriage.

So they confirmed one of 2 things must be true “Either the majority does not really believe it’s own reasoning, or if it does all rights that have no history stretching back to the mid 19th century are insecure. Either the mass of the majority’s opinion is hypocrisy or additional constitutional rights are under threat. It is one or the other.”

The majority argued that before 1973, when Roe v Wade was passed, no one stated there was a constitutional right to abortion. However, the dissent pointed out that the Court has long held that there are certain fundamental rights and a realm of personal liberty that the government may not enter.

Lastly, majority justified their current overturning precedent because of their overturning precedent in the Brown v Board (segregation in schools). However, the dissent argued that happened because there was a factual and legal change in that case, which are the only reasons to ever justify overturning precedent.

________________________

Why is the legitimacy of the SCOTUS hanging by a thread?

  • Justices overturning what they stated to the public was precedent, law of the land. When they were not abundantly clear to the American people of their stance under oath. They all implied it, without actually saying it.
  • The majority of the US supporting abortion rights, yet the SCOTUS strips that right away because they write their own rules. And if they want to change their rules then they can.
  • Disregard for stare decisis.
  • SCOTUS decides what cases they take on and how they test the cases.
  • For more than 50 years the Republican party has controlled the Supreme Court despite winning fewer votes than their opponents in seven of the eight presidential elections held in the last 30 years. Democrats have consistently won the most votes in presidential elections over the last 30 years.
  • A majority of the current Court was appointed by Republican presidents who took office after losing the popular vote.

The Court does not reflect the people of United States. It needs balance, neutralization. In it’s current state it is a threat to democracy.


Medicine and Science and Beliefs

Not until 23/24 weeks is a fetus viable. Meaning, the fetus has a chance at surviving outside of the womb. The chance is less than 50%. There are very few instances when a fetus born before survives.

A “heartbeat” doesn’t mean a formed heart. Even ectopic pregnancies have “heartbeats”, because this is electrical cellular activity (cells that can conduct electricity).

The life begins argument.

Women who believe that life begins at conception and that abortion is murder have a right to their beliefs. And the women that don’t believe this have the right to their beliefs too. Therefore, it is the woman with her own beliefs who should be the one to choose what to do with her body. A woman who believes abortion should not be an option can take that option away from herself. Women’s interpretation of when life begins can dictate their own choices, not the choices of other women.

For those who assume that a woman would end a viable pregnancy carelessly or without a reason: The facts don’t support this.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, abortions after 21 weeks make up less than 1.3% of all abortions in the United States. This means that abortions that occur beyond 24 weeks make up less than 1% of all procedures.

Abortion surveillance shows in 2019 that 92.7% of abortions were performed at ≤13 weeks’ gestation. There are many reasons why women may need to access abortion later in pregnancy such as maternal health endangerment, diagnosis of fetal abnormalities or restrictive laws delaying earlier access to abortion care. A decision that should not be up to the states and their governing officials, but to the woman and her medical care provider.

 Doctors state there is also no clinical meaning to the phrase “late-term abortion”. It is medically inaccurate. The phrase “late term” means to be past 41 weeks gestation- past a patient’s due date. Abortions do not occur in this time period, so the phrase is contradictory.

The exceptionally rare cases that happen after 24 weeks are often because a fetus has a condition that cannot be treated and will never be able to survive – regardless of the gestational age or trimester.

This is another reason why a woman’s abortion healthcare should not be legislated. The confusing and non-specific language in the abortion ban laws do not protect women’s rights or their health. In science and medicine it is essential to use language precisely and these statutes do not which is extremely dangerous to women.

Making abortion illegal and/or implementing severe abortion restrictions is a violation of a women’s medical rights.

 


abortion in a post roe world

An example of what is already in effect in Arkansas and can occur in other states (although other states already have this, just with a 6 week ban too):

  • Abortion completely banned, no exceptions for:

    • rape

    • incest

    • lethal fetal condition

    • Should a woman discover at 20 weeks that the fetus will die during or hours after child birth, she doesn’t have a right to terminate pregnancy

That last one forces women whose babies will certainly die to endure pregnancy and childbirth and then watch their babies die painful deaths.

There are 13 states that because of a trigger law (law enforced right after Roe v Wade was overturned) abortion is now banned in or will be within 30 days. Almost all with the only exception that a woman’s life is at risk. A a handful include the risk of substantial or irreversible physical impairment. Even less include pregnancy caused by rape or incest and half of those require the woman to have reported the rape or incest to law enforcement.

There are many other personal and medical reasons why a woman would feel the need to get an abortion, other than her own death.


And how imminent must death for the woman be for an abortion to be allowed in these trigger law states?

Doctors have shared that there are many conditions that people become aware of when they get pregnant and are ok in early pregnancy, but as pregnancy progresses all of the body’s organs suffer- the heart, the lungs, the kidneys. So while there may be no life-threatening emergency at one moment, months later the woman may have life-threatening consequences.

Pregnancy also makes hormones that grow cancer and spread it faster and women may not have the right to end a pregnancy because of that or because the treatment that their oncologist is recommending would be toxic or potentially lethal to a developing baby.

Those are just a couple of more personal and medical reasons why a woman would feel the need to get abortion other than the immediacy of death.

If a woman believes she is protected enough because the only way she won’t be forced to carry a pregnancy is if it’s going to kill her, that is her choice of the minimum of rights she is willing to accept. One woman’s willingness to accept bare minimum rights protection (i.e. they would have to be in danger of dying) should not be imposed on another woman who wants equal rights when equal rights are human rights.
This is another reason why the ERA is imperative to set a simple standard, the same men have, for human rights. And from there each individual woman can choose how much of those rights they are willing to accept and live by.

 

Live in Florida like me? The after 15 week abortion ban bill about to go live on July 1st doesn’t make exceptions for rape or incest, only exception is if the fetus has a fatal abnormality or if the mother is at risk of death or substantial or irreversible physical impairment. But this was before yesterday. Now with the constitutional right stripped away, Florida will, like many other states that have already done and will do, “expand pro-life protections” as Governor Desantis already stated yesterday. Both State Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Howey-in-the-Hills, and Andrew Shirvell called for DeSantis to outlaw all abortions in Florida.

This will ban abortions after 6 weeks.

1 in 3 women don’t know they’re pregnant until 6+ weeks. 1 in 5 past 7 weeks. 14% to 25% of women have irregular menstrual cycles, resulting in less-trackable and unreliable periods and a greater likelihood of discovering pregnancy even later.

Furthermore:

The embryo develops into a fetus at the 10th week of gestation. If it develops at all; studies indicate that between 25-35% of preembryos never implant into the uterine lining, up to 30% fail shortly after implantation and roughly 15% of clinically established pregnancies miscarry.

An embryo is cells that have the potential to develop into all types of cells-into a multicellular organism.

The absolute abortion ban and 6 week abortion ban that is currently in some and about to be in other states is giving more rights to an embryo than to a woman.


Banning abortions will not reduce or stop abortions.

It can cost more lives, because women will still get abortions. For some women it will be at a financial, privacy and stability risk. For others it will be a deathly risk.

So for those who believe life starts at conception, now there is possibility for 2 lives to be lost.

Policies that can actually reduce abortions:

  • Access to free contraceptives
  • Comprehensive sex education
  • Universal healthcare
  • Paid family leave

Now a brief moment in conclusion for my opinions.

I’ve only mentioned anti-choice once in this post and notice I did not use the term “pro-life”. This is because I do not believe you can be pro life and not respect the rights of a woman and her life. This is anti-choice. A person who is willing to inflict their own beliefs and what they would do with their own body onto another person is an anti-choice person. They do not want another person to be able to make their own choice about their body, health and life. Note that there have and will continue to be many of these people who will have an abortion and/or pay for someone’s abortion, but still impose their doctrine on others. I personally know people who have done this.

Notice I have also not mentioned religion once in this post, although, nearly all of those who identify as pro-life (anti-choice) do so in the name of their religion. Religion, in which it is a privilege to live in a country where one can practice any religion they choose because that means no one is forcing them to believe in another religion or worship another god. Yet, some people have taken their religious freedom and have used it to force others to make the same decision they would make based on their religion. That is not freedom. That is not liberty.


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