Tags Posts tagged with "Roe v. Wade"

Roe v. Wade

“All politics is local.” This expression rings truer today than ever before. 

The Framers of the U.S. Constitution envisioned a system of federalism for the United States — one in which the national government was assigned a select number of well-defined powers, with all other powers not delegated by the Constitution reserved to the states. Over the course of American history, however, more and more powers have been delegated to the federal government.

Right now, we are witnessing a turning point in a century-long power struggle between the federal government and the states. Democratic presidents such as Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson incrementally augmented the size of the federal government and expanded the scope of its powers. After a century of concentrating power in Washington, the U.S. Supreme Court is now undoing that legacy, returning decision-making authority to lower levels of government. 

Two recent SCOTUS opinions have dramatically altered the balance of power in this country. The court ruled in Dobbs v.  Jackson Women’s Health Organization that the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. In New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, the court overruled New York State’s proper-cause licensing requirement for concealed carry of a handgun, making it harder for New York and other states to regulate concealed carry. 

The one interconnecting theme of both of these decisions is that the federal government is yielding much of its power to the states, putting greater pressure on state and local governments to make decisions on behalf of the people. 

No longer are the days of FDR, who saw the federal government as the vehicle to drive the national economy with his New Deal. No longer are the days of LBJ, whose Great Society program sought to eliminate poverty and racial disparities using the federal government as its engine. In this post-Roe America, the power of the federal government is waning, taken out of its hands and placed in the hands of the states.

There are some possible benefits to the decentralization of federal power. For starters, this may reduce voter polarization and division in the United States. With fewer decision-making powers, the stakes will be reduced for congressional and presidential elections. While national security and interstate commerce will always be the domain of the federal government, a host of domestic issues may soon return to the states, meaning state and local elections may soon carry much greater weight.

As power shifts away from the federal government and into our backyards, local residents must maintain an active interest in their state and local legislatures as these bodies will be deciding upon the issues that matter the most. Citizens can — and should — stay informed by reading their local newspapers, where information on these matters is most accessible. And they should remember to write letters to the editor because this remains a tried-and-true method to reach and persuade one’s fellow citizens.

By Daniel Palumbo

The Suffolk Progressives political organization hosted a rally for reproductive rights at Resistance Corner in Port Jefferson Station June 25. 

Over one hundred attendees made their voices heard regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 24 decision Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the 1973 landmark decision Roe. v. Wade and the 1992 decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey. 

Among the attendees were Skyler Johnson (D), who is running for New York State Senate District 1, and Suffolk Progressives activist Shoshana Hershkowitz, both of whom shared their passionate thoughts about this monumental reversal.

— Photos by Daniel Palumbo

Photo by Gayatri Malhotra. Unsplash photo

People often wish they could turn back time. The U.S. Supreme Court did just that on Friday, June 24.

America has been cast back to the mid-20th century as states can now make it illegal for women to get abortions. The justices overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision that granted a pregnant woman federal license to have an abortion and struck down federal and state laws that forbade the medical procedure. The recent Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision also overturned Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 decision that affirmed Roe’s central holding and cemented abortion access as judicial precedent. 

Around two dozen states are now poised to criminalize abortion, a collective slap in the face to all women from the court’s conservative majority. Women of childbearing age will now have fewer options than their mothers or grandmothers. The reversal can lead to dangerous abortions, especially when one has limited access to health care.

The U.S. already has the highest maternal mortality rates among developed nations, according to the Commonwealth Fund. The actual number is bound to climb as women’s reproductive health is no longer federally protected.

How will these states deal with the repercussions? How will they pay for children whose parents can’t afford to raise them or for the therapy some women will need after delivering a child conceived during rape? Who will adopt or foster the children who are given up, because a mother knows she can’t take care of her child.

Yes, there are more ways to try to prevent unwanted pregnancies. However, birth control is not 100%, and in the case of rape, sometimes by someone who is known, people are not always given a choice regarding having sex.

What’s equally disturbing is that Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that other landmark decisions such as those regarding contraception, sodomy laws and same-sex marriage should be reconsidered.

Are the Supreme Court justices allowing religion to motivate them when making these decisions or suggesting reviews of other laws? There have been debates over when life begins, because we live in a melting pot where people come from various religious backgrounds and some don’t identify with any one religion. In the U.S., we have varying opinions on numerous subjects. There is a need to make a decision considering those varying opinions.

Most of all, women deserve body autonomy. Lawmakers can’t make Americans donate organs after death, so how can they tell women that no matter what their circumstances, one option is not available to them.

The reversal of Roe v. Wade sets a dangerous precedent. Allowing states to set their own laws regarding major issues can lead to chaos.

U.S. citizens don’t have to sit on the sidelines. Every election is a chance to voice our opinions. During the midterm elections, vote for the candidates who will protect and fight for our rights to make our own personal choices.

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Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died Feb. 13, 2016. With the presidential election 269 days away, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and his caucus set a new precedent, refusing to hold confirmation hearings or a vote on then-President Barack Obama’s (D) nominee Merrick Garland because they believed the American people were mere months away from truly having a chance to weigh in on the decision.

This week Justice Anthony Kennedy, viewed by many as the center-right fulcrum of an otherwise politically balanced bench, announced he would retire. As a result, President Donald Trump (R), with two- to six-and-a-half more years left in the White House, will get his second bite at the Supreme Court apple, having already appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch last year.

If we are to set aside the hypocrisy of Senate Republicans pledging to plow forward with the nomination and confirmation process before the midterms, jus—-t 124 days from now, we don’t think it’s too much to ask for them to consider a few things as they begin the process.

First, can our current political climate handle the nomination and appointment of a partisan justice bent on say, being the deciding vote in overturning Roe v. Wade? Yes, it would score political points with the president’s Republican base and enflame liberals even more than they already are, which seems to be one of the few pillars guiding the right. Do Republicans in Congress truly believe they don’t have a role to play in restoring some shred of compromise and unity in our politics? Would nominating a hard-line pro-life justice this close to what was already likely to be possibly as heated a campaign season our country has ever seen (outside of 2016, of course) really do anything to advance our country’s discourse to a better place than we’re in now?

Further, beyond Roe v. Wade, are Republicans comfortable with the current discourse regarding the free press and the First Amendment? Will Trump be vetting his nominee about their stance on critical issues pertaining to his own legal situation, which includes probes into his personal attorney’s alleged pay-for-play White House access business structure and a special counsel investigation into Trump’s alleged campaign ties to the Russian government and its meddling in our election? Everyone involved is innocent until proven guilty, but if the president intends to impose a litmus test on his nominee for a question like, “Can the president of the United States legally pardon himself?” that should be a red flag to anyone who claims to believe in the rule of law.

We don’t feel it’s too much to ask for Republicans to consider a nominee that could serve as a unifier in as desperate a time as any for a little compromise, even assuming they’ve made up their mind on tearing up the McConnell Rule before the proverbial ink from 2016 is even dry. Both sides like to stake claims to a mythical moral high ground. Republicans, as they cheerlead things like tearing up the Affordable Care Act and labeling the free press as the enemy of the American people, could do more to stake an actual claim to that high ground than they have since Trump burst onto the scene with a nominee in the form of an olive branch.