To the editor:
The landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1954, Brown v. Board of Education, secured the rights of children everywhere in our nation to be educated in public schools without being segregated. The decision reflected the justices' unanimous vote that racial segregation was unconstitutional. This case is considered settled law and is informally known as a super-precedent.
These terms point to the reality that virtually no organized effort exists to overturn this law. There are simply too few people who are willing to take action to promote the idea that schools should be segregated along racial lines.
The argument that pointed toward tolerable forms of public school segregation was the argument of “separate but equal." But the decision soundly defeated this.
In 1973. the significant Supreme Court decision established that a pregnant women’s right to choose abortion without interference from the government was a right supported by the Constitution. This decision, in comparison to Brown, is not settled law nor a super precedent.
The reason is that since its passing there have been continued efforts to support measures to lead the Supreme Court to overrule it. The underlying issue -- a woman’s right to choose -- conflicts with many who hold the view that the unborn have constitutionally supported rights to life.
For 50 years abortion and this decision that supports it have been touchstone of divisiveness morally, legally and politically.
At the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett came the specter of a renewed national wave of struggle over this issue. A potentially conservative-biased Supreme Court is likely to take up the issue again.
But what exactly would be the consequences if Roe v. Wade is overturned?
The issue would be returned to the states for determination. Ultimately, as things stand, approximately half of the states would have no protections for women regarding their choice for abortion.
There are compelling reasons when a woman’s right to access abortion should be preserved, and in its absence this would be an extremely consequential condition for many women in our nation.
The proposed Roe Act in Massachusetts, however, represents an equally extreme, radical set of circumstances. The proposal is a solution looking for a problem and appears to be more of a response to expand women’s rights beyond a reasonable set of sensible boundaries, in the event that Roe is overturned.
The act would allow abortion to occur during all months of pregnancy; it would eliminate requirements that late-term abortions be performed in hospitals; it would eliminate the rights of a child to receive care if he or she survives an abortion; and it would eliminate any requirement for a minor to be supported by the consent of a parent, guardian or through the courts.
The complexities of a woman’s choice, especially a young woman’s about her body and life without government interference, are substantially protected in Massachusetts.
The Roe Act is a Massachusetts-proposed legislation. Focusing on the needs of women in a state which provides adequate protections guaranteed by its Constitution should zero-out any perceived consequence of action to overrule or diminish Roe v. Wade.
So what is left is a woman’s dignity. How is that advanced when the proposed law inflicts unusually cruel treatment of the unborn?