Do you believe that a woman should have the right to terminate her pregnancy?
Well, if you do then you need to find some time in the next week or so to take some simple, political action.
The question of whether or not abortion should be legal rests in the hands of the nine judges who sit on the United States Supreme Court. As most of you know, it was the Supreme Court that made abortion legal in this country in the first place when they decided the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. On a 7-2 vote, the court held that the constitutional right to privacy extended to the right to have an abortion. Parenthetically, with that decision the pro-life movement was born.
Over the years, the Supreme Court has obviously changed as justices have retired or died. And over those years, the Court has never had an occasion to specifically decide whether or not abortion should remain legal. For the most part, the cases dealt with peripheral issues, like whether or not states could enact parental consent laws or 24 hour waiting periods. Still, in some of those cases, a justice might add, almost as an aside, whether or not they supported the original Roe v. Wade decision. Thus, we now know that at this moment in time, the Supreme Court favors legal abortion by a 6-3 vote (although some pro-choice advocates express concern about the Court’s swing vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy).
But now Justice John Paul Stevens, a clear pro-choice vote, is retiring and President Obama has nominated Elena Kagan to replace Justice Stevens. It is generally assumed that Ms. Kagan is pro-choice, although some Presidents have been surprised in the past. Still, the consensus is we need her on the court to retain the 6-3 vote.
The next step is for the U.S. Senate to confirm the nomination but the Republican Party, led by numerous pro-life activists, will pull out all the stops to hamper or even prevent her from being confirmed. Should her nomination be stalled, President Obama may be forced to find a more moderate justice, perhaps one that has no record on abortion, and that could be disastrous.
So, it’s time for you to take action.
Write to your two Senators and ask them to support Elena Kagan. If you do not know who your Senators are, go to the U.S. Senate website for that information. Sit down and compose a very simple message urging your Senators to confirm President Obama’s nominee. If your Senator happens to be pro-choice, urge him or her to support Kagan to help preserve the right to choose. If your Senator is pro-life, don’t mention the abortion issue.
The worst thing pro-choice people can do is to get complacent. Democracy is a participatory sport, it takes energy and we owe it to future generations to do what we can to preserve this precious constitutional right.