Saturday, August 13, 2005

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The Right to Privacy

Roberts and the Right to Privacy is a hot topic these days, as well it should be. It is one issue where we on the left have the hardest time with those on the right, because and I hate to say. They have the easier argument. They look at the world in simplistic terms, in black and white and for them this is one issue: abortion, and there is no right to privacy spelled out in the Constitution. There isn't a privacy amendment. Is privacy there, of course it is; privacy from government interference is the lifeblood of freedom. It is a fundamental cornerstone in the foundation of liberty. Liberty cannot exist if we are not allowed privacy in our own homes, from unreasonable search and seizure, of assembly with friends and other like-minded people (religious organizations), and the list goes on. The Right to Privacy isn't spelled out in black and white in our Bill of Rights, but it pervades it, it is fundamental to the spirit of freedom, of liberty and to who were are as a collective people. It isn't about an issue as simple as abortion, as being Pro-Choice or Anti-Choice (no one is against life). Privacy is about liberty, freedom, and our Bill of Rights not so much in what it explicitly says, but in what it explicitly means.

Not one of us can imagine the government quartering a solider in our home; the Third Amendment prohibits this, because we have a right to expect privacy from a government agent in our home. We used to feel secure in our clubs and associations because of the First Amendment that guarantees our freedom to assemble without government interference. We used to know that our records,our phone conversations, library checkouts, and book buying habits, were safe from government seizure without a warrant signed by a Judge, the Fourth Amendment promised that as well. We were assured that our liberty, our freedom our privacy from government was protected. It is no real surprise that this government is attacking the amendments that protect individual privacy, liberty and freedom.

These are the fundamentals that allow a woman the right to go to her doctor without the government's knowledge or approval decide to get pregnant or stay pregnant, yes; but even more so they are they are our rights as a people. We cannot walk away from them because abortion is unpleasant, and it is. We as liberals shouldn't be dishonest and say that it isn't. No matter which way you look at it, the fact that women still have to face this kind of choice is sad. The fact that our government makes it harder and harder for women who find out that their child is going to be born with fatal birth defects, and die within hours of its birth to decide to end their pregnancy sooner rather than later is wrong. The fact that women are forced to deliver stillborns in some states because of outlawed procedures is wrong. That is government interference, in the worst kind of way. Imagine a world where the government decided who got to have bypass surgery and who didn't, or modern day China where they have forced abortion. Freedom is only freedom when privacy is included in a person’s medical decision. It doesn't make it easy, it doesn't make it pretty or nice or neat; but then life rarely is.

See how much easier it is when you can just say there isn't a Privacy Amendment, than when you have to explain to someone who wants to look at the world in black and white, that it really isn't and there are tremendous consequences if we do.