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Rights And Wrongs

By Steve Slavin. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Right

The impending U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade has already set off what promises to be a very long and acrimonious debate that may never be resolved. At its center are two diametrically opposed rights — a fetus’s right to life and its mother’s right to chose whether or not to carry her pregnancy to full term.

The Court’s landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision afforded pregnant women the right to have abortions without excessive government restriction. Since then, an occasional conservative majority of justices has been able to chip away at this guaranty, but a woman’s right to choose whether or not to end her pregnancy was upheld throughout most of the nation.


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Now, however, the three justices appointed by President Donald Trump – Neal Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney-Barrett --have very radically altered the Court’s political balance, enabling the overturning of the landmark decision affording women the right to have an abortion without excessive government restriction. As a consequence, that right will soon be severely curbed – if not completely outlawed – in more than half our nation’s states.

The right-to-life vs. the right-to-choose debate is actually part of a much broader debate, which poses the right of all Americans to be free from governmental overregulation versus the right of the government to impose rules and regulations to ensure the safety and welfare of all Americans. This great debate also includes government policy in regard to fighting the COVID epidemic and the right to bear arms.

In these debates, Trump Republicans demand the right to life, to bear arms and to not get vaccinated, practice social distancing, or wear a face mask. But, under closer examination, their claims of consistently supporting human rights over government regulation are utterly inconsistent, if not hypocritical.

The Right to Life vs. The Right to Chose

In the view of virtually al opponents of abortion, abortion is murder. The ultimate right of the unborn is the right to life. And surely, the large majority of these advocates are sincere in their belief.

For many of these right-to-lifers, even if the life of the mother is at great risk if her pregnancy is carried to term, they and their Republican legislative enablers will still stand firm. In effect then, they are implicitly declaring that even if it comes down to saving either the life of the new-born or that of its mother, they’ll save the new-born every time.

While the right-to-lifers crusade to save the lives of the unborn, they apparently have no qualms about infringing upon the rights of the mothers to choose whether or not to have their babies. And so, while these great protectors stand firmly against allowing the government to infringe on individual rights, they do make an exception when it comes down to a pregnant woman’s right to choose whether or not to save her own life. Instead of letting her decide, they’ll leave that decision to a government regulator.

The Right to Not Get Vaccinated, Social Distance or Wear a Face Mask

Perhaps the defining moment of the politicization of our nation’s battle with COVID came near the end of Trump’s political rally in Alabama last August, when he urged his fervent followers to get vaccinated. Thousands of people who had been heartily cheering all night immediately began loudly booing him.

Trump was genuinely shocked by this extremely hostile reaction. But he immediately realized that they valued their “freedom” even more than their lives – not to mention the lives of all the other people they might infect. Although he had very strongly supported the rapid development of life-saving vaccines during the last year of his presidency, he would never again bring up the subject, let alone even attempt to persuade his supporters to get vaccinated.

To all these folks, agreeing to get vaccinated was surrendering to government bullying. Being forced to get vaccinated, social distance, and wear a mask were blatant infringements of their rights as Americans. We didn’t invent the “Chinese virus” and we’re not going to shut down our county like they did. After all, we are the land of the free and the home of the brave.

But what about the other side of the coin? These so-called invasions of our rights were very clearly needed to save hundreds of thousands of lives by helping to curb the continuing spread of the virus. More than a million Americans have succumbed over the last two and half years, and yet these morons insist that their right to infect others is more important than other people’s right to live. Of course, this bit of irony is lost on these right-to-life freedom lovers.

The Right to Bear Arms

This right is enshrined in the Bill of Rights as the second amendment to our Constitution: A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Gun rights is a hot-button issue among most Trump Republicans. If the government comes to take away our guns, then they can much more easily take away our other rights and freedoms. I know the question I’m about to ask may be somewhat rude, but here goes: What about the rights of the children who were massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012 and at Parkland Florida’s Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018? Were their rights to live less important than their killers’ right to bear arms?

Please help me here. Did either of these mass shootings in any way involve a well- regulated militia?

Another, much more reasonable justification for the right to bear arms is for self- defense. Fair enough. Then why would anyone need to carry military style high caliber rifle?

If you think that the right to bear arms – even high caliber military rifles is essential for your self-defense – then please explain that to the siblings and parents of the children killed every year at school shootings.

Last Word

The strongest belief that is shared by Trump Republicans is that the government has long been trying to take away our precious freedoms. They even turned on their beloved leader himself when he merely suggested that they get vaccinated.

And yet, they’re perfectly good with the government denying a woman’s right to choose between giving birth or aborting an unwanted fetus. If a bunch of attendees at a Trump rally were asked to resolve that contradiction, they might come up with some pretty interesting answers.

What I find most infuriating about the denizens of the far right is their abject hypocrisy. They fall all over themselves proclaiming the sanctity of life, but they conveniently look the other way when the policies they advocate predictably result in countless deaths. How can they live with themselves when women denied abortions die from back-alley abortions or while giving birth? What is their reaction to school children being shot down by heavily armed gunmen? And are they actually stupid enough to believe that their advocacy of “freedom” to not get vaccinated, social distance, or wear a face mask does not result in perhaps hundreds of thousands of deaths?

The Republican Party base consists largely of relatively poorly educated and very angry racist xenophobes. If Trump, or one of his acolytes, gets elected – or steals the presidential election in 2024 — then not only will our democratic form of government be quickly destroyed, but also most of the rights guaranteed by the first ten amendments to the Constitution. But maybe they can save the second amendment.

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