The Washington Post Sunday
Only the first to fall
Regarding Jonathan Capehart’s May 8 op-ed, “The Alito draft is a warning to LGBTQ Americans”:
In 1967, I led an American Civil Liberties Union team in the Supreme Court in the case of Loving v. Virginia, which, in a 9-to-0 decision, legalized interracial marriage. We are now witnessing the death knell of Roe v. Wade. Could its demise adversely affect Loving and related cases?
Though Loving should survive, as it has been the law for 55 years and for other reasons, the case most in danger is Obergefell v. Hodges, which, in 2015 in a 5-to-4 decision, legalized same-sex marriage. There are now as many as six of the nine justices — including Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who dissented in Obergefell — who, on the reasoning in Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.’s purloined draft opinion, could reverse Obergefell and decide that the legality of same-sex marriages should be left to the individual states.
Let us beware of the disasters that live in the minds of men.
William D. Zabel, New York The writer is chairman emeritus
of Human Rights First.
If the Supreme Court allows states to regulate abortion, chances are there will be few abortions those legislatures will be able to ban. That’s largely because 54 percent of abortions now are by drugs, not surgery, and those numbers are growing.
Mifeprex, the main drug used since 2000 when the Food and Drug Administration approved it, is allowed for use up to 10 weeks of pregnancy, and about 75 percent of all abortions in the United States are before the 10th week, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
Furthermore, the interstate sale of prescription drugs is protected by the Constitution’s commerce clause, which allows Congress to preempt the state, which it has done by giving the power over drug marketing to the Food and Drug Administration. States can limit prescribing to medical doctors, but they cannot ban any drug that is for sale in other states.
Finally, as many as 24 states, Guttmacher estimates, will not institute any bans on surgical abortions, so women in the other states can travel to those for a surgical abortion. Interstate travel is readily available to lower-income women, as about 91 percent of Americans have access to a car, according to the Census Bureau.
As a result, whatever the court decides, as a practical matter, will be limited.
Ken Reid, McLean The writer is a former editor and
publisher of FDAinfo.com.
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.’s “leaked” draft seeks to overturn Roe v. Wade because abortion was not specified in the Constitution — meaning, the Framers did not consider it a woman’s right. As I understand it, “originalist” interpretations of the Constitution derive from divining what was in the Framers’ minds. A not-difficult online search uncovered numerous articles on abortion being an accepted part of early American life, from the Pilgrims into the 19th century. As one article summarized: “Abortion was not just legal — it was a safe, condoned, and practiced procedure in colonial America and common enough to appear in the legal and medical records of the period. Official abortion laws did not appear on the books in the United States until 1821, and abortion before quickening did not become illegal until the 1860s. If a woman living in New England in the 17th or 18th centuries wanted an abortion, no legal, social, or religious force would have stopped her.”
The Framers must have believed that abortion is as much a woman’s right as giving birth, which they also didn’t address in the Constitution.
Jeffrey H. Schwartz, Pittsburgh