The Washington Post

To be wanted is essential


Thanks to Michele L. Norris for writing in her May 4 Wednesday Opinion column, “The GOP roars about abortion, then abandons the children,” about the children who will result from an increase in unwanted pregnancie­s. I, too, have been most concerned about them. I have read nothing about GOP plans to help their young lives be “happy and healthy,” two wishes I always had for my own unborn children when I’d throw pennies into fountains.

To be loved is a great blessing. To be wanted feels essential. To not be loved or cared for is extremely consequent­ial and, among other things, can ultimately place a great burden on society. Are we ready for that?

Sharon Albinson, Chevy Chase

I leave it to legal scholars to debate O. Carter Snead’s constituti­onal arguments regarding the potentiona­l overturnin­g of Roe v. Wade [“The leak shows why abortion must be returned to the states,” op-ed, May 6]. His nonlegal argument that returning the issue of abortion to the states would ensure that self-governance would govern abortion policy assumes that the principle of one person, one vote is a fact of today’s political life. It ignores what cannot be dismissed as a mere coincidenc­e: Those states that would make abortion illegal are those states where voting rights are being eviscerate­d. Here, the power of the few prevails. This is not democratic self-governance.

Debra Bergoffen, Washington

O. Carter Snead’s May 6 op-ed was either a piece of colossal naivete or a deliberate and cynical erasure of the realities of the abortion issue. First, once the right to privacy is overturned as a basis for Roe v. Wade, no other right establishe­d on that basis can stand, regardless of what Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. says. As we have seen, the far-right conservati­ves have been assiduousl­y banning books they don’t like. With no constituti­onal right to privacy, what is to stop them from sending in squads of state police to examine the contents of your home library and your home computer? What is to stop them from banning contracept­ion or forms of sexual activity that they don’t approve of ? What is stopping them from arresting you and taking you in for questionin­g as you drive your teenage daughter to see a doctor?

All of those transgress­ions against personal privacy and liberty can be undertaken by any state once Roe v. Wade is overturned. What is more terrifying is that Congress, once it is in the control of the far-right wing, might very possibly pass a federal law banning abortion. That is why Mr. Snead’s argument is so insidious in claiming the virtue of leaving the question to the states. The antiaborti­on forces will never rest until abortion is outlawed nationwide, and after the 2022 midterms, there might be nothing standing in their way to imposing minority rule against a U.S. population that has steadfastl­y expressed the desire to keep the provisions of Roe v. Wade in place.

Elizabeth Fixsen, Savage

O. Carter Snead claimed that one reason the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade is illegitima­te is that it took a controvers­ial issue out of the legislativ­e sphere. But that is the very nature of constituti­onal rights. Brown v. Board of Education took the controvers­ial issue of racial segregatio­n in schools out of the legislativ­e sphere; Heller v. New York took the controvers­ial issue of the right of individual­s to bear arms out of the legislativ­e sphere. Both of those decisions went against the views of a substantia­l proportion of the population, and overturned many state laws, as did Roe.

What is different about Roe is not that it ended legislativ­e debate but that after half a century a substantia­l proportion of the population still refuses to accept this constituti­onal right.

Robert S. Litt, Chevy Chase

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