The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion To be wanted is essential

Peyton Newsome, 27, of Woodbridge, joins abortion-rights advocates in front of the Supreme Court on May 3. (Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post)

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. 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. What is to stop far-right conservatives from banning contraception or forms of sexual activity that they don’t approve of? What is to stop them from arresting you and taking you in for questioning as you drive your teenage daughter to see a doctor?

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?

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, could 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 may be nothing standing in their way of 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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