The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion It’s time to lace up our walking shoes for protests again

Antiabortion protesters use bull horns to counter a gathering of mostly abortion rights advocates May 3 in front of the Supreme Court. (Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post)

There have been many excellent editorials and opinions recently on the leaked Supreme Court document, but Petula Dvorak’s May 6 Metro column, “Forget flowers and give moms control over their own bodies,” brought me to tears and further fueled my rage. I remember when Roe v. Wade was made the law of the land, and I was so relieved. At last, some element of safety for women who find themselves in an untenable situation. Courts and men should not make choices like that for us. Religion should not dictate the laws of the United States. Abortion is a very difficult, personal decision. Most women don’t want to have an abortion, but sometimes it might be necessary, and, if so, it should be safe and legal. I support free contraception and birth control instruction, but I can’t imagine that will occur in a country that wants to ban books.

I have been marching for over 50 years for a variety of causes, and I don’t want to march again, but I might need to lace up my walking shoes. Yes, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), forget the flowers. Moms and many women just want to be safe and able to control their bodies.

Debra McDonald, Washington

Regarding the May 6 news article “Women reflect on the potential end of Roe”:

How hypocritical and convenient of LaKisha Norman, having exercised her right to terminate two unwanted pregnancies, to now deny other women the same choice. That she has come to regret the decisions she made does not give her the right to impose the weight of her regret on others, nor does her belief in God give her the moral authority to dictate to others that they, too, must now “just learn how to rely on the Lord.”

Ms. Norman, keep the hypocrisy and the sanctimony to yourself, share your regrets with your God, and leave the rest of us alone.

Marc Thiessen

counterpointIf Kavanaugh and Gorsuch lied in their confirmations, so did Kagan

Lisa Paschal Snyder, Lutherville-Timonium, Md.

Regarding David von Drehle’s May 8 op-ed, “Alito’s Roe smokescreen obscures true radicalism”:

Contraception is not threatened by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.’s draft opinion in the Mississippi abortion case, but birth control is. Justice Alito referred only to “contraception,” which means prevention of conception. “Birth control” is a broader term and includes preventing a fertilized egg from implanting on the uterine wall and becoming a fetus.

Justice Alito wrote that the government’s “legitimate interests include respect for and preservation of prenatal life at all stages of development,” which includes the period before implantation. His opinion in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby was predicated on the proposition that life begins at conception and that birth control technologies that block implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterine wall were “abortifacients.” At issue in Hobby Lobby were the “morning after” pill and intrauterine devices. Prior Supreme Court decisions dealing with birth control had involved drugs and devices that were designed to prevent fertilization, so the distinction between “contraception” and “birth control,” first raised in Hobby Lobby, is now critically important.

Justice Alito would uphold any law that prohibits a birth control technology that a legislature determines acts by blocking implantation. Even if science disputed that determination, the statute would be entitled to a “strong presumption of validity.” This includes the “morning after” pill and IUDs and hormonal-based birth control options because one mechanism by which they operate is to alter the lining of the uterus to make implantation less likely.

This possibility would open a new battleground for the abortion wars, over what technologies constitute an “abortifacient.” Contraception might still be protected, but other means of birth control are not.

William Vodra, Alexandria