Aaron Tang’s Oct. 28 Thursday Opinion essay, “A view on abortion that originalists should embrace,” outlined a dangerous path forward for the Supreme Court that is in direct conflict with an internationally recognized fact: There is no “middle ground” on a human right.

It is abundantly clear that the six-week and 15-week abortion bans before the court violate human rights outlined in treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the United States has ratified.

In a 2018 “general comment” on the treaty, the U.N. Human Rights Committee made it clear that state parties, including the United States, may not “regulate pregnancy or abortion … in a manner that runs contrary to their duty to ensure that women and girls do not have to undertake unsafe abortions.” A decision to uphold either of these bans would put the United States out of compliance with its international legal obligations.

Human rights, including abortion access, can’t be negotiated away for reasons of political acceptability. It’s time American legal observers of all stripes recognize this, and for judges to take this into account.

Akila Radhakrishnan, New York

The writer is president
of the Global Justice Center.