We recently received an email from Josephine C., asking: “How do you respond to those people who maintain that prohibiting abortion is an invasion of privacy?” Unfortunately, when I tried to reply, I got an automated error message. Hopefully this blog post will reach Josephine, but even if it doesn’t, it’s an important issue for all our readers.
I respond that the right to privacy, while legitimate, is not broad enough to encompass acts of violence. For example, domestic abuse is not a “private” matter just because it occurs within the confines of one’s home. Because abortion is also an act of violence against another person, it is distinct from the non-violent behaviors—such as sending one’s children to private schools, maintaining confidential membership in the NAACP, and using contraception—which originally caused the Supreme Court to recognize a right to privacy in the Constitution.
In addition, a right like privacy, which is merely implied from the Constitution, should not take precedence over the right to life, which is explicitly stated in the Constitution. The Fourteenth Amendment provides: “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Laws permitting abortion are discriminatory and unconstitutional, because they deprive unborn children of life without due process of law.
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