LIBERTIES & RIGHTS: Respect Reproductive, Gay, Religious, Speech, Privacy, & Civil Liberties


With all due respect to my friends on the other side of this issue, clear majorities of the American people support women’s reproductive rights and gay rights, and this is not likely to change.  We recognize that a woman has a right to reproduce, and we need to respect her right not to reproduce.  This is a very personal decision for a woman.  Most women resent it and take it very personally if the government, especially a bunch of male politicians, tries to take those rights away from them.  Men don’t want the government regulating their reproductive organs and women feel the same way. Any government with the power to take away a woman’s reproductive liberties is a government with the power to take away any other liberties of anyone else, their speech rights, religious freedoms, freedom of association, right to privacy, right to travel, gun rights, any liberty. What goes around can come around.

It is interesting to hear “conservatives” denounce the taking of private property by eminent domain as an abuse of government power and the next minute tell women that the government can take over their bodies. If you are for limited government and individual freedom, you have to be consistent. 

What about the life of the unborn child?  The life of the unborn child is a very important consideration but it is a life within and dependent on another life, that of the mother.  Just as the government cannot compel that mother (or the father) to donate a kidney to her child to sustain its life, the government cannot take over her womb to sustain that life either. Under the Thirteenth Amendment, the government cannot enslave the woman to the fetus. It’s her body, it’s her choice. Would a man abide being forcibly shackled by the government to a child for nine months? Not likely.

We also need to respect the rights of the LGBT community to live as first class citizens, not as outcasts.  It is a matter of human dignity.  It was the conservative icon, Sen. Barry Goldwater, head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who famously said, “You don’t need to be straight to fight and die for your country. You just need to shoot straight.”  The same thing applies to rights in the workplace and in the community.

At the same time, we must respect the religious rights and the privacy rights of those who hold other beliefs.  That is their right.  There is no reason we cannot respectfully co-exist and we should. 

Free speech rights are at the core of our freedom and our democracy.  We are all free to disapprove of speech with which we do not agree, we just can’t use the government to shut it down.  As Supreme Court Justice Brandeis famously wrote in 1927 regarding speech with which we do not agree, “…the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”

On privacy rights, the government should not be rummaging around in our personal communications without a warrant.

On civil rights, our rights to life, liberty, and property are guaranteed under our Constitution for all Americans.  We created our government to protect these rights, we must take care that our government does not trample on those rights.