Mike the Mad Biologist

Quote of the Day: Privacy, Then and Now

The Sideshow comments on why a right to privacy isn’t found in the Bill of Rights (boldface mine):

All of this reminds me that I’ve been meaning to mention that one of the “killer” arguments that the wingers have used against Roe v. Wade is that the word “privacy” appears nowhere in the Constitution/Bill of Rights. There’s a really good reason for that: the very word “privacy” did not mean then what it means today. What it means today is pretty much what the Bill of Rights is all about. What it meant then was what you did in the privy, something I don’t think the Founders even imagined they’d have to refer to.

I’ve always viewed abortion as a more of a First Amendment issue, but this is still pretty funny.

Comments

  1. #1 Paul Murray
    August 25, 2008

    Abortion as a first amendment issue?? I don’t see the connection.

    Abortion is not in the US constitution for much the same reason that slavery is not in it: the framers did not see any problem whatever with some people having property rights over other people’s bodies, whether masters over their slaves, or fathers and husbands over their women.

    The only way to get a right to abortion (control over one’s own reproductive faculty in general) into America’s costitution without dishonestly pretending that it says what you would like it to say is by amending it.

    Of course, that’s not nessesary. Simply passing some laws, or acceeding to a treaty covering this sort of thing would do the trick. Say – isn’t the US already signatory to some sort of “rights of women ….”. Sorry, of course not. Wasn’t thinking. There is no such universal international treaty: the pope would never allow it.

  2. #2 connecticut man1
    August 25, 2008

    Too funny!

  3. #3 Kimmer
    August 25, 2008

    I also feel that abortion should be considered a First Amendment issue because of the whole “when does life begin” question. Religious folks can’t even agree on this, as I know some who believe life begins “at the moment of conception” and others who believe life begins when the first independent breath is taken outside the womb, going along with the Genesis 2 account of the creation of Adam; only after God breathes the “breath of life” into what was made of dirt does Adam become “alive”.

  4. #4 Mike the Mad Biologist
    August 25, 2008

    Paul,

    I see it as a religious issue, because this is ultimately the imposition of sectarian dogma on all citizens (Kimmer addresses the different views ‘religious’ people have).

  5. #5 PhysioProf
    August 25, 2008

    Not to mention the fact that the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights and Constitution were explicitly understood by EVERY-FUCKING-ONE at the time of ratification to have been EXEMPLARY and NON-FUCKING-EXCLUSIVE!!! The fact that right-wing motherfucking fake-ass legal scholars ALWAYS ignore this proves that they are just lying sacks of shit making up anything they fucking want to justify their sick-fuck depraved dastardly policy goals.

  6. #6 PhysioProf
    August 25, 2008

    The only way to get a right to abortion (control over one’s own reproductive faculty in general) into America’s costitution without dishonestly pretending that it says what you would like it to say is by amending it.

    This is a total fucking lie.

  7. #7 Paul
    August 25, 2008

    Personal to PhysioProf:

    Your type of post, full of f-words, turns me, and I’m sure, a lot of people off. It marks you as little more than an Internet Troll with the intelligence of an 8 year old, to be ignored. Rational comments are welcome everywhere. Your’s are not.

  8. #8 PhysioProf
    August 25, 2008

    Personal to right-wing assmonkey:

    Dude, you are totally fucking hilarious!

  9. #9 jre
    August 26, 2008

    With all due respect, though, let me point out that PhysioProf is totally fucking correct. Four of the first ten Amendments, as well as the Fourteenth, were invoked to justify the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade:

    The Constitution does not explicitly mention any right of privacy. In a line of decisions, however, the Court has recognized that a right of personal privacy, or a guarantee of certain areas or zones of privacy, does exist under the Constitution. In varying contexts, the Court or individual Justices have, indeed, found at least the roots of that right in the First Amendment, in the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, in the penumbras of the Bill of Rights, in the Ninth Amendment, or in the concept of liberty guaranteed by the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment. These decisions make it clear that only personal rights that can be deemed “fundamental” or “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty,” are included in this guarantee of personal privacy. They also make it clear that the right has some extension to activities relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, and child rearing and education.

    This right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or, as the District Court determined, in the Ninth Amendment’s reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.

    Much the same reasoning had been used in Griswold v. Connecticut and Loving v. Virginia to assert that a constitutional right of privacy extends to the use of contraception and interracial marriage, respectively, though neither of these were explicitly protected by the constitution, either. Conservatives have complained bitterly about all these decisions, but they remain the law of the land. That is, after all, why they call it the fucking Supreme Court. Hope this helps.

  10. #10 PhysioProf
    August 26, 2008

    With all due respect, though, let me point out that PhysioProf is totally fucking correct.

    Of course I am!

  11. #11 PhysioProf
    August 26, 2008

    And, BTW, my personal opinion is that the Ninth Amendment is a much sounder basis for unenumerated rights than “penumbras” or the Fourteenth Amendment:

    http://revolutionredux.wordpress.com/2008/02/07/constitutional-originalism-natural-law-and-the-ninth-amendment/

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