Friday, April 15, 2022

Pliable Constitution


Oh, what the heck, it's only the Constitution:

Every natural person has the right to be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into the person’s private life except as otherwise provided herein. This section shall not be construed to limit the public’s right of access to public records and meetings as provided by law.

So reads Article 1, Section 12 of the Florida Constitution, a mere inconvenience- at most- to Republican governor Ron DeSantis, who

has publicly signed into law a 15-week abortion ban that shortens by more than two months the current window available to legally terminate a pregnancy.

Within minutes of his office announcing that he had received the bill (HB 5), approved by the Legislature in March, DeSantis held a bill signing ceremony and rally at an evangelical church in Kissimmee.

The new law, which goes into effect July 1, significantly reduces access to late-term abortions in the southeast — North Carolina will become the only southern state to permit an abortion after 15 weeks.

Republican lawmakers in both the House and Senate had defeated amendments that would have made exceptions for rape, incest, human trafficking and mental health. The only exceptions allowed are cases where the mother is at risk of death, "irreversible physical impairment" or if the fetus has a fatal abnormality.....

At a normal time, establishment of a political party as pro-rape and incest would be counter-productive, perhaps even politically fatal.  Pro-human trafficking also would be unhelpful, though this is, after all, the party of Matt Gaetz.

But these aren't normal times. If they were, it would matter that the bill signed by the man aiming to replace President Biden plainly violates a state constitution guaranteeing "the right to be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into the person's private life...." The clause also explicitly note the exception, "the public's right of access to public records and meetings as provided by law," and does not include "abortion" or "childbirth."

What is left out of a law or constitutional provision may be critically important. The state's "Constitutional Right to Privacy" makes no mention of abortion or childbirth. While that may or may not have been intentional, surely it was intentional that

If a physician violates provisions of the abortion ban, they would be guilty of a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. 

The physician is solicited to take a human life, as the forced-birth legislators and governor (allegedly) see it. He or she would face the possibility of serious prison time. The woman, who decided to approach the doctor and offer him or her considerable money to (allegedly) kill, is held blameless. Punishment of a perpetrator while allowing a mastermind to go scot-free occurs nowhere else in society.

Neither should be prosecuted for what in a normal universe would be a woman's choice. But as in all anti-reproductive choice legislation in the USA, the doctor alone is targeted. If both parties were prosecuted, the cruelty already present in the forced-birth movement would be present and clear.  Political repercussions would ensue as the dirty little secret no longer would be secret.

The cowardice is not unique to Florida lawmakers, but instead a prime characteristic of the anti-choice movement. Nor is the violation of Roe v. Wade, which may be overturned when the US Supreme Court considers Mississippi's radical anti-abortion rights law. Rather, it is that the man who would be President, Ron DeSantis, has spit on his own state's constitution. And he probably will be held far less accountable than he would hold a physician who provides health care requested by a patient.

 


HAPPY PASSOVER                                                                 HAPPY EASTER


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