Whose rights are they anyway?

I believe it’s time for a hard pivot away from sex and onto politics. I have a special gift for y’all today. I asked award-winning author Karen Richard to do a guest blog for me since she is far more knowledgeable on the topic.

Here are her words of wisdom:

In light of the leaked Roe v. Wade opinion from a few weeks ago, people are gearing up for an end to a woman’s right to choose. While many people are appalled that the government will force any woman capable of bearing a child to carry that child to term, some of us are also concerned about the further-reaching aspects of the decision. Like, what about the other rights that were granted based on the same legal theories that seem to be ripe for overturning in light of the analysis of the leaked opinion?

What rights are those? Well, many rights come from the same right to privacy that governed the Roe decision. In addition to a woman’s right to choose whether to carry a pregnancy to term, married people had the right to get contraception. Nope, I am not even kidding. The landmark Griswald v. Connecticut case overturned a law that forbids people from using “any drug, medicinal article or instrument to prevent conception.” In a 7-2 decision, the Supreme court found that the law violated the right to marital privacy. It’s important to note that the word privacy does not appear in the Bill of Rights but has been found to give us rights other than those enumerated there. Of note is that the right to marital privacy was only granted in 1965! So people, during my (admittedly long) life, there were enforceable laws against contraception. Seems crazy, right? Even crazier, this right was not extended to unmarried couples until 1972. This was followed by Roe v. Wade in 1973.

Also, back in the bad old days of 1986, a horrible case was brought to the Supreme Ct called Bowers v. Hardwick. That case upheld a Georgia sodomy law that criminalized oral and anal sex (even in private between consenting adults). I am so old that that case was considered the law of the land when I took Constitutional Law back in the day. Fortunately, that case was overturned in 2003 by the Lawrence v. Texas case, which held that there is “no legitimate state interest which can justify its intrusion into the personal and private life of the individual.” Although that case was based on liberty interest as protected by the due process clause of the 14th amendment, Justice Kennedy indicated that the real beginning point for the evolution of the concepts in Lawrence could be found in the right to privacy under Griswald.

Yikes, there seems to be a lot riding on this right to privacy which the leaked Supreme Court decision seemed to say is not really a right. It gets worse. Griswald is among the cases cited in the Obergefell v. Hodges case in 2014, which is the case that legalized same-sex marriage. So, if they get rid of Roe, what happens next? Can they overturn my marriage? Your marriage? Any marriage? I am not sure that is knowable at this point in time, but I can make some guesses. Don’t believe anyone that tells you that any of the above rights are untouchable…all the new Justices that signed off on the leaked opinion made some kind of a statement about not upsetting or overturning well-established law, and yet here they are, overturning a woman’s right to choose… On to my guesses. Marriage equality will fall next under the belief that it should be left up to the individual states. Those of us in current legal same-sex marriages will not be hit by the, y’all are unmarried now stick, but no new same-sex marriages will be allowed in certain states. Some states have codified the right to same-sex marriage, and those states will continue to recognize same-sex marriages. If the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) has not been overturned (parts of it were found to be unconstitutional in Obergefell), then married people will no longer be considered married for purposes of federal law. That impacts things like filing taxes as a married couple, qualifying for the Family and Medical Leave Act to care for your spouse, etc. So, as Justice Ginsberg called it in Obergefell, we’ll have a skim-milk marriage. You know, better than water, but not as good as the real thing. Regarding contraception, some states are already gearing up to ban the morning after pill, which some consider an abortifacient. Some employers don’t want to pay for their employees to get birth control on the employer-supplied health plan (Hobby Lobby, I’m looking at you). Add those together, and I think it is fair to say birth control will be much harder to get in some states, probably the same states that outlaw abortion. Anytime the government takes away a right, no matter the reason, you can be certain there are groups of people waiting to take away another right. Rights are not like pie; there are more than enough to go around. I think the big problem is that when you are accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.

Please check out Karen’s Goldie Winning book, Women of the Year. I believe it is a very timely read in light of what is happening in our country. Here is the blurb: In each month of 2015, Karen Richard wrote a story that focuses on an event during that month that impacts the life of an ordinary woman in an extraordinary way. Follow the months as a woman helps a young woman into an abortion clinic, tells of her first kiss, finds a stray puppy, deals with the aftermath of a hate crime, follows a dead body action plan, selects the perfect companion, helps give the last wish of a dying Vietnam War veteran. Women of the Year deftly weaves together humor and poignant observation with pointed social and political commentary through the lives of ordinary women just trying to make sense of the world they live in.

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And…of course, if you want to read any of my books, the links are below. I have a brand new book out and another one coming in June, co-written with the amazing Ali Spooner. Look for both Georgetown Glen and Trouble in Paradise that is actually available at the Affinity site right now!

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Get From Affinity Now! Book 4 in the Trophy Wives Club Series

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Also available in audible: https://www.amazon.com/Audible-Disconnected/dp/B09Y5JSQT9/

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