A Judicious Choice?

Note: On June 24, 2022, in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS), in a 6-3 decision, held that the Constitution does not grant a right to abortion; thereby, overruling both Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992).

Abortion is the proverbial “hot-button issue” or “electrified third-rail.” A subject – about which everyone has (and, perhaps, no one is allowed not to have) an opinion – that arouses fervent energies, indeed, vigorous engagement on both sides of the matter.

SCOTUS has issued its ruling. And streets are filled with proponents and protesters and soundwaves resound with voices of celebration and sorrow.

Much has been said and written. Much more will be said and written.

Speaking always and only for myself, I believe that abortion is a locus of two competing, at times, conflicting moral values.[1] One, the reverence for all (indeed, any) life. Two, the right of women to determine their choices concerning healthcare, including reproductive services.

When moral values clash, I believe it is important to strive to discern a balance so that all may be served; their freedom upheld. In the case of abortion, when articulated in the starkest terms of “pro-life” and “pro-choice”, such seems not possible. When this happens, then I ask: What is the resolution that least infringes on the right of a person to act as an autonomous, sentient, ethical social agent?

In this light, SCOTUS’ decision has legalized a standard of inequality; thus, establishing a norm of permissible disenfranchisement. To wit, there are and will be women who, with access to resources, both monetary and medical, will be free and able to exercise their moral discernment and decision-making. And there are and will be women who, lacking such assets, cannot.

Moreover, SCOTUS, in its ruling, undoing a near-half-century national standard and relegating to each of the fifty states the determination of whether to permit abortion and, if so, how, necessarily and needlessly complicates an inherently, harrowingly difficult matter.

© 2022 PRA

#womenareequal #therighttochoose #therighttoact #judicialinequality #judicialpolitics

[1] By “moral value” I mean a standard of belief and behavior determined by the community, through the course of experience and history, which is believed to promote the people’s health and life’s fulfillment. Although, in principle, a moral value represents the communal will, humans, especially in a free society, exercise liberty of thought and action, which can and does lead to differing views.

6 thoughts on “A Judicious Choice?

  1. Thank you, Paul. I so appreciate your weighing in on the Boggs decision. Here are the thoughts and feelings I have been wrestling with today and offered in response to Linda Greenhouse’s excellent op-ed this evening in the NYTimes:

    Karen | Minneapolis

    Today, whether she realizes it or not, the relationship that every single female person in the U.S. has with her country was fundamentally transformed, with the result that her previous basic freedom and autonomy have been handed over to, and rendered utterly dependent upon, the authority of the government of the state in which she finds herself.

    The voice of the United States has spoken to decree that, as of today, female minds and consciences are not the equivalent of male minds and consciences with regard to the bedrock decisions individuals are allowed to make with regard to their bodies, their health, their well-being, their plans for their lives, and their futures.

    Every woman and every girl should understand what was done to her today by the U.S. Supreme Court. There are crucial and fundamental decisions about her life that she may, depending strictly on where she resides or finds herself, no longer have any say over. This is not a decision that will be irrelevant to most women. It has the potential to touch and affect every single woman and girl in the nation.

    Whatever warm attachments I may have had to my country for the past 75 years have been severely undermined by the Boggs decision announced today. I take the assault on women and girls very seriously. I will work diligently to undo and mitigate what the Supreme Court has done, but any affection and trust I feel for what I have always called my country will, I am certain, not recover in my lifetime.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My beloved sister Karen, your sentiments are, for me, powerful, poignant, and painful. I stand with you in your intense witness to the pain of loss. The loss of fundamental freedoms.

      As I wrote to a friend in response to her comment on this post: I am sensitive, exceedingly, to the loss of liberty, especially when the agent of the reduction or retraction of rights is a person or part of our presumably representative government.

      And, as I wrote to another friend: Coretta Scott King oft said words to the effect that freedom is not generationally transmissible, but must be won and assured in each and every era. And, as that olden Portuguese rallying cry put it, “A luta continua”, the struggle continues.

      Love and peace…and power,

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you both for your soul deep words! It’s 3 days later and I’m still processing!! You are so right Paul…. So much has already been written about the decision with so much more to come!
    I truly pray for our country!
    Love to you both!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, dearest Loretta, prayers for our country are in order.

    One additional comment about my word, “Much has been said and written. Much more will be said and written.” Although opinionated I can be, I find myself less and less in league with comments — from either side, whether in protest or in triumph — that seek to denigrate those who hold other points of view. For I tire in the depths of my soul the adversarial postures much in vogue these (and in past) days that demonize “the other.”

    I do not know the provenance of that oft statement in defense of free speech, which, in so many words, states: I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. However, although I may hold at heart the substance of this stance, I, again, am less and less (indeed, not at all) inclined to support speech or writing that, in virulent terms, denies the humanity (or sense or substance) of those who see the world differently.

    Now, having said this, I also, with breath and strength, seek to defend and support positions — social, economic, political, etc. — with which I agree. And, for me, that means, in the name and for the cause of love and justice, standing on the side of the oppressed.



    1. Paul, your words are wise and well-heeded. Like you, I am so weary of “winner,” “loser,” “gotcha,” “owning” one’s adversaries, “destroying the opposition,” putdown, denigration, insult, humiliation, etc, all of which seem to be nothing except ego-boosting and cheap entertainment that some believe can be substituted for the sober, respectful, serious consideration of issues we must face, debate, and decide in order to live together.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, my beloved sister, you, for me, proverbially, have struck the chord and named the crux of the matter — “…the sober, respectful, serious consideration of issues we must face, debate, and decide in order to live together.” Yes!

        For the last time I checked, despite the advances of space travel for the non-astronauts among us (and, yes, presuming one has millions of dollars to spend!), none of us is leaving the planet Earth to dwell for our remaining days in far cosmic regions. Therefore, we are called, aye, required, I think and feel, to learn how to live together in this our global community. What I fear is that our ageless human hubris, expressed in hyper-individuality and a tendency toward isolationism (indeed, nothing new in the chronicles of history) will continue to hold sway over the common sense of cooperative living.

        A luta continua…



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