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Guest Opinion

The thirst for “absolute sovereignty” over a human life


You may recall President Biden saying on television, soon after what he called the “outrageous” Dobbs decision, which held there is no right to an abortion contained in the U.S. Constitution, that we as a nation need to “codify Roe v. Wade as soon as possible.”

Then in his State of the Union address in March, the president vowed “to restore Roe v. Wade as the law of the land again.” He’s repeated that vow in at least one of his election commercials since then.

The Dobbs decision returned the question of abortion law(s) to the states, to decide when and under what circumstances a woman should have the right to terminate the life she is then carrying within her. Pennsylvania has long had, and continues to have, a law governing abortion.

Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick’s opponent in November, Democrat Ashley Ehasz, recently called Fitzpatrick “a willing participant in overturning Roe, chipping away at reproductive rights and voting for a national abortion ban.”

I’m not sure where Ms. Ehasz came up with that news tidbit: Congressman Fitzpatrick is on record as willing to support abortion legislation similar to Pennsylvania’s which, after all, permits abortions well into the second trimester.

Then there are the placards, T-shirts and other displays ahead of the election this November: “Abortion is on the Ballot.” “Protect a Woman’s Right to Choose.” “My Body my Choice.” “Keep Abortion Legal.” “Reproductive Freedom at Risk.”

What is the truth here? As far as I can tell, abortion is not on the ballot in Pennsylvania this November. At least I am not aware of any referendum or other ballot initiative pertaining to Pennsylvania’s abortion statute. When the present administration and its supporters vow to “codify Roe v. Wade,” or “restore Roe v. Wade as the law of the land,” how would that work? What do they really intend? What do they really want, in plain language?

I think I know. Mr. Biden, Ms. Ehasz and those like-minded want this to become “law” in the United States: The absolute, unassailable, supreme right of a woman to do as she wishes with her pregnancy. Her own offspring. Call that offspring what you will — fetus, human, unborn child, life (or as the Roe v. Wade Court called it, “potential life”) — it changes not a thing. A woman’s right to end whatever life within her to be absolute.

Feel free, if it suits you, to cloak this hard desire in the usual obfuscations: It’s about “reproductive freedom”; “the right to choose”; “between only the woman and her doctor.” All window dressing. All just a means to an end: absolute sovereignty over the life within the mother. Why not just say it?

A word on Pennsylvania’s abortion law. Our abortion laws support protection for the unborn child whenever possible. Along with approximately 37 other states, we have a fetal homicide law which criminalizes the killing of an unborn child by someone other than that child’s mother. Our law does not consider an in-utero fetus “potential life” as did Roe v. Wade.

Unborn children are real children. Pennsylvania’s abortion law, like many other states, seeks only to protect that unborn child to some degree consistent with the interest of the mother who carries it. Concededly, the law is an impediment to a woman’s desire and goal to be sovereign over her pregnancy.

And that, I believe, is what “restoring Roe v. Wade as the law of the land again” would look like. That’s what our president wants. That’s apparently what candidate Ehasz wants when she says she’s “fired up to flip (Congressman Fitzpatrick’s) seat and protect abortion rights at the federal level.”

Be sure to vote on Nov. 5.

Joseph P. Caracappa, is a resident of Newtown.

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