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Letter: Supreme Court and the Dobbs Decision

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To the Editor:

Recently a leaked draft opinion made it clear that the U.S. Supreme Court will overthrow a long line of precedent and declare states rights, rather than human rights, to be the law of the land with respect to reproductive choice.

Remember when U.S. Senator Susan Collins vapidly swallowed the cynical assurance of Trump’s nominees that this was “settled law”? How about all the younger women who naively believed that the battle for their rights had been won? Or our reluctance to believe “The Handmaid’s Tale” that things like this can happen here?

The scope and tone of Justice Alito’s sweeping opinion for the majority opinion is a staggering. Far from ruling on the Mississippi state law at issue, the Court will embrace a jurisprudence that harkens back to the pre-civil war embrace of slavery. In effect, woman have no constitutionally protected rights. Every state may now choose to criminalize reproductive choice with no regard to rape, incest, or the welfare of a pregnant girl or woman – let alone choice. Justice Alito calls it a “moral choice” that states be permitted to make. But for women, it is really no choice other than a return to suffering and death.

Yes, states like Connecticut wisely codified a balanced bright line to protect reproductive choice. But the Mississippi law upheld by the Supreme Court embraces what is the equivalent of a fugitive slave law that extends the punitive reach of that state to women who may come to Connecticut for a medical procedure that is supposed to be protected here and perhaps even the medical professionals involved here. So much for “one nation under law.”

Worse still, it does not end with this case. Cases even more extreme than Mississippi’s law are in the pipeline to the Supreme Court. Our state protections in Connecticut in no way assure that an even broader so-called “right to life” constitutional challenge under federal law could empower Congress to enact an enforceable nationwide ban or criminalize therapeutic abortion and reproductive choice everywhere in America.

Kevin B. Sullivan
West Hartford

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