To the editor:
“First they came …” is a post-war confessional prose work by the German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller, a respected theologian from the era of World War II and the Holocaust.
This work is frequently quoted for its examination of issues of persecution, guilt, repentance and personal responsibility. I would agree that it does do all that, but it also highlights the human inclination to disassociate ourselves from issues we think only affect the others in the world.
When people “celebrate” the fall of Roe v. Wade, the issue of the “other” comes into focus. In reality though, the loss of these Constitutional protections is not confined solely to the reproductive rights of women, but of the privacy rights of all Americans.
You may not personally support the right to an abortion, but in a post-Roe America, all privacy rights are susceptible to erosion, even those not personal on their face.
For instance, in order to “enforce” the vigilante justice of individual state feticide laws, private phone data could be tracked and business records subpoenaed, even of those not the subject of the investigation. There is no reason to believe future privacy invasions will be limited to issues of reproductive health, as privacy protections are dismantled by state legislatures in order to pursue offenders.
This is a Pandora’s box, and the right to all contraception and marriage equality may be next.
Interracial marriage — even inter-religious marriage rights — could likewise be affected.
Indeed, even the Constitutionally enshrined right to freedom of religion may be eroded, if religious practices are not consistent with the theocratic bias of a state government.
A perfect example of this potential conflict is the example of the Jewish religious law, which believes in the concept of life and breath — and the encoded laws of a majority evangelical Christian legislature and/or governor — which may mandate that life begins at conception.
The support of such laws will cause great and destructive upheaval for the country, not to mention personal pain and tragedy for America’s citizens.