Our constitution, as amended, is no less a masterpiece than a Swiss chronometer. It very carefully separates questions of faith and belief from those of public policy: a distinct change for our ancestors who emigrated here.
We all have fiercely held beliefs and try to live our lives according to them. These beliefs may govern our lives, but have no influence on our neighbor unless each neighbor agrees. The control of individual lives differentiates mandates of faith and law.
Laws, whether we agree with them or not, govern our collective conduct. We can try to elect legislators who agree with our opinions about these laws, but until they are changed, we must abide by their mandate or suffer indicated punishments.
Opposition to abortion is one of these beliefs that has been very hard to confine to faith, rather than law. Roe v. Wade seemed to settle it as a matter of faith in 1973. It has been fought for decades since and the U.S. government adopted the Hyde amendment to prevent taxpayer funding of abortions in 1976, which still controls federal appropriations.
While I personally dislike abortion, my personal opinion does not belong in public law. The support of the baby in question will not be my responsibility. Thus, I have no right to inflict my views upon people who will be responsible. A Muslim or Scientologist similarly has no right to require me to live according tenets of his religion.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp will face incredible pressure from both sides regarding her confirmation vote. This pressure will center around the abortion question. Some comments regarding this pressure and her vote seem to be in order:
Abortion is a right by Supreme Court precedent. To try to reverse it would be to impose an article of faith upon those who disagree - a violation of our constitution. Each of us are free to live our lives according to the beliefs we have regarding this and many other questions without imposing these mandates on others.
Those who seem seem to hate abortion the most have been supporting a president who has kidnapped innocent brown children from asylum-seekers and cannot even restore these children to their parents. A little concern for welfare of children who have not been aborted might show a more accurate picture of Christianity.
American is a vast, diverse, powerful country, founded in respect for all. Abortion is only one of hundreds of complicated problems that deserve our attention. To distill our support or opposition to only one issue is a careless exercise of our responsibility as citizens.
Previously of Fargo, Molstad now lives in Pensacola, Fla., where he practiced internal and geriatric medicine.