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Brickner: Which traditions do we value?

Brickner writes about the confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Coney Barrett. "During their confirmation hearings, they said the decision was 'settled' law and they would not reverse it. How do we respect liars, even if they claim their cause is just? As Elizabeth Cady Stanton said, 'Truth is the only solid ground to stand upon.'”

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Joan Brickner, Forum Readers Board
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Recently, a storm broke.

A leaked draft, written by Justice Samuel Alito, indicated the Supreme Court is likely to gut Roe v. Wade. Given that over 20 states have trigger laws (including North Dakota) that would make abortion illegal. If this decision is finalized, millions of women would be impacted. North Dakota’s law would make abortion illegal, with a few exceptions, unless the woman does it herself. (Hangers, anyone?) Some states want no exceptions and even murder charges.

In an earlier column (“ A Life of Crime ”), I wrote about my great-grandmother who died in a botched abortion. Today, although unsurprised, I am struck by the document itself and the supporting justices.

Without irony, Justice Clarence Thomas says he is disturbed by the growing lack of respect for our institutions, like the Supreme Court. This is coming from a man who failed to disclose his wife’s direct involvement in a decision in which he was the lone dissent.

Like him, other justices, who seem poised to reverse Roe v. Wade, lied under oath. During their confirmation hearings, they said the decision was “settled” law and they would not reverse it. How do we respect liars, even if they claim their cause is just? As Elizabeth Cady Stanton said, “Truth is the only solid ground to stand upon.”

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Some feel vindicated, biblically, one congresswoman weeping over this “victory for God.” But this ignores the Bible which says, in Proverbs 12:22a, “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord.”

It is not just the decision itself, but the wider implications based on Alito’s troubling rationale. He writes, within his 90+ pages, that "The inescapable conclusion is that a right to an abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation's history and traditions."

When I taught argument, I included a section on logic and logical fallacies (flaws in reasoning). This is a clear example of “an appeal to tradition” fallacy: tradition alone justifies. With that argument, we would allow slavery, deny women’s votes... so on.

About 70% of Americans support abortion in at least some circumstances. The end of Roe v. Wade would supposedly send the issues to the states. Yet, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says if Roe v. Wade falls, he sees a possible national ban.

And it may not stop there. Several, like the governor of Mississippi, already propose another ban: birth control. Other landmark decisions are at risk, despite Alito’s denials.

Alito focuses on tradition, but he seems to ignore other traditions, including the First Amendment and religious liberty. Rachel Barenblat in “Religious News Service” writes the following:

Denying bodily autonomy, as SCOTUS seems poised to do, is profoundly anti-Jewish. My religious tradition not only permits the termination of pregnancy, but even requires it when the life of the pregnant person is at stake.

My religious tradition does not consider the fetus as a life until it draws first breath. Until then, the needs of the pregnant person are paramount….

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Like it or not, abortion is another tradition. We could seriously reduce them without such a radical decision.

Which traditions will we cherish? And will we sit idly by as Alito and others attempt to overturn much of the 20th century?

Interested in a broad range of issues, including social and faith issues, Brickner serves as a regular contributor to the Forum’s opinion page. She is a retired English instructor, having taught in Michigan and Minnesota.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

READ MORE FROM INFORUM COLUMNIST JOAN BRICKNER
Brickner writes, "When I visited the Henry Ford Museum a couple of years ago, one exhibit showed the fight for women’s suffrage. A display case included a signed card by a woman opposed to women voting. This is one of the ironies: Sometimes the worst opponents of women are women themselves."

Opinion by Joan Brickner
Interested in a broad range of issues, including social and faith issues, Joan Brickner serves as a regular contributor to the Forum’s opinion page. She is a retired English instructor, having taught in Michigan and Minnesota.

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