Sunday, May 02, 2004

Some thoughts
Our Constitutional system (when respected and honored by those involved) is beautiful. The document is essentially one which says which powers belong with whom. The Executive branch is Commander of the military, enforcer of laws, head of Sate in foreign affairs, etc. The legislature makes laws, creates the budget, declares war, etc. Among other powers, the Courts adjudicate disputes, rule on conflicts between the branches, and decide what it is the Constitution says.

There are other parties, but one party frequently left out of the discussion is the people. What powers do the people have vis-a-vis their government? Well, the Bill of Rights talks about several of them. I get to pick my religion. I get to decide what comes out of my mouth when I speak (and what gets published here.) I can assemble with my friends. I can have a gun. The government cannot punish me in cruel and unusual ways.

Which brings us to my question. Who has authority over an individual's reproductive issues? Is that power properly with the government, or is it with the people? It seems that this question is completely independant from the morality with which one would weild that power. The rightness or wrongness of for example, using contraception or having an abortion is irrelevent to the question I pose. Who in our Constitutional system properly has the power to make these decisions? The people or the government?

It seems to me that of all the powers that are properly with the people, (such as what gods I believe in, etc.) that my sexuality and reproduction are about as private of matters as there can be. I can think of few realms of power more properly invested in the people than the issues of sexuality and reproduction. When compared to other, less dramatic decisions one makes (what should I have for breakfast, what clothes should I wear?) the issues of sexuality and reproduction seem so far from being the proper business of the government that I am shocked that so many Americans wish to assert that power.

The Supreme Court has seen this wisdom. What I have written here (as what the proper realms of power should be) are in fact the way in which those powers are currently assigned and weilded. I get to pick who I have sex with, and the government gets to pick whether we go fight a war. I disagree with the way they have weilded that power, but I recognize that they have the power. The government does not need to agree with the way that I use my power over my own sexuality and reproduction. They only need to recognize that power and let me weild it as I see fit.

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