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Privacy Right Unlisted, but Undefined

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With the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court, it seems that everyone is reading the Constitution again. This is good. The Left is apoplectic over the thought that with an “arch conservative,” or an “extremist," to use Patrick Leahy’s description, on the court, our rights will be taken away from us.  Of course, if Congress would do its job, there wouldn’t be fights over nominees. Congress, not the Supreme Court, is given the constitutional right to make laws. If “we the people” don’t like laws that come from Congress, we can vote them out of office. There is no “voter’s remorse” over a judicial nominee who goes bad.

Jay Bookman, in his article “Privacy right unlisted, but perfectly clear,”[1] writes that the only issue of any material substance in the debate over judicial nominees is “privacy.” He references Roe v. Wade, the 1973 pro-abortion decision that has led to the deaths of more than 50,000,000 preborn babies, as the epitome of what privacy rights are all about. I guess Bookman believes these deaths are the price we must pay for “privacy rights” because there are certain matters “too intimate and personal to allow government to intrude.” What’s the death of tens of millions when we’re fighting for privacy?

Bookman appeals to the Ninth Amendment to support his contention that the constitutional doctrine of privacy permits abortion:

The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

The purpose of the Ninth Amendment is clear: A listing of specific rights in the body of the Constitution, because it is a document of “enumerated powers,” does not mean that the people do not have other rights, including the right to privacy. The Declaration of Independence made this clear in 1776: We are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, “and among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Here is a list of three, the framers wrote, but there are many more.

Bookman and others see rights as autonomous, residing in the individual. How does he account for these rights? Where do they come from? Are they intrinsic to our evolved selves? That’s impossible since the concept of “rights” is immaterial.[2] If we do have unspecified rights, including the right to privacy, are they unlimited? Are there no restrictions on them? Even the enumerated rights of the First Amendment are not without limits. Not everything done in the name of religion is right. We’re fighting an international war on the illegitimate exercise of religious “rights.” The same is true of the other three First Amendment freedoms.

Privacy rights are not absolute. Child abuse, pedophilia, infanticide, and rape are done in private. Consensual sex between a father and his daughter and a teacher and a student are still considered immoral by the general public and criminal by the State even though they are done in private. The question for Bookman remains: What is being aborted in private? If it’s a glob of tissue, then he has made his point. But we know that a preborn baby is not a glob of tissue. With each new marvel of technology, we are getting an increasingly clearer window into the woman.

Then there’s the “original intent” argument. The Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791, and abortion was legalized by the court in 1973. States had laws prohibiting abortion, because they did not believe that killing a preborn baby was a privacy right protected by the Ninth Amendment. The preborn baby wasn’t consenting. Conservatives are not opposed to “the right to privacy.” We just don’t believe it’s an absolute right, certainly not a right to kill a preborn baby. Until Bookman and other pro-abortionists understand how anti-abortionists argue this issue, they’ll never get it. Of course, they don’t want to get it.

Endnotes:

[1] The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, (August 11, 2005), A15.
[2] Evolutionists are materialists. The only things that exist are material in nature. “Rights” is a philosophical concept. Because rights are concepts, they cannot exist in a purely materialistic worldview.

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