Letter to the Editor:

The publication of a Supreme Court draft opinion on abortion — a preview of what a final decision is likely to be — will have ramifications well beyond the scope of the issue being decided.

Yes, the overturning of a basic constitutional right of longstanding will have a devastating effect on millions of women nationwide. Yes, it is an egregious exercise of judicial activism and political manipulation. And yes, it is — or soon will be — the culmination of a half-century campaign to deny women the inalienable right of choice in the conduct of their personal lives.

The overturn of Roe will relegate decisions on reproductive rights back to the whims of individual states. With no national standard, no universal right, there will exist no guarantee of equal protection nor right of privacy as set out by the fourth and 14th amendments to the Constitution.

Women living in Texas will have a different set of “rights” (or lack thereof) as, say, women living in California. The effects of such a ruling will be far-reaching and dangerously unpredictable.

Perhaps it is time to ask “What sort of ‘nation’ do we wish to inhabit?”

Nationhood implies a more or less universal set of values understood and practiced by its citizens. It was the question supposedly answered long ago by the Civil War: that we were a Union, not simply a collection of warring fiefdoms. But that was long ago. The American nation of 2022 feels more like the nation of 1860.

We make much of American democracy. But what kind of democracy is it when, by popular vote, the losing political party can ascend to power twice in this young century? Or lie about the outcome? What kind of democracy is it when, on critical issues like abortion, guns or health care, the wishes of its citizens are routinely ignored?

On the issue of abortion alone, 70% of Americans support the right of choice, support that has been consistent over many decades. Only a quarter support a total ban on abortion rights — which is exactly what this opinion intends to accomplish. The ruling that is now likely to be forced upon this country will be egregiously anti-democratic. And profoundly radical.

Jeff Laadt

Eagle River