Other rights are in jeopardy


To the Editor:

In Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) a racially biased SCOTUS ruled that “separate but equal” was constitutional — a law that apartheid picked up in South Africa until the 1980s! This Conservative Fundamentalist Catholic SCOTUS majority has denied healthcare to women by deciding that their faith beliefs should be the law of the land. What other countries will now emulate the U.S., like Plessy?

Both rulings were wrong — Plessy was overturned under Brown v. Board of Education (1954), as Dobbs (2022) ultimately will be. Here was the original and correct Roe v. Wade (1973) ruling — “The Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides a fundamental ‘right to privacy’ that protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose whether to have an abortion. This right is not absolute, and must be balanced against the government’s interests in protecting women’s health and protecting prenatal life.” Note — right to privacy balanced by the rights of the woman and her fetus. The Dobbs ruling says these rights are no longer protected by the Constitution. Think about that! 

Most Catholics, like me, believe that their faith should not infringe on others’ rights. Women have an inalienable right to choose how to care for their bodies. This reversal of settled law will not go down in history as Roe v. Wade did but, instead, will go down in infamy as other cases like Plessy did, which infringed on the rights of all people to live in the U.S. with freedom and liberty. 

This Conservative Catholic SCOTUS majority will not stop until all reproductive rights, all LGBTQ rights, and all equal rights that do not conform to Catholic doctrine and dogma are struck down. Here is what Thomas said: “In future cases, we should reconsider all of this court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell. Because any substantive due process decision is ‘demonstrably erroneous,’ … we have a duty to ‘correct the error’ established in those precedents.”

If the Constitution does not provide protection to allow you to marry whom you wish, how about interracial marriage, Justice Thomas? Where does infringement of liberty stop? The Declaration of Independence makes our rights very clear in its preamble — the right of every citizen to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These rights are not ascribed to us by the Catholic Church, the U.S. government, or any religion’s “God.” They are inherent and inalienable to our creation.

Mike Bellissimo
West Tisbury