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Get Out and Vote this November

Editor, News-Register:

In July 1776, Thomas Jefferson, representing the Continental Congress, wrote about self-evident truths, including certain inalienable rights — life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. Inalienable means universal, inviolable. Jefferson never declared those rights could have exceptions across the colonies. That declaration sparked a revolution.

In June 2022, the Supreme Court plucked the right to abortion out of the Constitution and returned decisionmaking on it to the states. In other words, they declared a right previously in the Constitution need not be universal. Citing legal hogwash, the justices declared it is OK to have rights granted or denied, based on where you live. They summarily discarded a right that tens of millions of Americans had relied on for five decades.

My lifetime includes the historic expansion of rights initiated by the Warren Court. Until recently, individual rights have generally expanded. We depended on the Supreme Court to fill that role.

What do we do now, faced with having rights taken away? Another revolution is not in the cards. Neither is a Constitutional amendment — abortion may be worthy of one, but the Constitution is designed to prevent its amendment.

Voting is our only practical option.

Congress must be the principal target for our votes. Solid pro-choice majorities in the House of Representatives and Senate could pass a federal law overriding state laws restricting abortion. The Senate must eliminate the filibuster to make that happen.

State legislatures should be targets for our votes, too. Unfortunately, in West Virginia it could take several cycles to turn around a rogue legislature with a well-established commitment to restricting abortion rights. But 2022 is as good a time to start as any. This November, vote as though your rights depend on it.

Judy K. Ball

League of Women Voters

Morgantown-Monongalia County

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