Gloucester Daily Times Debate on Abortion (54), October 7, 1986

Protect Our Right to Privacy

Question No. 1 on the November ballot begins with the words: “No provision of the Constitution shall prevent the General Court from regulating or prohibiting abortion …”

The first 15 words are enough. They clarify the deceptively simple, yet dangerously precedent-setting intent of Question No. 1.

The initiators of Question No. 1 seek to prevent funding for medically necessary abortions fort poor women.

Should they win, Question No. 1 would also change our state Constitution — allowing the State Legislature to set its own policy on abortion.

They are gambling, of course, that the federal constitutional protections for a woman’s right to privacy will be overturned.

According to a June 12 Globe article, Justice Harry Blackmun, who wrote the majority opinion in Roe vs. Wade, and who recently wrote the majority opinion for the Supreme Court declaring unconstitutional a Pennsylvania law setting strict requirements for abortions, delivered a stinging rebuke to those who would try and pressure women not to seek an abortion, and pointedly reminded legislators that the Constitution’s promises of individual liberty apply to women as well as women.

“Few decisions are more personal and intimate, more properly private, or more basic to individual dignity and autonomy, than a woman’s decision … whether to end her pregnancy. A woman’s right to make that choice freely is fundamental,” Blackmun wrote.

To deny government interference into so private a matter as childbearing protects the rights and religious beliefs to all women.

The Supreme Court is now one vote away from a majority which would turn the power to regulate abortion to the state legislatures.

We must not alter the protections of the state constitution.

No one should lose the right to choose.

Say “no” to giving the State Legislature the power to decide for you when and if to have a child.

Say “no” to cutting off Medicaid funds for abortion for poor women, victims of rape and incest, and women with serious health problems.

Say “no” to any change in our state constitution.

Vote “no” on Question #1 and protect your right to privacy.

Karen Morey, 96 Western Ave., Gloucester