• September 16, 2019

ESTRICH: To uphold the Constitution and laws ... - Odessa American: Opinion Columnist

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ESTRICH: To uphold the Constitution and laws ...

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Posted: Monday, September 9, 2019 5:45 am

Every legislator, state or federal, takes an oath to uphold the Constitution and laws of the United States.

Missouri voters deserve a refund. And they aren’t the only ones, just last month’s bad example.

Knowing full well that it would be declared unconstitutional, the Missouri legislature passed — and the governor signed into law — a statute prohibiting abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy, which is just about when a girl might first suspect she is pregnant.

No exception for rape and incest.

A child raped by her stepdad must bear that child?

The governor of Missouri is playing politics with her life.

He knows full well that a federal judge who he can then castigate will step in and issue an injunction.

But it isn’t just the job of the courts to enforce the law. It is the job of every man and woman who acts with the authority of the state.

They take that oath. And they ignore it.

Roe v. Wade is the law of the land. It has been since 1973. That is the law. It doesn’t matter if you like it. You’re not free to ignore it.

We all know what happens next. The American Civil Liberties Union or Planned Parenthood turns to their exhausted network of lawyers; a suit is brought; briefs are written; hearings are held; and years later, the law is finally thrown out for good. Time and money, time and effort, down the tubes.

And you and me are the fools who are paying for it. The ACLU lawyers may be volunteers, but the government lawyers defending an unconstitutional law are being paid by the hour, year after year, to try to make that 14-year-old bear a child.

The vulnerable are always the targets.

And it almost doesn’t matter if we win in court. On the ground, we — those who try to defend the Constitution and laws — are losing.

You should not have to be a hero to be a gynecologist. How can you be turned into a target for doing what is your job?

We have been fighting about this for going on 50 years. The law is still the law. A woman has a right to choose prior to viability. She has a right to make that decision without the interference from those who are more interested in wedge issues than women’s health.

Think of all the energy, the money, the talent that we have between us that could be devoted to giving much-wanted children a healthy start in life instead of another stale, losing lawsuit.

Because that is the ultimate tragedy. The Girls. The ones who don’t hear about the law being declared unconstitutional. The ones who believe that good girls obey the law.

Odessa, TX

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