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A slow slide into Fascism

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In 1964, I heard an interview with William L. Shirer on an FM radio station, most likely the famous or infamous public radio station of Southern California, KPFK. No doubt anyone reading this recalls Shirer's landmark best-selling non-fiction book, "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich."

This book was one of the first definitive histories of one of the most horrific eras in human history. From an interview ranging somewhere between one half and one whole hour, after 57 years, I remember only one thing he said. William L. Shirer, an expert on democracy and fascism said, and here I am paraphrasing only slightly – I don't remember it exactly, but I do remember the meaning exactly. Shirer said, “I believe The United States will be the first country in history that will vote, law by law, its democracy into a fascist dictatorship.”

A minority of Americans are finding ways around Constitutional law to make damaging decisions for America, and Americans, as a whole. We are allowing this to happen. These advocates do not understand what we all, including them, stand to lose –- what we are going to lose -– if we do not stand up, stand together, and democratically and peacefully but vigorously defend against the onset of authoritarianism.

In early January 1973, one of the most positive legal decisions for women’s health, including reproductive health, was made by a humanistic Supreme court: “On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court issued a 7–2 decision in favor of Norma McCorvey ("Jane Roe") that held that women in the United States have a fundamental right to choose whether or not to have abortions without excessive government restriction, and struck down Texas's abortion ban as unconstitutional.” –Wikipedia

Since that decision, at least 40 attempts have been made by Republican-controlled states, groups, churches, and other right wing and/or religious groups to reverse that decision, or to restrict opportunities for women to avail themselves of birth-related health care, including the option for an abortion.

There are a lot of solid medical reasons for a woman to seek an abortion. Consistent polls over decades have found an increase of approval and acceptance of the humanistic stance regarding abortion: It’s a woman’s health care choice.

Precedent:  “Precedent refers to a court decision that is considered as authority for deciding subsequent cases involving identical or similar facts, or similar legal issues. Precedent is incorporated into the doctrine of stare decisis and requires courts to apply the law in the same manner to cases with the same facts. Some judges have stated that precedent ensures that individuals in similar situations are treated alike instead of based on a particular judge’s personal views.” – Cornell Law School, Legal Information Institute

On Sept. 1, the Supreme Court of the United States advanced the cause of authoritarianism by ignoring major Supreme Court legal precedents regarding Roe v. Wade. They have deprived women of personal choice by refusing to uphold a decision made 57 years ago – by not overturning today’s similar radical Texas law. The women of Texas cannot seek abortion beyond six weeks. Six weeks is usually not enough time for a woman to even discover she’s pregnant.

Beyond six weeks, abortion is forbidden, even in the case of violent and forced rape, or detected birth defects, drug pregnancies. Women requiring abortions for any reason will now have to go to a state where such procedures have not been banned. The Texas ruling sets the stage for other states to follow a similar path, knowing a right-wing Supreme Court shares the same personal judicial vision.

Law by law, state by state, the Train of Democracy is being side-railed to a Fascist state, one that relegates the needs of women as unimportant --  and right in line with voter suppression laws being passed by Republican-controlled states.

There is one reason for opposing abortion: opinion based on one’s choice of religion. The problem with this position is simple: everyone doesn’t follow the same religion. If one recalls the first clause of the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

The fact is that these individuals and/or groups want everyone to believe in the same narrow principles espoused by right-wing religious leaders. An extremely right-leaning Supreme Court rendered a decision that is the first step to gutting Roe v. Wade. Hundreds of thousands of women a year will be negatively affected by this decision. Some will die.

It is dangerously significant that the same people opposing Roe v. Wade also oppose vaccinations for COVID-19 and wearing masks -- a stance that is killing thousands of people a month.

Richard Bruns


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