The recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings regarding women’s reproductive rights and gun control have stirred a range of emotions across the nation.
In a historic and unprecedented decision Roe v. Wade has now been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court and a woman’s right to seek an abortion is no longer a federal constitutional right. Who would have thought a constitutional right that has existed for women the past 50 years would be immediately swept away?
Nothing is Sacrosanct
The overturning of Roe v. Wade sets a dangerous precedent. There are already discussions about setbacks on the horizon with plans for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit rulings on rights relating to access to contraceptives, LGBTQ+ rights, same-sex marriages, etc.
The U.S. Supreme Court, now controlled by a majority of right-wing judges, appears to be not stopping only at social issues. It has already begun to prohibit gun control laws in such states as New York, claiming that any law that attempts to provide some measure of public safety is inconsistent with the historical intent of the Constitution over the right to bear arms, as stated in the Second Amendment.
There is a gnawing question among those who feel they are in a dystopian movie: how can all of this be happening in America? There is a sense of incredulity and resignation.
It’s easy to get caught up in all the vitriol, but there is also an inner desire to find deeper meaning and purpose in all of this as a form of consolation. If there is one important lesson we can extract from these recent decisions is this: We must own the responsibility of what we’re experiencing and whom we put into office. Elections are a serious matter and the only way to make our voices heard.
Owning Our Future
It is clearly evident that those whom we put in office, starting at the top with our U.S president, can alter our lives, our childrens’ lives, and the lives of future generations to come. Those in office can set into motion decisions that have serious impacts and consequences on individual rights that will continue long after they have left office. They have the power and authority to appoint justices that can upend long-standing laws seemingly overnight. Our fate and our future rests in their hands as they redefine society and direct us to abide by their new rules.
Upholding Our State Constitution
In Hawaii, there may also be a sense of complacency as the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision is not expected to have any impact on state law. At least for now.
We need to prepare and seriously focus on our upcoming state elections this year and recognize the Supreme Court’s rulings and the power they hold as a cautionary tale. Voter apathy has no place in this scary new world. We must engage, participate, and make our voices heard and votes count. Otherwise, one day we could be facing unprecedented and surprising challenges to our own state constitutional rights here in our State where we call home.