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PATTERSON: Dr. King Educated Our Nation

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would have been 95 years old this year. Tragically, he was assassinated in Memphis in 1968. January 15, Dr. King’s birthday, is a federal holiday to remember the importance of his life and service.

The King Holiday and Service Act of 1994 created the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. It encourages Americans to volunteer to address community issues, such as educational disparities, hunger and homelessness.

Dr. King ministered not only to his church congregation but to a nation hurting due to the evil of segregation. Dr. King’s campaign to end segregation continues to inspire people around the world.

Segregation was so oppressive that Blacks could be arrested for entering a public library to borrow a book or for drinking from a public White-only water fountain. By his marches, rallies, church gatherings and boycotts, Dr. King remained dedicated to ending segregation. He never let fear distract him from his mission.

My favorite quote from Dr. King is, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. … Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.” 

Segregated school systems failed all students. Dr. King recognized that when segregation fell, public education would improve. He believed that improved educational systems would improve understanding between the races.

In the historic 1954 Supreme Court decision ending school segregation, Chief Justice Earl Warren said that segregation was psychologically harmful to Black students. It “affects (their) hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone,” he said. 

Some psychologists of the era believed that segregation was demoralizing to Whites, too.

Sadly, many U.S. school systems continued to enforce segregation for years after the Supreme Court decision. In some Alabama school districts, segregation continued until the early 1970s. In the mid-1970s, Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter worked to end segregation in his state’s 159 counties.

In 1963, popular psychologist and syndicated columnist Dr. Joyce Brothers wrote a column where she identified six ways segregation harmed White kids. She said that segregation could cause White kids to lose respect for authority figures and experience repressed guilt, among other things. Segregation may also create awkward professional relationships in workplaces. Brothers broadened the concerns expressed in 1954 by Chief Justice Warren. She believed that segregation was psychologically damaging to all students.

In the excellent book “Combined Destinies: Whites and Blacks Confronting Racism” (2013, University of Nebraska Press), psychotherapists Ann Todd Jealous and Caroline T. Haskell edited stories from individuals who expressed remorse for behaviors, such as unearned privilege, that may have arisen due to segregation’s lasting effect on them and their families. It is worthwhile to read and study the courageous personal accounts in this brief 197-page book.

While the psychological damage of segregation may be long-lasting, the healing power of Dr. King’s lessons, sermons and life experience is also long-lasting. Church services offer an opportunity to reflect on Dr. King’s work. Libraries, museums and schools are other places that offer programs designed for the King holiday. Community food banks offer rewarding volunteer opportunities.

Celebrate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday with family and friends. It is a time to rejoice with one another on the progress made to create a spirit of unity and forgiveness across the nation.

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MARESCA: Collegiately Supreme

July is fireworks season in Pennsylvania, and fireworks throughout liberaldom are always on display, especially when things fail to go their way. In yet another historical moment for the U.S. Supreme Court, its three recent decisions dealing with academia have only added to the left’s anguish. That popping noise you hear outside is the heads of Marxist Democrats bursting in air, giving proof their hypocrisy is still there.

The Supreme Court’s first decision struck down President Joe Biden’s student-loan forgiveness program, a vote-generating promise that would wipe out $400 billion in federal student loans. The first mistake was calling it “loan forgiveness.”

Since many degreed baristas, waiters, and fast-food workers overpaid for their “degrees,” such a promise emanating from Biden’s basement campaign headquarters was more fireworks that turned out to be a dud. However, forgiveness has nothing to do with it; rather, it would strictly be a debt transfer as someone must pay. Asking those without college degrees to pay off loans for those who do and now want to escape their obligations is immoral.

You borrowed the money–you pay it back.

The unconstitutionality of the “loan forgiveness” ploy was so obvious even Nancy Pelosi acknowledged it when she was speaker of the House.

Since inflated tuition costs remain, universities should underwrite student loans through their precious endowments. Perhaps then tuition prices would stabilize as the problem fixes itself. Biden once said, “Paying taxes is patriotic,” so why aren’t endowments taxed?

There is nothing like skin in the game to get serious about problem-solving.

The Supreme Court then moved on to Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina. Those landmark decisions struck down raced-based college admissions as unconstitutional, putting an end to Affirmative Action admissions.

For six decades, Affirmative Action was a euphemism to mask admitting students due to race and was best described by President George W. Bush as “the subtle racism of lowered expectations.”

When one benefits due to their race, another will suffer for theirs. That is about as unAmerican as it gets, and the Supreme Court finally tackled it head-on. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote, “Universities’ self-proclaimed righteousness does not afford them license to discriminate on the basis of race.”

The decisions ended a half-century of muddled Supreme Court rulings that refused to engage the issue head-on. The six-justice majority that halted our nation’s slide into further racial balkanization is a very thin line of defense. Given such decisions must advance to the Supreme Court is concerning. Sadly, much of the federal judiciary has little interest in dissenting from new orthodoxies like wokeism.

America must return to meritocracy. Why do we celebrate merit solely on the athletic field? Ending race-based Affirmative Action is the first step.

Not everyone agrees.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who describes herself as a “wise Latina,” in her dissenting opinion, demonstrates just how imprudent she truly is by turning the plainspoken 14th Amendment on its head. Sotomayor wrote: “The Court cements a superficial rule of colorblindness as a constitutional principle in an endemically segregated society where race has always mattered and continues to matter.”

What Sotomayor called “a superficial rule of colorblindness” the Constitution calls the 14th Amendment. Sotomayor’s insipid response proves she is another byproduct of Affirmative Action while fighting racism with more racism.

Such denouncements imply Blacks and Hispanics are incapable of progressing on their own unless handed unearned advantages. What successful individual wants to be associated with the bigotry of low expectations when they are the genuine article? Moreover, discriminating because of race for arbitrary quotas was never a recipe for success.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s belief in valuing character over race remains the gold standard but has been lost on so many since his tragic death. King understood that a diverse democracy cannot survive by generating racial resentment by favoring one group over another.

Democrats who support Affirmative Action oppose school choice – a proven way to mitigate disadvantages. Rather than criticizing the decisions, how about fixing the failed public school systems through excellence in K-12 education by weeding out bad teachers and administrators while including school choice, vouchers, and incentivize compensation?

After a six-decade run, change will have its growing pains. Equality of opportunity is the American creed; these court decisions are the cornerstone for achieving that for all.

DYS: Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Religious Liberty Case

A favorite sport in the hours and days after the Supreme Court hears arguments in a case is guessing how the justices will rule. It can be a humbling exercise.

Yet, in response to recent oral arguments in Groff v. DeJoy, one thing may be certain: The court will address and adjust a decades-old decision from a case that has thwarted religious liberty protections for American employees ever since.  The question is how far the court might go in restoring religious liberty to the workplace.

Gerald Groff is a former postal employee from rural Pennsylvania who joined the U.S. Postal Service because it fit his desire to have a career that allowed him to not work on Sundays. When he joined the USPS, it didn’t deliver on Sundays. The job seemed a perfect fit.

That was until Amazon purchased a contract requiring the USPS to deliver packages on Sundays.

At first, Groff’s supervisor accommodated him. Groff was willing to work extra shifts and holidays to help out his fellow employees, who then covered for him on Sundays when, for religious reasons, he could not work. But, in a sudden shift, USPS officials ended his accommodation. He transferred to a different post office that was not required to make deliveries on Sunday — losing all his seniority in the process — but that soon ended, and USPS began increasing pressure on Groff to abandon his religious convictions.

USPS set out to make an example of Groff.  He faced eight disciplinary hearings, received two separate suspensions, and a warning letter went to his employee file, all while supervisors and co-workers mocked his religious convictions. After two years of relentless hostility, Groff felt he had no choice but to resign.

No American should be forced to choose between their faith and their job.

So, Groff filed a lawsuit, with his case eventually making it to the Supreme Court, where in mid-April the justices heard vigorous oral arguments for two hours.

At issue is whether the court’s 1977 decision in Trans World Airlines v. Hardison correctly defines “undue hardship” under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Will it continue to excuse employers from accommodating religious employees if doing so means more than a “de minimis,” or minimal, burden on the employer? Or will the court extend similar protections offered to disabled employees to the nation’s religious employees?

Groff v. DeJoy provides an opportunity for the court to restore the meaning Congress intended in Title VII’s protections for religious employees before lower courts watered it down.

It seemed clear during oral argument that a majority of the justices seem willing to jettison the “de minimis” holding of Hardison. Justice Neil Gorsuch stated, “I think there’s common ground too that de minimis can’t be the test, in isolation, at least, because Congress doesn’t pass civil rights legislation to have de minimis effect. Right?”

Gorsuch echoes the words of Justice Thurgood Marshall, who, in 1977, dissented in Hardison by saying, “An employer, the court concludes, need not grant even the most minor special privilege to religious observers to enable them to follow their faith.”

The question remaining for the justices is whether the court will refuse to grant even the most minor privileges to religious observers at work, or will it take a more fulsome view of our nation’s commitment to religious liberty? We will know by the end of June.

Indeed, whatever the court chooses to replace the ill-fated “de minimis” test will benefit from returning our national commitment to err on the side of what Marshall said was one of America’s “pillars of strength — our hospitality to religious diversity.”

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FLOWERS: PA Voters Pick Nihilism Over Compassion

I’ve been told abortion was the deciding factor in Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race.  I myself have written about the importance of abortion in the grand scheme of things, the measure and metric by which we determine our collective humanity. And if abortion really was the thing that motivated women and the men who loved (or at least wanted to date) them, we have our answer about that collective humanity: It’s missing in action.

When I think that a majority of voters in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania chose to align themselves with someone who has such a radical view of abortion rights as John Fetterman, and to a slightly lesser extent Josh Shapiro, whose Twitter feed kept sending out inane messages about “a woman’s right to choose” as if it had Tourette Syndrome, then the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade revealed a very deep schism in modern society and in this state in particular.

You might think the word “eugenicist” is a bit much, given its overtones of the Holocaust and Mengele.  The doctor who performed horrific experiments in the concentration camps was attempting to design a society where only perfect Aryan creatures existed and reproduced with each other. But the pseudo “science” of eugenics has existed for generations and was embraced by exalted historical figures like Teddy Roosevelt, Oliver Wendell Homes, and Margaret Sanger. That brings me to the point of calling abortion supporters “amoral eugenicists.”

Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, championed abortion as a form of extreme birth control.  Despite an attempt at whitewashing by the PP crowd, Sanger never actually disavowed her enthusiastic support for sterilizing immigrants, people of color, poor people, and all those others who did not rise to the level of what she considered a valuable and contributing member of society. She did not use terms like “Aryan.” She simply wanted to improve society by weeding out the less desirables. Generations later, Hillary Clinton echoed that philosophy when she talked about the basket of “deplorables,” and it is clear that from a progressive standpoint, eugenics was at the very least a nuanced issue. To them, it had some value.

Abortion is an extension of eugenics. It permits people to make judgments about the value of other people, other human beings. The terminology is carefully curated so that we stop talking about “people” and shift towards a focus on “fetus.” Some have even used the term “opportunistic parasite.” Those of us who are pro-life and follow the actual science are content to settle for the universal term “human being.”  But that is something that encourages compassion and reflection on the exact nature of the act of aborting. And to those who support abortion, like John Fetterman, reflection is a dangerous and counterproductive thing.

When I think that a majority of voters in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania chose to align themselves with someone who has such a radical view of abortion rights, I realize the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade revealed a very deep schism in modern society, and in this state in particular. While Roe was still in place, the abortion supporters were marginally pacified. They were not on the defensive, the law was on their side, and they could complain about conservative pro-lifers, safe in the knowledge that a half-century of creative precedent was on their side.  Then came Dobbs, and the tectonic plates shifted to create a social earthquake. Pro “choice” women saw their choice reduced to a state-by-state determination, panicked, and looked for people to blame.

The target was easy: Conservatives in general, Republicans in particular.

The method was easier: Elect the man who said he’d protect their right to abort whenever and however they wanted.

The reckoning came on Tuesday night, and I have to congratulate the sisters for their determination, organization, and motivation in making sure that they were still able to advance Margaret Sanger’s mission of selecting human value by calling it “autonomy.”

The nihilism vote won.

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SCOTUS to Congress: On Environmental Policy, Do Your Job

The U.S. Supreme Court delivered a strong message to Congress regarding regulating the nation’s environmental policy:

Do your job.

It’s a particularly important message in Pennsylvania, where the Biden administration’s expansive plans to regulate — and perhaps shut down — fossil fuel energy plants would have a significant effect on the state’s economy.

In West Virginia v Environmental Protection Agency, the Court ruled 6-3 that the Clean Air Act does not give the EPA broad authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants on its own.

“Capping carbon dioxide emissions at a level that will force a nationwide transition away from the use of coal to generate electricity may be a sensible ‘solution to the crisis of the day,’” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the opinion. “It is not plausible that Congress gave EPA the authority to adopt on its own such a regulatory scheme.

“The agency must point to clear congressional authorization for the power it claims,” Roberts added.

Supporters of the Obama-era policy argue that the threat of climate change outweighs the limits on government power set by the court and they raised questions as to whether an elected Congress is capable of regulating such an important issue.

“Members of Congress often don’t know enough—and know they don’t know enough—to regulate sensibly on an issue,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote in her dissent.

“The decades-long fight to protect citizens from corporate polluters is being wiped out by these MAGA extremist justices,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) “It’s all the more imperative that we soon pass meaningful legislation to fight the climate crisis.”

Court supporters noted the irony of Schumer’s call for legislation, which was the conclusion of the court majority as well.

“It was incredibly risky for the federal government to try to turn our power-generating system inside out,” says Sam Kazman with the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “Today the Supreme Court ruled that if the government is going to do so, then it must be clearly authorized by congressional laws rather than by the dictates of unelected bureaucrats.”

Myron Ebell, Director of CEI’s Center for Energy and Environment, said the court’s ruling walks back its 2007 decision in Massachusetts v EPA.

“The Massachusetts case held that the EPA could use the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions,” says Ebell. “The Court has now invoked the major questions doctrine and recognized that Congress designed the Clean Air Act to regulate air pollutants and not carbon dioxide emissions from burning coal, natural gas, and oil.

“The Biden administration must now get explicit authorization from Congress if it wants to continue to enact major climate policies that will further raise energy prices,” Ebell added.

President Joe Biden has directed his legal team to work with the Department of Justice and affected agencies to review this decision and find ways that the administration can continue protecting Americans from what he calls harmful pollution that causes climate change.

“We cannot and will not ignore the danger to public health and existential threat the climate crisis poses,” said Biden in a press release Thursday. “The science confirms what we all see with our own eyes – the wildfires, droughts, extreme heat, and intense storms are endangering our lives and livelihoods.”

Former President Barack Obama also weighed in, saying no challenge poses a greater threat to our future than a changing climate.

“Every day, we’re feeling the impact of climate change, and today’s Supreme Court decision is a major step backward,” Obama tweeted.

But it was Obama and his team that pushed through a regulatory scheme, rather than passing legislation limiting greenhouse gas emissions, that led to today’s ruling.

At the state level, Republican gubernatorial candidate state Sen. Doug Mastriano is running as an unapologetic ally of the state’s energy sector. He has pledged, for example, to pull the state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) cap-and-trade scheme on his first day in office.  His opponent, Democratic nominee Josh Shapiro, has expressed doubts about RGGI but has kept his stance intentionally vague.

Environmental groups have denounced the Supreme Court’s ruling, calling this a dangerous decision that gives “coal executives and far-right politicians exactly what they asked for” by frustrating EPA’s efforts to protect communities and families.

“For years, EPA has had the clear authority and duty under the Clean Air Act to effectively reduce climate-disrupting carbon dioxide pollution from fossil fuel-burning power plants, in line with the action the public and science demands,” said Andres Restrepo, senior attorney for the Sierra Club’s Environmental Law Program. “But Thursday’s decision accommodates the powerful instead of the people by seriously narrowing that authority.”

But energy sector advocates say their industry still isn’t out of the EPA woods of overregulation.

“While this decision clearly reins in EPA authority to craft carbon rules that force a remaking of the nation’s electricity mix, the agency has already signaled it’s going to use every other tool at its disposal to accelerate coal plant closures and pursue its agenda,” one industry insider told InsideSources. “If you’re concerned about grid reliability and electricity affordability, Congress needs to step up and ensure it is steering domestic energy policy, not the regulators at EPA.”

Still, some conservative groups are taking the win.

“This is a win for the climate and constitutional democracy,” says Drew Bond, president of Conservative Coalition for Climate (C3) Solutions. “Any serious person knows that innovation, not over-regulation, is the solution to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.”

Instead of looking to regulators to impose top-down mandates, Bond says activists on all sides should ask legislators to pass laws that encourage bottom-up solutions.

“Our Climate and Freedom Agenda highlights dozens of actions Congress can take to meaningfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions through innovation and by expanding economic freedom,” says Bond about C3 Solutions. “Let’s put our focus there. American innovation won’t disappoint.”

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Counterpoint: What Would Founders Think of the Dobbs Decision? Not Much

For another point of view, see “Point: What Would Founders Think of Dobbs Decision? James Madison Would Love It


What would the Founders think of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs? Say we do what Bill and Ted did in their “Excellent Adventure.” We jump into a phone-booth-shaped time machine and travel back to 1776 to find Thomas Jefferson and ask him about Dobbs. I see at least two possibilities.

In the first, we encounter the Evil Jefferson. He turns out to be an unrepentant former slaveholder, aghast that women of all races had the right to vote in modern America. In the second, we encounter the Hero Jefferson. This Jefferson reads Dobbs in the vein of the vaunted revolutionary we’ve come to mythologize because he wrote that our freedom is unalienable despite what encroaching governments might say.

The Hero Jefferson shakes his head in anger that the passage of two and half centuries has done so little to cause federal courts to exercise power to protect people from authoritarian government.

Both Jeffersons, and more, are possible. In determining which Jefferson to honor, we must exercise judgment. We must judge one Jefferson as “evil” and make one Jefferson “the hero” for reasons that would cause us to decide which Founding perspective to accept as good authority.

Dobbs, which raises to authority some early American history about the legality of abortion, appears indifferent, at best. It would consider the Evil Jefferson and the Hero Jefferson equally authoritative if it could only verify the existence of one rather than the other. And so Dobbs does not care if it infects constitutional law with evil history — including history so evil that more recent generations had to take action, legislative and judicial, to inoculate us from it.

We are not the same country the Founders forged by law or fact. We are more perfect because of it. No doubt it was world-shaking when some Founders declared independence in 1776 and adopted the state and federal constitutions in the decade or so that followed. Yet, as Justice Thurgood Marshall observed during the bicentennial 200 years later, “(T)he government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and momentous social transformation to attain the system of constitutional government, and its respect for individual freedoms and human rights, we hold as fundamental today.”

That transformation included the very recent — and still partial — recognition of women as citizens with rights. Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence spoke only of men in 1776. One hundred years passed and, still, in 1868, the 14th Amendment failed to mention women while constitutionalizing equality for men. Women could not participate in these enactments because they did not have the right to vote until 1919, a historical fact whose distorting influence on the law the Dobbs court’s undifferentiated acceptance of history fails to fully confront. It was only in 1996 that the court recognized equality for women under the 14th Amendment in United States v. Virginia.

Dobbs entrenches this long history of political subjugation as an authority by failing to judge it evil. To it, the jurisprudence and changed attitudes of the past half-century, a half-century in which the rights of women to vote and hold office first took root, is an aberration. If this is judgment, it is bad judgment.

Let me cast my own judgment. As we celebrate Thomas Jefferson and July 4th, I’d like to imagine that a Better Jefferson would read Dobbs and express concern. He would wonder that a country forged in revolution would continue to appoint judges hidebound to the views of a distant and evil past, a past he sought to retire by memorializing the rights of people against tyranny at the risk of his life and the lives of his contemporaries.

To choose this Jefferson is to admit I am making a choice, a freedom I treasure for as long as I still have it. Dobbs doesn’t believe there is a choice.  On this weekend where we celebrate freedom, would you really want to celebrate Founders who’d agree?

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DelVal Residents, Politicians React to Supreme Court Decision Tsumani

People around the Delaware Valley reacted to the U.S. Supreme Court decision Friday overturning Roe v. Wade, some grateful that fewer abortions will be performed and others angry that women’s ability to choose might be taken away, depending on where they live.

“Roe was always legally dubious. Returning it back to the states was important,” said Joe Rittenhouse on Facebook.

Abington resident Carol Gash said, “Thank God. Roe was poor legislation [sic] to begin with. I hope that my church will be okay,” referring to damage that was done to churches by leftist mobs after the decision was leaked earlier.

Fenecia Redman of Malvern said, “Who can be against stopping the dismemberment of babies?”

“It’s a disgrace and I hate it here,” said Lyndsey Brown, a Delaware County resident, via Facebook.

Carol Bassetti, a Cheltenham resident said, “I knew it was coming but now that it’s actually here, I’m speechless. I had so much admiration and respect for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, may she rest in peace. But I honestly believe she would have stepped down and made room for an Obama appointment had she had any idea this could or would happen.”

Helaine Dubner Zlotnick of Elkins Park said she did not want Roe to be overturned.

“I think there is an over-reaction about this,” Zlotnick said. “I will deal with this in my own way and not over-react. People are dealing with their emotions and not the facts. It’s always only ‘their’ way, can never find a balance.”

“I am enjoying the eft melting down today,’ said a Chesterbrook man, who asked that his name not be used. “They are probably making Molotov cocktails as I type. I can guarantee they are planning violence right now.”

John Featherman, a Republican who ran for Philadelphia mayor, said, “Before today, Pennsylvania’s governor’s race was seen by many voters as a referendum on vaccine/masking policies and, to a lesser extent, mail-in voting…But after today’s Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade, abortion has risen to the forefront of the race for governor. And for Mastriano, this is bad news, as Josh Shapiro has already run a commercial in the past 24 hours that quotes Mastriano as saying, ‘My body, my choice is ridiculous nonsense.

“Pennsylvania is still a blue state with 4 million Democratic voters and only 3.4 million Republican voters,” Featherman added. “Mastriano’s no-exception abortion ban policy will ultimately cost him the election.”

“Roe is overturned but let’s be 100 percent clear, abortion care won’t end. Instead, access will become even more inequitable and dangerous. We must fight state by state to ensure this decision remains between a pregnant person and their doctor,” said Dr. Val Arkoosh, chair of the Montgomery County Commissioners and a Democrat, via Twitter.

“I am grateful to the justices of the Supreme Court of the United States for their willingness to hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and for their opinion, which affirms the deep value inherent to every human life,” said the Most Reverend Nelson J. Pérez archbishop of Philadelphia. “As Catholics, we believe that life is God’s most precious gift and that we share a responsibility to uphold its beauty and sanctity from conception to natural death. In addition to being strong advocates for the unborn, this responsibility extends to caring for the hungry, the poor, the sick, the immigrant, the elderly, the oppressed, and any of our brothers and sisters who are marginalized. In short, to be truly pro-life means to recognize the presence of God in everyone and to care for them accordingly.”

State Sen. Steve Santarsiero (D-Bucks), said, “Today, and every day, I stand in support of a women’s right to make her own reproductive decisions and that includes access to a safe and legal abortion.  The Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has thrown out a fundamental constitutional protection for millions of Americans — one that has existed for nearly 50 years. This is unacceptable.”

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FLOWERS: Roe v. Wade and The Arrogance of Power Over Life And Death

When you’re just a month into your eleventh year on earth, your horizons are fairly limited. School, summer vacation, annoying younger siblings and Bobby Sherman are pretty much the only things that make any impact. Three of them are inevitabilities, and the pop idol is a distant dream. Life, in other words, is quite simple.

But when I was just a month into my eleventh year, something happened that had an impact on the following 49.

I was sitting in a classroom when the nuns announced over the loudspeaker that the U.S. Supreme Court had legalized abortion. It may have been math or it may have been religion, but the only thing that I remember is the moment of prayer, and then a quick return to our classwork. I am assuming the teachers didn’t want us to dwell too much on an event that had no impact – yet- on their students.

The next seven or so years were lived with a vague understanding that Roe v. Wade was wrong, was immoral and was a direct challenge to my upbringing as a Catholic who believed that life begins at conception. But I didn’t go to the March for Life. I didn’t pray in front of Planned Parenthood clinics (I didn’t even know how to get to one, which is just as well because I would have been scared to know that there were places in nice suburban neighborhoods where women could kill their unborn babies). I didn’t write about it, didn’t give my opinion about it, didn’t really think much about it except on Sundays at Mass (and sometimes not even then).

But it was always there, lurking behind every other thing that I did, every other activity in which I participated, every other accomplishment I managed to achieve. I was the Roe generation, those women who were told that they had dominion over life and death. That was both a powerful, and damning, message for a young female to learn.

When you tell someone that she does not have to take responsibility for her “mistakes,” as President Obama once described an unplanned pregnancy, you are training her to think that she has complete impunity. It creates a sense of invincibility, entitlement, and arrogance. I can confirm that I developed those qualities, and I have no problem attributing them to the overriding idea that women were autonomous beings who had the ability to determine who lives, and who dies.

It was only when I started college and mixed in with other young women who’d been taught the same lessons, the “cussed individuals” of Bryn Mawr, that I took a step back and tried to analyze what it meant to really be “autonomous.” Intelligence was a gift, the ability to apply for jobs that my grandmother could never aspire to was a given, knowing I was the equal of my brothers and the boys over at our companion school Haverford was assumed.

But this added sense that I was also able to change the course of another human being’s life by deciding that the unborn “he” or “she” was inconvenient started to bother me. The Catholic morality began, imperceptibly, to consume the feminist nihilism that had seeped into my daily existence.

And that’s when I realized that I was pro life. There was no specific day that I woke up and said “I oppose abortion, and that will be a fundamental part of my existence from now on.” I simply started looking at my obligations in a different way. I went to law school not to make money, but to gain a tool with which to challenge injustice. (Good thing about the not making money part, because if that had been my goal I would have been a devastating failure)

I began to practice immigration law, because I saw the need to assist the most vulnerable in a concrete and effective way. And I started using my voice for those who had no voice, but who existed. The fact that seven old men in black robes had denied their existence didn’t change the metaphysical, biological or moral reality of their condition.

Much of what I did in my pro-life advocacy was rhetorical. Columns written. Statements made before legislative bodies. Rallies in state capitols. Television and radio appearances. Trolling abortion rights advocates on social media (not nice, I know). And not one of those things saved a life teetering on the edge of non-existence.

But that changed on June 24, 2022. When abortion was legalized I was sitting at a classroom desk, saddle-shoe-clad feet kicking the desk in front of me.

When Roe fell, I was sitting at a computer, deep into my sixtieth year with the wrinkles and gray hair that reflected a half century’s journey.

And as it started, so did it end.

With a prayer.

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Radnor Democrats Push Pro-Choice Ordinance Blocking Enforcement of Future Abortion Laws

Radnor Township is ready to break with the rest of Pennsylvania, at least when it comes to abortion.

On Monday, the township commissioners voted to advance an ordinance that would prohibit the use of township resources to enforce any new abortion restrictions the state might put into place if Roe v. Wade is overturned as many U.S. Supreme Court watchers expect.

George Badey, chair of the Radnor Democrats, touted the proposed ordinance in his May newsletter and asked members to come out and support it. “We will not tolerate the GOP using Radnor taxpayer-funded local law enforcement resources to take away the currently existing rights that Pennsylvania women have had for almost 50 years!” Badey wrote.

BOC Vice President Jack Larkin offered an overview of the ordinance at Monday’s meeting.

“What this would do (is) to preclude the police or any other township employee from using township resources including their salaries to affect an arrest or otherwise investigate, prosecute, or penalize abortion as it is currently permitted in Pennsylvania,” he said. “This would essentially freeze the right to abortion here within Radnor Township.”

Current Pennsylvania law bans abortions after the 24th week unless the woman’s life or health are at risk.

Commissioner Lisa Borowski, who is running to be a state representative, said the ordinance, if adopted, would protect a woman’s right to make her own medical decisions.

“Overturning Roe v. Wade would put state and local leaders on the front lines to protect women’s rights,” she said. “Tonight, we are takings steps to protect a woman’s right to choose.

“I deeply value the doctor-patient relationship and I don’t believe we should be putting our police in the middle of that relationship.”

The vote was 4-2 with one abstention. Larkin, Borowski, Maggy Myers, and Board President Moira Mulroney voted yes.

AnnaMarie Jones and Jake Abel voted no. Both expressed concerns that the ordinance, if passed, would place undue restrictions on the township’s police force.

“I voted “no” primarily because of the uncertainty of what the unintended consequences would be if police are kept from investigating a call -no matter what the issue is,” Jones said. “There could be criminality above and beyond a reproductive issue. That being said, I am in support of women being able to make their own healthcare choices and will stand with my colleagues to find a way to protect women and physicians in our community if Roe is overturned.”

And most residents agree with her, she said.

“Many say it’s too soon. Roe hasn’t been overturned and we have the Delaware County district attorney saying he won’t prosecute women and doctors. I’m prepared to pivot based on the Supreme Court’s future decision, if women and practitioners will become targets, who our governor will be in 2023, and what the majority of constituents are feeling at the time,” she said.

Commissioner Sean Farhy abstained.

Marlene Downing. who serves on the board of the Prolife Union of Greater Philadelphia, was dismayed by the board’s action.

“We are saddened by the township’s decision to come against state law if Roe v. Wade is overturned,” she said. “We don’t believe any city should be excited to be an ‘abortion sanctuary.’ This places a very dark label on Radnor Township where the end of innocent human life will be a main attraction.”

Like Jones and Abel, Downing expressed concern that the ordinance, as it now stands, undermines the township’s police department.

“The fact that local jurisdictions feel comfortable in overturning higher authorities depicts the state of our country. Where is the order? Local police departments being forced to abstain from investigation of criminal activity regarding abortion is very concerning. We should all be concerned,” she said.

A final vote will likely be taken in June before the Supreme Court is expected to rule on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a Mississippi law banning abortion after the 15th week of pregnancy.

A leaked draft of an opinion by Justice Sam Alito appears to show a majority of the court is prepared to overturn the controversial Roe v. Wade decision in its ruling on the Dobbs case.

Abortion is certain to be a hot topic in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race. The Republican candidate, state Sen. Doug Mastriano  (R-Franklin) has called for a ban on abortions in the state with no exceptions for rape or incest. Democrats and their allies are spending $6 million on ads attacking Mastriano’s stance on the issue.

His Democratic opponent, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, is pro-choice.

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FLOWERS: Leaked SCOTUS Decision Moves Abortion Debate From Courts to Voters

I’m aware that not everyone is as concerned with abortion as I am. In fact, abortion falls fairly low on the list of “important issues” when voters are in the process of considering candidates. Only people like me, who are profoundly pro-life, or those who are extreme in their support of abortion rights, focus on it.  In that ironic and bizarre way, I have more in common with the head of Planned Parenthood than the vast majority of Americans have with either of us.

But what happened Monday evening was seismic, and its impact is felt by everyone, including those who are more concerned with when or whether Joel Embiid is reactivated to play against the Miami Heat.

If Roe v. Wade is overturned, as seems likely based on the leak of Justice Alito’s draft majority opinion, abortion will not disappear.  It will simply cease to be a federal right, left to the states to legislate and regulate.  That’s the way it was until 1973, and even though I think it should be completely banned (exception: to save the mother’s life), that’s the way it should be in a democracy.  Most Americans are comfortable with some limits on abortion, and if they live in a state that has those limits and they still want to end their pregnancy, they can travel to a more hospitable jurisdiction.

But after almost 50 years of legalized abortion, some people have gotten the idea that it’s a constitutional, unassailable right. They talk about “super precedents,” and “right to choose,” and “reproductive justice,” and all of these empty phrases that sound nice in campaign ads but that really add up to this: We want what we have gotten used to, unlimited autonomy when it comes to pregnancy.

And that’s where it gets interesting. If Roe falls and the states take control of abortion, the people who make the laws in those states will have an enormous amount of power. And in Pennsylvania, we have two crucial elections looming, which will determine whether our next governor is likely to sign or veto pro-life legislation and whether our next senator will vote to codify abortion rights in federal law.

At the outset, I don’t expect most Pennsylvanians agree with me that abortion should be criminalized except in cases where the life of the mother is in danger. You don’t have to tell me that my view is to the right of many Republicans and even a lot of run-of-the-mill conservatives. I can’t even get an “amen” from most of my Catholic friends, not to mention some high-profile priests like Jesuit James Martin. But at the very least, most Americans think there should be some significant limits on the procedure, depending upon the circumstances of the pregnancy.

When I helped moderate a debate of Republican senatorial candidates for the Delaware Valley Journal last month, I asked the four local candidates, Kathy Barnette, Jeff Bartos, George Bocchetto, and Sean Gale, what their views were on abortion. Gale was the most overtly passionate stating, “It’s truly a stain on this country, which is why I’ll be the most pro-life senator in the U.S. Senate.” Barnette mentioned her own origins story, revealing that she was a child of rape, and noted, “Based on my experience, I truly believe that life begins at conception, and I will make sure to fight for that when I’m in the Senate.” Bartos took aim at the Democrats currently in Congress observing, “When you have 47 Democrats who voted for legislation on late-term abortion, they will have to answer many questions come election time this November.” And George Bocchetto, who grew up in an orphanage in New York stated that “I wouldn’t be here today if Roe v. Wade were law during my birth, which is why I’m forever grateful that I could survive and thrive the way I did.”

Those were personal answers, deeply felt, and fairly representative of the GOP position on abortion. Contrast that with the Democrat candidates for the Senate. When asked at a recent debate if there were any limits on abortion that he would find appropriate, John Fetterman replied, “I don’t believe so, no.”  He then doubled down, declaring that he wanted to codify Roe into statutory law to essentially frustrate the Supreme Court. Conor Lamb, Fetterman’s “moderate” opponent has gone on record saying, “I think that the right to choose is a right all the way through pregnancy.”

“All the way through pregnancy” is shorthand for late-term abortion. The comments were in response to a question about the Women’s Health Protection Act, and whether he would be able to support any restrictions on a woman’s right to choose. Apparently, he can’t.

As far as the gubernatorial race, every Republican candidate has come out as being pro-life, even if some like Charlie Gerow are more vocal than others. De facto Democratic candidate Josh Shapiro has made no secret that he strongly supports abortion, including late-term abortion.

It takes a lot to come out and say that a woman should be able to have an abortion whenever she wants.  There is something particularly ghoulish in a person who thinks that abortion is “okay” and should not be barred at any moment before the crowning of the baby’s head. And I find it particularly ironic that the type of woman who thinks men can’t have an opinion on abortion is perfectly happy with these men, and these opinions.

If your primary concern this election cycle is something other than abortion, I understand where you might actually spend the next few weeks and months examining the candidates’ platforms and positions. But what happened Monday night changed the whole landscape.

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