On Respecting Privacy & Individual Choices
Let us revisit the precious rights granted to each of us from the Constitution:
- To choose where to live
- To choose what kind of work we want to do
- To choose whom to love and to marry
- To choose whether to have children and how many
- To choose our religion and methods of worship
- To choose our friends and associates
- To choose our entertainment and sources of information
- To choose our leaders through the vote
- To choose our lifestyle and social values
- To speak our minds freely
These are rights that are essential and inherent in all Americans, equally. These are the rights I was willing to risk my life to defend, and they forms the basis of my views.
First, I believe firmly and unequivocally in the right of Americans to marry whom they love and to be treated as full and equal citizens under the law. I have never heard a good argument for denying our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters the right to marry. The law outlines the rules necessary for us to be free to make our own choices without trespassing on each other. But the law governs one’s actions, not one’s morals. Neither the government, nor any group of individuals, has the right to make moral judgments for the rest of us, or society as a whole. So long as what you do does not harm others, they have no right to prohibit you from doing it simply because they find it distasteful. If the law is going to give special status to loving, committed heterosexual couples, it must do so for same-sex couples as well.
Second, I will resolutely defend a woman’s right to choose what to do with her own body. The rights of citizenship do not simply vanish because a woman becomes pregnant; she does not become ½ or ¼ of a citizen. She remains a citizen in full, and therefore fully and solely responsible for the choices that affect her and her body. There are those who believe that the rights of citizenship should extend to the unborn. But, there is no way to do that without simultaneously extinguishing those very rights for the women who bear them. In the balance, an abortion, like a miscarriage, has no immediate effect on society as a whole. It affects only the woman and her family. And while there are some who worry for the wellbeing of women who have abortions, they do not have the right to extend their concern into control of others.
Recently, some states have manipulated their health regulations to make it virtually impossible for a woman to get an abortion. America has a history of states acting locally to deny citizens their full rights. And when that has happened in the past, the federal government has stepped in to stop such abuses. As Senator, I will work to roll back the efforts of those who have used state legislation to advance their own religious and moral agendas at the cost of the citizenship rights of women.