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Fri Jun 14, 2013, 03:30 PM

The Right of Women to be Secure in Their Persons Against Unreasonable Searches [View all]

There has been a lot of talk about the fourth amendment the past few weeks with the 'revelation' that the NSA has been monitoring everyone's communications in the past, present and future of the world*. US officials are afraid that the leaker may defect to China. That's not really important in some quarters as the NSA has apparently breached the fourth amendment. From PolicyMic:
The Fourth Amendment protects people's "papers" as well as their "persons," "houses," and "effects," from "unreasonable searches and seizures," such as those by the NSA.

Despite being approved by a secret FISA court, the acquisition of private information from all Americans seems to be a quite obvious breach of the 4th Amendment's protections against unreasonable search and seizure, the same amendment the National Security Agency pushed the government to "rethink."
Reading the entire piece is worth the time, it is really quite good. What I personally found interesting was that it shows for myself the complete hyperbole on both sides of this debate. I've found the laser like focus on the 4th amendment fascinating as of late.

Here is the text of the Fourth amendment:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


Quite often when discussing this particular amendment, it's with regard to government invasion of privacy and the idea that a search warrant is needed by the court. There are exceptions to that. in fact -- many exceptions. As with all amendments, and the United States Constitution as a whole, the interpretation is never as simple as the written word. This is why we have a Judicial branch, headed by the Supreme Court as one of the three branches of our government.

It was that court, in 1973, that ruled one landmark case that forever changed the lives of women. It was called Roe. V. Wade:
The issue before the Court:
Roe v. Wade was filed on behalf of a pregnant single woman, who challenged a Texas law that permitted abortion only to save the life of the mother. At the time of the court's decision, 30 states had laws similar to the Texas law.

The Court's ruling:
In a 7-2 vote, the Court said that the Texas law violated the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. Justice Harry Blackmun, writing for the majority, argued that a woman's decision to end her pregnancy is protected by a broad right of privacy, which though not explicitly laid out in the Constitution, previously had been found by the court to exist within the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth and 14th Amendments, as well as the penumbras, or shadows, of the Bill of Rights.

However, the Court recognized that the state had a legitimate interest in protecting the health of the pregnant woman, and Justice Blackmun's decision laid out a framework in which varying degrees of state regulation was allowed based on the stage of the pregnancy. The decision held that the state could not prohibit abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy; in the second trimester, states could issue regulations "that are reasonably related to maternal health"; and in the final trimester, once the fetus is viable beyond the womb, the state could regulate or even prohibit abortion except in cases "where it is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother."



So basically what happened there is that privacy was protected under the Fourteenth Amendment's liberty clause. Ironically, it relied upon the amendments mentioned, in particular: The fourth. It protects a woman's right to privacy. Things aren't always as simple as just quoting one amendment.

Women have the right to privacy when making a decision that affects their personal liberty. Since abortion was not specifically mentioned in the Constitution, this right was able to be challenged (the 9th). We have a right not to incriminate ourselves (the fifth) when we choose to have this procedure and we have a right to express ourselves and not keep it secret (the first).

Eight years before Roe. v. Wade was decided, SCOTUS heard another case, Griswold V. Connecticut:
In Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), the Supreme Court ruled that a state's ban on the use of contraceptives violated the right to marital privacy. The case concerned a Connecticut law that criminalized the encouragement or use of birth control. The 1879 law provided that "any person who uses any drug, medicinal article or instrument for the purposes of preventing conception shall be fined not less than forty dollars or imprisoned not less than sixty days." The law further provided that "any person who assists, abets, counsels, causes, hires or commands another to commit any offense may be prosecuted and punished as if he were the principle offender."

Estelle Griswold, the executive director of Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut, and Dr. C. Lee Buxton, doctor and professor at Yale Medical School, were arrested and found guilty as accessories to providing illegal contraception. They were fined $100 each. Griswold and Buxton appealed to the Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut, claiming that the law violated the U.S. Constitution. The Connecticut court upheld the conviction, and Griswold and Buxton appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which reviewed the case in 1965.
That decision was decided by the Supreme court with a vote of 7-2. The decision was arrived upon by asserting "the First, Third, Fourth, and Ninth Amendments also protect a right to privacy.
"The Court continued, “The Third Amendment in its prohibition against the quartering of soldiers ‘in any house’ in time of peace without the consent of the owner is another facet of that privacy. The Fourth Amendment explicitly affirms the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” The Fifth Amendment in its Self-Incrimination Clause enables the citizen to create a zone of privacy which government may not force him to surrender to his detriment. The Ninth Amendment provides: ‘The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."


And yet, here we are, 40 years later, with stories like this. Here are the basic bullet points:
• Mandates invasive ultrasounds, and forces women to pay for the cost of the extra procedure themselves.
• Requires doctors to describe the ultrasound images to women seeking abortions, including details about the fetal heartbeat.
• Extends the waiting period for abortion to 48 hours, and eliminates the option for women to bypass it because of a medical emergency.
• Requires doctors to tell women scientifically disputed information about abortion risks.
• Requires doctors to tell patients how much money they earn from each abortion procedure.
• Punishes doctors who don’t comply with the new restrictions with a felony charge and up to a $1 million dollar fine.


It's been well-documented here on this blog, but it is worth noting once again: women's health, our reproductive freedom, is under attack.



Those attacking our rights, and by direct extension women, are disregarding and abusing the fourth amendment.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Women have been fighting for OUR right against unreasonable searches -- the likes of a totally medically unnecessary medical procedure that is being employed to humiliate women seeking out a MEDICAL procedure. Roe. V. Wade did not mandate morality. In affect it stated: The decision held that the state could not prohibit abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy; in the second trimester, states could issue regulations "that are reasonably related to maternal health"; and in the final trimester, once the fetus is viable beyond the womb, the state could regulate or even prohibit abortion except in cases "where it is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother." This should NOT be up for debate.

So can someone tell me why the NSA story is so much more important than my right to a medical procedure? Why is your right to have phone sex* (and not get caught) more important than my right to end an unwanted pregnancy? Why is this more important than Doctors' rights to practice medicine as they see fit and in accordance with the degree they received? NARAL Virginia, upon Governor Bob McDonnell signing Virginia UltraSound abortion law put out a statement calling the law "an unprecedented invasion of privacy and government intrusion into the doctors' offices and living rooms of Virginia women."

Caring about the right to privacy should be more than who is looking at your emails, it should include how government literally is legislating what they think should go into your *HooHaw*-- just because you don't have one, you certainly know someone who does.

Remember earlier I quoted an article from PolicyMic:
The Fourth Amendment protects people's "papers" as well as their "persons," "houses," and "effects," from "unreasonable searches and seizures," such as those by the NSA.

Despite being approved by a secret FISA court, the acquisition of private information from all Americans seems to be a quite obvious breach of the 4th Amendment's protections against unreasonable search and seizure, the same amendment the National Security Agency pushed the government to "rethink."

Here is another article from PolicyMic:
The right to privacy that many of us hold as central to our civil liberties today is not one that is found in the Constitution, at least not explicitly. The word “privacy” never appears in the Constitution, nor is the right to the ambiguous concept of privacy ever articulated or enumerated. Instead, the right to privacy as we know it today is founded on legal reasoning extrapolated from the protections found within the Constitution’s language.

In Griswold, the Supreme Court concluded that while there was no explicit mention of privacy in the Constitution, the privacy rights implied in the Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments demonstrated that the Founders intended a general right to privacy to be recognized and respected by the state. For example, the Court reasoned that the First Amendment protected the privacy of personal faith, the Fourth Amendment protected the privacy of one’s person and belongings, and so on and so forth.

Using this inductive reasoning, the Court concluded that the right to privacy was found in the “penumbras” and “emanations” of the Constitution and that it protected a “right to marital privacy” that unquestionably made the decision to use or forego contraception as a private one.


So yes, let's keep debating. Today I ask why is my body and the rights of women so much less of a priority in this nation? Women are being attacked far more virulently in this nation than the NSA is going after Americans -- and that is still up for debate to be really honest. People upset about this NSA story are not having their words erased or taken away. Women are having their right to privacy taken away EVERY DAY through legislation. You'll have to pardon me for not placing the same amount of outrage on this NSA story that I have had over the loss of the rights women have gained to make their own personal choices.

Are we really supporting some previously anonymous person who may very well have State Secrets hiding in China and ignoring something that is directly affecting women everyday? Sometimes I think that we pick and choose the Constitution to fit our argument. I'm sure I'm not innocent in that accusation but it is worth saying that nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Personally I wish this much energy was spent on protecting ACTUAL and real civil rights violations in this nation. What happened to the right of women to be secure in their persons against unreasonable searches? Are people really more upset about META-data collection than government mandating that women are forced to have a trans-vaginal ultrasound with something that looks like this? Would you consider this a reasonable search?

Maybe I should put a (NSA surveilled) smartphone in my vagina before I get a trans-vaginal untrasound. You think think that will get the attention of the so-called civil libertarians to the plight of the war on women?

I know, now you're saying: 'Raine, that's just crazy talk.' Yeah, I guess it is -- so is comparing what the NSA is doing to Nazi Germany.

This image existed LONG before we EVER heard of Edward Snowden. Hell, it existed before BAH ever hired him.

:peace: and <3
Raine


*Use of hyperbole intended.

(ETA: I wrote this. here is my original post. )

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Reply The Right of Women to be Secure in Their Persons Against Unreasonable Searches [View all]
Raine1967 Jun 2013 OP
duhneece Jun 2013 #1
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