Sunday, August 17, 2008

McCain Says Privacy is Fundamental Right?

Last night in the Forum at Saddleback Church, McCain was clear on his pro-life position and commitment to nominating judges to the courts who do not legislate from the bench, BUT, then I heard him say that privacy is a fundamental right. Isn't that the way the Supreme Court found in favor of abortion in Roe vs. Wade?

I found a text of the Q and A to which I refer here. (It is at the very bottom.)

What do we do when right to privacy and national security collide?

McCain: We must preserve privacy because it's a fundamental right (including a secret ballot for union organizers, even though that's a different topic). Technology has gotten much more sophisticated, so we do have to increase our own capability to monitor our enemies. We need Congress and the judiciary both to work on this. But we need to sit down and settle this across party lines. There's a constant tension as technology changes and we have to keep up with it.

This is confusing for me as I do think there is a right to privacy as well as a right ot life. However, I think the right to life "trumps" the right to privacy. Not being a lawyer, I am not sure how this is resolved.


A. S. Haley said...

Perpetua, you are correct that the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade was based on an extended reading of the right to privacy which had been established in earlier cases like Griswold v. Connecticut, which struck down that state's anti-contraceptive law. Unlike the right to privacy, there is no decision or legislation that establishes a "right to life" as such, other than what is meant in the Declaration of Independence. Under our present law, a mother's right to privacy trumps the fetus' right to life in the first trimester. Also, the fetus may be sacrificed at any time if necessary to protect the mother's health. So under current law, it is difficult to speak of the "right to life" of an unborn child.

A different court could see things differently, however. For instance, the Constitutional Court of Germany decided in 1975 that the "right to life" and "human dignity" clauses of the German Constitution trumped the clause that guaranteed to a woman the "free development of her personality."

Perpetua said...

Hi A. S. Haley,

Thank you for this.