Robert L. Cutts: The biggest debate of all: Will your civil rights survive?
“When Raddatz asked Ryan if those who believe abortion should remain legal should be worried if the Republican team wins, Ryan basically said yes.” — New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd on the vice presidential debate.Wake up, women. They’re talking to you. Right now a 14-year-old Pakistani girl with a bullet hole in her head lies in a hospital fighting for her life. You can’t feel her pain, but your danger lies right next to hers — she was shot for demanding that all her countrywomen have a legal and inalienable right simply to be educated.Right now, nobody we know of wants to assassinate you for having a legal right to an abortion. Not even for exercising it, though the CDC tells us close to 825,000 women in America make that election each year.But when you hear premier candidates for the governance of your country threaten that right openly, you are standing at the Selma bridge with John Lewis and the 600 other voting rights marchers on Bloody Sunday, your own civil rights under as mendacious a threat as were those of black Southern voters two generations ago. The only arms fired in America over abortion have so far been aimed at the providers of the procedure — but the arms of the law could be reaching for you, soon enough. There will be powerful polities confronting you on Nov. 6 who want to strip you of your constitutional, Supreme Court-confirmed rights, who want to crush Planned Parenthood, who want to block the education of your daughters in our schools, who want to negate the protection of incompetent mothers or take away choice from those who just have no safe resources to raise another child.The legions standing behind them, at the other end of that Selma bridge, are deep: armed with religious passions or the sense of the power of their own righteousness, they pose not only a threat to your rights but to those of all Americans and their children. Ask yourself, what gives them that right?When you go to the polls, make sure you cross that bridge. You’ll be in the company of some mighty American heroes, who began simply by asking themselves the same question.• Robert L. Cutts is a Gardnerville resident.