Letter: Time for a new amendment

Published: 05-23-2024 11:25 AM

Stephen Douglas, the author of the controversial Kansas-Nebraska Act, always claimed that he didn't care if slavery in the new territories was voted “ up or down.” His idea was to leave it to newly formed states to decide for themselves whether to allow slavery or exclude it.

Abraham Lincoln, however, could see through Douglas’s popular sovereignty plan. Lincoln knew that slavery would be allowed to spread, unchecked, north of the line established in the 1820 Missouri Compromise, if the bill passed Congress. When Douglas ran for the Senate in Illinois, he wanted to garner votes from people on both sides of the issue.

Now, Donald Trump says that individual states should decide for themselves about the abortion issue. He says that he is in favor of states that want to keep abortion legal, and that he is equally supportive of states that have strict abortion requirements. Like Douglas, Trump is trying to have things both ways.

The 13th Amendment to our Constitution took care of “popular sovereignty,” by outlawing slavery throughout all of the United States. It’s going to take similar measures, by the federal government, to bring back Roe v Wade and give young women the true reproductive freedoms that their mothers and grandmothers have enjoyed for the past 50 years.

The time has come for a 28th Amendment to our Constitution – an all-encompassing, Equal Rights Amendment for Women, to protect not only women's reproductive rights but all rights that men have always enjoyed, and taken for granted, but have been denied to women since time began.

Just as the 13th settled slavery, a new amendment is the only way to guarantee the totality of women's rights, once and for all.

Stan Zabierek

New Ipswich

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