Balancing Rights: Privacy v. Life

by Ken Connor

There’s been much controversy in recent weeks over the issue of full body scans and pat-downs at airport security checkpoints across America.  Individuals from all points on the political and ideological spectrum are angry and speaking out against practices that they assert violate civil liberties and undermine human dignity.  Much in the same way that the Patriot Act thrust the “privacy v. security” conundrum into the foreground of the public’s attention, the kerfuffle begun by John “Don’t Touch My Junk” Tyner has ignited a national debate about how far our society is willing to go to ensure the safety of air travel in America.  President Obama, for his part, acknowledges the inconvenience posed by the new TSA procedures, but insists that they are necessary to ensure our safety in an era of pervasive terror threats.Abortion protest

Upon hearing the President’s rationalization of full body scans and vigorous pat-downs, I can’t help but be struck by this Administration’s inconsistent and unprincipled approach to personal privacy issues.  Ever since the Supreme Court issued the Griswold v. Connecticut decision in 1965, the American Left has vigorously defended the constitutional “penumbras” guaranteeing an individual “right” to privacy.  This understanding of individual privacy led the Court to decide in 1973 that a woman’s right to privacy trumps her unborn child’s right to life.

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