The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

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Constitution Day Guest Panel Examines Dobbs Decision

Photo courtesy Unsplash

In celebration of Constitution Day, the Epstein Campus at Lower Bucks hosted a panel discussion with five community leaders on Thursday, Sept. 15, about the constitutional implications and legislation of the Dobbs decision on Roe v. Wade.

Roe v. Wade was a 1973 Supreme Court decision that gave women the constitutional right to an abortion, however this year the Supreme Court overturned that ruling in the Dobbs decision.

Professor Bill Pezza, a Social and Behavioral Sciences department member at Bucks, lead the forum and organized the discussion into three segments: the constitutional foundations of both Roe v. Wade and Dobbs, the current laws, and the legislative goals of pro-life and pro-choice advocates.

John Petito, a professor at Bucks, gave a summarization of the legislation behind Roe and Dobbs. Looking out at the audience, he commented, “Did anyone understand what I just said? No? Of course not, you’d need to be a lawyer!,” making his point that these were complex topics that he was trying to explain.

David Steil, a former eight-term State Representative, offered more insight into the 14th amendment by explaining how it had “vague language defining what a person” is. This amendment is often cited by pro-life advocates because it suggests that no person shall be denied life and this vague language allows for a varied interpretation about what “life” is.

Patrick Christmas, a policy director for the nonprofit organization Committee of Seventy, explained voting and the legislature, stressing the importance of voting this election cycle to see legislation that reflects what Pennsylvanian citizens want.

Christmas added,  “For folks concerned about the security of mail in voting, I would say that it’s just new to us.”

Christmas explained that although the concept of mail in voting is not new- absentee voting has been around for many years- polling facilities were not ready for the volume of votes that occurred in the 2020 election, and many facilities did not have the staff necessary to count all the ballots in a single day, thus causing delays in knowing which candidates won.

The panel was opened to student questions near the end of the discussion, and both Marlene Downing, a Susan B. Anthony List explain what this is member, and Melissa Reed, a Planned Parenthood Keystone member, were asked about their views on the recent Dobbs decision.

Downing called the Dobbs decision a win for pro-life and said this decision paves the way for more legislation.

“We’ve been preparing for years,” Reed responded. She continued by saying that Pennsylvania has prepared by hiring additional medical providers, creating a way for abortion seekers to receive abortion pills through the mail, and locally Planned Parenthood has opened a new health center in Lancaster, creating more accessibility to Bucks County community members.

“These rules are unjust, and cruel, and that’s the point. And it is going to create huge economic disparities, greater than we are already seeing, and it is already creating a public health crisis. It’s incumbent for all of us to fight against these types of cruel policies,” said Reed.