by Amy Myrick, Staff Attorney for Judicial Strategy at the Center for Reproductive Rights, and Rachana Desai Martin, Senior Federal Policy Counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights
What does liberty mean? To some it means freedom from government interference in private life. To others it means having the ability to make choices of all kinds, and the resources to make those choices real.
Over the past few decades, the Supreme Court has attempted to define liberty in cases involving the right to have and raise children; engage in intimate, consensual sexual activity; marry; be free from bodily violations; make decisions about medical treatment; and access abortion and contraception. While the Court’s record has not been perfect—in particular when liberty depends on having resources—running through its jurisprudence is a core principle that has become stronger over time: people are allowed to make choices about all kinds of profound matters, and shaming or impeding their choices is contrary to being free. The Trump Administration’s assault on Title X is just the latest attempt to replace that tradition with something that should have long been put to bed.