Abortion isn’t the only right that the Supreme Court has protected by using this sort of undue burden standard to find a regulation unconstitutional. In Shapiro v. Thompson, a case concerning whether a state can deny welfare assistance to residents who have not resided within its jurisdiction for at least one year, the Supreme Court protected the right to travel, stating, “The nature of our Federal Union and our Constitutional concepts of personal liberty unite to require that all citizens be free to travel throughout the length and breadth of our land uninhibited by statutes, rules, or regulations which unreasonably burden or restrict this movement.” (emphasis added)
So here’s the $60,000 question: Why should unduly burdensome regulations that place obstacles in the path of those looking to exercise one right be struck down while equally burdensome regulations that infringe on another right are upheld?
All of this is to say that if the right to choose is important enough to warrant the determination that the government cannot place substantial obstacles in the way of a woman who wishes to exercise that right, then the rights afforded to us by the Second Amendment ought to be given the same protections. At the very least, legislatures ought to explain why the right to keep and bear arms is less deserving of protection from unduly burdensome regulations than a woman’s right to choose.
Rafael Mangual ([email protected]) works on the communications staff of The Heartland Institute.