We have just seen the completion of a terrible gang rape, one of the most shameful in the history of the state of California. The rape was political, not physical. Its victims were the people of California and the assailant was the highest elected official of the state, the governor!
What happened was that the Gov. George Deukmejian deliberately chose to ignore a decision of the Legislature. Instead, he piously signed into law a provision sent to him by clerical error saying that past Legislatures had had that intent. By his action, against the expressed request from the Legislature, the governor saw fit to do great political mischief and real personal harm.
The state's judiciary system will now have to deal with this illegally begotten law. It will cost money to bring suit against the governor's slight-of-hand trick. It will cost the state money and manpower to defend itself in court. It will eventually present an issue dealing with a highly controversial opinion to the Supreme Court. The results of that decision will then become further election hyperbole to use in the carefully orchestrated vendetta against the moderate and decent members of that court. The governor's rape of the system will certainly be costly to the victim and most probably to the assailant as well.
No, this rape wasn't a physical one. It was purely political. The real harm will be immense for Planned Parenthood, the targeted organization of this attack, and for countless women who will be punitively denied access to what is their legal right--the opportunity to obtain fair and factual birth control information. The repercussions on innocent rape victims will be cruel and life-damaging if they are forced to bear unwanted and illegally conceived children because of the governor's actions. Even one such instance will be intolerable.
Every citizen in this state, male or female, conservative or liberal, should express shock at the governor's actions and at his attitude. Clearly, it is up to us, the people, to make sure that the system works the way it was designed. We must all tell the governor just that. If we don't, we are allowing an intolerable, dictatorial abuse of our system.
JUNE BURLINGAME SMITH