RMC Responds: The Cost of Anti-Choice Legislation

ImageThis week one commenter hit the nail right on the head: “The true republican ideal is less government not more. This includes government interference in personal decision-making. The decision to have a child or not is personal. I should make that decision with my family and my health care provider… My state legislator or member of congress should not be making the decision for me.”

The past few years, and this summer particularly, have seen a stark increase in anti-choice restrictions on family planning and abortion services by so-called conservatives. These anti-choice regulations, from over regulation of family planning providers, to medically unnecessary mandates like forced transvaginal ultrasounds, to unconstitutional abortion bans, all drastically increase the size and scope of the federal government while doing nothing to protect American women or families.  Such big-government interference in personal medical decisions flies in the face of true Republican ideals of limited government, and personal liberty and privacy.

What we’re finding however, is that as frequently as these anti-choice laws are being passed, both state and federal courts are striking them down. Abortion bans based across the country have been found unconstitutional and judges are denying anti-choice efforts to limit access to contraceptives.

Earlier this month, six extremist state attorneys general were forced to give up their effort to limit women’s access to contraception when a conservative federal district judge found their case had no standing.  And in August a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that states cannot strip Medicaid funding from doctors and clinics that perform abortions. To be clear: no federal funds can be used to cover abortion services, and patients will have to use their own money. But thanks to this ruling, doctors will not be penalized by losing funds for other health care services, simply because they also perform abortions.

The point is one after another, anti-choice legislation is being overthrown by the courts; but in the mean time millions of American’s tax dollars are being wasted on legal fees defending such legislation. Idaho has spent more than $1 million defending defeated abortion limits since 2000, and South Dakota’s attorney general recently argued that a law passed in 2011 could cost the state anywhere from $1.75 million to $4 million to defend.

This is our tax dollars wasted in defense of dangerous and unnecessary anti-choice legislation. As REAL Republicans, we believe legislators on the state and federal level should refocus their efforts on commonsense, fiscally conservative and solutions-based policy. The best way to reduce the rate and incidence of abortion is to promote proven-effective preventive reproductive healthcare policy.

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