RMC Responds: Choice is a Family Issue

ImageThis week on RMC Responds, we want to reiterate that choice affects everyone, and there are very real costs when extremists attempt to infringe on individual freedom.  Between an unprecedented onslaught of legislation and continued judicial challenges, reproductive choice policy has been making headlines across the country.  As one Facebook commenter astutely points out, “Men, we too are impacted.” 

With over 320 state-level anti-choice laws filed this year alone, all taxpayers are feeling the burden of ideological extremism on social issues.  Anti-choice lawmakers continue to push bills that they know will be found unconstitutional by the courts, and in doing so are costing citizens millions of dollars in legal fees as they unsuccessfully defend law after law and place extremist ideology before smart spending.  Kansas, for instance, has shelled out almost $1 million dollars to two private law firms for legal defense of anti-choice legislation, and the Attorney General expects to spend about $500,000 more before the issue is settles.  In North Dakota, the state budget included an allotment of $400,000 specifically for defense of some of the most restrictive laws in the nation, laws whose creators even admit do not comply with standing Supreme Court precedent.  After spending $378,000 to defend a 2005 anti-choice law, the South Dakota Attorney General has predicted that the state will spend between $1.75 million and $4 million in the upcoming years as laws passed in 2011 are challenged.  And those are just a few of the states allowing extremists to drain taxpayers of money; Wisconsin, Texas, Mississippi, Iowa, Ohio, Virginia, and Arkansas have also attempted to defend harsh abortion restrictions recently, with the costs of those legal expenses yet to be disclosed. 

Unfortunately, legal fees are only one part of the cost that accompanies anti-choice extremism.  Long before states are forced to fight for statues that unconstitutionally infringe individual freedoms, they must foot the bill for the introduction and debate of anti-choice legislation.  City officials in Albuquerque, New Mexico are now considering an overhaul of their electoral system after voters rejected an anti-choice initiative.  This initiative, combined with two others this year, costs the city a whopping $1.2 million dollars, and would have cost more in legal fees had it succeeded.  Over the summer, Texas Governor Rick Perry called a number of special sessions until an omnibus anti-choice bill had passed, revealing his unrelenting desire to curtail individual rights with no thought to fiscal responsibility.  As Republicans, we believe strongly in both individual freedom and smart spending, and the fact is that the anti-choice agenda conflicts with both of these incredibly important ideas. 

The costs of restricting personal rights will continue to haunt the nation for years to come, and the long-term impact is very real.  As major corporations attempt to put their owners religious beliefs before the health of their employees, we will all feel the financial and social consequences.  Access to birth control drastically reduces the number of unintended pregnancies in the United States, preventing hundreds of thousands of abortions and saving millions of dollars in future healthcare costs.  This is not just a women’s issue; when individual rights are threatened, every citizen has something at stake.

The reality is that we cannot, as a nation, afford either fiscally or ideologically to ignore the toll that this extremist agenda is taking.  Costs associated with the anti-choice movement continue to rise, and citizens everywhere must fight against the infringement on social and financial freedoms.  Anti-choice extremism contradicts the ideals of the Republican Party, and it contradicts the ideals and well being of the entire nation.  


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