RMC Responds: Anti-Choice Extremism and Big-Government WastePosted: February 21, 2014
Across the nation, extremist legislators are chipping away at constitutional freedoms and ignoring basic Republican principles. Some anti-choice legislators claim they are pursuing commonsense measures or looking out for women’s health, but the bills they are pushing suggest otherwise. One facebook commenter wrote this week, “Yet these are the same people who claim their religious freedom is being taken away. Your freedom of deciding whether a legal medical procedure is for you, they’ll be happy to decide that.“
Based on the number of anti-choice bills already moving through the states in 2014, it’s hard to disagree. The most recent example of blatant big-government overreach comes from Mississippi, where a new anti-choice bill passed the House of Representatives last week. The proposed legislation would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy without exceptions for rape, incest, life or health of the mother, a rule that is already being challenged in a number of other states, and was declared unconstitutional by a federal court in 2012.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, in Mississippi the only remaining abortion clinic does not perform the procedure after 16 weeks, so the ban is quite literally a symbolic imposition of extreme ideology.
In other words, legislators are now placing their medical judgment above that of doctors and risking women’s health as a result. As another commenter noted, “practicing medicine without a license?” Indeed, many physicians are especially opposed to this type of legislation because it prevents them from legally providing the best healthcare to their patients, especially in cases such as fatal fetal abnormalities. Under this big-government extremism, doctors would be imprisoned for removing a terminal fetus, even though delivering it carries much greater health risks for the mother. Such medical legislation is, quite plainly, not in the interest of women’s health or safety.
A similar story is playing out in South Dakota, one of the most dangerous states for women’s health. Lawmakers there are currently considering a bill that uses broad, inflammatory, unscientific language to outlaw certain types of abortion. The language of the bill is especially onerous because it is so vague and therefore could be used to punish doctors to an indefensible extent. Like Mississippi, South Dakota only has one clinic that performs abortions, and that clinic does not perform them after 13 weeks. This type of legislation not only endangers women, but also eradicates the doctor-patient relationship since doctors would be forbidden from acting in the best medical interest of the woman.
It’s time for voters, especially Republicans who believe in small government, to speak up in Mississippi, South Dakota, and across the nation, and let elected officials know that doctors, not legislators, should be handling women’s healthcare.