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Ár nDraíocht Féin
Three Cranes
Chaos Matrix

February 5th, 2011

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01:06 pm - Recent House Bills That Make Me Shiver
Republicans introduced H.R. 358, probably best referred to as the Let Women Die Act, which indicates that women can be denied life-saving treatment because a doctor is unwilling to perform said treatment (and let's face it, it does not matter what type of treatment that is: it's wrong to deny treatment to anyone who needs it). This comes on the heels of H.R. 3, which tried to re-define what counted as "rape," indicating that "forcible" rape was somehow worse than any other kind of rape.

Essentially, in H.R. 3, the Republicans (and several idiot Democrats) tried to sell "rape by being held down" as somehow worse than "rape through roofies" or "statutory rape". . . when, in reality, "non-consent" can be the only valid measure of rape, or there is a risk that we will find ourselves saying, "Oh, well, she was only raped a little bit." That doesn't even make any sense, and even worse, it starts to tell people that rape is only sometimes a crime.

H.R. 358 allows hospitals to outright refuse treatment if they can't find a doctor willing to terminate a pregnancy, even if the woman will die without termination. Not only that, but they also don't have to transfer the patient to another hospital that will do the procedure. Essentially, the law says that they can let the woman die and not be responsible. . . and still get their federal funds.

I was under the impression that everyone voted to get the government out of their personal lives last November. . . This moralizing and hypocrisy (our local effervescent bundle-of-joy "hero-of-a-congressman," John Boehner, referred to this bill as the "will of the people" just about a week ago, tying it to the perceived mandate they got) is pretty much the furthest thing from what people were voting for.

So let's review H.R. 358 in light of "the will of the people" as expressed in the last election. The bill allows the hospital to refuse treatment and let a woman die, and still collect federal funding? I thought we were trying to reduce federal spending here, not give it to people of a "higher moral standard," as decided by Congress. (If you can honestly tell me that letting a woman die and not providing her a different option for treatment is an objectively "higher moral standard" than potentially terminating a pregnancy, you'll win a sucker.) I would be more inclined to buy the argument that the recent election indicated that all federal dollars for hospitals should be pulled than the argument that the recent election indicated that Congress (of all people) should be our moral compass.

It's one thing to have the government's hands in my pockets: that will never change, but it would be nice if they stuck their hands in my pockets a bit less. I'm all for that. But I don't have to let their hands down my wife's pants. That's not where the government's hands belong!

I rarely talk about politics in my journal (and I tend to think of myself as a "Republican who can't find his party" because of stuff just like this), but this circus act is pretty clearly out of line with what the voters want. And I'll admit that I'm a bit upset about it, though I was also pretty much expecting this. Tigers don't change their stripes, after all. This sort of thing isn't a Republican problem, not really: Democrats do some pretty dumb things (like sponsoring these bills, for instance), but I am forced to admit that the Republicans tend to pull this sort of thing a lot more often than the Democrats seem to.

What the hell is a fiscally conservative, socially liberal person supposed to do these days? I think the message is that we should just stay home, because neither party actually cares about us.

This new House of Representatives is failing at representing sanity.
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: awake
Current Music: "Come Monday", -JB

(14 comments Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:February 5th, 2011 06:55 pm (UTC)
I've been following abortion rights stuff for years, and I NEVER would have thought they'd go after the "to save the life of the mother" clause. To show just how heinous this bill is, 1% of all pregnancies are ectopic. Ectopics, if they don't miscarry early (slightly higher than the natural miscarriage rate of 15% last I checked), they WILL kill the woman. A burst tube = death if not caught early enough, and one could argue that performing an emergency hysterectomy on a quasi-pregnant woman with a burst tube is abortion. Which of course means more death.

I know too many people who've needed therapeutic abortions to save their life. One, who has named herself the internet poster child for partial birth abortion, almost had a stroke at 22 weeks due to severe pre-eclampsia. Another of my LJ friends had her placenta abrupt at 18 weeks and without an abortion would have bled to death on the table. I believe she needed a transfusion or two. And then there's the handful of friends who've had ectopics. And so on and so forth.

Then there's the health issue. I have another LJ friend who might very well be dead now because of pregnancy. She had 2 kids close together, both unplanned, and both born by emergency c-section before 30 weeks due to severe pre-eclampsia. Pre-eclampsia, in case you were unaware, causes damage to kidneys, amongst other issues, and she's spent much of the past 6 months on dialysis. A few months ago she posted that if she didn't get a new kidney in two weeks she would be dead. ::googles:: Oh, good. According to twitter she got the kidney and as of 1/27 was "almost ready for transplant." And she posted something about going to class a few days ago. so yay, still alive! But it seems pretty damn likely that any future pregnancy (here's hoping they've done something permanent) will kill her.

Then there's my friend who's very pro-life but had a horrific c-section last fall, such that it isn't safe for her to get pregnant again. She couldn't birth it naturally, probably couldn't carry to term due to the damage to her uterus. Thankfully she wants to be "done." But they won't do anything beyond NFP.

And so on and so forth. So many people think of these things as hypothetical, but there are real women attached to these policies. Real lives, real health.
[User Picture]
Date:February 6th, 2011 05:36 pm (UTC)
I've been following abortion rights stuff for years, and I NEVER would have thought they'd go after the "to save the life of the mother" clause.

I'm disturbed but not surprised. If the goal is to eliminate all abortions, then they will go after every reason a woman can get an abortion - rape, incest, threat to the life of the woman. I suspect traces of a Puritan philosophy play into it - if a woman is faithful to God then she wouldn't need an abortion to save her life. I hope that clause goes the way of the re-defining rape one.

[User Picture]
Date:February 5th, 2011 07:51 pm (UTC)
My husband has the same problem as his family used be the mainstay of the Rep. Party in VA - voting in conventions, etc. Now he doesn't know who is his party. Fiscally conservative - check. He is socially conservative but he thinks all these folks are friggin' nuts. (But then again his Rep. party voted in the Rockefeller Laws concerning drugs. A draconian set.)

People do things in power when they get the chance to change what they think is needed. I don't think the bill will be law though. It may be one of those let us placate the base sort of things. Like the health bill.
[User Picture]
Date:February 9th, 2011 02:21 pm (UTC)
It's okay to be socially conservative, I think. I am on some things (though I am forced to call myself "socially liberal" due to what being "socially conservative" means now). The thing about being conservative about social issues is that it's perfectly awesome to be such when you are not telling others that they also must be conservative.
Date:February 10th, 2011 09:12 am (UTC)
Erm, the thing is 'socially conservative' and 'socially liberal' vary wildly depending on where you are. When I was younger I was pretty much a social conservative - in my area - when I joined the military I was usually considered a raging hippy/liberal. It was mildly surreal. But, I grew up in Western Washington while a lot of my cohorts were from much more conservative areas. I label myself an independent these days and let the rest of the labels lie.

Regarding the legislation, I am sickened to think that there are enough people in our country that think this is a good idea for legislation like this to be drafted in the first place. I am hoping it is a ploy by these parties to pander to the more vocal (maybe ignorant?) members of their constituency rather than an indicator of true public support.

I hope.
[User Picture]
Date:February 5th, 2011 08:21 pm (UTC)
What the hell is a fiscally conservative, socially liberal person supposed to do these days?

Support your local libertarian candidate? Then again, when Rand Paul is considered a "libertarian hero", they're in trouble, too. So...don't know.
[User Picture]
Date:February 5th, 2011 08:29 pm (UTC)
Yeah, totally not a fan of that guy, personally. Unfortunately, experience bears out that Third Parties are the Way of Death for one's vote.

Not that one shouldn't use it idealistically (votes should be idealistic). But I'm not sure they're a viable alternative, really. Besides, they tend to go all Rand Paul on stuff.
[User Picture]
Date:February 5th, 2011 08:57 pm (UTC)
You may be one of the few people I know who's vocally on the same page politically that I am...
[User Picture]
Date:February 9th, 2011 02:20 pm (UTC)
It's hard to be here, ain't it?
[User Picture]
Date:February 8th, 2011 10:31 pm (UTC)
I know it's hard, but try not to get wound up over bills in committee. Committee is where stupid legislation goes to die.

BTW, wanna start a political party with me?
[User Picture]
Date:February 9th, 2011 02:20 pm (UTC)
From the post below, I started thinking I we should call it the "RepublicanWAP:" "Republicans Without A Party"
[User Picture]
Date:February 9th, 2011 01:36 pm (UTC)
But...you're talking about Republicans. Ever since the "Moral Majority" came onto the scene, this kind of thing has been the defining characteristic of the GOP. They talk a good game about being fiscally conservative (as though ANYBODY defines themselves as fiscally irresponsible), but they've been no less eager than Democrats to expand government and spend the country into oblivion. The sole difference in fiscal policy is what they'll spend that money on. Generally speaking, if the money doesn't go to rich people, or to advancing Christian Dominionism, or to killing anyone who's not an unborn American fetus, or to building more prisons, or to expanding the military, or to violating civil rights, they're against it. The view from the GOP would appear to be that the proper role of government is to protect the assets of American capitalists, period. Roads, schools, hospitals...build 'em yourself, ya bums.

I've seen Republicans propose taking away the children of low-income families. I've seen Republicans propose doing away with the minimum wage, as though there would ever be an excuse for paying an American worker ten cents a week. I've seen Republicans try to suppress the use of DNA evidence because innocent convicts were successfully appealing their death sentences. I've seen Republicans oppose any kind of liberty for any sort of oppressed people. I've seen them rally behind the rebel flag and against the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. And now, they've done the things you describe here.

The Democrats worst fault, as far as I can see, is that they try to be all things to all people--including Republicans--and so they accomplish very little and please nobody. The Republicans, on the other hand, (at least until the Tea Party came along) have marched in lockstep to serve the interests of a very small, privileged, evil few.

It's for this reason I've always been dismayed that you called yourself a Republican. I figured either you hide it well, or you don't actually pay all that much attention to politics. ;) I find this post encouraging.

It sounds like the Libertarians' platform might suit you better. Don't think you'd be throwing your vote away on a third party. Vermont's been sending a Socialist to Congress since 1990.
[User Picture]
Date:February 9th, 2011 02:19 pm (UTC)
Well, I've only registered officially as a Republican once: to vote in the primary against Blackwell.

But I don't generally talk politics because of two primary reasons:

1) In the end, they aren't important enough to warrant discussion: we are fortunate that this country's politicians are generally unlikely to actually have major influence on the general way we live our lives (not saying they can't affect us, but that generally the manner in which they do is minor).

2) My views, normative and middle-of-the-road as they really are, tend to piss people off around me: even mentioning that I'm conservative in my outlook (again, small spending, minimal government interference, and fairness for all) tends to unsettle Pagans about my politics because "conservativism" means something different to them than it does to me, and very few people can grasp that I might not define things the same way they do.

So, generally I keep my mouth shut about my political views. I'm firmly an independent voter who has ideals that are generally realistic, and I'm for a lot of the things that the Republicans say they stand for. The issue is that the Republicans don't stand for those things, and so I feel justified in calling myself a "Republican-Without-A-Party."

After all, there's nothing "progressive" about wanting sane marriage laws: the only ones changing the definition of marriage are those who are trying to also re-write history: I want marriage to be what it's always been in the eyes of the state, which is a social contract between two parties; denying people the right to enter into contracts is bigoted, and allowing them the right to the contract but not the ability to use a religion word for that contract is unconstitutional. There's nothing "progressive" about wanting public schools to be well-funded: that's how you ensure fairness throughout the system. There's nothing "progressive" about wanting health care for all: it brings down the currently unmitigated costs of ER visits that strain the taxpayer's resources. There's nothing "progressive" about a woman's right to choose: it's just fundamentally wrong that the government can make a decision about the health of a woman or "when life begins," which are (respectively) medical and religious questions that elected officials are not qualified (or permitted) to answer.

Really, in a sane world, I think we'd all just say "we've got common aims" and leave it at that, regardless of what I say my general political stance is. It's just that my reason for wanting those aims is generally different: my reasons are pretty conservative in nature, all told, and I respect the view of any liberal whose view compliments mine, even if their reasoning is different.

Libertarian's views are a bit wacky for my personal tastes. I can suggest that I broadly agree with some of their stuff, but I feel I'd be in the same boat with them, except that I'd have to explain to people what a Libertarian is before I explained why I didn't like certain parts of their platform. So, generally, I'll stick to avoiding political discourse. :)
[User Picture]
Date:February 9th, 2011 08:12 pm (UTC)
we are fortunate that this country's politicians are generally unlikely to actually have major influence on the general way we live our lives (not saying they can't affect us, but that generally the manner in which they do is minor).

I think that's an excellent reason for taking the position you do regarding political involvement. It's the flipside of the same rationale that keeps me involved. If all Congress did was name bridges and shuffle pork around, I wouldn't care, either. But since I feel personally affected by seemingly every bill that comes down the pike, I feel I need to keep an eye on them. I used to enforce the laws legislators made, and I didn't want to bully people into compliance with something that seemed unfair. Now I'm in a heavily regulated industry--food production--and in a faction of it that's competing against a different faction that I think needs to be a whole lot more heavily regulated. Since the input end of my business is affected by the commodities market, I'm affected by trade laws. And since the retail end of it depends on people's spending habits, and that's affected by employment, credit, cost-of-living changes (like taxes and healthcare costs), I'm concerned about relevant policies. On top of that, I've got kids, so I want to educate them as I see fit and I don't want them drafted into an unjust war or inheriting a poisoned world.

It's for all these reasons that when people tell me they don't care about politics, I think, "How can you possibly not?!?" But I see that maybe some folks don't feel they've got as big a personal stake in it, and if that's the case, it only makes sense that they shouldn't waste their energy on it.

Libertarian's views are a bit wacky for my personal tastes.

They do seem to have more than their share of the tinfoil hat crowd. (Though one might say the same of Paganism!) I'm with them on the personal liberty and small government stuff, but then when they get into claims that the government has no constitutional right to tax people and so on, they lose me.

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