Every time a Democrat tries to propose a plan to help those who cannot afford health care coverage the Republicans respond by claiming that the plan would amount to a government take over of health care. I agree that the government should be kept out of decisions made between a patient and their doctor but it seems to me that it is the Republicans who have been the ones behind getting the government where it doesn’t belong. The most highly publicized example of this was with the government meddling in end of life decisions in the Terri Schiavo case, but this is hardly the only case.
I previously noted that just after Obama took office, hold-overs from the Bush administration at the DEA continued raids on medicinal marijuana in states where it is legal, despite Obama’s promise to end this practice. The Washington Times reports that the raids are continuing.
“The president believes that federal resources should not be used to circumvent state laws, and as he continues to appoint senior leadership to fill out the ranks of the federal government, he expects them to review their policies with that in mind,” White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said.
Medical use of marijuana is legal under the law in California and a dozen other states, but the federal government under President Bush, bolstered by a 2005 Supreme Court ruling, argued that federal interests trumped state law.
Dogged by marijuana advocates throughout the campaign, Mr. Obama repeatedly said he was opposed to using the federal government to raid medical marijuana shops, particularly because it was an infringement on states’ decisions.
“I’m not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue,” Mr. Obama told the Mail Tribune newspaper in Oregon in March, during the Democratic primary campaign.
He told the newspaper the “basic concept of using medical marijuana for the same purposes and with the same controls as other drugs prescribed by doctors, I think that’s entirely appropriate.”
Mr. Obama is still filling key law enforcement posts. For now, DEA is run by acting Administrator Michele Leonhart, a Bush appointee.
Even if the raids are being ordered by a Bush appointee, couldn’t Obama give an order to cease them while we wait for him to have his people in place at the Justice Department?
Diana Hsieh reports on another example of government trying to take over health care decisions as reported in the Kansas Lawrence Journal. (Regular readers will recall that I am well qualified to write about matters in Kansas, just as Sarah Palin is qualified to speak about national security, because when traveling last year I was able to see Kansas from my window).
The House Judiciary Committee’s chairman has opened the Legislature’s annual debate on abortion with what he calls a “woman’s right to know and see” bill. Rep. Lance Kinzer, an Olathe Republican, introduced legislation Monday requiring that 30 minutes before performing an abortion, the doctor give the woman a chance to see a sonogram and get a copy of the image. If fetal heart monitoring is done, the woman would have a right to listen.
“There is no better way to know the physiological development than to see,” Kinzer said. “This bill is a sincere attempt by those of us on the pro-life side to find an area where we can have some consensus.” Peter Brownlie, president of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, said the bill “is basically trying to use ultrasound as a political tool rather than a medical procedure.”
The bill also requires that 24 hours before an abortion, the woman must be provided a list of free sonogram locations. She also must receive information about counseling and other assistance for medically challenging pregnancies, and contacts for free perinatal hospice services.
Brownlie said Planned Parenthood already provides that information to women. Kinzer’s proposal also requires that abortion clinics post “anti-coercion” signs so that women will know their legal rights. “Every woman submitting to an abortion should only do so after giving her voluntary and well-informed consent,” Kinzer said.
Brownlie called the signage “unnecessary and intrusive.” “It is based on a made-up theory that lots of women are coerced into having abortions,” he said.
Many of Kinzer’s proposals were included in a wide-ranging abortion bill vetoed last year by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who supports abortion rights. Kinzer said none of the provisions in this year’s bill were singled out by the governor in her veto message.
The fundamental problem with such anti-abortion rights legislation is that it denies the fundamental right of every human to control their own body. This argument will not convince the authoritarian right. They are both so ignorant of basic biology that they think it makes sense to equate abortion with “baby killing” and they fail to comprehend how morally repugnant it is to use the power of the state to interfere with these personal decisions.
While the authoritarian right does not recognize the basic right to control one’s body, the right wing does often come out against government taking over health care. In that case they should oppose the federal government’s actions which interfere with decisions made between a doctor and their patient. In both of these examples it is the right wing which supports intervening in matters which should be left to the patient and their doctor. In the case of medicinal marijuana, the conservatives are also contradicting their usual support for states’ rights.