Fighting The Culture War And Fighting For the First Amendment

Kathleen Parker complains that we are fighting the same culture war. She dismisses liberals who are concerned about social issues, and claims that the conservative views we object to are just “random comments by a couple of outliers.” There sure are a lot of outliers in the Republican Party. While comments from a couple of Republican Senate candidates have received a lot of publicity, the underlying views of Todd Akins and Richard Mourdock are the positions supported by most Republicans. Congressional Republicans have promoted far more measures to regulate reproductive rights than to increase jobs since elected in 2010.

Republicans frequently claim that the issues of the culture wars should not be considered in the election, knowing that these issues harm them in the short run and doom them to fringe status in the long run. While Republican rhetoric is full of misleading talk of small government, Republican policy has been to use big government to impose the views of the religious right upon others. Republicans deny our heritage of separation of church and state, promoting a revisionist view of the First Amendment which is contrary to the writings of the Founding Fathers as well as previous court decisions. These are fundamental issues regarding what type of government and society we have–a free society or a theocracy. Rather than devoting too much attention to the culture wars, these issues have received far too little attention in political campaigns.

There is a long list of measures from Republicans which demonstrate that these are not views coming from outliers. ECHIDNE-OF-THE-SNAKES presented a list of just a small number of examples in response to Parker:

Let’s put this red herring, this small ball, this trivial topic into some perspective.  You might start by looking at the state level initiatives on abortion.  Most states working hard to limit reproductive choice have Republican majorities in the state house.  Examples of the kinds of things which are small ball:

(ENACTED) ARIZONA: In April, Gov. Jan Brewer (R) signed a measure that would allow a medical professional to withhold information from a woman about her pregnancy that may have resulted in her obtaining an abortion. The bill will go into effect later this year.

KANSAS: In May, the Senate adopted an omnibus reproductive health bill that includes a provision that would shield medical professionals from litigation if they withhold information from a woman about her pregnancy that may have resulted in her obtaining an abortion. The bill would also amend the state laws on abortion coverage, postviability abortion, abortions after 20 weeks postfertilization, abortion counseling, abortion training programs, abortion based on gender, tax credits for abortion-providing organizations, and sex education. No further action is expected since the legislature has adjourned its regular session.  

(ENACTED) KANSAS: In May, Gov. Sam Brownback (R) signed a measure that expands the state’s refusal clause for abortion and potentially contraception. The new law allows an individual to refuse to perform, make referrals for or participate in abortion services or services the individual “reasonably believes” would end a pregnancy. Current law permits an individual to refuse to perform or participate in an abortion. The new law also permits a health care facility to prohibit “the performance, referral for or participation in” abortion services or services that the facility “reasonably believes” would end a pregnancy. Current law allows a hospital to refuse to permit the provision of an abortion. The law goes into effect in July.

MISSOURI: In March, the House adopted a measure that would allow health care providers and facilities to refuse to participate in contraceptive services. The bill would permit health care providers, including social workers and health care facility employees to refuse to participate in, or provide counseling or referral for abortion, contraception and other specific health care services. A refusal would not be permitted if a patient’s life was endangered.No further action is expected since the legislature has adjourned its regular session.

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