Anti-Dictator, When Convenient
Some people on the right have a little trouble understanding the concept of choice. Appearing on
Glenn Beck's online television program, Representative Michele Bachmann stated
Going with that logic, according to our own Health and Human Services Secretary, it isn’t far-fetched to think that the President of the United States could say, we need to save health care expenses — the federal government will only pay for one baby to be born in the hospital per family, or two babies to be born per family. That could happen. We think it couldn't?
Co-host Amy Holmes then asked: “Congresswoman, are you suggesting that this administration, or a next administration, would actually advocate a one-child policy like Communist China?”
Bachmann responded: “What I’m saying is that now that we know the President of the United States unilaterally can tell insurance companies, you must offer the morning-after abortion pill, you must offer sterilizations, you must offer contraceptives free to the recipients of those products, because we tell you to — which means they’re effectively setting the price, as well — that says that whoever the health care dictator, could conceivably make that order, as well.
“There’s nothing that this president, one person, would be limited from doing. That’s how profound that is. I’m not saying that he is going to do it. I’m saying that he has the power and the authority to do it. We don’t want anyone to have that level of authority.”
Prominent members of the conservative movement, Bachmann included, seem to have a problem understanding the concept of choice. Digby notes
Think about it. Because the Obama administration is requiring that insurance companies offer no cost contraception coverage (along with other preventive health services) they are dictators who could decide that the government would "only pay for one baby to be born in the hospital per family, or two babies to be born per family." Ok. We've already discussed the difference between regulating the private sector and the Big Brother Health Care that only exists in their fever dreams.
But these are the people who are going on and on about how it's wrong for the government to pay for women's birth control. If you want to have all that sexy sex, pay for it yourself! The government doesn't owe you a thing. Except paying for your childbirth apparently, which last I heard the Republicans were totally against. These are the same people, by the way, who whined and rent their garments for decades about women on welfare having too many children on the government's dime and finally succeeded in pretty much ending the program. And these are also the same people who still want to demolish Medicaid, which does what? That's right, it pays for maternity care for low income women.
No one is requiring any woman (or man) to accept birth control. The choice is one left completely up to the patient- and no individual is coming between the woman and her doctor. Well, except in Virginia:
Amid continued protests from Democrats, Republican Governor Bob McDonnell on Wednesday signed into law a controversial bill requiring Virginia women to undergo an ultrasound procedure prior to having an abortion.
The bill sparked national debate this month over a provision that would have required many women to undergo transvaginal ultrasounds, which opponents decried as medically unnecessary and physically invasive. McDonnell, a conservative who opposes abortion rights, ultimately requested that mandate be stripped. The Virginia House of Delegates passed a revised version last week that allows women to "reject" a transvaginal ultrasound and instead opt for an abdominal ultrasound, which generally yields less information in the early stages of a pregnancy.
That would be a requirement, not a choice, and a requirement established by the government in Richmond (or, in Michele Bachmann's words, a "health care dictator") coming between the woman and her doctor. NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia identifies it as "an unprecedented invasion of privacy and government intrusion into the doctors' offices and living rooms of Virginia women."
Virginia is now the eighth state in which health care dictators have inserted themselves between the patient and the doctor by requiring the physician to perform an ultrasound on a woman seeking an abortion. It is a health care mandate from big government that Michele Bachmann and her fellow conservatives apparently are quite comfortable with. Nor has there been an outcry against other back-door efforts to encourage forced childbirth.
One of the most novel is the prohibition, in eight states, of "wrongful life" or "wrongful birth" lawsuits, which shield doctors from "lawsuits that can arise if physicians don’t inform pregnant women of prenatal problems that could lead to the decision to have an abortion." In Kansas, "lawmakers introduced new antiabortion measures that Republican Gov. Sam Brownback has promised to sign, including a bill to stop tax deductions for abortion-related expenses. Other provisions would require that patients hear the fetal heartbeat and shield doctors against lawsuits if they do not inform patients of problems in pregnancies."
Most Republicans, notwithstanding Digby's contention, are fine with the government paying for childbirth, if little other health care. Women contemplating abortion are discouraged while unplanned pregnancies are encouraged. Were the objective to cut the rate of abortion, conservatives wouldn't be working overtime across the country to limit access to birth control.
Reviewing a global study, in 2007 the New York Times reported that the rate of abortion, at 12 per 1,000, was lowest in western Europe, which has featured legal abortion and widespread access to contraception. In Uganda, where abortion is illegal and sex education usually is limited to abstinence, rates in 2003 were twice as high as in the United States. And in eastern Europe, "where contraceptive choices have broadened since the fall of Communism," abortion rates were cut in half.
Michele Bachmann doesn't want the President to have "that level of authority" to require insurance companies to cover contraception. If she really were exorcised about unchecked executive authority, however, she would rail against doctors being forced to perform ultrasounds on their female patients. Or perhaps a President claiming the authority to target Americans for assassination without due process. Now, that's where there is "nothing that this president, one person, would be limited from doing.".