Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Small government, Republican style.

Don't you love the way Republicans claim to be committed to small government?

For years they've decided that there is one small segment of society who isn't entitled to privacy: women.

Things have gotten worse in recent years. We have seen an unprecedented wave of anti-choice, anti-woman legislative proposals.

Legislatures in more than 30 states are weighing — and in some cases passing — many fast-moving bills to restrict abortion rights in a blitz that could prompt the Supreme Court to revisit the issue.
Along with bills prohibiting abortion outright, or in certain circumstances, they're also pushing bills that go to the heart of the doctor-patient relationship, limiting where abortions can be performed, telling doctors what they have to say to their patients, and the like.

I think it's important to keep straight in our minds what these bills are. To say they are anti-abortion bills oversimplifies it, and it really plays into the other side's hands because abortion is more controversial among the general public than other choice related topics.

The Supreme Court has recognized in its precedents that the questions of choice, contraception, and procreation are decidedly based on our constitutional right to privacy.

You would think that a political party that pretends to a commitment to individual autonomy and limited government would be against these laws that restrict the doctor-patient relationship, wouldn't you? After all, not only do they impinge on the personal autonomy of the person, the interfere with what is, at least in part, an economic transaction between the doctor (vendor) and patient (customer).

But no.

Here's the latest. I don't ordinarily link to Fox News, but they're kind of the source for this stuff.

With a stroke of the governor's pen, Florida is positioned to become the first state in the nation to prohibit physicians from asking patients if they have guns in their homes, a move some doctors say will interfere with health care.

That's right, a coalition of gun nuts and small government Republicans have decided that those private conversations between doctors and patients are just a little, well, too private, and the way to fix that is for the government to reach its hand into every doctor's office in the state, and tell those doctors what they are and are not allowed to talk to their patients about.

So let me get this straight. We need to have small government because it's un-American to have government interfering with people's private lives and individual economic transactions.

Except that if protecting privacy rights means protecting women's rights, well, then, privacy rights go out the window and so does small government.

Or if privacy rights interfere with someone's paranoid fantasies of big, scary government, well, there again, we can't stand up to those paranoid fantasies so the privacy rights get chucked aside.

Thanks, Republicans. Stay consistent.

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