Their View: Republican Leaders Abandon First Principles
If Republican leaders do not practice what they preach should anyone believe a word they say? They profess first principles about personal freedom, individual responsibility, and small government, not least to prevent government intrusion into the lives and liberties of private citizens.
And yet .
Since their 2010 take-overs, Republican governors with Republican-controlled legislatures have pushed gender-related legislation on same-sex marriage, contraception, and abortion. No majorities elected Republicans to enact laws on these issues. Indeed, same-sex marriages are legal in a growing number of states, contraception is legal and practiced by virtually all sexually active women, and abortion, more reluctantly and less frequently used than in the past, is legal and practiced for the usual medical and social reasons: the woman’s life or health, serious fetal defects, and rape or incest. The trend for a half-century has been for government to limit its power and to enlarge personal freedom.
But when personal freedom runs counter to their moral and religious convictions, Republican leaders, mostly male and obedient to religious zealots, defy the consent of the governed and try to deny the majority’s will. Unable to prevail by honest means, they pursue dishonest ones: silence on social issues when they campaign, unpopular legislative efforts when they get elected. The result: Republican leaders using state power to intrude into citizens’ lives.
The most egregious example
is a law proposed by Virginia Republican leaders and protested by no Republican leaders anywhere for nearly two weeks, a law requiring a woman seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound probe inserted into and through her vagina and into her uterus against her will shortly before a scheduled abortion. The proposed law makes Virginia Republican legislators a gang perpetrating rape by device. Like similar laws in seven other states, this proposed law is a Republican effort at legislated terrorism. The purported reason for this politically motivated coercion is informed consent, with the state telling women what they must know to make a decision (and what doctors must do to them beforehand). The real reason is to deter abortion by the threat of abuse, humiliation, and cost. The state takes control of a woman’s body and subjects it to physical penetration. It requires her doctor to perform the procedure or incur a civil penalty of $2,500. It requires the father to support a child not aborted. Because insurance does not cover medically unwarranted procedures, it requires the woman to pay hundreds of dollars in costs and thus deters the poor more than the rich.