Friday, February 27, 2009

This is What Incompassionate Conservatism Looks Like

We do things continually to remove the consequences of poor behavior, unacceptable behavior, quite frankly. I'm not convinced that part of the role of government should be to protect individuals from the negative consequences of their actions.

This is a quote from Colorado state senator Dave Schultheis (R-Colorado Springs). What might he be talking about? Food stamps? Welfare? Obama's plan to aid struggling homeowners who were "irresponsible?" No, the honorable Sen. Schultheis is arguing against a law requiring pregnant women to be tested for HIV so that if they are infected their babies can be treated to prevent the virus's transfer. Leaving aside the obvious lack of any knowledge about HIV transmission or concern for basic principles of public health to avoid disease epidemics, he actually wants to endanger the lives of children to make a (unsubstantiated and wildly off-base) point to their mothers! That's solid "pro-life" public policy if ever I've seen one. This comes two days after a different Colorado State senator, Scott Renfroe (R-Greeley), argued (on the floor of the state senate) that

Leviticus 20:13 says, 'If there is a man who lies with a male as though to lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act, and they shall surely be put to death. ... ' We are taking sins and making them to be legally OK, and that is wrong. ... And I'm not saying that this is the only sin that's out there. Obviously, we have sin, we have murder, we have all sorts of sin. We have adultery ... and we would never think to make murder legal.

This outburst of free speech (this is what Sen. Renfoe said in his defense - as if he has no responsibility that comes with that free speech being, I don't know, a state senator) led one Republican member of the Colorado House to say something that I finally agreed with:

"What are they doing over there?"

Good question.


E. said...

Those state senators need to be challenged in the next election, and I will start a PAC for your uncle Larry, but I find myself conflicted about this proposed law. I feel that women often get marginalized by public policy decisions that apply only to them in a biology-related way, like regulations having to do with going through the dangerous and scary pregnancy process (abortion, etc). And when laws are passed that require women to do things that only they can do, I get all libertarian. I mean, will presumably often single mothers have to pay for this test, or will the state? If, heaven forbid, the test is positive, who pays for the treatment? And shoot, if we're passing that law, shouldn't men have to get tested before they even have sex with women, something that can obviously lead to an HIV-infected baby? (Because if a woman was infected through sex with a man, he might still be out there impregnating other women.) Don't get me wrong, I think preventing the spread of HIV to babies is a really important goal, but this is kind of like closing the barn door afterwards - and just like birth control and rape prevention, the only person society holds responsible for the whole thing is the woman.

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