Politics Gone Wild

In Defense of Women

First we had Michelle Bachman, complaining that the President had gotten us involved in Libya and warning that, the next thing would be that he'd have us going into Africa. Then it was Rick Perry with his pledge to eliminate three cabinet offices and departments, if he could only remember which three. There was Herman Cain, not at all able, and his '9-9-9 Ubecki-becki-becki-stan-stan-stan' nonsense. After that, along came Newt and a terrific idea to fire most school janitors and hire elementary students partime after school instead in order to give them a work ethic, instead of daydreams about welfare and foodstamps. And, of course, there is Mitt Romney - who has tried to stay above the fray, so far above it all that he can't connect with people one on one, and can barely move about a stage and speak without looking like a mannekin.

But now, along comes Rick Santorum this week, proving that if we thought the GOP candidates so far were goofy at best and scary at worst - it would get a whole lot worse. Consider just a few of his recent remarks.

To begin with, he characterized the President's concern for the environment as a theology that Mr. Obama wants to force on everyone. Never mind that Rick doesn't know the meaning of the word theology (from theos and logos in Greek, meaning a word about God) and that he either totally ignores or is totally ignorant of the fact that he himself espouses extreme social positions based on his own reading of theology which he would impose by fiat on the entire country - especially its women.

That brings us to the second comment Santorum made this week, namely that he wants to eliminate prenatal ultrasound tests from insurance coverage in the name of preventing abortions. He fails to follow his remarks to their natural conclusion, however. Let's say a couple is pregnant with a severely deformed child and chooses to give birth anyway. What then, Rick? Who will care for this infant throughout its lifetime and provide the necessary medical care? A clinic or other institution of some sort? And who will pay for that care? The insurance company you denied parents before that birth? The federal or state governments that you say should be kept out of people's lives, instead of imposing costly programs on them? And what about the parents? Let's say they already have six or seven children, healthy and well. Will there be any financial assistance for them and for this new addition to their family - the one who has special needs? Should both parents work to get by and, if so, then who will watch the kids? On the other hand, if the woman should decide to stay home and parent their brood, fulfilling the Santorum role of 'good mother and wife,' then how will they manage to pay the bills or cover childcare?

Or, let's take a more benign situation. Suppose a woman doesn't undergo an ultrasound test because the insurance company is forbidden to cover the cost, and then it is determined she has a medical condition such as a fibroid malady or an ectopic pregnancy that could have been discovered if the test had been administered, - or maybe the fetus has an abnormality (like a missing or misplaced organ, or a heart defect). Medical monitoring and care could have been given soon, but since the condition wasn't found before birth it may linger for years until symptoms show up, running a risk that treatment may not be in time.

Simultaneously, the state legislature in Virginia is about to require all women to have an invasive ultrasound test before considering an abortion, as a way to educate and discourage abortions. Would Mr. Santorum support that test and insurance coverage for it, or not?

Women's health, as many have said recently, is under attack. Government is encouraged by the GOP and Mr. Santorum to march right in and invade women's lives, making medical decision for them and determining what tests and care they can or can't have, yet there's no cry at the same time for mandatory vasectomies and no talk about men who may impregnate women without thought for who will care for the child later or cover the cost.

It's all truly frightening, politics run wild.

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