Thursday, February 24, 2011

Proof of the Hypocrisy or That Sign Was True

I want to try to synthesize two ideas that I’ve written about over the last week. On Friday, I posted the entry “Neatly Packaged Hypocrisy” in which I shared a case of blatant hypocrisy and noted how rare it was to see hypocrisy so neatly packaged for display. And on Tuesday (well, almost Wednesday morning), I posted this photo in the entry “Best Protest Sign Ever?” (I’ve cropped the photo to make the sign easier to read):

246351255 So now I want to give an another example of neatly packaged hypocrisy (though not quite as neat as the homophobic tattoo) that supports what that sign is saying.

First, let’s look at Indiana House Bill 1210, sponsored by 54 of the 60 House Republicans (at least I’m pretty sure that all 54 of the sponsors are Republicans; it’s possible that a few are Democrats, but I’m certain that the vast majority are Republicans…). Here are a few of the things that HB1210 would do:

  • It makes the following “finding” on behalf of the Indiana General Assembly (even though the finding is not actually supported by science, notwithstanding the claims to the contrary in the bill): There is substantial medical evidence that a fetus at twenty (20) weeks of post-fertilization age has the physical structures necessary to experience pain.
  • It would require that a doctor tell a woman seeking an abortion (even though these statements are not supported by medical science):
    • the potential danger to a subsequent pregnancy;
    • the potential danger of infertility;
    • the possibility of increased risk of breast cancer following an induced abortion and the natural protective effect of a completed pregnancy in avoiding breast cancer; and
    • that medical evidence shows that a fetus can feel pain at or before twenty (20) weeks of post-fertilization age.
  • It would also require that the doctor tell the woman that “human physical life begins when a human ovum is fertilized by a human sperm” even though fundamental questions regarding the beginning of life are inherently personal in nature and the statement required likely conflicts with certain religious traditions.

The bill has other restrictions and limitations as well, but those described above give a nice overview. Other anti-abortion bills have also been introduced, including one to ban all abortions (Senate Bill 290) and another to defund organizations like Planned Parenthood (House Bill 1205). HB1210 appears to have enough support to pass and be enacted; we’ll have to wait and see the fate of the other abortion bills (there is apparently discussion at the Statehouse of rolling other abortion bills into HB1210 as a sort of omnibus abortion bill). Oh, one more thing: HB1210 even includes a provision to establish a defense fund to pay for the cost of defending the bill from litigation challenging its constitutionality (recall that Indiana is flush with cash right now … oh, wait … sorry … we’re in a budget crisis).

Thus, I think that it is fair to say that Indiana’s Republicans want to limit abortions or, said another way, protect fetuses.

Now, with the provisions of those abortion bills in mind, let’s turn our attention to House Bill 1226. Unfortunately, the bill is long and difficult to read (because it deals with numerous sections of the Indiana Code). However, the portion that I want to focus on deals with amendments to Indiana Code § 12-17.2-6 dealing with “child care ministries”. In essence, a child care ministry is an unlicensed child care facility operated by a religious organization. Here are a few of the requirements that HB1226 would have required of child care ministries (and note that these requirements are included to address actual, real world problems):

  • To maintain a written policy that the use of tobacco, illegal drugs, or alcohol be prohibited in the child care ministry while child care is being provided;
  • To maintain at least one working telephone and emergency contact information for each child;
  • To provide “appropriately timed, nutritionally balanced meals and snacks in sufficient quantities to meet the needs of each child”;
  • To maintain “availability of drinking water at all times” and have both hot and cold running water;
  • To have at least one exit that does not require passage through garage or storage area where hazardous materials are stored and is not a window, is not blocked, and is “operable from the inside without the use of a key or any special knowledge”;
  • To conduct fire drills;
  • To be sure that firearms, ammunition, poisons, and other chemicals are placed in areas inaccessible to children; and
  • To have working smoke detectors.

Hard to argue with any of that, right? After all, we’re talking about taking care of children. And proponents of the bill included eyewitness testimony from Indiana officials (including the police) describing the deplorable and unsafe conditions that they’d seen in childcare ministries. Well, guess what? Those same Republicans who want to stop abortions and protect fetuses are against adding these additional protections into the law. Why? Because it would interfere with the choices being made by these ministries in how to care for children. The bill was heard in committee, but the chair refused to even call it for a vote (after all, it just might be hard to explain to constituents why you voted against a bill like this one).

Thus, to reiterate, in order to protect fetuses, Indiana Republicans are willing to require doctors to lie to their patients, give them information not supported by medical science, and make statements that may contradict with religious beliefs. But at least the fetus will be safe. However, once that fetus is born, should the parents send the child to a child care ministry for care, that child will not necessarily have the benefit of being kept away from tobacco, drugs, or alcohol, get adequate meals or drinking water, have a safe emergency exit, be kept away from guns or poisons, or have the benefit of a working smoke detector.

Now go back and look at that photo again: “If you want a REPUBLICAN to care about you REMAIN A FETUS”. When we compare these two bills that I’ve described, it’s hard to take issue with the statement in that photo. And it’s hard to escape the hypocrisy of a viewpoint that will go to such lengths to prevent abortions but which is so callous to the safety of actual children.

Is this why people voted Republican?

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At Friday, February 25, 2011 7:20:00 AM , Blogger erk said...

Oddly, this appears to be the Mother Theresa approach: don't worry about proper physical care as long as the soul has been properly converted.

It is refreshing to see the hypocrisy revealed this clearly: we care about the child, as long as we don't have to regulate an organization, inhibit arbitrary "religious liberty," and maybe irk part of our base.


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