Friday, April 27, 2012

Mississippi’s Governor: Stupid, Evil, or Both?

This is almost hard to process. Here is Mississippi’s Republican Governor Phil Bryant speaking on a conservative radio show:

Did you catch what he said at about 0:34?

Even if you believe in abortion, the hypocrisy of the left that now tried to kill this bill, that says that I should have never signed it, the true hypocrisy is that their one mission in life is to abort children, is to kill children in the womb. And it doesn’t really matter, they don’t care if the mother’s life is in jeopardy, that if something goes wrong that a doctor can’t admit them to a local hospital, that he’s not even board certified.

(Emphasis added.)

See, that comes as news to me. I’m a supporter of a woman’s right to reproductive choice. I didn’t know that my “one mission in life is to abort children, is to kill children in the womb.” And please recognize that this statement isn’t from some fringe candidate or a spokesperson for the anti-choice lobby. No. This is the sitting governor of the State of Mississippi.

I don’t really want to spend any time discussing the substance of the bill being addressed, other than to say that it is one of the standard sort of anti-choice bills that we’ve seen in Indiana and across the country that seek to ban abortions via stealth. In the case of the Mississippi bill, abortions could only be performed by a board certified OB-GYN with admitting privileges at a local hospital. As Huffington Post and other have noted:

While all of the physicians at the one clinic in the state are currently board certified OB-GYNs, only one of them has admitting privileges at a local hospital. The other two physicians can't get privileges because they live out of state, and the owner of the clinic has said it can't operate with only one doctor on staff.

For what it’s worth, I wrote about bills like this several years ago: IN Touch: Abortion Ruse and Keep Your Religious Doctrine Out of My State's Laws (scroll down to the section on Hospital Privileges).

Perhaps Gov. Bryant should focus on real problems. For example, according to the most recent data that I could find, Mississippi ranks worst in the US in infant mortality (10.6 per 1,000 live births; by comparison, Louisiana ranks second worst with 9.9 per 1,000 live births, Indiana is 10th with 8.0 per 1,000, and Washington, Massachusetts, and California are the best, with 4.7, 4.9, and 5.0, respectively). Mississippi also ranks 48th in number of doctors (177.9 per 100,000 residents), ranks 48th in the percentage of people 25 or over with a bachelor’s degree (19.4 percent), and ranks 48th in the average salary of school teachers. I tried to find statistics for things like rape, incest, and so forth, but that information wasn’t as readily accessible.

But back to the main point. Does Gov. Bryant really believe that the “one mission in life” of pro-choice advocates — or of the much broader “left” that he cites — “is to abort children, is to kill children in the womb”? Seriously? Because if he really believes that he is either stupid or evil (or maybe both).

We can’t allow elected leaders to use such divisive, such over-the-top, such antagonistic language without calling out their behavior. We’ve seen abortion providers killed; we’ve seen clinics bombed. What sort of reaction might the most hardcore (and slightly unbalanced) in the anti-choice community do now that they’ve heard the Governor of Mississippi proclaim that choice advocates and those on the left have, as their “one mission in life” to “abort children” and “kill children in the womb”.

I wrote the bulk of this post earlier in the week. And then I sat on it. There was more that I wanted to say … but frankly (and a bit out of character) I was at a loss for words. I really want to write more on this. But I’m so disgusted that I’m just going to stop now before I say something even more harsh.


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