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The Tally Ho

Monday, April 24, 2006

states' rights and personal freedoms: if you don't like it, leave.

As someone who moved a lot as a kid, I was generally in favor of letting states decide their own policies. It's a big, wide country, and every town we lived in had its own quirks and its own way of doing things. It just made sense to let the people who lived in each state decide what they needed, and those who didn't like the policy could move. Now, as an adult with a lot more stuff and a city that I love so much I refuse to leave, I am about to officially switch sides.

As you probably heard, earlier this month Massachusetts passed a bill requiring its citizens to obtain health care--a "universal health care" plan that was hailed as an ambitious and inventive landmark. It states that every MA resident will have health insurance; extremely low-income residents will receive health care from the state, those below 300% of the poverty level will recieve a subsidy to help pay for health care, and those above 300% of the poverty level are expected to be able to pay out of pocket for individual health insurance if they don't get it through work or family. Companies with more than ten employees will be required to offer health insurance or pay a fine of $295 per employee per year. The $295 fine was negotiated carefully with the business community, down from about $800 per year; Gov. Romney used his line item veto to negate it, but his vetoes are expected to be overridden by the state congress. Everyone seems to like this plan, from health care advocates to employers. I find it alarming, and other states are pretty alarmed at the idea as well. Romney says, "We insist that everybody who drives a car has insurance. And cars are a lot less expensive than people." This plan seems like it might be reasonable for someone who lives in suburban or rural MA. However, my friends in Boston pour most of their income to rent. As for Mr. Romney's comparison with car insurance, it's a bad analogy. People who don't feel like they can afford car insurance (especially those who live in an urban area) aren't required to own a car. No one who lives in MA seems to be exempt from this health insurance plan. And although the folks who crafted this legislation predict that insurers will lower their rates when more healthy people sign up, there's no evidence that anything of the sort will happen. In fact, if insurers know they have a captive audience in MA, why won't they raise their rates? I'm extremely concerned that this "universal health care" plan will give rise to more stripped down health insurance plans that fail to cover basic preventive care, particularly reproductive care for women. The bottom line: if you are a taxpayer in MA, you are now required to find health insurance.

More frightening (and far less likely to happen) is the recent drafting of legislation that would prohibit abortions in Ohio, and prohibit any Ohio woman from getting an abortion. The proposed abortion ban isn't really news, as 11 other states besides Ohio--Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia--are jumping on the bandwagon behind South Dakota. The unusual bit is that it would be a felony for a woman to seek to terminate a pregnancy, even if she didn't follow through, and she's just as liable if she obtains an abortion outside state lines. Anyone assisting her could also be charged with a felony. (The article doesn't go into specifics of the law, such as whether there's an exception for the woman's life or whether we would be like El Salvador and have to wait for fetal death or tubal rupture to fix an ectopic pregnancy.) Again, this is not legislation that describes a state's own action or prohibition, but directs the actions of residents. How do we determine residency in this situation? Would one of my college friends, paying taxes in Michigan, be bound by this law if she chose to get an abortion outside Ohio but lived there for much of the year? What about my mother, who retained her Ohio residency while the military was shipping our family to six different states? (And since my parents were Ohio residents, would I have been prohibited from obtaining an abortion even though I didn't physically live in Ohio until I was mostly grown?) Ohio seems to want to get one better on all the other states preparing abortion restrictions. Fortunately, this law is restrictive enough to jeapordize the rich folks who would otherwise be able to travel to IL or NY, so I'm hopeful that it has little chance of ever seeing daylight.

Aside from your views on abortion law or health insurance costs, these are shocking attempts by a state to mandate certain behavior from its citizens, both inside and outside state lines. Suddenly, my state residence seems much more important, and the phrase "if you don't like it, you can move" seems both more ominous and more probable from many of the states I've lived in and loved.

5 Comments:

  • As far as I am concerned when speaking about abortions rights they are a classist argument .. I mean who gets the right to abort? Is prochoice WOMAN only? .. does this mean that a man has no procreational rights? talk about unfair I hope they all are made felons for the idea .. the old saying its my body doesnt really comply when speaking about habeous corpus which mean bring forth the body in latin.. for one.. the baby is not only your body is is the combined bodies of more than one person... and the portal of genetic transmissions for all family lines including males and females.. so no I dont think a few classist females should have the right to 100% totalitarian abortion rights.. maybe as men we should ask should we deny woman the right to procreate? Without first asking a males approval.. after years of woman not having rights males pose the question.. should we allow woman in out society to have rights? and how do they respond? what rights do they ask for? to make us felons for not paying "CHILD SUPPORT" tithes to womans.. alimony.. palimony.. loss of procratory rights..dowerys.. right to abort my children at their will.. definng men as the "Breadwinner" and woman as the "nurturer".. when most parents do both jobs.. and the final last straw using buzzwords such as "Deadbeat dad" mothers are deadbeats also.. but you dont hear deadbeat moms.. also.. they like to say "spermdonor" I like to think that I own my body also.. so those are my sperm.. I created them Im a sperm owner.. I didnt give them anything.. I shared my procratory abilities equaly so that two people a man and a woman could assend into nature.. If woman think that I would ever give up my right to that you are surely mistaken..

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:13 PM  

  • Yippee! My very first troll! You came over from Flea's blog to make me feel better, didn't you? Gosh, I'm thrilled. Thanks so much.

    You know, my middle school boys also use that argument about "owning" sperm. My question is, if they are so concerned about the welfare of the little spermies, why do they keep giving them away?

    By Blogger Trope, at 10:31 PM  

  • I just wanted you to hear the words "deadbeat mom" in context. My ex-wife is a deadbeat mother who hasn't had contact with our son in close to four years. She lives in MA also... maybe I should call her an "egg donor?" She certainly hasn't "donated" much else. Personally, even though his mother is a scumbag, I'm thrilled that my son was born. Having him around has really changed my life and my priorities for the better. My 2 cents...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:13 PM  

  • All these states from South Dakota down to the abomination in Ohio are aiming far beyond their state lines.

    They're on a direct path to the Supreme Court.

    The American Taliban at its finest.

    Ann

    By Blogger Granny, at 2:56 AM  

  • Are all trolls anonymous or just the ones I've seen?

    By Blogger Granny, at 2:56 AM  

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