By definition, freedom is the is the power to determine action without restraint; alternatively, it is the exemption from external control, interference, or regulation. The definition itself is straightforward, yet its application in politics is anything but. Conservatives want to protect people with oppressive laws and militaristic police from “the illegals,” “the terrorists,” the Muslims, drugs, and other various bogeymen, but feign a concern for “freedom” when it comes to economic issues. Liberals might not be quite as rabid about immigrants, Muslims, or drugs, but want to protect people nanny-state style, with equally burdensome laws from banning cigarettes/sodas/fatty foods, to forcing people to buy health insurance, while paying lip service to social freedoms.
In other words, everyone wants to pick and choose the freedoms they support, which is ultimately an untenable position.
Conservatives, who cheer on laws regulating sodomy, gay marriage, drugs, among other things that are no one else’s damn business, should not be surprised (yet for some reason, always are) when they find the government has inflated to an unmanageable size, and has continually extended its reaches into healthcare, private businesses, and other aspects of peoples’ private lives.
Liberals, who cheer on high rates of taxation, ostensibly for the purpose of the “greater good” and “general welfare,” should not be surprised (yet for some reason, always are), when they find their taxes have been spent on endless war, the most bloated military on the face of the planet, militarized police, and a growing police state.
The most recent example would be the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling on a Texas law, which severely restricts abortion clinics. One key provision of the law requires that physicians performing abortions have hospital admitting privileges. This aspect of the law was upheld by the 5th Circuit last week (see here). This undoubtedly will limit access and availability of abortions across Texas. But wait, there’s more!
Another provision of the law, already in effect, mandates that abortions be performed in facilities equivalent to an ambulatory surgical center (see here and here). This has resulted in the closing of about half of the abortion clinics across the state of Texas, which should be unsurprising (see here).
Obviously, one motivation for the law was to limit abortions. However, that was not the stated intent. Lauren Bean, of the Texas Attorney General’s Office, explained, “This decision is a vindication of the careful deliberation by the Texas Legislature to craft a law to protect the health and safety of Texas women” (see here). Sound familiar, liberals?
When one exchanges a few verbs and nouns, it becomes clear that this law, designed for “protecting the health and safety” of Texas women, is really identical to the countless other laws, regulations, and restrictions in existence in every other area of healthcare.
The law requires that every abortion (which is a surgical procedure) be performed in a facility licensed as an ambulatory surgical clinic. Every doctor performing an abortion should also have hospital admitting privileges. Arguably, the law sounds reasonable on its face. Why shouldn’t a doctor performing a surgical procedure do so in a licensed ambulatory surgical center (which isn’t even a full-fledged surgical facility)? And why shouldn’t such a doctor have hospital admitting privileges for performing surgery? Surely, this will be a reasonable form of quality control and protect women from “dangerous” abortions. In fact, it’s very similar to any of the following laws:
- Every prescription for medication X must be written by a licensed physician
- Every procedure X must be performed by a provider licensed to do X
- Every procedure X must be performed at a hospital licensed to provide X
- Every medication X must be purchased only at dispensary/facility with permissible licenses to do so
- Every device X for disease Y must be tested by the FDA under A,B,C requirements before being made available to any member of the public
I doubt most liberals have a real problem with any of the above, because certainly, those laws were passed to “protect” the idiot populace from greedy doctors, Big Pharma, scheming hospitals, and other horrible capitalists, and are completely justified. In the absence of those regulations, doctors will be colluding with Big Pharma to prescribe cyanide for profit, and hospitals will be killing patients, because, profits and stuff!
It would behoove liberals to acknowledge that for the most part, protecting people from their own choices does far more harm than good. Just as Texas’ recent abortion laws are designed to “protect” women from from a host of imagined dangers, but severely limit access to abortion, and indisputably increase the costs thereof, so do the the myriad of healthcare regulations already in place similarly decrease access, and increase prices in every other field of healthcare.
Abortion clinics are closing their doors across Texas, which will create monumental obstacles for women seeking needed services. Conservatives are certainly to blame, but liberals are not entirely blameless either. After all, they usually support all kinds of government regulations and interventions in a wide range of other healthcare issues. This particular intervention and restriction upon abortion is just one of many logical consequences of such support.
I’m not about to limit my beef to liberals, though. Stay tuned for the inevitable circumstance wherein conservatives find that their love of big government similarly has come back to bite them in the ass.