Friday, November 29, 2013

Even In Oklahoma They Can't Always Escape Reality-- The GOP War Against Contraception (And Sex)


Oklahoma state Rep. Doug Cox (R-OK) is the chairman of the Public Health and Social Services Committee. First elected in 2005, he's also a physician who graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in 1978. If you think every Republican in Oklahoma is as radical and extreme as GOP sociopath James Lankford, you haven't met Doug Cox yet. Last February, Rep. Cox-- who, unlike lunatic freak Dr. Paul Broun, is the kind of doctor who actually does believe in science-- took on his party over a very extreme anti-abortion bill meant to eliminate the judicial bypass system for young victims of incest and violence seeking abortion care. He told his fellow legislators at that time that if "we keep passing stuff like this, they'll be done in back alleys with coat hangers, people… [Abortions] are done in clinics inspected by the Health Department under sterile, medical condition. This bill basically is trying to intimidate the providers who do those." He lost the argument.

Three months later he penned a letter to the editor to his local paper about the stepped-up Republican Party jihad against contraception. [If you skipped it,now's the time to watch the Rachel Maddow video above.] This is Rep. Cox's letter. Let me remind you, he's a Republican… in Oklahoma-- from the same town as James Lankford.
All of the new Oklahoma laws aimed at limiting abortion and contraception are great for the Republican family that lives in a gingerbread house with a two-car garage, two planned kids and a dog. In the real world, they are less than perfect.

As a practicing physician (who never has or will perform an abortion), I deal with the real world. In the real world, 15- and 16-year-olds get pregnant (sadly, 12-, 13- and 14-year-olds do also). In the real world, 62 percent of women ages 20 to 24 who give birth are unmarried. And in the world I work and live in, an unplanned pregnancy can throw up a real roadblock on a woman's path to escaping the shackles of poverty.

Yet I cannot convince my Republican colleagues that one of the best ways to eliminate abortions is to ensure access to contraception. A recent attempt by my fellow lawmakers to prevent Medicaid dollars from covering the “morning after” pill is a case in point. Denying access to this important contraceptive is a sure way to increase legal and back-alley abortions. Moreover, such a law would discriminate against low-income women who depend on Medicaid for their health care.

But wait, some lawmakers want to go even further and limit everyone's access to birth control by allowing pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for contraception.

What happened to the Republican Party that I joined? The party where conservative presidential candidate Barry Goldwater felt women should have the right to control their own destiny? The party where President Ronald Reagan said a poor person showing up in the emergency room deserved needed treatment regardless of ability to pay? What happened to the Republican Party that felt government should not overregulate people until (as we say in Oklahoma) “you have walked a mile in their moccasins”?

Is my thinking too clouded by my experiences in the real world? Experiences like having a preacher, in the privacy of an exam room say, “Doc, you have heard me preach against abortion but now my 15-year-old daughter is pregnant, where can I send her?” Or maybe it was that 17-year-old foreign exchange student who said, “I really made a mistake last night. Can you prescribe a morning-after pill for me? If I return to my home country pregnant, life as I know it will be over.”

What happened to the Republican Party that felt that the government has no business being in an exam room, standing between me and my patient? Where did the party go that felt some decisions in a woman's life should be made not by legislators and government, but rather by the women, her conscience, her doctor and her God?

Cox, R-Grove, has delivered more than 800 babies.
Republicans, even extreme right Oklahoma Republicans of the Lankford variety, aren't exactly the same as the patriarchs who want to bring back stoning as a mechanism for controlling women in Afghanistan. Not exactly… but almost. Sex is as threatening and frightening to them as it is to the primitive Afs. I bet they don't like people like Rachel Maddow-- or Doug Cox-- reminding them. The progressive Democrat running for the Oklahoma City seat Lankford is occupying now, Tom Guild, has similar motivations to Cox, even if they're from different parties. For one thing, Tom is not a big fan of government intrusion into people's private lives.
Representative Cox hits the nail squarely on the head. Today’s Republican Party pursues legislation that outlaws common forms of birth control. The inevitable fallout from this government intrusion into private matters greatly increases the demand for abortion following unplanned and preventable pregnancies. Today’s GOP has forgotten that their hero, Ronald Reagan, was famous for saying he wanted to get the government off of our backs. Big Brother is alive and well in today’s GOP.

Do we really want the police searching the sacred marital bedroom for telltale signs of the use of contraceptives? Do we really want poor women to be denied the fundamental right to make their own personal health decisions? Do we need to destroy women’s economic opportunities because of admittedly regrettable decisions, where the rigid and unforgiving law strictly refuses any reasonable remedy? America doesn’t need a Taliban Party. What America needs is a responsible Republican Party that gets off of its condescending high horse and lives in the real world for a change, and gets the government off of American women’s backs, and out of America’s bedrooms.

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At 9:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said. That is exactly what we need; but good luck getting it here in Oklahoma, the buckle of the bible belt. Our idiot Governor refused Medicaid expansion and or legislature views women as little better than children who must be chastised and told what to do, as if we are incapable of making our own decisions. It's disgusting, really. And if I were financially able, I'd leave this pathetic & poorly run state in a heartbeat.

At 1:01 PM, Anonymous Nancy Zorn said...

Anonymous, Thank you for your good luck wish, but we need more than good luck. We need support for candidates like Tom Guild, who has proven so eloquent on this and many topics. By support I mean labor to advanance his campaign, money for expenses, the power of people talking to their neighbors. And not only for Tom Guild. We need support for brave candidates like Ian Holmes and Donna Anderson, now running for Superintendent of Education, and the courageous Matt Silverstein, running against Sen. Inhofe, HE WhoCan'tBeBeat, some call him. These people are wrong. Along with the entire RepUGLIcan
party, Inhofe has gone too far. He's hanging onto a tettering bridge dislodged from any base of reality. He has lost all credibility even in Oklahoma. Give your labor, give your money. Send them all home, and the Fallen Fallin will follow.


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