Skip to comments.Bonnie Erbe: Conservative intrusions (CLUELESS ALERT)
Posted on 04/08/2004 7:44:20 PM PDT by MegaSilver
(SH) - Too bad Barry Goldwater is no longer with us to opine on the offal of the conservative political revolution. Events in Utah might not only prompt him to exit the grave but to explode right out of it and launch a counterrevolution. Goldwater led the battle for individual liberties and stood as a bulwark against government intrusion into citizens' private lives. He embodied the finest traditions of "quarantine" conservatism (my term for keeping the government out of private concerns). As such, he would probably liken the prosecution of Melissa Ann Rowland (described by her lawyer as seriously mentally ill) for refusing to undergo a Caesarean section to prosecutorial powers run amok.
When Goldwater led the conservative counterrevolution in the 1960s, he had nothing like the Rowland case in mind. While accepting the 1964 Republican presidential nomination, he told his party's convention, "We do not seek to lead anyone's life for him. We seek only to secure his rights and to guarantee him opportunity to strive, with government performing only those needed and constitutionally sanctioned tasks which cannot otherwise be performed."
The more that comes out about Melissa Ann Rowland, the Utah mother charged with murder, the more we learn about how today's brand of social conservatism violates the principles for which Goldwater stood and which today's Republican Party has so blithely abandoned.
At first it was revealed prosecutors jailed Rowland for refusing a C-section for "vanity" reasons. Media reports said doctors warned her repeatedly unless she had a C-section, one or both of the twins she was carrying would die. One did die two days before delivery. But she told the Associated Press she'd already delivered two other children by C-section. She stated that fear for her own life and fears about her own medical condition, not vanity, prompted her to avoid another C-section.
Then it was revealed she'd already been in jail in another state for "punching (another) daughter in the face." Doesn't this make clear that Rowland is a woman who cascaded through the social safety net a long time ago, and deserved institutionalization over imprisonment? Why, Goldwater might ask, is Utah devoting scarce public resources to jailing and prosecuting a woman for what was, after all, a private medical decision to refuse to undergo surgery? According to the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, the state's violent-crime rate rose 4 percent between 2002 and 2003. The state's property-crime rate rose 3.9 percent during the same period.
If I were a Utah taxpayer, I'd much prefer devoting my precious tax-supported law-enforcement dollars to finding and jailing the criminals responsible for those crimes than to prosecuting a mentally ill mother.
But the Rowland case is most important because it's emblematic of the burgeoning split between social conservatism and "quarantine" conservatism, the former destroying individual liberties of which this country is so proud, and the latter championing them. One has to ask, if medical personnel are going to conspire with prosecutors to force unwanted surgeries on people, where does it all end?
Some states already prosecute pregnant women for drug abuse. Is smoking next? What about prosecuting the elderly for refusing cancer surgery? These are not such far-fetched scenarios, given where today's social conservatism would like to lead us.
In Goldwater-esque fashion, Utah state Rep. Wayne Harper told the Salt Lake Tribune, "This one is uncharted territory, and I hate to be the first state leading out in something of this nature. ... I think there's legitimate issues to be addressed there, but we have not discussed this and it's not a matter of policy or law yet, or even extensive debate. So going through and charging someone with murder in this situation is a bit discomfiting."
More than "a bit discomfiting," considering the grand old Goldwater legacy, and it's a legacy that his partisan legatees are about to dissolve into the Great Salt Lake.
What's more, I'd wager she'd have preferred Rockefeller over Goldwater, and would've voted for Johnson '64.
Thanks for the pic sciencediet :0)
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Um, she thinks trashing a baby in the womb is the same thing as refusing cancer surgery? Spoken like a true abortionist. The fetus is a cancer.
Indeed, his rantings reminded me of the symptoms of terminal syphillitic paresis.
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