Defend your freedom to make your own medical decisions


Published: Monday, January 24, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 23, 2005 at 10:24 p.m.
The Republican Party's ideals infringe on our personal liberties, especially with regard to health care.
Contrary to what readers may find in Matthew Hicks' Speaking Out ("Safe, legal and rare," Dec. 27), the Democratic Party is indeed unified and resolute in its position on reproductive rights and the civil liberties associated with personal medical decisions.
His flawed logic that such rights and liberties are extreme and therefore the desire for their rarity is a paradox demonstrates a superficial understanding of both politics and the freedoms all Americans value.
As a nurse, Hicks should know the phrase "partial-birth abortion" does not exist within the medical lexicon. The referenced medical procedure is more accurately called late-term pregnancy termination, which makes up less than one-half of one percent of all such procedures performed.
It is used only when the fetus has already died, the mother's life is endangered by the continuation of the pregnancy or severe abnormalities of the fetus will result in grave health complications.
If the government can force you to bring a pregnancy to term, how soon will it be before they begin legislating who may or may not have a child?
By giving power to extremist politicians who want to dictate medical decisions, our personal rights and freedoms are further eroded.
Such is the threat to our right to control our medical decisions as proposed by Theresa Zerr ("Don't' rush a life-changing decision," Jan. 3).
Apparently, Zerr feels we are incapable of making medical decisions for ourselves and that a government-imposed waiting period for selected medical procedures is necessary.
Such thinking displays a frightening disregard for the importance of privacy matters between a doctor and a patient.
This ongoing assault on our freedoms is accelerating the descent down the slippery slope into the world of Big Brother.
That descent is also illustrated in certain sex education programs in the public schools. A case in point is the abstinence education curriculum that has not only been shown to be replete with scientific errors and distortions, but does not prepare young adults for the real world. Your tax dollars at work.
The Democratic Party supports, both morally and politically, your right to make your own medical decisions.
It is ironic that Republicans claim to stand for smaller government while actually taking a stand that favors governmental control over your body and the medical decisions you make for yourself.
That mainstream Americans want control, freedom and autonomy in this and other related areas does not pull the Democratic Party to the left nor is it a political vulnerability. The Democratic Party has consistently guarded the freedoms and civil liberties our founders envisioned for the citizens of these United States.
Susan Bottcher is a volunteer with the Alachua County Democratic Party. Jon Reiskind is a retired University of Florida faculty member and chair of the Alachua County Democratic Party.

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