If push comes to shove, Roe v. Wade may save us from ObamaCare

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Something you may want to ponder: On March 22, 2010, 219 members of the House of Representatives came together and said “yes, we do have the power to tell them what they can do with their lives” and jubilantly proceeded to sign away some of your constitutionally granted freedom. What should be upper-most in your mind now is not the legislation known as health care reform, but the legislators who passed it. It has not been lost on me that 60 Senators took away some of your freedom on Christmas Eve 2009 and 219 did so on a Sabbath day. My kinder thoughts will chalk this up to coincidence and move on.

Before the now-infamous legislation passed, I read an opinion piece that made for me an illuminating point: The federal government upholds a woman’s right to choose regarding abortion.  As of March 22, 2010 it now holds an opposing view regarding health care in general.

Today she still has the right to choose. Tomorrow it may be gone along with future prohibitions such as salt, fat, sugar, cigarettes, alcohol and her now forfeited right to choose if she even wants health insurance. Something is seriously flawed here. Either it’s her body and she makes 100% of the decisions or she makes none.

Far-fetched? A Feb. 1, 2010, article on NewAmerica.net reports one of my Maryland legislators “has proposed a freeze on new operating licenses for fast-food restaurants in neighborhoods with a “high index of health disparities”. What will define a “fast-food” restaurant; who decides what a “health disparity” is and is Frederick one of those neighborhoods?

In Roe v. Wade, so sacred was a woman’s right to choose the Supreme Court said, stay out of it. Through this legislation, are we to infer only this particular health choice is sacred? By extrapolation aren’t “all” health choices sacred, including the choice of insurance? How do we divide into a tidy pie chart what parts of health the government has a say in?

In Roe v. Wade; Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965) is cited.

Griswold at 484: “The Fourth and Fifth Amendments were described … as protection against all governmental invasions “of the sanctity of a man’s home and the privacies of life.”  (Health care is surely a privacy of life, isn’t that why we sign HIPAA forms?)

“… it concerns a law which, in forbidding the use of contraceptives, rather than regulating their manufacture or sale, seeks to achieve its goals by means having a maximum destructive impact upon that relationship. … a “governmental purpose to control or prevent activities constitutionally subject to state regulation may not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of protected freedoms.” [Emphasis added.]

I find the previous paragraph crucial to the health reform debate. Making illegal the right of a married couple to decide if/when they would procreate was found to be harmful to the sacred, private bond between them.

My interpretation of Griswold supports barring federal intervention in the doctor-patient relationship for the same reasons. In meaning to “bring down the cost of health care insurance” the current legislation seeks to make wide sweeping health care restructuring and runs the risk of destroying doctor-patient relationships. It is overly broad, dangerously vague, likely to do irreparable damage and in general toxic to the system. As well as stepping on state rights of regulation.

In further support:

Griswold at 486: “We deal with a right of privacy older than the Bill of Rights — older than our political parties… Marriage is a coming together for better or for worse, hopefully enduring, and intimate to the degree of being sacred….” [Emphasis added.]

Can we speak of the doctor-patient relationship any differently? Doctors not only hold patient lives in their hands but are privy to the most intimate of details. The doctor-patient relationship is as sacred and should be protected from government encroachment. If the Supreme Court holds marriage is sacrosanct so to must health be in all its incarnations. Health is not a right, it is the well from which all our God given rights flow. I argue that nothing is more sacred than our health and the choices we make to maintain it.

Our Founders would no more turn over to any government the right to make our own health care choices than it would turn over to the federal government our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. One cannot even begin to pursue these American ideals if he is not free to design his own destiny in matters so personal and sacred as his health and his person. If these things, the government can take from us, what then, can they not?

Cindy Strickline-Rose is a former law clerk and office manager, as well as a mother of five children, one of which suffers from cerebral palsy.