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Chan Lowe: Mandatory sonograms before abortions


Retired Republican U.S. Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming was on television the other night, expressing himself with the kind of rawboned candor that only a retired pol dare employ.

Simpson was opining, in his prairie twang, on the subject of abortion. He felt, for starters, that the government should “just get out of the culture business altogether.” Nobody wants abortions, he added. And, in a surprisingly sensitive observation for someone of his gender, he indicated that men should never be allowed to vote on the issue.

Ever since the Republican Party embraced cultural conservatism as a ticket to political success, there has been a fundamental—some would say hypocritical—disconnect in its platform. The small-government, libertarian wing believes that government’s role should begin and end with national defense and protecting the borders. The social conservative wing (or the “Terry Schiavo Wing,” if you will), on the other hand, feels that government ought to break into the hospital rooms, classrooms and bedrooms of American citizens to enforce a moral code that, while not hewed to by many or even by most of us, is justified in its enforcement by the sheer zealotry of its adherents.

It is sometimes amusing to follow the antics of conservative pols who must straddle the fence between libertarianism and government activism (remember the time George W. Bush rushed back from the ranch on Air Force One in order to sign the Schiavo bill into law? Only an issue that momentous could have forced him to emerge from his vacation).

There are probably a few pols who truly believe that they are doing God’s--and therefore the country’s--work to throw every roadblock they can in the way of allowing the practice of a constitutionally legal process. Then there are the opportunists who are just along for the ride⎯the morally bankrupt ones who, for example, invoke the principle of “privacy” when it suits them, and spurn it when it doesn’t.

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" a surprisingly sensitive observation for someone of his gender, he indicated that men should never be allowed to vote on the issue."

Simpson went on to say that men should not be expected to pay for this either. Oh wait, no he didn't.

If the abortion clinics were not receiving taxpayer funds (even from male taxpayers,) the government wouldn't be bugging them. The comparison to the privacy concerns of the drug database simply doesn't hold up. It's apples and oranges and only makes sense in Chan's world.

And honestly, who ever claimed George Bush was a conservative?

Brilliant. And absolutely right. It is hypocritical in the extreme (no need to waffle there, Chan) to advocate for small government while seeking to regulate very personal (often wrenching) and completely legal decisions/actions.

I'm also mystified by those who say they are pro-life, but feel that maiming and even killing the doctors who perform abortions is justifiable. On what basis? To anyone who wants to answer me, I will not accept "Eye-for-an Eye" as an answer. You need to go deeper than that.

Chan says,
Dear Likely Voter:
Thank you for your comment. The Hyde Amendment, which is the law of the land, forbids the expenditure of government funds on abortions, period. The abortions performed by Planned Parenthood, for example, are privately funded.

'The Hyde Amendment, which is the law of the land, forbids the expenditure of government funds on abortions, period. The abortions performed by Planned Parenthood, for example, are privately funded.'

This is technically true, but paints a false picture, which is a consistent practice of Mr Lowe's.

Planned Parenthood's budget is around $1b, and govt funding/contracts provides about 1/3 of their total revenue. This situation allows PP to use govt money for many expenses and hold out separate funds for abortions -- funds that would not be available otherwise.

Essentially they can use Peter's money to pay Paul, and with writers such as Mr Lowe that will play along with the distortion for partisan purposes, most people do not understand that tax money is indeed funding abortions in fact, if not in letter.

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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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