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The Nanny State

May 24, 2011 - John Stack
Recently, Congresswoman and Tea Party kook favorite Michele Bachman ranted about the first lady Michele Obama for increasing ‘The Nanny State’. What was her current object of undiluted hypocrisy and craziness? Mrs Obama has come out in favor of beast feeding children, and that the IRS recently released rules making breast pumps tax deductible as medical devices. Bachmann unbelievably is against this (OK, not unbelievable for anyone who has ever heard a word uttered from Mrs Bachmann’s lips) and said ‘To think the government has to go out and buy my breast pump….this is the new definition of a nanny state’. It is really hard to imagine who could agree with Mrs Palin Bachmann. Breast milk is incontrovertibly what physicians and the rest of the medical field believe is what is best for growing babies. Children have lower tendency to be obese as well as a myriad of other health benefits. The biggest impediment to breast feeding is time and ability. Working women of course find it incredibly hard to breast feed at work, for a number of reasons, mainly because the baby isn’t at her work site. Therefore, she may opt to use a breast pump in order for her infant to continue the benefits of mother’s milk. Many insurance companies also actually cover the cost of a breast pump because they recognize how cost affective a breast pump is in the long run – for the insurance company.

The term ‘nanny state’ refers to the government as being over protective or as unduly interfering with personal choice. It is almost always used against the Democratic party. Congresswoman Bachmann seems to find no irony in doling out $4 billion yearly in subsidies to the oil producing companies, yet has a real problem with a universally accepted positive program which at the most would cause a single tax saving of $50 per household (and typically much much less). Applying Bachmannonomics, a tax break for breast pumps would obviously increase the demand for breast pumps, creating jobs in the breast pump industry and creating more money for growth and investment for the companies while driving down costs of health insurance. By her own reckoning, a breast pump would more than fill her definition of what we SHOULD be cutting taxes on. Yet, if Michele Obama is for it, there can be no good to come of it.

Lets see… ‘over protective government’ and ‘unduly interfering with personal choice’. Boy, sounds like Conservative mantra to me. From pushing back against any gun control laws, waiting periods, helmet laws, seat belt laws, or any government interference with health care decisions by an individual. Seems to be a plank of the Conservative platform. Imagine conservatives getting behind a measure which adds time , cost and inconvenience to a medical procedure, which gives literally no added health benefit by its existence. Obviously Governor Rick Perry of Texas never received this memo. Back in 2007, by executive order he created law that said all girls must get immunized against HPV. Seems a bit nany state, even if his intentions were good (the Texas legislature passed a law rescinding this mandate). But, Gov Rick wasn’t finished. He just signed a bill that would force women who are seeking an abortion to get a sonogram 24 hours before an abortion, and the medical provider must explain in detail the sonogram. Doesn’t matter if the woman is 3 days pregnant or 27 weeks. The 24 hour waiting period was because legislators believed that if women were not given this ‘reflection time’ ‘abortion businesses’ would rush women into abortions they may not have otherwise want if given time for consideration.

Michele, how is this NOT the definition of nanny state? Lets see Test 1. Is the law creating a situation where the government is being too protective? Hmm. Lets see, a woman comes in for an abortion. Its most likely the toughest, most heart wrenching decision of her life. She has most likely mulled it over in her head, thought it through, did a lot of soul searching. Maybe talked to friends and family. Thought about what it would mean to her in the long run. After all this, she has decided to go to a medical clinic to have a stranger perform an abortion. But, Texas legislators seem to believe all women in Texas are idiots. They think of nothing but sex and have no idea what an abortion really is. Apparently, the legislators have this view of women who are at home, watching Oprah, and decide to look at a pregnancy test. Oh! She’s pregnant. Hmm.’ Lets see if I can fit this procedure in between my clubbing baby seals meeting and my pedicure…Oh I better buy the latest Cosmo so I have something to read during the procedure’. Looks like it passes test 1. Test 2 – Does it unduly interfere with personal choice? Well, as noted above, this woman has all ready most likely drained her emotions about the procedure and thought about it and came to the gut wrenching decision to go through with an abortion. And now she NEEDS a doctor to explain the sonogram to her and COME BACK at least 24 hours later so she can further ‘reflect’? Looks like passes test 1 and test2 with flying colors.

I won’t hold my breath waiting for Ms Bachmann to point out Gov Perry’s law. I think that pecan that is bouncing around her head masquerading around as a brain would explode when it saw that a fellow conservative was using conservative muscle to push through a completely non-conservative issue and is completely adding to the nanny state of Texas. Any and all women should be absolutely appalled by this law and their treatment as second class citizens, as chattel, as not being able to make up their own minds. What’s next for Texas? Remove the right to vote for women? The right to education? The right to work?


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