Choosy about right to choose – Pacific Research Institute

Choosy about right to choose

Jan. 22 marks the 38th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which guaranteed a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. On this date annually, both sides of the abortion controversy confront each other over one of America’s most contentious issues.

Liberal Democrats vigorously defend a woman’s right to choose.

“I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose,” President Barack Obama said, two days after his 2009 inauguration. “I will continue to work to ensure a woman’s right to choose,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California declares on her official website.

But a woman’s right to choose suddenly becomes irrelevant for Obama, Pelosi and other liberals when medicine moves beyond abortion clinics. In those cases, government’s “right to choose” trumps a woman’s right.

What about a woman’s right to choose, along with the support of her doctor, to use Avastin to fight late-term breast cancer?

On Dec. 16, President Obama’s Food and Drug Administration withdrew its approval of Avastin as a treatment for metastatic breast cancer. FDA bureaucrats argued that Avastin does not provide “a sufficient benefit in slowing disease progression to outweigh the significant risk to patients.”

“Sufficient” according to whom? This decision should involve a woman and her doctor – period. If liberals believe a woman should be free to control her body, to the extent of ending the life of a fetus she is carrying, shouldn’t she also be able to wield Avastin as a weapon against a disease that threatens to end her life?

Avastin is expensive. It can cost some $8,000 per month. But if it can give breast-cancer patients an average of four months of additional life – and years more, in the cases of “super-responders” – the FDA should respect a woman’s right to choose this medication.

How about a woman’s right to choose whether or not to purchase health insurance? Here again, Obama, Pelosi, and their allies think otherwise.

Under Obamacare, women (and men) will be mandated to purchase health insurance or face federal fines. Some applaud this mandate, arguing that Americans should take responsibility for themselves and get covered.

But some 17.7 million Americans (fully 38.2 percent of the uninsured population) earn at least $50,000 annually and choose not to buy health insurance. Many of these are called “invincibles.” These healthy, childless people, aged 19-29, expect to stay well and prefer to spend on student-loan repayments, auto insurance, or even vacations. When they get sick, they pay out of pocket.

Yes, in catastrophic cases, this proves an irrational choice, but not so when these young people prove invincible.

Rather than obviate this choice, Obama, Pelosi, and their supporters could have made health insurance less expensive through patient-centered means. Unfortunately, they followed precisely the opposite path.

How about a woman’s right to choose to purchase a simple, basic, catastrophic health plan?

Here, again, what women want really doesn’t matter to the big-government crowd.

One of the reasons people remain uninsured is that health policies are too expensive. A key reason for this is that government has forced insurers to avoid simple, “bus-crash-insurance” that will care for people in case of major medical disasters. Instead, liberal politicians insist on smorgasbord plans that offer patients everything but a free stethoscope.

State-level mandates, of which there are over 2,100 across the country according to CAHI, require insurers to sell policies that cover chiropractic, acupuncture, and even in-vitro fertilization, in some states. This boosts the cost of coverage, often beyond the reach of those who need it most.

How about a woman’s right to choose how to use her Health Savings Account?

HSAs allow Americans to set aside their own tax-preferred money for medication and treatment. In conjunction with high-deductible, catastrophic plans, HSAs help some 10 million Americans finance their health needs.

Rather than encourage this vehicle for personal responsibility, Obamacare is making HSAs less attractive. As of Jan. 1, HSA funds may not be used to purchase over-the-counter medications. So, rather than use her HSA to buy Robitussin, for example, a woman who wants to use that money now must visit her doctor and request a prescription for pharmaceutical-grade cough syrup.

What a perfect way to clog medical waiting rooms, waste doctors’ time, increase costs, and reduce personal choice. But, then again, that sums up Obamacare.

President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and those who share their statist philosophy are highly selective about which choice they will defend for women. They will fight for a woman’s right to have an abortion – and little else.

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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