Pressure from the AG, including a threat not to cover the legal bills of members of the Board of Health, proved too strong to resist. As a result, the Board today has reversed itself and gone along with regulations that are geared to force the women of Virginia to leave the state to have an abortion.
No reason to call this anything other than it is: a cruel and unnecessary vindictive action by the government which serves no necessary state interest.
It takes guts to oppose this type of thing in Virginia, for some reason. But you must. I advised Wilder and Warner of the same thing: and they took my advice. They got to be Governor. Not for that reason along, for sure. But there is a basic pro-people philosophy behind it.
That people have moral objections to abortion I understand. But their objections don't make their moral views right, certainly don't make it right to impose them vindictively on others.
The Jewish religion, for example, teaches that life begins at birth, not at conception. The idea that life begins at conception is not what many religions teach. In that regard, a public official is not supposed to impose his or her personal religious values on the rest of us. This is what began the lead up to the American revolution, in case conservatives have forgotten, at least in some substantial measure. Freedom of religion is in the First Amendment for that reason.
But violating freedom of religion is precisely what is happening in the case of the Virginia Board of Health regulations: they are being used to promote the personal, religious views of Attorney General Cuccinelli, and others who think as he does on this issue.
Let's be clear: There is no medical necessity with these regulations, nor is there a legitimate case for claiming the previous Board of Health regulations were in violation of the General Assembly mandate.
To repeat: This is, pure and simple, the exercise of raw political power, with the threat of huge financial consequences if you don't go along with a public official's personal, political agenda.
When I was on the Board of Higher Education, I disagreed with Governor Wilder on a point of personal belief and voted my conscience. He wasn't happy but he understood. Or maybe not, I really don't know.
The point being: Government should not be forcing the views of those who temporarily hold government office on the citizens of Virginia, especially on the principle of "might makes right." How does that jibe with allegedly principled conservatism?
What the Bd of Health did today is vindictive politics under the guise of something else. The Board knows this: that's why they voted differently weeks ago before the AG put on the political squeeze play.
The Governorship is a far more powerful position. The AG has given the Democrats a big issue, if they know how to use it. Cuccinelli is a tough player all right. That's fine with me; I just wish he would use that power to push for reforms we need, such as in the election area, where HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF VIRGINIANS ARE being denied their first amendment rights.
Virginia's women, faced with the most personal of personal decisions, deserved a lot better from their government officials today. They didn't get it. The hand of Big Government Power won today. We shall see what the voters of Virginia choose to do about that in 2013.
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