Showing posts with label Abortion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Abortion. Show all posts

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Supreme Court Decisions

The Supreme Court issued two critical rulings. Although I am liberal I have always been pro-life and believed in self-defense. In the Bruen case the Supreme Court ruled that:

"New York’s proper-cause requirement for obtaining an unrestricted license to carry a concealed firearm violates the Fourteenth Amendment in that it prevents law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms."

If you wanted to conceal carry a firearm in New York--most notoriously New York City--the authorities could require that you proved "proper cause."  

If the state didn't like guns, didn't think people of a certain race should have guns, or just didn't like you, then the state could deny you a concealed carry permit. The Court decision changes the "may issue" standard to a "shall issue" standard. New York must have objective criteria for concealed carry. People who dislike guns claim this decision will result in greater carnage. 

Most other states including my own have "shall issue" standards. Legally armed conceal carry people are not the people murdering folks. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Michigan: Detroit Bankruptcy, Pensions, and Abortion Insurance Coverage

There's a lot happening in Michigan. Recently a federal bankruptcy judge ruled that yes indeed Detroit was bankrupt.This shouldn't have surprised anyone. However the judge didn't stop there. Among other things he found that Detroit municipal pensions were not entitled to special protection despite what the Michigan constitution states. In the judge's view the pensions were contracts just like any other. The judge also implicitly agreed that the state and city did not negotiate in good faith but basically shrugged his shoulders and said that there was no alternative. If you're not familiar with the writer David Cay Johnston, well you ought to be. He has a knack for explaining what's going on in the worlds of finance and economics in an easily understandable manner. You should read this article.
The result will mean even worse poverty in the sputtering Motown, where a once robust industrial tax base has withered away, the starkest example of the economic devastation wrought by government policies that for decades have encouraged companies to move manufacturing offshore.
Financial mismanagement in Detroit under every mayor in the past six decades also contributed to the disaster, except for the honorable exception of Coleman Young in the mid-1970s. The result: Public worker pensions averaging $19,000 a year will be cut to the bone. That is sure to increase demands for federally funded food stamps, a program which Congress has just cut, and other welfare to make up for some of pensions workers earned but will not collect.
Norman Stein, a Drexel University law professor who is an expert on pensions, said that if the Detroit order stands it will become standard practice to slash benefits. “It would be a human catastrophe of the first order if pensions of vulnerable older workers can be cut whenever a local government goes to bankruptcy court,” Stein said. “We will be consigning firemen and policemen, who did nothing wrong other than protecting the city and depending on the city's promise, into old-age poverty.”

I thought that Johnston's article distilled everything down to its essence. I seem to remember international banks causing the near destruction of the modern semi-capitalist world as we knew it back in 2008-2009. Although the spokesmen and servitors of these financial institutions are extremely fond of quoting neo-liberal free-market bromides to other people, especially those who lack capital, when it was their own behind in a sling they ran to the US government for a bailout. That same US government also bailed out most of the US auto industry. These actions were obviously massive violations of free-market principles and the sorts of things the US screams about when China or other nation states engage in them.

However, generally speaking most people won't permit their ideology to interfere with their survival if it comes down to it. A Muslim shipwreck survivor with nothing to drink but wine and nothing to eat besides pork sausages will likely choose survival over religious dictates. A feminist egalitarian trapped in a burning house will not complain when a strong fireman saves her by lifting debris from her which she was unable to lift. And a bigot experiencing a heart attack probably won't make too much of a fuss when the doctor performing the angioplasty is of a different race than he is. There are exceptions but most people would agree that such folk are well, stupid.

And yet some people seem to think that a society which committed trillions to a bank bailout which did little to help working people and fretted over the rights of speculative bondholders in an auto bailout should stand and do nothing as the rights of retired pensioners are thrown into the trashbin. It's a mean old world indeed. No one wins in bankruptcy other than the lawyers and business entities who suck up public dollars and goods. That said though I do think that state and federal law should recognize a difference between money being paid to a retired fireman who does not receive Social Security and money being paid to an institutional investor who made a bet. Unfortunately Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr seems to want to ensure that the banks get paid first.

Moving along.
You may remember a recent post in which we discussed whether corporations have religious rights and whether the federal government can make corporations pay for birth control abortifacients which violate the owner's conscience. I wrote then that supporters of such rules tend to overlook the fact that just because you have a right to do something does not imply that you have a right to make someone else pay for it. Something that was on my mind then which I didn't mention was this next story. The Michigan State Board of Canvassers confirmed a petition drive which will make anyone who wants abortion insurance coverage purchase a separate rider. This initiative can be made into law by the legislature within 40 days and can't be vetoed by the governor. That is how we do things in Michigan. Direct democracy still has a place in our process. No one challenged the signatures. They were certified. I sometimes think that pro-choice people can get outworked on the ground game.
Lawmakers took preliminary procedural action on a voter-petitioned proposal to ban group health coverage for abortions as its supporters and opponents sparred in press conferences Tuesday at the state Capitol.
The exchange occurred a day after the Board of State Canvassers confirmed a Right to Life-backed drive had secured enough petition signatures to put the initiative before lawmakers.
On Tuesday, the Senate sent the petitions to its Government Operations committee as an initial step in the legislative process. The House took the default step of putting it on the floor calendar for a second bill reading.
Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville said he has discussed the proposal with the Senate’s GOP majority but doesn’t know whether the group is ready to vote yet. Richardville, R-Monroe, would say only he expects action “within the next 40 days.”
Lawmakers have 40 legislative session days from Monday to enact this type of voter-initiated legislation. Inaction would send it to the statewide ballot in the November 2014 election.                                                                                       
Admittedly this will be the state interfering with private contracts to enforce its idea of the good. Unfortunately for those opposed to this particular instance I think it's difficult to honestly have too much outrage as the state does this in various other ways all the time. PPACA supporters explicitly cheered the state's power to do this in other cases. We must be careful giving the state powers like this because people with differing ideas about what's good than us eventually obtain power. An argument in support of the PPACA was that insurance costs would drop for everyone if we forced those dastardly "free riders" to pay their fair share. Well that argument swings the other way too. Those who want an abortion should not make everyone else share the cost. I am pro-life so I'm not too bothered by this. Because I'm leery of the state sticking its nose into employment contracts willy-nilly I'd be willing to oppose this action provided that there was some realization on the other side that making people pay for certain things which violate their conscience is often a bad idea. But there is rarely that concession. Lacking compromise things devolve to power politics. 

So it goes. As abortion is uncommon, if this initiative should become law I don't expect a lot of cost changes to policies. This is about principle. There are already 23 other states which have similar rules around abortion and insurance. It's not as if Michigan is breaking any new ground here. Both the Michigan Senate and House are Republican dominated. There are also some pro-life Democrats. Nevertheless this is not a slam dunk. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is not a social issues hard right governor. Although under our constitution he can't veto this measure he may attempt to twist arms to convince legislators to let the people vote on it. We shall see in 40 days.

What's your take on these two issues?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Democrats and Choice

Occasionally people on the progressive end of the political spectrum, which tends to be where I am most comfortable, like to point out what they see as the hypocrisy of the Republican pro-life and religious conservative contingent, some of whom, despite mouthing platitudes to small government and rugged American individualism, spend an awful lot of time worrying about such things as how to use government to discourage or prevent things like gay marriage, sex education, teaching that homosexuals are no better or worse than anyone else, and of course abortion. Many progressives triumphantly say that these inconsistencies (as they see them) show that the Republicans and/or pro-life advocates or defenders of traditional marriage really aren't about small government at all and should evidently just go sit down and shut up. Or something. =) It's always fun to point out that people that you don't like anyway are also wrong factually and logically.

But if there's one thing I believe and know to be true it's that hypocrisy is a human condition, not a partisan one. Many of the people who like to claim the mantle of choice and individual freedom, at least when it comes to abortion, aren't necessarily huge defenders of such ideas when it comes to other sections of human life. The same people who want government out of abortion choices often want government involved in lots of other intimate decisions. Hypocrisy? Well I am just shocked I am. A libertarian website pranked DNC delegates into discussing what choices they thought should not be up to the individual. Again, all of us are tight little bundles of reason and emotion, hypocrisy and sincerity. None of the people in this video are necessarily evil or bad, but I do think that occasionally people on all sides should realize that they may not have a monopoly on "good" thinking. There are tons of different perspectives in the world. There are a multitude of ways to be "good".

Where does a person's right to make choices for themselves end?
Does government get to constrain those choices?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Preglimony: A Really Bad Idea??

If a child is born and its parents do not live together the state may intervene to determine which parent should get custody (usually this is the woman) and which parent must pay child support (usually this is the man). There is a lot of bias in the above two determinations. Additionally if a child is born and the man and woman are married, but the husband later discovers his wife was letting another mule kick in her stall, so to speak, and the child is not his it doesn't really matter. Generally speaking a child born within marriage is presumed to be the husband's child and he is responsible for the child's support. So the man pays. Again this seems really unfair and certainly isn't how I would have designed our society's culture and laws but hey I just got here. The overriding rule seems to be that the man pays.

Until relatively recently one could at least say that a man would be paying to support an actual child-that is a human being that was born and had actually exited his mother's body. Because it was only then that science could safely perform the paternity tests and the mother and any number of men could go on The Maury Povich Show and make fools of themselves.

But science is always expanding the realm of what is possible and has advanced to the point that we can learn quite a lot of things, including paternity, about the child before it is born.

For people who do things the right way, i.e. are married and/or committed to each other before children are created, this is no big deal. But for people that aren't married, aren't committed to each other or are in situations in which the man has very good reason to doubt the woman's fidelity, this could be a very big deal. However gender politics being what they are, one law professor thinks that the new science should be used to shake men down for child support money before the child is born. How will "preglimony" make a difference in the child's life while the "child" is still in the womb?

Rather than focusing on the relationship between the man and a hypothetical child, the new technology invites us to change the way we think about the relationship between unmarried lovers who conceive. Both partners had a role in the conception; it’s only fair that they should both take responsibility for its economic consequences.
Former spouses are often required to pay alimony; former cohabiting partners may have to pay palimony; why not ask men who conceive with a woman to whom they are not married to pay “preglimony”? Alternatively, we might simply encourage preglimony through the tax code, by allowing pregnancy-support payments to be deductible (which is how alimony is treated).
The most frequent objection I hear to this idea is that it will give men a say over abortion.  A woman’s right to choose is sometimes eclipsed by an abusive partner who pressures her into terminating or continuing a pregnancy against her will, and preglimony could exacerbate this dynamic. 
And how workable would this be? If there is a miscarriage does the father get his money back? And how would the proper level of support be determined? If a negligent father does not pay child support and his ex and children lack decent housing, food or clothing that is an easy metric for a court to use. But in pregnancy the child is inside the woman's body and literally has all of its needs provided for by its mother. The father could be a millionaire or lack two nickels to rub together. That child will still have the same gestation period. The court can't measure the well being of the unborn child whose mother is not getting preglimony vs. one whose mother is. So giving money for "preglimony" seems a tad on the greedy side to me. The unborn child will never see that money, not one penny. 
And then of course there's the elephant in the room. Abortion
If the woman chooses to have an abortion, as is her right, does the father get the money back? Can he sue the mother for breach of contract? Theoretically if a custodial parent is not spending the money on the child or has placed the child in an unsafe environment then the non custodial parent can try to get the child removed and take custody away. This is impossible during pregnancy. More importantly does preglimony mean that the fetus is actually a human being that is deserving of rights and protection? I mean it appears to be logically inconsistent to argue on one hand that the unborn child is not legally protected. The argument is that the mother's right to bodily integrity trumps other considerations and thus the child may be killed by the mother for any reason at all. Yet in the very next breath the professor turns around and claims that the unborn child deserves protection and support because after all the mother didn't create it by herself and women children deserve the financial support of men.
I am, to say the least, not a feminist, and arguments like this are why. Again the only consistent theme seems to be that the woman chooses and the man pays.

Modern women have for whatever reason increasingly decided to have children outside of marriage. More than half of children born to women under 30 are born out of wedlock. Yet many women appear to still want marriage's financial protections. Well the solution is simple. Get married before you have children. Because if you're going to tell me that a fetus is a child and needs financial support from its father I'm going to agree that the fetus is a child and whatever financial support it needs before birth is dwarfed by the need it has for its mother not to kill it. 

What's your take?

Does preglimony make sense in a changing world?

Should we think of pregnancy as something that the woman should be compensated for?

Should married men ever have to pay for children that aren't biologically theirs?