Continuing South Carolina’s tradition of ultra-conservative anti-woman politics, Senator Jim DeMint has tried to sneak a blatantly anti-woman and unconstitutional amendment onto an unrelated bill focusing on agriculture and transportation. The main effect of the amendment would be to prohibit doctors from discussing abortion or abortion-related healthcare over the internet, even if a woman was in physical distress. (LINK)
Admittedly, there is a provision for creating essentially an “abortion only” version of Skype, but this option is impractical and even unworkable for many smaller communities or the economically disadvantaged. In essence, it creates a hurdle — a layer of red tape — to prevent women from receiving or even talking about a perfectly legal procedure.
The first thing that rankles about this amendment is that it is clearly part of the Ultra-Right Wing anti-woman religious agenda. Beyond that, however, one must address the questions of function and rationale. More simply, what does this bill purport to accomplish, and why?
Does it create jobs? No.
Does it improve the economy in any way? No.
Does it promote public health? No.
Does it protect women from harm? No.
Does it protect doctors from harm? No.
Does it help doctors care for patients? No.
What does it do? Nothing, short of obstructing both doctors and patients from having open dialog about legal procedures.
Then there’s the question of constitutionality. Under what constitutional principle or legal precedent does Sen. DeMint propose limiting doctors’ and patients’ right to speak freely (you remember.. the First Amendment?) about a legal medical procedure? To put it more simply, what possible legal justification can be used to trample the Constitution to promote a sectarian agenda?
Senator DeMint swore this oath when he assumed office:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”
The important part is the oath to bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution — the Constitution which makes particular mention of the right to free speech. The Constitution which makes no mention of exceptions to the First Amendment based on religious preference. The Constitution which makes no mention of doctors and patients, or the gagging of either party based on the moral dictates of the religious.
By submitting this amendment, DeMint has proven himself unworthy to be a U.S. Senator. He has broken his oath by attempting to subvert the Constitution. Nothing short of a recall vote is suitable punishment for such an egregious breach of the public trust.