‘When we can have a few more little taxpayers born, why not?”
Republican state Rep. Pat McElraft showed her true colors when promoting her extreme bill that would severely curtail access to abortion.
The bill, HB465, triples the waiting period for an abortion from 24 to 72 hours and forbids faculty at the East Carolina University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from performing or supervising abortions. Other provisions include instituting policies that may violate patient privacy laws and requiring that only obstetrician-gynecologists can perform abortions.
Defending the bill against critics, McElraft claimed that her intention was to ensure that women receive “competent” care. But why, then, would she prohibit two of the best medical schools in the country from training physicians in abortion?
McElraft got to the heart of the issue when she admitted that she hoped it would result in women giving birth to more “taxpayers.”
Forcing women to continue unwanted pregnancies is the true intention of all of the abortion-related laws Republicans have promoted in this state in recent years. While often couched in language about making abortion “safer,” the intent is clearly to restrict women’s access to a straightforward medical procedure that is integral to their ability to make their own decisions about their bodies and their lives.
Abortion is already one of the safest medical procedures in the United States. And the recent bills do nothing but place roadblocks in a woman’s path to high-quality care.
Yet what is most upsetting about McElraft’s statement is not her strong desire to prevent women from terminating their pregnancies and to force them to bear children they are not prepared to bring into the world.
It is that she called children “taxpayers,” revealing the cold-hearted spirit that pervades the entire Republican agenda.
The Republicans in Raleigh don’t think about North Carolinians as men, women and children with basic needs, wants and dreams. They don’t see us as human beings who need decent wages to put food on our tables, who get sick and need health insurance and paid days off from work, who need protection from guns carried on the streets, who need clean water to drink and who need to terminate pregnancies to ensure better lives for ourselves and our families.
A gaffe, the writer Michael Kinsley once observed, is when a politician slips up and tells the truth. The spin Republican politicians like to put on their agenda is that it protects “taxpayers” and supports “freedom.”
The GOP agenda is in fact the opposite: The intention is to put barriers between people and their ability to access to basic health care, a clean environment and a strong public education system. And they are determined to restrict women’s freedom to make fundamental choices about their bodies.
We don’t deserve these freedoms because we are taxpayers but because we are human beings.
True freedom would mean the ability to make decisions about your own health in consultation with your doctor – without political agendas getting in the way.
That’s what most North Carolinians want. Why doesn’t Pat McElraft want the same thing?
Lisa Levenstein is associate professor of history at UNC Greensboro.