Saturday, January 28

God Help Us, The Indiana Legislature Used To Meet Only Every Other Year

Okay, the big legislative news in what is supposed to be Indiana's biennial short session, is Governor Mitch "Honorary CEO of Munchkinland" Daniels' headlong rush to gain the statutory right to sell off any piece of state property a private concern covets, under the guise of approving the really, really great deal he got by peddling our childrens' and grandchildrens' birthrights to the highest bidder for ten years worth of roadbuilding. (A Spanish-Australian consortium won the Double Secret bidding for a 75-year lease on the Indiana Toll Road for $3.8 billion, subject to legislative approval. But somehow that deal can't be struck without a bill handing the Guv the right to sell off anything related to transportation, including Indiana's two harbors and its airports, all without further legislative review.)

More about that next week, but I thought you might enjoy a taste of what Indiana's citizen legislators get up to when they're on a tight schedule:

DIGEST OF HB1172 (Updated January 26, 2006 1:51 pm - DI 14)

Information on pain and anesthetic for a fetus. Provides that informed consent to an abortion includes the requirement that a physician inform a pregnant woman that: (1) a fetus may feel pain; (2) an anesthetic or other painkilling medication may be provided during an abortion to a fetus with a probable gestational age of at least 20 weeks; and (3) insurance may or may not cover the service. Provides further that notice must be given in writing at least 18 hours before an abortion concerning the availability of adoptions, physical risks to the woman in having an abortion, and that human life begins when a human ovum is fertilized by a human sperm.

Yes, indeed, metaphysical certitude about When Life Begins from the gang that can't decide what time it is.
DIGEST OF HB 1247 (Updated January 26, 2006 1:46 pm - DI 14)

Wrongful death or injury of a child. Specifies that the law concerning the wrongful death or injury of a child applies to a fetus that has attained viability. Provides that a wrongful death action may not be maintained against a person for: (1) conduct relating to an abortion if the physician in good faith medical judgment believed that the consent of the woman was express or implied; or (2) a lawful medical treatment. Provides that a wrongful death action may not be maintained against a woman for behavior or conduct with respect to her fetus.

I haven't read the relevant statutes, but I'm pretty sure this means a woman who's five months pregnant can walk unbidden up my driveway with the intention of converting me to Jesus, trip over a tree branch her Savior caused to fall thirty seconds earlier, and sue me for the wrongful death of her "child" if she miscarries. And I suppose she could also do so to an amusement park operator after she willingly boards a roller coaster. But she couldn't be sued for downing a fifth of Jim Beam every night.

And yes, it also occurs to me (again, absent any actual knowledge) that she'd also be able to sue the water company if there's anything coming out the tap that might cause birth defects, or any of the pollution manufacturers in this state or whichever way the winds blows. That's not only cold comfort, I expect it's also a loophole that'll close faster'n a legislator's wallet when the per diem's been used up.

I will be erecting "No Access to Pregnant Women" signs on the edge of my property if the second one becomes law, but I'm mostly interested in the first. Despite our legislators' abiding concerns for the rights of Blastocyst-Americans, there's a curious refusal to make the law consistent. They're horrified that a fetus feels pain, for example, but where's the bill requiring anesthesia in infant surgeries, including circumcision (might get some religious objections to that one)? Or for that matter the sorely needed requirement that parents seek medical attention for minors regardless of the parents' religious beliefs (in Indiana, faith healing is an acceptable substitute for, say, going to a hospital when your child's temperature is 108º)? How about the one classifying all miscarriages as homicides? We can go on like this for hours. Hoosiers--trust me on this one--are intellectually overmatched by the concept of the Four Way Stop. T-bone a pregnant woman who runs a stop sign, find yourself up on vehicular manslaughter charges when she miscarries. Time to invest in a videotape system for the dashboard.

This is part and parcel of our having allowed, for thirty years, the anti-rights crowd to simply babble about their superior moral beliefs, rather than demanding answers to the tough questions. I was astonished last Sunday to come across a spokeswoman for National Right to Life rejecting the idea that the Court overturning Roe meant an end to safe and legal abortion. "It would return the issue to the states, where it belongs," she said. This, now that they're faced with the possibility of losing the issue as a national cash cow, is the new talking point. "Yes, my morally-superior belief is that abortion is murder, but I've always felt that's a matter to be decided along jurisdictional boundaries largely established in 18th century England." Y'know, it's one thing to be the party that opposes deficit spending until it's within your power to balance the budget, and you're more than welcome to equate criticism of military action with treason except when Bill Clinton is commander-in-chief, but when your moral values go on the auction block the minute it looks like you'll have to answer for them, that's something else again.


Anonymous said...

ain't god good to indiana? ain't he, though?

Anonymous said...

Hmm. Blastocyst-American sounds vaguely derogatory, maybe even like hate-speech. You probably need to be careful. Here in Texas saying something like that, or Zygote-American, or Fetus-American, could get someone in trouble. But I imagine Indiana is not like that.

Anonymous said...

That's not the worst of it. Under Indiana's so-called "Worthless Hoosier Law", if an adult with no spouse or dependents is killed, your wrongful death damages are limited to medical expenses, the cost of burial, and out-of-pocket costs.