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Guest Viewpoints

It’s None of Your Business

I don’t pretend to be a political scientist, but correct me if I’m wrong -the Republican Party is the party of small government, individual responsibility, patriotism, and good citizenship.

If the hypocrisy manifested by Republicans during the trump impeachments and his Supreme Court appointments aren’t enough, election deniers, the January 6th insurrection and subsequent Congressional investigation, and threats against the most recent election have shattered any claims of patriotism and good citizenship.

Recent Supreme Court decisions and the actions of red-state legislatures have obliterated any assertions of small government and individual responsibility. Perhaps the Dobbs decision is the most egregious, bringing government into private discussions of female reproductive health that should concern only a woman, her doctor, and, if germane, her partner and her God. In a televised debate against John Fetterman, Dr. Mehmet Oz stated that he preferred abortion be left up to the states — to women, their doctors, and local politicians. Remind me again why a local politician – any politician – should be part of this decision. The Texas abortion law, one of the most restrictive and intrusive in the country, even deputizes average citizens with enforcement – bounty hunters 2.0 – enabling them to sue any abortion provider or fellow citizen who aids a person seeking abortion-related medical care.

Banning books, masquerading as parental participation in curriculum development, forces all students to read what a handful of individuals deem appropriate. Parents already have the right to opt in or out of special areas of study without impinging on the rights of every other parent. That is another way of saying that parents can and should be responsible for their children’s education. Their children. Not mine. Why would I trust anyone who bans classics like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird or The Diary of Ann Frank to make academic decisions for my child?

In another attempt to appear truly concerned with the welfare of Texas children, Governor Greg Abbott announced to state health agencies in February that delivering gender-affirming medical treatments to transgender youths “constitutes child abuse” under state law. Reverting to his vigilante mentality, the letter stipulated that doctors, nurses, teachers, and the general public are legally required to report parents who aid their child in receiving such care and facilities that deliver said care to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) or face penalties. Please tell me what this state surveillance of a particular demographic reminds you of.

The letter follows a legal opinion Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released a few days prior defining such procedures as child abuse and labeling gender-reassignment surgeries as “forced sterilization,” among other erroneous claims. Good grief! Get your information from the American Medical Association, the American Pediatric Society, or the American Psychological Association, not a politician.

When female student-athletes register to play sports in Texas middle and high schools, they have to answer the following questions:  When was your first menstrual period? When was your most recent? How many periods have you had in the past year? Before they can play, they are required to submit a pre-participation physical evaluation and medical history form, signed by a physician, which would reveal health issues that could adversely affect an athlete on the field. How does one’s first period affect a home run or a three-point shot? It doesn’t. Unless, of course, the reason for the question is to reveal one’s gender, not one’s health status. How this information is stored and shared is another concern for students and their parents, especially in states where access to reproductive health care is difficult, or where questions around sexuality or gender identity can have significant repercussions. Like Texas, where a 2022 law bars transgender student-athletes from competing on teams that align with their gender identity. So why is the onset of one’s menstrual cycle important to anyone outside the family? It isn’t, unless it ‘outs’ transgender student-athletes, even though there are legal obstacles already in place.

Greg Abbott wants us to believe that everything he does is designed to “save the children.” To that end, he did not mandate vaccinations or masks during an international health crisis; he guarantees a generation of uneducated students by banning books, CRT, and critical thinking from his uninformed, politicized perspective; he oversees a state that ranks 50th in baby wellness, clinical care for infants, and uninsured women; 46th in child hunger; 44th in school funding/child; and 43rd in maternal mortality. He insists he’s pro-life; yet he administers some of the most lax gun ‘control’ legislation in the country, including ‘campus carry’ and ‘open carry’ laws, but he did not champion any gun reform after Sutherland Springs, El Paso, Santa Fe, or even Uvalde.

Abbott said Uvalde “could’ve been worse.”

Now that he’s been re-elected, it will be.

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