In its platform, the Republican Party asserts the sanctity of human life and affirms that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. Well that’s fine and dandy. But what about children who are not unborn? What about the ones who are already born? Do they have a right to life too? What about those with Dravet’s syndrome or some other form of severe intractable epilepsy?
When Republican legislators use their legislative powers to prevent Oklahoma parents from accessing potentially life-saving medicine for their children that has been proven to significantly reduce seizures without the organ damaging side effects of synthetic pharmaceutical drugs, I don’t believe they can continue to call themselves pro-life with any credibility.
A case in point was the recent blocking of the medicinal cannabis bill by “conservative” senator Dan Newberry-R. Once he effectively killed the bill, he claimed that his rationale for doing so was that he did not have enough information on the benefits of medicinal cannabis.
Not enough information? Really? Because I and numerous others visited with him personally, phoned his office, and wrote emails. We sent him information on studies. Two hearings were held at the Capitol where he could have, had he chosen to attend, heard expert testimony from neurologists, parents of patients, desperate parents trapped in Oklahoma by insidious government–created rules, and law enforcement all in support of allowing people in Oklahoma access to CBD oil (a strain of cannabis that does not have psychoactive properties). The information Newberry sought was right there, but he chose not to act on it.
Instead, Newberry killed the bill and immediately released a fundraising email touting his anti-cannabis position. The mailer featured a photo of a healthy child standing in front of an American flag with her hands held in the praying position. I hope his constituents see past this jingoist pandering and understand that this man was the one person who stood firm between desperate Oklahoma families and the medicine they need to save their children. That’s not pro-life.
If you don’t like the laws around here, you can just leave.
In order to save their child’s life, one of the families who testified at the Capitol will have to physically split up in order for some in the family to move to Colorado to seek treatment for one of the children. Because the father is currently serving our country in the armed forces, he is not allowed to leave Oklahoma where he is now stationed. It’s a complicated situation. But hey, this is America and you are free. As conservative Republican A.J. Griffith stated on Oklahoma City Channel 9’s “Your Vote Counts” in response to the issue of cannabis:
“The good thing about federalism and this republic that we live in, if you don’t like the laws of the state that you’re in, you don’t have to ask the permission of the government. You can MOVE at your own free will. Colorado is the place to go if you’re wanting to live under those laws.”
Really? I appreciate Griffith’s conveniently timed understanding of federalism, but “you can move”? That’s not the way it is working out in reality for many families. If these senators would have taken the time to listen to the actual families, they would have heard firsthand that families are literally being split up in order to try to save their children’s lives. I don’t know how that kind of thinking passes for pro-family conservatism.
Is Oklahoma’s current policy on cannabis so sacred that we exalt it higher than we do our support for actual life and families? And why should anyone have to move to exercise a God-given natural right? Why can’t the state of Oklahoma be a reasonable, compassionate place rather than a place where these “pro-life,” “pro-family” legislators use legislation as a source of violence against people with a sick family member should they attempt to acquire oil extracted from a certain plant?
The Republican Party should take the moral position on the issue of medicinal CBD oil, full-spectrum medicinal cannabis, and industrial hemp as well as support the unshackling of adult individuals from micromanaging nanny-state bureaucrats and allow them to exercise personal responsibility and freedom in peace.
It is time for the Republican Party to align its policies affecting life, liberty, family, and economic freedom with its rhetoric. These words – life, liberty, family, economic freedom – are dear to people and should be taken seriously by elected officials, not relegated to mere campaign slogans.
Ah, look what I found when I read further into the Party Platform: “We oppose the non-consensual withholding or withdrawal of care or treatment, including food and water, from people with disabilities, including newborns, as well as the elderly and infirm, just as we oppose active and passive euthanasia and assisted suicide.” Yes! I agree with that. It is immoral to withhold treatment from sick people. So now, are conservative Republicans in Oklahoma going to start holding wayward elected officials to the party platform? If they are consistent in their beliefs they will.
“Pro-life” is so much more than using the legislative process to prevent frightened teenage girls from making a decision that will haunt them for the rest of their lives. It is about supporting life at all stages. “Pro-family” is more than inserting the almighty government into the marriage issue. Ignorance and obstinacy can be deadly. Conservatives, Republicans…it’s just better to err on the side of life.