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Nov 09 2011

Sudden Politics Nerd

I am about to share a letter from Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) but before I do so, I want to preface with a few things:

  1. I don’t like telling people how their politics should lay out. Don’t tell me how mine should. If we can agree on that ground rule, we can talk.
  2. I very strongly believe that even though the person in office is not the one I voted for, they still represent me and my interests. So when I write to that person, I do expect them to hear what I say and respect the gravity of their office and their civic responsibility to represent their constituents. You don’t only represent the people who voted for you.
  3. I’m sharing this letter at this time in correlation to the recent “personhood” amendment that was shot down in Mississippi yesterday. Mr. Bartlett shares similar views as to what that state amendment was trying to legislate.
  4. I do like Mr. Bartlett’s positive environmental work he has advocated. It would seem the environment is his strong suit and I would urge him, in the future, to focus on that instead.

In January, I wrote to Mr. Bartlett to express my disappointment in his co-sponsoring of H.R. 3. If you don’t want to click the link, it’s the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. To summarize, I don’t feel these issues really belong at the federal level and I felt it was an unwarranted attack on female reproductive health services. There are already laws prohibiting federal funds being used for abortions and the wording of the proposed legislation was clunky, at best, and dangerously vague at worst.

Unfortunately, I did not save the original text I had sent to Mr. Bartlett.  He sent me this charming response SIX MONTHS later:

Dear Mrs. Lathrop:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 3).  I appreciate the opportunity to respond.

I am a proud original cosponsor of this legislation. H.R. 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, was sponsored by Representative Christopher Smith (R-NJ). This bill would prohibit: (1) the expenditure of funds authorized or appropriated by federal law or funds in any trust fund to which funds are authorized or appropriated by federal law for any abortion or for health benefits coverage that includes coverage of abortion; (2) any tax benefits for amounts paid or incurred for an abortion or for a health benefits plan (including premium assistance) that includes coverage of abortion; and (3) the inclusion of abortion in any health care service furnished by a federal health care facility or by any physician or other individual employed by the federal government.

I earned Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Human Physiology.  It is inarguable that life begins when the woman becomes pregnant.  I believe that abortion is the unjustified taking of human life.  The Constitution protects the freedom of the people to express their moral and religious views and their right to life.  I will continue to work to uphold the Constitution and protect the right to life.  I will also continue to work to restore the value of human life and fight for the rights of unborn members of the human family.

Thank you for contacting my office.  I hope you will continue to keep me informed on federal issues that are important to you.  In the meantime, I encourage you to visit my website http://www.house.gov/bartlett where you can sign up to receive e-mail updates regarding my legislative activity.  It is a privilege to serve you in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Sincerely, Roscoe Bartlett
Member of Congress

A brief summary of my opinions on his response:

  1. Thanks, Mr. Bartlett, for summarizing the bill I wrote to you about. I think I knew what the text of the legislation included when I wrote you, otherwise, I wouldn’t have bothered.
  2. Life begins at conception? “Inarguable”? Watch me. First, there must be agreement on the definition of “life” and already I see that he and I have VASTLY different ideas of that definition. A fertilized egg cannot survive outside the womb. Therefore, it cannot live, so it is not yet alive. And really, that’s where I’m going to leave it.
  3. I apologize that I don’t have a fancy degree in Human Physiology. How nice to throw your education in my face as assertion of your “rightness.” Why do I feel like I got “mansplained” at?
  4. Claiming to have Science as your support but then instead backing up your opinion with rhetoric about the Constitution and Religion is an affront to Science.
  5. Whether or not to bring another person into the world is a personal choice to be made by a limited circle of people and the Federal Government is not on that guest list. Listen to me very carefully when I say this: BUTT. OUT.
  6. I do not argue your right to express your religious views. Go on with your bad self. I do, however, argue the right of anyone to impose their own moral or religious views on others via legislation. There’s expressing your views and opinions and then there’s writing laws saying, “My views and opinions supersede yours. My religion says I’m right and you’re wrong.”
  7. Mr. Bartlett, you really, truly and honestly lost when you fully admitted to your dedication to a personal crusade while fulfilling the duties of elected office. That’s not your job. Your job is to fight for and represent your constituents. As one of those, I’d much prefer you pay more attention to the needs and requests of the existing ones rather than the hypothetical-not-yet-born ones. Thanks.

Maybe I’m just taking crazy pills. Maybe my ideas for the way our representatives are supposed to work is completely backwards. But if I’m right. And they’re doing everything all wrong. Then the loud yelling of the crazypeople has won. And we’re all doomed.

About the author

Jess

Jessica Lathrop is a big nerd, originally from Virginia, and transplanted to the boonies of Western Maryland.

2 comments

  1. Kat

    This, this, a thousand times this. Thumbs up.

  2. Dr jebus

    I have a glimmer of hope. That glimmer of hope is the voice in my head that says “surely, all members of our House of Representatives are not completely oblivious to their job description.”

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