To the Editor:
Is it just me, or does anyone else think it’s more than a little ironic that House Republicans are portraying themselves as champions of choice – when it comes to purchasing light bulbs! A recent story in the Camera described a failed attempt by the House GOP to repeal federal energy standards. The “right to choose” an inefficient incandescent light bulb has become a high-profile issue among those who see the regulations as an example of government overreach.
Rep. Michele Bachmann told campaign supporters, “President Bachmann will allow you to buy any light bulb you want.” Sen. Jim DeMint described the energy regulations as “just another government intrusion in our lives.” My favorite, though, is from light bulb bill sponsor Rep. Joe Barton. “This is about more than just energy consumption, it is about personal freedom,” he said. “Voters sent us a message in November that it is time for politicians and activists in Washington to stop interfering in their lives . . .”
Wow. Apparently this freedom from government interference applies only to light bulbs and not to the much more significant and personal decisions that women and families make. Are you a low-income person who wants to get an annual exam, Pap test and breast cancer screening at your local Planned Parenthood? Sorry! Not on the government-approved list of medical providers (if the House GOP has their way). Or maybe you’re facing a problem pregnancy and trying to decide what course is best for you and your family? Your congressperson will be right in to make that choice for you!
Standing up for the right to choose light bulbs while at the same time restricting reproductive choice is so absurd that it would actually be funny if the consequences were not so serious, and the impact so detrimental, to the health and autonomy of American women and families.