If life is so sacred, then do something to help the living, like providing affordable health care

Women lobby the Alabama legislature against a restrictive abortion bill.

When Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill that gives her state the dubious honor of having the most stringent abortion legislation in the country, she invoked God in an attempt to argue in favor of her position that the state has the right to tell women what they can do with their bodies.

“Today, I signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, a bill that was approved by overwhelming majorities in both chambers of the Legislature,” Ivey said in a statement released by her office. “To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God.”

If we accept Ivey’s premise that every life is sacred, then that must include not just unborn lives but those of the 58 very real, very living people who died when fired upon while they were at a country music concert in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, 2017.

That also makes the lives of the people, mostly children, who died in the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on Dec. 14, 2012, sacred, as well.

So, too, are the lives of the estimated 45,000 people per year whose deaths are a result of a lack of health insurance.

“The uninsured have a higher risk of death when compared to the privately insured, even after taking into account socioeconomics, health behaviors, and baseline health,” said lead author Dr. Andrew Wilper, who currently teaches at the University of Washington School of Medicine, about the study published by the American Journal of Public Health. “We doctors have many new ways to prevent deaths from hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease — but only if patients can get into our offices and afford their medications.”

According to a 2017 study by The Commonwealth Fund, the U.S. spends far more and gets worse outcomes than other major economic powers.

Gov. Ivey, and legislators like her around the country who are seeking to overturn Roe v. Wade, isn’t championing Medicare for all, or universal health care, to help the residents of her state live better and healthier lives.

The United Kingdom ranked first overall as well as first in effective care, safe care, coordinated care, patient-centered care and efficiency. It was third in timeliness of care and achieved all that at a dramatically lesser cost per capita than the United States.

According to U.S. News’ public health rankings, Alabama ranks 47 of 50 overall. In the six categories used to compile the rankings — mental healh, low infant mortality rate, low mortality rate, low obesity rate, low smoking rate and low suicide rate — Alabama ranks 47th, 50th, 47th, 46th, 41st and 27th in them, respectively.

If Ivey and the legislators in Alabama cared all that much about the sanctity of the lives of their citizenry, they’d be working overtime to improve those horrendous statistics.

Ivey is also not looking to ban assault weapons or modify even in any minor way gun laws that may have to slow, though not eliminate, these mass shootings.

She does, however, want to tell women in her state what they can do with their own bodies. And if a 13-year-old girl is raped and becomes pregnant as a result of the rape, she won’t be able to get an abortion in Alabama, because a doctor who performed it would get a longer prison sentence than the man who raped her.

Of course, the majority of politicians are in the pockets of lobbyists for special interests groups, notably the gun lobby, pharmaceutical companies and health insurance companies.

Ted Cruz, the Texas senator who is hated by the vast majority of his Republican colleagues, put out a Tweet on Thursday in which he sanctimoniously said he hopes to restore a culture in this country “where every human life is respected and protected as a precious gift from God.”

Now, of course, that’s just bluster on Cruz’s part. If you want to protect life as a precious gift from God, you would want to make sure citizens were able to have access to affordable, quality health care. You certainly wouldn’t want someone to die because they couldn’t afford to pay for, say, their cancer treatments.

But in terms of access to health care, Texas falls badly short. According to U.S. News, Texas ranks 47th of 50, and would be way worse were it not for a first in child dental visits. Texas is 50th, or THE MOST EXPENSIVE STATE, in terms of health care affordability. It is also 50th, or last, in health care enrollment. And it is 41st in adult wellness visits.

The good senator could do a lot better for his state by working to improve those numbers and making quality, inexpensive health care more accessible to all Texans than the self-serving tweets he’s posting.

It’s time someone called these hypocrites on this. They’re working directly against their constituents’ best interests and doing the bidding of lobbyists, who funnel them money and keep them in office.

An astounding number of people vote against their own self interests, often without realizing they’re doing so.

Providing affordable, quality health care to all citizens and reducing the number of gun deaths will go a long way toward preserving the sanctity of life politicians such as Ivey and Cruz talk about.

They may lose the backing of lobbyists, though, and thus not win re-election. And that’s the real issue in all of this.

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