From Sarah 01/29/19 – Mainly Reproductive and Healthcare Questions

Do you support DACA? 100%, I personally don’t think the law goes far enough and protections and benefits need to be extended to parents as well as kids.  

Should the city council work to close Richfield’s Planned Parenthood?  No.  They are a valuable healthcare resource for our community.  Richfield’s Planned Parenthood is a woman’s health clinic that does not provide abortions, they also provide valuable services to our schools to educate teens on pregnancy.  There should be no controversy with them operating here.

Should there be a ban on taxpayer funding for abortions?  This is already banned federally and I think statewide as well.  I understand that some religious organizations would say that any funding given to Planned Parenthood, for women’s health educational programs, for instance, is used to fund abortions secondarily.  If proper accounting practices are followed to ensure federal or state funds don’t make it into their abortion cost centers, I think this recognizes the concerns of anti-abortion advocates while also allowing state support for those programs we do want to see implemented and grow.  I think abortions should be rare and healthcare should be accessible.  It is a legal medical procedure that is important for the health of mothers so I have no personal problem with taxpayer monies being used to fund abortions, especially in cases of non-consensual sex.  I understand this is controversial for some though and am always open to hearing from all sides about how their tax money is spent.  

Do you support legislation that protects the lives of the unborn?  No.  While I recognize that an embryo is human life, I cannot weigh the value of an unborn human over that of a living, breathing human with connections to family and community.  Most pregnancies end in natural miscarriage, so embryos are ejected from humans every day.  If a medical procedure does the same thing safely, I see no harm or ethical conundrum.  There is often a complex web of decision-making that goes through a woman’s brain when they decide to have an abortion.  I have friends and family who have endured that process for the health of the mom with cancer, the health of a mom who thought she was done with menopause, and a young boyfriend and girlfriend whose birth control failed.  I wouldn’t wish the choice on anyone.  It can be difficult and the decision often interacts with our deepest held beliefs.  I don’t believe that government should have a right to interfere with those complex decisions and personal beliefs.  I fully support legislation that protects the lives of the born though.  They are more important to me and where I wish to spend my time in policy-making.

Should assisted suicide and euthanasia remain illegal in Minnesota?  I believe in compassionate care and think that assisted suicide or euthanasia should be a patient’s free choice, especially in cases of terminal illness or late life.  We let our pets die with dignity, it seems only right to let us make the same choice to decide when we wish to leave our time here.  

Should the state ban human cloning and embryonic stem cell research?  I am against some forms of human cloning for research purposes.  I think this is generally well-protected and correctly judged through ethics boards, IRB’s, etc.  I am not against embryonic stem cell research if the embryos are frozen and to be discarded from reproduction therapies.

Should marriage be defined as one man and one woman?  No.  Marriage must be allowed between any two consenting individuals.  Legislation and books of ethical and religious canon cannot control the biology of whom we are sexually attracted to or love and should not mandate who someone is able to spend the rest of their lives with.  Because marriage affords legal rights to couples in this country, then we must ensure that everyone who wishes to partner with another for life has that opportunity, otherwise it is legal discrimination.

Do you agree with the Supreme Court’s decision to rule in favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop?  No.  I don’t believe businesses should have the same rights as people.  A corporation is a public entity, licensed by the state, and would not exist without the state.  As such it should have basic requirements they need to meet in order to operate in the public sphere.  That should mean that if the state has a ban on discrimination against certain individuals then businesses should be required to serve those people equally. There are some business types that are allowed to discriminate, such as private clubs or churches.  If Masterpiece Cakeshop wanted to set up a christian cake club where they admitted christian only members and only provided cakes to heterosexual couples that were part of their club, that would be their perogative and I would have no problem with it. If they wanted to be a church, where members prayed over cakes and gave them only to church members, I would have no problem with it.  But they chose to be a public corporation and should fulfill the requirements necessary to operate in the public sphere — treat everyone the same. 

Should employers and religious organizations be exempt from offering health plans which include contraception, sterilizations and abortifacients?  See my answer above.  Healthcare should be accessible to all and we had a law in this country concerning the basic requirements of all health plans.  That included some of what you are raising here and was good policy for reducing unintended pregnancy.  If a religious organization or private club has that rule for sound scientific and ethical reasons to protect the lives of viable babies I am not against it.  If it is made to legislate that a woman’s body must be as fertile as possible at all times, which is what I think these blanket policies are about, then I don’t agree with it.  Whether a woman gets pregnant or not is too often not her choice, but it is always the choice of the man.  We need to allow it to be her choice as much as his.

Do you support healthcare that is affordable and accessible for everyone?  Yes.