How much is a politician required to disclose about their “platform”?

The North Carolina Women’s Right to Know Act, which, passed this summer, places inhibitive barriers on a woman’s right to choose may be overturned by a lawsuit filed Thursday.  The ACLU and other groups assert that by requiring doctors to follow a script created by the legislature when discussing the issue of abortion with their patients, the law violates the doctor’s First Amendment Right to Free Speech.

In an AP article discussing the lawsuit, the chief sponsor of the law, Republican Ruth Samuelson of Mecklenburg County (who incidentally represents the district where I grew up in Charlotte) asserts that this law is just trying to make abortions “safer” for women, despite the fact that the risk of serious physical complications in an abortion is indeed less than in childbirth,* and that the risk of psychological harm is similarly mythologized.

Knowing that the safety of women was really not Ruth Samuelson’s concern, I tried to track down her statements regarding abortion.

If you’re going around sponsoring laws that have incredibly substantial impacts on peoples lives and dedicating your political capital to that issue, you would think you might mention it on your website right?

Apparently not!

On her website, Samuelson explains divides up her stances on the “issues” into four categories: “Our Economy,” “Our Environment,”** “Education and Our Children” and “Our Community.”

The extent of her stance on abortion is tucked into “Education and Our Children:”

I also believe that life begins at conception.  As an adoptive parent and foster parent, along with two biological children, I understand that there are alternatives to abortion that protect and provide for children conceived in difficult circumstances. Government should facilitate these lifesaving options and refrain from funding abortions.

If you are going to be the lead sponsor of legislation that makes aboriton considerable more cumbersome and meaningfully more expensive, I think your constituents are entitled to know exactly where you stand.  Your constituents deserve to know:

  • That you want women to have to have ultrasounds performed when they get abortions, adding hundreds of dollars to the cost of the procedure
  • That you want the procedure to be extended in length by a day by requiring women to get counseling the day beforehand
  • That you want to have women read materials written by politicians who have a vested interest in trying to increase the frequency of abortions, instead of by medical professionals who are professionally dedicated to providing high quality healthcare
When she claims that “I don’t believe in a government run healthcare system,” it would stand to reason that her constituents don’t think that she wants to get in the way of the conversations happpening between physicians and their patients.
Politics shouldn’t be a bait-and-switch.    Samuelson, and a lot of conservative politicians are really misleading voters, when she and others throw out phrases like “the issue of job creation, however, remains our top priority”
With all the energy the NC General Asssembly has thrown into social issues in the last year, the politicians leading the charge on this need to be more upfront with their voters about where their priorities really lie.  Even on Duke’s campus, political groups that will be privately advocating for the passage of the marriage amendment need to be upfront with their fellow students that they want to vote to take away rights.
If you believe so highly in your owe value set that you’re willing to impose it on me, you owe it to me to be honest about it.

* By a factor of 10

** Interesting observation: Samuelson’s environmental record is not half bad!

Published by Elena Botella

Elena Botella is a Duke Undergraduate in the Class of 2013, majoring in Economics and Math.

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