Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Feast of Saint Gwen

(Lucky you, 3 posts from me in one day! LOL)

Here is just another reason why you should know what you are voting on. Missouri has another amendment up for vote, that is well worth mentioning - Amendment 3, the Tobacco Tax Initiative. I have seen the "Vote No ads", but all they mention is the higher tax on tobacco, and that people will just get their tobacco out of state, therefore lost revenue for the State. But there is much more to this! What the following article does not mention, is that some of this money could go to cloning (or what the proponents term as SCNT - same thing).

Here is more info from Missouri Right to Life -

Vote “NO” on the Tobacco Tax Initiative (Amendment 3)

For pro-life reasons, social justice, and moral common sense, the tobacco tax initiative should be defeated.

The proposed constitutional amendment to tax tobacco products in order to raise money for health care poses significant problems for pro-life citizens. The most serious is that the initiative fails to contain any language preventing the money from being used for abortion and abortion referrals.

It is expected that the Tobacco Tax Initiative will raise as much as $500 million per year in new funds. The funds will be split among several categories of uses, including a large percentage for “medically necessary health care services for individuals with incomes that are 200% or less of the federal poverty guidelines.” The federal courts have ruled that all “medically necessary” procedures, including abortion, that are performed within a given practice setting funded by Medicaid (e.g., outpatient services, inpatient surgeries, ambulatory surgeries), must be paid for unless the Hyde Amendment prohibits them. Missouri courts often follow federal interpretations of a legal term. The Initiative says that its funds shall pay, among other things, for “medically necessary services” for eligible persons. Planned Parenthood may well see an opportunity and apply to get some of that money.

Not surprisingly, abortionists always consider abortion to be “medically necessary.” In 1997, Dr. Warren Hern, the abortionist who wrote the leading medical textbook on abortion procedures, stated, “I will certify that any pregnancy is a threat to a woman’s life and could cause grievous injury to her physical health.” Once a procedure is certified as “medically necessary” by the abortion doctor, it may become practically impossible to challenge its eligibility for payment by the state government. Missouri courts are likely to hold that the Initiative money must pay Planned Parenthood for all “medically necessary” abortions.

If the initiative passes but citizens are lucky, the state will apply to have the tobacco tax revenues approved by the federal government for the state’s Medicaid plan. If the money becomes Medicaid money, then the long-standing Hyde Amendment will apply, and most abortions will no longer be covered by the tobacco taxes. How many lives will be lost until such federal approval is sought and obtained?How long will it take? Will approval ever be granted? No one knows.

Furthermore, it is not just abortion that is a problem here. Other moral principles are offended by the initiative.

The tobacco tax would be a regressive tax that would hurt ordinary folks far more than other people because the cost of cigarettes is proportionally a greater part of their monthly budget. Even worse, the health care system of the state would become dependent on Tobacco Tax revenues. Funding health care would appear to be the main goal of the initiative, since 17.5% of the money is earmarked for programs to reduce the use of tobacco, while 82.5% goes to health care. Either the state is serious about reducing tobacco use, or it is not. If it is, is it sensible to make the health care system dependent on a major source of revenue that will dry up if anti-smoking efforts are successful? And if the state is not serious about anti-smoking efforts, then it will be forced to become a hypocrite. Obviously, no matter how much the State officially discourages tobacco use, the last thing it will actually want is for tobacco use, and the money it generates for the health care system, to be substantially reduced. It is wrong to enact hypocrisy as official state policy.

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