Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunday roundup and branding, the Gazette, and beyond...

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Liferope to the Stockgrowers?: The governor now has said that he isn't going to pursue a split-state solution to the brucellosis problem. Given the fact that the Board of Livestock that he has stacked over the last few years bowed to reality and voted overwhelmingly, as we discussed last week, to reject that "solution," this is a good idea.

He is still pretty unhappy that he was out-maneuvered by the Stockgrowers Association:

"We threw them a life rope," he said. "They said 'We don't want any life ropes.' That's what their position is."

Right. That's exactly what they said. We appreciate the governor trying so manfully to see the other point of view.

Errol Rice of the Stockgrowers Association was more measured in how he described the plan he and the Association opposed:

Rice said he didn't see the proposal as a lifeline, but rather as a step backward.

Now, the Board of Livestock needs to get after the job of putting pressure on the federal government to clean up the reservoir of infection in Yellowstone National Park.

The AP article states that "...another livestock group, the Montana Cattlemen's Association, had urged that Schweitzer's idea be pursued."

Well, yes, but as we have noted before, the governor, alone among major Democratic politicians in the state, has seemed to make a point of snubbing the Stockgrowers, failing to attend their last convention. And there is reason to wonder if the leadership of the MCA right now might be less interested in the cattle industry and its members than in supporting the Democratic party.

Sarpy Sam recently commented anecdotally about many MCA rank-and-file members he knows opposing the split-state plan. To be fair, the Stockgrowers probably had some members who were open to the split-state plan, but in our own informal survey of MSA members we know, we haven't encountered any.

That didn't take long, did it?: We stated yesterday that with Bill Kennedy dropping out of the House race, the Democratic party has a deep enough bench that we wouldn't need to worry about whether they would rapidly put someone into his place to run against Rep. Rehberg.

The ink was barely dry on Kennedy's letter to his supporters announcing his withdrawal from the race before state legislator Dave Wanzenried of Missoula was being discussed as a likely replacement -- along with other names.

One thing that none of the names discussed have, so far, is a Yellowstone County connection.

Kennedy did bring to the table the fact that he has won two county-wide races for County Commissioner in Yellowstone County, and thus might have been able to cut somewhat into the vote in Rehberg's hometown. He wouldn't have cut into it much, but if something unexpected happened to make the race a close one, it might have played a role.

Incendiary indeed, but she very much has a point: When the 4&20 BB post title calling Rep. Rick Jore a "panty sniffer" came up on the lefty blogwire, it got ignored around the MH office out of general principle. But when time came to make a comment on Rep. Rick Jore's proposed ballot initiative to declare personhood starting at fertilization, we thought we'd take a look.

Lo and behold, some of the very points we were going to make about that initiative had been written already -- albeit from, shall we say, a slightly different perspective.

Let us be clear -- MH is unapologetically pro-life or anti-abortion or whatever you want to call it. The Judaeo-Christian tradition, for those who want to follow it, has long been clear that abortion is wrong, and Western law has reflected the moral view of that tradition regarding abortion since the Roman Empire was Christianized.

Yes, abortion has always been practiced, but so has murder and theft, but that is no reason to take laws against such things off the books. It is a very recent legal phenomenon for abortion to be legal under any and all circumstances.

But the reality is that Rep. Jore's initiative, because of its wording and lack of exceptions, is vulnerable for precisely the reasons the 4&20 BB post points out. We make no claims to being developmental biologists around here, but as best we understand it, in certain circumstances, even "standard" birth-control pills can work by preventing implantation -- in other words, while BCP's usually work by preventing ovulation, sometimes ovulation can still happen, but even if it does, and even if fertilization takes place, the uterine environment is such that implantation can't take place.

Strictly speaking, a BCP can, therefore, act as an abortifacient -- and this isn't just talking about the "morning-after pill" or intentional oral abortifacients. Granted, this is not the intent of a BCP, and for most this would be a crucial distinction that would make them morally acceptable where procedures or agents that intend to destroy an embryo or fetus are not.

Still, the bottom line is that given the widespread use and acceptance of BCP's among most Montanans who oppose abortion, this could work against what Jore is trying to do, and it could do so on one of two levels.

One level would be a head-on campaign against the measure by abortion supporters by portraying it as a measure that would outlaw BCP's -- a sure-fire way to have it be defeated soundly.

Another approach would be to let it pass -- and then immediately file suit to have it struck down in the courts on the grounds that it would deny access to oral contraceptives.

In either case, wasted effort, distraction, and a political loss.

Jore would be better advised to propose an initiative similar to that proposed in neighboring South Dakota, specifically banning abortion procedures (and possibly intentional oral abortifacients,) and making specific exceptions for the life and physical health of the mother, etc.

No matter how one looks at it, this Jore ballot initiative has "fatally flawed" written all over it.


Rebecca said...

Well, we do not agree and yet we agree. Strange how the extremes make everyone else come together, eh?

Montana Headlines said...

Yes, indeed.

As much as anything, I think we would agree on the need for clarity on what is actually being decided.