Suzy Foss tried her darnedest in a recent letter to convince us it was her good morals and/or religion that mandated her to refuse Title X funds and thus close the Family Planning Clinic. She also talked of some apparently constitutional right of parents to be notified if their child (minor) seeks healthcare of any kind. Unfortunately her arguments are about 95% wrong.
How is Commissioner Foss “right”? I believe, in her mind, that her “morals” do tell her that it’s somehow wrong for a minor to get treatment without notification. Problem is, her moral reasoning is misguided and shortsighted, and does not rest on any legal footing. Indeed, there is no constitutional right or any law that requires parental notification. Under the US Constitution, as interpreted by the US Supreme Court, there does exist a minor’s right to seek/receive medical treatment without their parent(s) being notified as a prerequisite. So Foss’ legal reasoning is wrong constitutionally. Ditto for Commissioner Jeff Burrows. I thought as public officeholders the commissioners swore to uphold the constitution? Apparently she and Jeff feel they can pick and choose what laws, or what part of the constitution, they want to follow or uphold. So much for swearing oaths or the sanctity of our US Constitution.
Commissioner Foss states her morals (though she seems to sadly get morals and religion confused repeatedly) require her to deny the funds and promptly close the clinic. First, you have to question the integrity and consistency of her morals given she accepted the same federal funds last year. What changed her moral foundation over the last year? How does one so morally principled flip on a dime? (Suzy: You had it right last year.)
Second, and this is really disturbing: How is denying services to adults—cancer screenings, counseling, family planning, and STD screenings—morally right to Suzy Foss? The simple truth is that it’s unquestionably immoral for Foss to deny these services to the many, many adults who require them. Denying these crucial services will result in more disease and broken families. Probably 75% of the 400+ patients of the Family Planning Clinic are of adult age. Is it “moral” to Foss that her vote will undeniably result in more unwanted children and increased abortions? How about missed cervical cancer and possible cancer deaths? Is that “morally” right? What about the sanctity of life, Commissioner Foss? Exactly what morals are you bringing into the Commissioners’ office and fighting for?
Let’s take the morality of denying the same services to minors who have parental notification. How does Suzy justify the untreated STD and resultant sterility of the young woman who was prevented from getting screened/treated at the clinic? How does Foss explain to those loving, involved, and notified parents that it was the good moral choice to close down the clinic and have that daughter denied the grace of having a beautiful child, all because there’s a handful (literally) of minors who legally, and within the rights of our constitution, received treatment without parental notification?
Commissioner Foss may truly believe her morals tell her it’s wrong for parents not to be notified when their child seeks medical treatment. But Foss must see that she’s immorally harming all the clinic’s users, not just the few that she bases her whole decision on. Her human morals and Christian faith must tell her it’s wrong to harm everyone, just to make an example of a few unfortunate minors who likely have legitimate reasons for getting help without their parent’s involvement.
In the end Foss’ moral argument for closing the clinic falls short and is morally indefensible. Valley residents know it. She tried to base her decision on her morals, but she couldn’t see the big moral picture, only a misguided sliver. The result is that many of our neighbors, friends, and valley citizens of limited means will suffer unbearably.
Commissioner Foss, the answer is simple: The consistent, high ground moral position, backed by our beloved US Constitution, is to take the money, re-open the clinic, and let everyone who needs medical attention be seen, be they adults or minors.