Marita Vargas
The end of choice and the "choice" of ends
By Marita Vargas
August 13, 2009

President Barack Obama famously claimed that knowing when life began was above his pay grade.[1] That was when he was a presidential candidate talking about babies in the womb — though any random G-1 could have told him the facts of life. Now, in a strange twist of fate, his pay raise as president seems to have endowed him with the ability to tell when life ends.

Life ends when the government runs out of money to spend on health care — yours, mine and ours. And the president's deathly omniscience owes its potency not so much to his pay grade as to his killer charm — but then any overlord ordering a hit would know the hour of his intended victim's death.

Our man in the Oval Office will use a cost-benefit approach to help him ascertain when the last exit visas of Americans should be stamped with the Presidential Seal of Approval. In a perfect reversal of the private sector, the government will not cut costs by adding new clients, but by bumping off old ones.

Our president's brand of omniscience will be neatly deputed to an army of bureaucrats. You have only to read pages 425-430 of the Health Reform Bill to see what I mean. And please keep in mind that unlike our representatives, I have taken the time to check out the legal ramifications of this bill, compliments of Liberty Counsel. Of course, the real key is noting how socialized medicine has worked in the nations that have already adopted it.

The bill would turn mid-level apparatchiks into advance care planners (ACP's) with a bias toward palliative care and hospice services. These angels of "mercy" would begin consulting with you about your final days after you hit age 65. And you thought 60 was the new 40.

Undoubtedly, the elderly will be given their choice of poison, choice being such a sacrosanct notion to those behind the Obama revolution. But that is where choice stops (not to mention sacrosanct thinking). Dozens of social commentators saw this day coming.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver saw it coming.[2] In the early days of the abortion debate she feared America would become a "cold" society. What would you call a society, for example, that is unwelcoming to Down Syndrome babies? So unwelcoming that it is okay for mainstream pundits to disparage a woman who has given life to such a baby — even if it was her choice, even if her choice creates a burden for no one, even if she is a prominent politician. You see she was supposed to have killed the little fellow in utero with the complicity of the medical establishment. That's efficiency! Gee, what other efficiency-minded, recent regime had it in for Down Syndrome babies? I seem to remember that it was fond of euthanasia too.

Would you find a society cold that exported abortion on a worldwide scale, connived in the draconian population control measures of such countries as China and Mexico, and gave millions of tax dollars to abortion providers who are fond of placing clinics in African-American and Latino neighborhoods? Or put another way, how many future Obamas and Sotomayors do we have to sacrifice to feel fully free? Do you think, eventually, our society's liberty might be at risk? Can a society based on ", liberty and the pursuit of happiness..." really break-up the triad and hope to survive?

There are provisions in the Health Care Bill that hint at an answer to these questions. The bill would lift restrictions on Medicare funded abortions. Evidently many, many more of the minority poor must be denied the right to see the light of day. If they don't die the political elite in this country will never succeed in turning our country into an utopia. Are you still calling this liberty or do you want to differentiate yourself from Ruth Bader Ginsburg?[3]

It does not take too much thinking to realize that any of the shadow rights, the death rights, from abortion to assisted suicide, must inevitably become not rights but obligations. They do not involve the free choices of individuals so much as the orchestrated choices of the state, a state operating at growing power.

When these "rights" are treated in the least restrictive manner by the courts, the lawmakers and the police, they become an end in themselves. Government counselors will help women and girls and the elderly make the right choice. While someone urging you to end your life (or your baby's or your mother's) would be merely horrifying or absurd, the government urging you to do so would be coercive and irresistible.

What else would you call it when under Section 1401 of the bill, a Center for Comparative Effectiveness Research would determine whether you would be allowed a particular treatment based on its cost and your projected longevity? How would you feel if such decisions involved a beloved spouse, child or parent? Would you feel like singing the Star-Spangled Banner?

Would you feel that your choice was violated in a program that is designed to become a monopoly? Would you scream in indignation when your checking account was raided to pay for your "free" government health care? Would you bristle at the thought that your privacy rights were ignored by a system that allowed for the widespread collection and dissemination of your personal health records? Would you comfort yourself with the thought that at least Chris Matthews will not think you are a racist? (See Paragraph 9 above and rethink this one.)

A blithe disregard for life will always give rise to coercive laws. Law can only be protective of true rights or protective of raw might. There is no middle ground. Tyrannies begin with the imposition of heinous and burdensome laws. Their rise is always accompanied by warnings that are rarely heeded. Their demise comes about only through great suffering of the people. The reinstitution of freedom is never easy; its reinstitution is never guaranteed.


[1]  "Well, you know, I think that whether you're looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade." Senator Barack Obama at Saddleback Church, August 16, 2008.

[2]  Leamer, Laurence. The Kennedy Women The Saga of an American Family. (Random House, New York) 1994.

[3]  "Yes, the ruling about that surprised me. [Harris v. McRae — in 1980 the court upheld the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of Medicaid for abortions.] Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don't want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. Which some people felt would risk coercing women into having abortions when they didn't really want them. But when the court decided McRae, the case came out the other way. And then I realized that my perception of it had been altogether wrong." Bazelon, Emily. "The Place of Women on the Court," New York Times Magazine. July 7, 2009.

Though everyone has weighed in on this one, it shows: 1) The implications of Roe are clear to interested observers; 2) Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is not up to admitting that the over population alarmists were wrong and so is the law they applaud; 3) She has not named who "populations that we don't want to have too many of" are. However a racial breakdown of those on Medicaid would be enlightening.

© Marita Vargas


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Marita Vargas

Marita Vargas believes in freedom of speech and in civil discourse. Because for decades the American people have been silenced, intimidated, and poorly informed, they are in danger of losing their freedoms for the simple reason that they rarely discuss the underlying reasons for the current state of affairs. She can be reached at


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