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Government overreach needs to end

Most Americans probably want less government intrusion in their lives. Many government officials, particularly Republicans, campaign on such freedoms.

Why, then, are so many elected leaders suddenly moving in the opposite direction, attempting to gain control of our lives?

Let’s start with the hot topic of the day.

Americans opposing abortion were thrilled when the U.S. Supreme Court last month issued a landmark decision overruling Roe v. Wade, which had established a nationwide right to abortion in every state.

Multiple explanations — many from conservatives — on what the ruling meant were clear. The opinion didn’t necessarily eliminate a woman’s right to an abortion. Instead, legality of abortions now would be deferred to individual states. That would give voters an important opportunity to speak on the topic at the polls.

Ohio was among the states with a trigger law that immediately removed most women’s abilities to terminate pregnancy.

And now, even more restrictive Ohio legislation is in the works.

This is where my blood pressure starts to go up.

To be clear, this column is not about abortion, nor about my opinion on the topic. Rather, this is about government overreach.

You see, many Ohio lawmakers aren’t satisfied to simply establish laws prohibiting abortions from being performed in their state. If that were the case, many Ohioans probably could accept that and understand the law of the land in Ohio. If it were that simple, women still could maintain opportunities to travel out of state for a medical procedure, if that is the path they chose.

Instead, conservatives — those who frequently argue against government intrusion into Americans’ lives — somehow now think it should be OK for them to place even more draconian controls on pregnant women.

House Bill 598, an almost total abortion ban introduced in March by state Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Loveland, contains no exceptions for rape or incest. If it passes, it will allow abortions only when the life of the mother is in danger under limited circumstances.

But that’s not where it ends.

Schmidt has suggested that companies helping their workers seek abortions out of state also could face legal repercussions under a provision making “promoting abortion” illegal.

And in other states, some Republicans are examining ways to prevent women from even traveling out of state to obtain abortion services.

Apparently, some state legislators aren’t satisfied with making laws governing activities that occur in their own states. Now, they also are working to find ways to keep women from traveling to states where these actions still remain legal.

Such vast government overreach is outrageous. And it’s dangerous.

Last I checked, this was still America. This isn’t a dictatorship where residents must travel through checkpoints to leave the state. Privacy laws protecting communications between physicians and patients were enacted for a reason.

In a media interview, Schmidt also recently sounded open to the possibility of targeting women’s access to birth control.

Really? Where do we draw the line at such intrusions into Ohioans’ private lives?

Further, government overreach doesn’t stop with individuals.

Some Republicans who generally advocate for fewer regulations on industry, now are trying to control how companies operate. That move came when COVID-19 threatened the future of so many businesses.

A House Bill sponsored last year by state Rep. Al Cutrona, R-Canfield, would dictate and limit what businesses can do with their employees, particularly in relation to COVID-19 vaccines.

The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association strongly opposed the legislation, calling it an “unnecessary invasion of employer rights.”

Also on the topic of COVID-19, Florida had enacted a law prohibiting cruise ships from requiring proof of COVID vaccines. Indeed, the cruiseship business had been decimated by COVID for more than a year. In an attempt to win back customers and ensure on-board safety, cruise companies began requiring travelers to be fully vaccinated against the illness.

In signing the bill into law, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had insisted he was protecting the rights of individuals to decide about vaccinations.

But what about the companies’ rights to conduct business as they choose?

Ultimately, a federal judge dealt a blow to DeSantis and sided with the industry.

Government overreach continues to grow. Sadly, it often comes from Republican lawmakers we used to count on to fight against it.

blinert@tribtoday.com

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