Saturday, March 03, 2007

Senator Henry Dismisses Complaints About Campfield's Death Certificates Bill

Last month, I used NARAL's action form to contact my state Senator, Douglas Henry (a Nashville Democrat), regarding Stacey Campfield's proposed legislation to issue death certificates in abortion [SB1094 by Bunch in the Senate, HB0982 by Campfield in the House]. The letter pointed out that Tennessee already collects abortion statistics, and that serious privacy concerns are involved. I have already discussed my concerns about the bill, and Campfield's immature and unresponsive actions with regards to criticism of this legislation. Today, I received the following letter from Senator Henry (a member of the Senate's Health and Human Resources committee), which similarly addresses none of the concrete concerns raised regarding this bill:
March 1, 2007
Dear Constituent:

Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding Senate Bill 1094. It has always seemed to me that one's viewpoint on unborn children depends on whether one views the matter from the standpoint of the child on one hand, or from the standpoint of the unwilling prospective mother on the other hand. There are certainly strong arguments in favor of the unwilling prospective mother, but I decided long ago that I would come down in favor of the child. Appreciating your having written,

I remain,

Very truly yours,
Douglas Henry
Let's be absolutely clear. In addition to the question of whether Campfield understands the implications of his own proposal and/or is being honest or mature about it, Campfield's bill does nothing to reduce unwanted pregnancy. It does nothing to provide access to or information about contraception or related health services such as prenatal care. It does nothing to provide the kinds of support women need to successfully carry a pregnancy to term and raise a subsequent child. What it does is create an additional means of bullying, shaming, and potentially endangering women who, for whatever reason, find it necessary to seek out a legal abortion. Receiving a pithy talking points memo from Henry as a response, one that does nothing to address the legitimate concerns about this bill, is an insulting demonstration of how unwilling certain Tennessee legislators are to appropriately respond to constituents and engage in meaningful discussion of proposed legislation that could profoundly affect women's (and constituents') lives.

Note: I don't have a scanner at home, but if anyone would like to see proof of Henry's statements, I will be happy to access one and provide it.

Update: Bob Krumm, who was defeated by Henry in a recent election, responds to my post here. What Krumm fails to recognize is that it doesn't bother me if Henry sent the same form letter to everyone writing to him on the bill. What bothers me is that his letter did not substantially respond to any of the legitimate concerns raised regarding this piece of legislation. More of my response here and here. Also, Aunt B and her commenters get it exactly right.

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4 Comments:

Blogger W said...

At least you got some response. He ignored my letter. Though my issue was less important and more personal than yours.

12:16 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

W - I'm new to the district, so maybe this was my one-off reply. I've noticed over the past year or three that I get considerably fewer responses from legislators (state and national) than I used to.

12:23 PM  
Anonymous Mack said...

I don't think he even read it. That (the response) reads like a carefully drawn up form letter to be used whenever anyone writes in about matters of Choice/No choice. Do you think an aide just "handled" this? I do.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Mack - I wouldn't be surprised if an aide handled it and/or it's a boilerplate response for all related issues, which I think demonstrates a certain lack of responsiveness that I don't appreciate.

12:36 PM  

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