Sunday, October 17, 2010

Barb Goodwin in Her Own Words -- Part 1

The candidate's name is Barb Goodwin. She holds the DFL endorsement and would like to represent District 50 in the Minnesota State Senate. She has previous experience in the Minnesota House, representing the western portion (50A) of the district. She has a website in which she says most of the things a candidate would typically say.

There are things she doesn't put on her website, of course. Things you should know about.

Back in 2006, then-Rep. Goodwin did an interview with Marie Castle, Communications Director for Atheists for Human Rights, that appears on the Atheists For Human Rights website. The link will open the 23-minute interview in your computer's media player. If you'd prefer to read a transcript, you can read it here.

The discussion between Goodwin and Castle is on the topic of "anti-human health care." What exercises the two women is the Terry Schiavo case, in which a comatose woman had her feeding tube removed and was no longer provided hydration, at the behest of her husband and against the wishes of her parents. Goodwin felt that keeping Schiavo alive was cruel. The discussion begins about 4 minutes into the interview:

Goodwin: Well, just recently in the House we heard a bill in the Health Care Committee, which I’m on, that would require that a person get feeding tubes and hydration, whether or not they wanted it, if they didn’t have it specifically written in a health care directive that they didn’t want it. So that is a result of the Terry Schiavo case. It was brought to the House, the bill was, it was introduced by Representative Tim Wilkin, and he was, he is part of the right-wing extremists that are part of the Minnesota legislature and unfortunately the leading part of the Minnesota House of Representatives. They are in control right now and their health care legislation over the past few years have qualified for what you’ve termed, anti-human health care.

Castle: Yeah, it hurts people. Everything they suggest doesn’t help people, it hurts people, it causes pain and suffering, like it’s like the Schiavo bill, the families have no say in anything.

Goodwin: Yeah, yeah.

That the crux of the Schiavo case was the conflict among Schiavo's family members about her care doesn't seem to matter. What does matter is that people understand something that Goodwin believes to be true: that removing a feeding tube and hydration is humane. A minute or so later, Goodwin explains why, using the example of her incapacitated brother-in-law.

Goodwin: So it’s not like – a lot of people are mistaken in thinking that “I don’t want to starve, I don’t want to be thirsty.” But that’s not the situation when you’re in critical condition, your body is shutting down. When you give or force feed a body that is shutting down, that can be extremely painful.

After more discussion of the particulars of her brother-in-law's case, she sums up the reason death by dehydration is better:

Goodwin: Because the body, it’s uh, it’s a quieter way of the body dying.

Interviewer Castle, for her part, agrees with Goodwin's assessment:

Castle: This is their loved one and it doesn’t allow them to uh. . . . You know, they lie a lot, because you know I heard some of this testimony they had at the state legislature and they talk about this starvation and they say, “you know, they’re dying of thirst and they’re starving to death.” These people, they’re pretty much in a coma and they can’t feel anything and they don’t starve to death, they actually die of dehydration and it’s a slow wasting away and they don’t feel pain.

How Castle and Goodwin know these things is not disclosed. What is clear is that the concerns that Rep. Wilkin and his colleagues had regarding the matter are easily dismissed:

Castle: Well, they know better than the family.

Goodwin: Absolutely.

Castle: What the person wants.

Goodwin: Yes.

Castle: Oh, they’re much more caring than the family.

Goodwin: Exactly.

Castle: Yeah, sure they are.

Goodwin: And they know better than the doctors. They know better than anybody what we all need at the end or what we all need at the beginning of our lives. I just um, I’ve really been uncomfortable with what’s been happening at the House of Representatives because it seems to me that this party, that sold themselves as the party of individual rights and freedoms –

Castle: Oh, yeah!

Goodwin: Are getting into the most private and personal parts of our life. And I said uh, I don’t want government in my marriage.

Castle: Yeah.

Goodwin: I don’t want government in my uh, reproductive choices and I certainly don’t want Republicans in my death bed with me.

Castle: Yeah.

Never mind that the Schiavo family was split on the matter in her case, and never mind that, by advocating the cessation of feeding and hydration, they are getting into a very personal matter as well. The important part is that Republican lawmakers have no say in the matter.

The discussion then turns to other matters, including abortion, always a hot button issue at the legislature. After talking about the merits of providing prenatal care to women who are in the country illegally, their focus turns to the efforts of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, who are tireless advocates on behalf of the unborn. Let's just say that Goodwin and Castle aren't impressed. This discussion takes place at about the 12 minute mark:

Goodwin: Yes. Absolutely, absolutely. So it doesn’t make sense and, in fact the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life – I’m sure you’re familiar with that group —

Castle: Oh, yes, in fact those initials spell out a year in the Middle Ages.

Goodwin (laughing): Yes, they do! That’s delightful.

Castle: In fact my friend the late Sue Rockne used to say that it spells out a year in the Middle Ages.

Goodwin: Well you know, what’s interesting is that the people who contribute to that group need to be careful about what they’re contributing to because I don’t think they know for sure, uh the MCCL took a neutral stand on that bill.

Castle: Ohh.

Goodwin: And I said uh, I said that I always was concerned about MCCL anyway, because my motto for them was, “life until birth.”

Castle: Yeah—

Goodwin: But, uh- [CROSSTALK]

Castle: Yeah I know because they don’t want to uh, fund welfare programs.

Goodwin: Yeah, but it’s – right. But it’s not only “life until birth,” it’s not even “life until birth” in this case because they didn’t even support allowing people to get prenatal care so they have healthy babies, which then society doesn’t end up having to take care of. So, it’s like what I’m saying, it’s a real conflict in thought, it’s not a clear and concise position that they have.

Castle: Yeah.

Goodwin: It’s situational ethics.

Again, never mind that the idea of providing prenatal care to women who aren't supposed to be in the state might encourage such women to come to, and remain in, Minnesota. There's no thought that the women, being rational human beings, might respond to incentives, or disincentives.

Castle offers a theory as to why the MCCL might hold the views it does, which leads to the following discussion:

Castle: It is clear when you consider that it comes from their religious beliefs, their doctrine.

Goodwin: Right.

Castle: Which says, you don’t have sex unless you intend to have babies and, it’s like the whole thing with same-sex marriage, you know, they’re working that one over, and so it’s only sex between one man and one woman and only when they’re married and if you can’t or don’t or – MCCL is against any program for Planned Parenthood—
Goodwin: Yes they are.

Castle: To prevent unplanned pregnancy. If you try to, say, let’s try to prevent this, they will not support a program that actually, uh, prevents pregnancies.

Goodwin: Absolutely.

That is hard to figure out -- why would a group that opposes abortion not want to work directly with the largest abortion provider in the country? Hard to imagine. Goodwin has an issue with it, though:

Goodwin: That’s a conflict. I would have actually more respect for them, in the 20 years I’ve been around the legislative process, because I worked at the House for several years and I’ve been in office for six. When uh, I never once, once not once, seen them come to the Legislature in support [of] child care, support anti-abuse, domestic abuse issues, support um, education, support health care for children. Not one time in 20 years. It’s all about abortion. And I would have respect for them if I could see some consistency in their thought, but I don’t see any consistency in their thought. In fact, they have fought against things that will uh, help people.

That there might be conflict among the MCCL membership about the proper course of action on any number of these issues seems not to occur to Goodwin. Of course, even if the MCCL signed on to the entire litany of issues that Goodwin wants them to, the MCCL wouldn't gain her support on abortion anyway. They would have her respect, though. That counts for something.

The discussion then turns to laws concerning the conduct of pharmacists, where a certain legislator who has been in the news lately makes an appearance:

Castle: Well, even the “morning after” pill, you know, I don’t even know if they’re doing much at the state level but even at the federal level they’re trying to prevent that from being an over-the-counter, uh, prescription.

Goodwin: Well absolutely, and that’s another health care issue that you’ve brought up – that’s a good one that’s also in the Minnesota Legislature this year and that is uh, whether or not pharmacists should be required to dispense medications that

Castle: They got that one in the legislature, too?

Goodwin: Yes. What happened is that Representative Tom Emmer introduced a bill that would say that pharmacists can deny, they can, not sell prescriptions for any moral, ethical—

Castle: Ohhh!

Goodwin: And a whole slew of reasons. I had the opposite bill. I had a bill that said pharmacists, uh, pharmacies, I didn’t put it on the pharmacists, I said pharmacies, so if there was one pharmacist in there that had an objection, they could get some other pharmacist to fill the prescription, that they would have to fill the prescription.

Castle: Well, who’s gonna ring up these things? What if you come up to the cash register and you’ve got a package of condoms or something and then that person uh, doesn’t believe in that? “I refuse to ring that up”—

Goodwin: Exactly – where does it stop.

Castle: Oh, let’s bring another cashier up and – this is ridiculous. You’re hired to do a job and you go and do the job or else you go and—

Goodwin: Well right.

Castle: You go and find a job where it doesn’t conflict with your beliefs.

And where would that be? Castle has a suggestion:

Castle: No, Yeah, you know that people, they have their religious beliefs and when I say you have a right to your beliefs, but you have no right to force them on other people.

Goodwin: Absolutely not.

Castle: And if you’re at a job that requires you to serve the public and you have to do things that you don’t believe in, then find a different job.

Goodwin: Yes.

Castle: Or uh, just work in a Catholic hospital or something like that.

Goodwin: Exactly.

So what is life like in a Catholic hospital? Goodwin and Castle explain all that, and more, in Part II.

1 comment:

John Galt said...

I like Goodwin's consistent inconsistency. In the recent voter forums, she keeps saying there's "no other choice" but to raise revenue, thereby defining out of existence the choice we might prefer, of cutting education and HHS funding. So individuals must have the authority to determine life or death for themselves, their family members, and their pre-born, but couldn't possibly be trusted to decide that we spend too much on education and welfare.