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Lawmaker Wants To Cut Funding For “Unnecessary” Epidurals

Lawmaker Wants To Cut Funding For “Unnecessary” Epidurals

Utah state senator Dan Liljenquist may propose a piece of legislation that is going to upset a lot of women: saying that it could save the state “millions,” he has suggested that Utah cut Medicaid spending for elective epidurals and cesarean sections.  This, he claims, will stop college students from having babies on the state’s dime that they could technically pay for themselves.

Epidurals, a shot given in the spine, are often requested during childbirth because they reduce pain during labor.  Charmingly, Liljenquist seems to think that women don’t deserve to have this pain lessened.  Referring to the waiting list for Medicaid in Utah for the disabled, he explained, “Do we save some kid or make birth easier?”  Studies show that about 65 percent of births nationwide involve an epidural.

The question of c-sections is a little more complicated, because it is somewhat likely that women in the United States will be given a cesarean section that they don’t necessarily need.  But removing the possibility altogether would be very dangerous.  This is in addition to the fact that Utah has the lowest c-section rate in the country, at 22% compared to 32% nationwide.

Liljenquist’s line seems, basically, to be that any “unnecessary” medical procedure should not be covered by Medicaid – which boils down to saying that women, specifically, only deserve anesthesia if they can pay for it.  Unsurprisingly, this has received some harsh criticism.

“All I can say is thank God for anesthesia,” said Sen. Peter Knudson, assistant majority whip.  “There are people who have pain thresholds who can tolerate a lot of discomfort, but not everyone.  I’m all for saving money … but this is not where we should begin.”

The fact that Liljenquist’s policy is also extremely sexist just adds to the injustice.  Only women would be expected to suffer because of these funding cuts, because lawmakers like Liljenquist seem to assume that pain is a requisite part of childbirth.  As a blogger on Opposing Views put it, the policy is ” about as thoughtful a move as trying to force more women to breastfeed by making formula available by prescription only.”

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251 comments

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11:01PM PST on Jan 16, 2014

Sen. Liljenquist, you, sir, are an idiot! When you pass a volkswagen through your dick, then you can tell me I cannot have an epidural. Until then, STFU!

1:04AM PST on Jan 16, 2014

Dan Liljenquist claims on his website that he's "pro-life" and "believes in protecting unborn children". Funny...I was a c-section birth. If I had been born naturally, I would have been born dead or severely brain damaged: the placenta didn't have enough fluid to protect my skull as I traveled down the birth canal. He wants to "protect the unborn"? He has no idea what he's talking about.

9:23AM PST on Jan 15, 2014

I have a solution for this...no epidurals or locals for men having cystoscopies, trans urethral prostatectomies and other procedures done in "man land"! Shit, why don't men just toughen up and quit being such sissies? Hell, they aren't even pushing something weighing 5 to 15 pounds out of their orifices. What a bunch of sucks! What's good for the goose SHOULD be good for the gander.

4:01PM PST on Jan 10, 2014

con't CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALIST!

3:58PM PST on Jan 10, 2014

Susan T - toughen up you say? How would you know about what pain is in childbirth, you have NO children. You do not know what it is for a woman to go thru childbirth anymore than this moron liljenquist. Most women may be able to deliver a child without complications, however there are always exceptions, in some cases a C-section literally means life and death outcomes for the mother or child. As to the NEED/WANT for epidurals, next time you and liljenguist need surgery, toughen up and do it without anesthisia or pain killers! Toughen up, you try delivering a 7lb baby thru a 10CM opening. While we are on this subject, why is it ALWAYS the men who put forth these cruel, insane, moronic medical protocols on women when they know NOTHING about what we women go thru? This liljenquist is no better that littlerush/limpdough, grin&bear or the republican congressman who is an ob/gyn Dr. who said a woman's body shuts down and cannot get pregnant from rape. But hey fellow ladies, how about all that Viagra the limp dick group get under their insurance programs? That is off limits, birth control pills are a no-no. What a mess the limp dick, over the hill GOP boys are trying to make would be risible were it not for the consequences we women are facing. We must vote with our eyes and minds wide open, or we women may be put back to the puritanical place of the 1700's. remember we women have had the right to vote less than 100 years. Sharia law is not only the stronghold of Islam but Chris

2:03PM PST on Jan 10, 2014

When male politicians start to pass watermelons thru' their urethras I will be fine with them having a say about women's reproductive needs.

10:54AM PST on Jan 10, 2014

And, yes! We should take the pain meds away from men wanting them for vasectomy and give one to the lawmaker that dares to vote for such an insane law!!!

10:53AM PST on Jan 10, 2014

And, yes! We should take the pain meds away from men wanting them for vasectomy and give one to the lawmaker that dares to vote for such an insane law!!!

10:51AM PST on Jan 10, 2014

This man has no idea why some women have C-sections. Some have them because they have placenta previa. That is when the placenta is either attached to the cervix, in my case, or it is attached to part of the cervix. Dilation of the cervix will make the patient hemorrhage and bleed out immediately. I was in the hospital for two weeks hoping I wouldn't do that. When it did start hemorrhaging, I was there to be taken IMMEDIATELY to the OR. The next child I had was an elective, but not really. They were worried that the uterus would split. So saying that a C-section is a choice is really dumb. I can't say that it figures from a man. Some men are better informed and smarter than the examples in the story. Both of my doctors were male. But brilliant and not opposed to using the latest and best for their patients, unlike this idiot of a lawmaker!

7:31PM PST on Jan 9, 2014

Keep elected officials out of medical decisions.

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