Sunday, May 19, 2024

Legislature let Montanans down

by Rayne Beach
| May 16, 2023 12:00 AM

It was disturbing to see the guest opinion from Rep. Matt Regier “Legislature defends Montana’s foundational values” in the Daily Inter Lake.

Mr. Regier’s diatribe shows his fear of and lack of knowledge about transgender people. He is quick to say there is “a culture war started and inflamed by a faction of the radical left” when in reality our nation is in its most divisive state in our history. Mr. Regier made rash statements that are not valid about “biological males” showering in locker rooms with our daughters, and being placed in our daughters’ motel rooms on overnight school sponsored trips.

He thinks he knows best about “protecting Montana families” but his ranting sounds more like, as Shakespeare said, “Methinks thou doth protest too much.”

There are people, including adolescents, who think they need transgender symptom care. Banning it is not the answer as there are adolescents and adults who are thus denied appropriate care.

A reasonable approach would be to have a way to affirm that people requesting transgender care are well evaluated. Two psychological evaluations, with a valid second opinion would be vital, with the results being presented to a medical board before affirming treatment appropriateness.

Our legislators made it so health care providers can cite their “conscience” when deciding who deserves their care. What if a provider’s conscience disagrees with treating smokers, or criminals, or LGBQT people, or people who aren’t caucasian? Really?

I am a health care provider and health care providers treat whoever comes through the door. It is even posted as such in our hospitals.

This “conscience” issue certainly seems to be directed primarily toward the issue of abortion, but if a provider doesn’t do abortions, the provider may refer the patient to someone else. Otherwise, your religion, ethics, “conscience” really doesn’t enter into who gets care and who doesn’t.

And the Montana House exaggeration about Rep. Zooey Zephyr’s objection to proposed legislation was painful to witness. Decorum appears to be quite subjective in the Montana Legislature and those legislators should be ashamed of themselves for their responses to her. How very juvenile of them and their “pious” behavior. Mr. Regier is, quite wily in twisting the Constitution to suit his needs, not generalizable to the needs of Montanans in general.

If Matt Regier and our legislators truly wanted to defend our values, they would have worked on improving our public school system instead of diverting money to unnecessary charter schools/school choice; they would have increased teacher salaries, decreased excess school administrators (we have 23 school districts in Flathead County, way too much administration); developed ways to facilitate affordable housing, addressed the needs of our most vulnerable populations in extended care facilities, budgeted more for aid for childcare and for reversing climate change.

Instead, legislators took away citizen rights, gave generous tax relief to the wealthy, practiced medicine without a license and let us all down.

Please, legislators, work to improve our health care, educational system, and address those areas in which we are so behind.

Rayne Beach is a family nurse practitioner in Whitefish.