KRISTI KIRK (PATRIOTS AND PAULIES POLITICS & NEWS) – While I can appreciate his motives, I can’t help feeling Dr. Cox is a hypocrite for lambasting the GOP over being anti-choice when he is such an ardent supporter of Obamacare.
“What happened to the Republican Party that felt that the government has no business being in an exam room, standing between me and my patient?” Cox asked in his letter/op ed addressing Republican colleagues. “Where did the party go that felt some decisions in a woman’s life should be made not by legislators and government, but rather by the women, her conscience, her doctor and her God?”
Meet the lawmaker outraged by his party’s sexism
Oklahoma state Rep. Doug Cox tells Salon why his Republican colleagues’ policies are “discriminatory against women.”
Oklahoma state Rep. Doug Cox is an anomaly, and he knows it. As a self-identified pro-life Republican in a deep red state, Cox makes for an unlikely ally in the reproductive rights movement. But that hasn’t stopped him from being an outspoken critic of his colleagues’ efforts to scale back access to contraception and abortion services.
In a letter to his fellow Republicans, Cox admonished the modern GOP for its fixation on controlling women’s bodies.
Writing in response to a proposal to ban Medicaid coverage for emergency contraception and allow pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control, Cox asked, ”What happened to the Republican Party that I joined? The party where conservative presidential candidate Barry Goldwater felt women should have the right to control their own destiny?”
On the House floor this week, Cox blasted his colleagues for pushing Texas-style restrictions on providers and regulations around emergency contraception that he called “prejudiced against women.”
Beyond his voting record, Cox is something of an outlier in his party for another reason: He seems to have genuine empathy for and an understanding of the women in his state making incredibly personal medical decisions.
Cox is an emergency room physician who has, by his own count, delivered 800 babies. He considers himself pro-life, but supports — both in his capacities as a lawmaker and a doctor – a person’s right to make private medical choices. “Now, I’ve never performed an abortion, but I can tell [someone] where to go,” he told Salon during a phone conversation about the current reproductive health landscape in Oklahoma. “And if my colleagues have their way, that place would not be in Oklahoma.”
Cox spoke with Salon about the proposals currently advancing in the state Legislature, what he hears from his constituents on the ground (spoiler: Railing against abortion rights is not a top priority for the average Oklahoman) and the other ways that he breaks with his party to vote with his conscience. Below is a transcript of our conversation, condensed and lightly edited for clarity.
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