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It all started in Arlington, Va., after a three-mile run and a bowl of oatmeal. It was the first and only time I met Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. This encounter and Grassley’s recent comments that the government should not decide “when to pull the plug on grandma” have been the catalyst for my response to the uproarious health care reform debate.

We all want to be healthy and provided with care when we are sick or injured. However, in all the years of wrangling over health care, the utopian fix has eluded us. In our efforts to guarantee affordable health care, we should think twice. In fact, the bill being debated could potentially extinguish our right to life, our right to liberty, and consequently, our right to the pursuit of happiness.

Regarding our right to life, a provision has been added to health care bill, H.R. 3500, that would require abortion providers to be part of the health insurance network, thus making tax payers bear the financial burden of Planned Parenthood and the like.

The truth is, abortion hurts society. It hurts the children who are killed and the mothers and fathers who, afterward, have to deal with guilt and pain.

In May 2009, Gallup released a poll declaring that the majority of Americans identify as pro-life — another reminder that D.C. politicians are out of touch with mainstream America.

When it comes to our right to liberty, the White House’s blog on Aug. 4, which encouraged Americans to forward “fishy” emails or Web sites purporting false claims about the president’s health care reform, ushered in the mindset of spying on one’s neighbor.

It is our duty, as citizens, to report crimes or threats. However, should we tattle-tell on others because they have different opinions than “ours”?

This Panopticon mindset hits home for us at ASU. Could you imagine an atmosphere where friends spy on friends, roommates on roommates, and students on professors, reporting their findings to the government? The University is a marketplace of ideas. A forum where both sides of an issue can be heard, argued and discussed with respect and decorum.

Under the current health care plan, our right to life would be stripped as future generations are being aborted, and our right to liberty would be stolen as freedom of thought and speech are squelched. Without these two prerequisite rights, we cannot even think about the right to pursue happiness.

So, as Welcome Week events are drawing to a close, and we are all enjoying the “good” life before midterms and finals burden our thoughts, we should think twice about how much we appreciate our health and how much we enjoy those fundamental rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Are we willing to give up one for the other? Honestly, I do not think we have to — we just need to make sure the alternative options for health care reform are on the table.

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