Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A brilliant and innovative solution for women who want birth control!

Ugh. Matt Walsh has already written this post before. In fact, that was the post I used to start this blog. (By the way, has anyone noticed that most of Matt Walsh's posts relate to topics affecting women? It's like he spends his day thinking about all the ways women are out to get him.)  Despite repetitiveness, and against my better judgment, I will throw in a few comments once again.

Matt Walsh writes: 
Ready for it?
I’ve poured through mounds of research, read pages and pages of court precedent; I’ve reflected on it, meditated, retreated into the mountains to ponder this mystery in peace; I’ve even Googled it, and all of these measures have brought me to one incredible solution for women who want birth control:
Pay for it yourselves.
Or find an employer that chooses to provide it.
Or have sex and don’t use it.
Or don’t have sex.
Basically, take responsibility for your sex life, one way or another.
There you go. I’ve solved this dilemma. You’re welcome.
I only bring this up because the Hobby Lobby challenge to Barack’s Birth Control Mandate has finally reached the supreme court.
If you aren’t familiar, Hobby Lobby – a store known for its picture frames, fake indoor plants, and dangerous religious extremism –  has refused to comply with the president’s decree that all employers must provide whatever kind of “health coverage” he personally feels we all should be using.
The store already subsidizes several forms of birth control this is a distortion, but wishes not to purchase things like morning after pills and IUDs it does not purchase any medical treatments. The government has responded to their concerns by making three basic points:
1) Hobby Lobby is not a religious organization.
2) Emergency contraception is not abortion.
3) Lots of women use contraception.
To which all rational and reasonable adults respond with three counter arguments:
1) That’s irrelevant.
2) That’s irrelevant.
3) Oh, good point. Actually, just kidding, that’s irrelevant.
Unfortunately, it might be necessary to offer a more detailed retort.
Here goes:
1) It doesn’t matter if Hobby Lobby is a religious organization. Nowhere in the First Amendment does it stipulate that only religious organizations are afforded religious protections. All rules of government are located in the First Amendment? Actually, generally yes, only religious organizations are afforded religious protections. This argument is like something out of a 20th century dystopian science fiction novel.
We have the right to live by our convictions, but only if we are officially employed by some group that the government defines as “religious”?  That's a huge illogical jump. Religious freedom, but the government gets to decide what constitutes “religious”?  By that logic, only priests count as “being Catholic,” and only rabbis really get to be Jewish.  If you were going for King of Non Sequiturs, good work. 
What an impossibly ridiculous argument. Besides, where is it written that only “religious people” might prefer to forgo purchasing some forms, or all forms, of birth control? Other kinds of people might have other kinds of objections. In the end, it doesn’t matter. They own the business. They purchase the plans. They make the decision.  They purchase the plans. The plans make the decisions. The employers are not health care professionals and should not be making medical decisions for their employees.
This is exceedingly clear to anyone with their brain fully engaged (i.e. if you disagree with me, you are stupid), but sadly, the sheep will follow the pigs on the Animal Farm, because they’re too dumb or too selfish or too apathetic to realize that this sort of tyranny will eventually come back around and destroy them. Anyone who disagrees with me is REALLY stuuupid.
2) For the purposes of this debate, it doesn’t matter if morning after pills are or are not abortifacients. Hobby Lobby has an objection to them. Their reasons are of no consequence at all. Since when do we have free speech I guess you really do think the First Amendment is the only legal principle that exists, but only if the government agrees with our motivations and conclusions?
3) When debating the merits of the government forcing employers to provide birth control, my favorite pro-argument is the one where the Apologist for Oppression breathlessly insists, “almost all women [insert arbitrary, fabricated percentage] use birth control!”
Even if this is true, the Apologist seems to be making two startling and contradictory assumptions: First, that our liberties are dependent upon the whims of the popular majority. Second, that “almost all women” use contraception, yet there’s still a crisis of women not being able to afford contraception.
Truly, only a modern leftwing progressive can get away with asserting their right to a particular good or service by simultaneously arguing that everybody uses it and nobody uses it.  Methinks ye may be distortin' again.
Stunning. Absolutely stunning.
They’re right, of course — birth control is popular. It’s popular because it helps you have less babies, and we all know that babies are a disease (which is why the morning after pill is called “preventative medication”) and a punishment (according to the president, anyway).
Bacon is almost as popular as birth control, but I still don’t think Muslim employers should be forced to stock the vending machines with bacon Hot Pockets.  And no one is forcing Hobby Lobby to stock their vending machines with birth control. Hobby Lobby is not providing birth control. Now, let's use an analogy that makes sense:  is it okay for Muslim employers to withhold wages they think are being spent, privately, on bacon Hot Pockets? Obviously not! They cannot control their employees' private lives.
But what if the employees really WANT bacon Hot Pockets, you ask? Well, I don’t blame them. Still, this one philosophical and constitutional reality remains (I will write in all caps, just to make sure that the tl:dr skimmers see it):
YOU DON’T HAVE A RIGHT TO A PRODUCT THAT MUST BE PROVIDED TO YOU THROUGH GOVERNMENTAL COERCION OF A THIRD PARTY.  Actually, that is exactly what a right is. It is something that can only be protected through government coercion.  (How can my right to property be protected, for example, if the government cannot coerce a thief - a third party - to return it?) Always has been, always will be.  Without government, there are no rights. Once again, I advice you to check out some of the theory on human rights if you are truly interested in this topic.
At least, that’s how it used to be. Wrong-o.
But something strange has recently occurred. I’m sure you’ve noticed it.
A tectonic shift. A philosophical transformation. An evolution. A devolution. A reconstruction. A collapse.  Nope.
The very point and purpose of our nation has gone from something solid, real, and formidable, to something shallow, fluid, and absurd.
We used to be a country devoted to protecting and ensuring the rights of its citizens.  And also, enslaving Africans, killing Native Americans, and mistreating women. Our rights were those innate human qualities and capacities, endowed by a Creator God, infused into the human spirit, needing only to be expressed, not provided by any manmade authority.
Now we are a country devoted to fabricating and engineering the rights of its citizens. And now our rights are those modern human desires and preferences, developed by cultural trends, promoted by political agitators, needing to be provided by unwilling third parties through governmental coercion and force.  Once again, you may actually want to do a little bit of reading on human rights.
It used to be that your rights were infringed upon if the government punished or threatened you for expressing your sincerest beliefs.
Now, your rights are infringed upon if you want something but someone refuses to buy it for you.
It used to be that the vision of tyranny was a man or woman bound, gagged, and shoved in a cage for speaking his or her mind. 
Now, tyranny is the tragic image of man or woman forced to spend their own money on something because nobody would give it to them for free.
We used to fight and die for free speech.
Now we sit around and whine for free birth control.
Times have changed, in other words. And not for the better.  Nope, times have not changed in that regard.
But I’m extrapolating unnecessarily on something that I rather sufficiently covered in the first few sentences of this post.
Forget the Constitution (most of us already have), forget these high falutin’ philosophical concepts, forget the Supreme Court and Hobby Lobby, this all really boils down to one basic and immutable fact:
Adults must take responsibility for their sex lives. Adults, in fact, must take responsibility for their lives, in general.  But also, adults do not live in a vacuum, and pretty much everything that happens to one person affects others.
If you want birth control, spend the 15 bucks  there may be a brand out there that is that cheap*, but I know for a fact they ain't all that cheap; definitely unaffordable for people without means a month and buy it yourself (hint: that’s about an 1/8 of your monthly cell phone bill, also a fraction of your cable bill, a fraction of what you spend on smoothies and Starbucks coffee, a fraction of your entertainment budget, a fraction of your alcohol expenditures and a fraction of what you spent on your TV, your clothes, your computer, and your iPhone). Or find a job that will provide it.  Fun fact: jobs don't provide birth control... unless maybe you work in the porn industry? Or don’t have sex. Or have sex and don’t use it.

*Correction: I found out that is the insurance negotiated price. If you have ever paid for birth control without insurance, you know it is much more expensive than that. And if your employer is not offering you a plan that covers birth control, then you will be paying the non-insurance price.
Want the government out of your sex life? Stop asking them to subsidize it. Stop asking them to force employers to subsidize it. Stop making your sex habits into a public issue.
The tyranny of the Pigs on the Animal Farm might work in your favor for now, but eventually you’ll wish to claim for yourself those rights which you asked them to steal from others. And by then, it will be too late. God help you.  You are the Wagner of conservative bloggers.
And, seriously, in case I forgot to mention it: pay for your own birth control.
The end.
Next issue?

Update: despite closing this post with “the end,” I feel the urge to offer a few responses to the most frequent(ly off base) responses from Nanny State Proponents.
Response: “Well, what if a Scientologist/Jehovah’s Witness/Whoever doesn’t want to provide health insurance that covers antibiotics, due to their religious beliefs?”
Answer: Then that is their right. See, you can’t back me into a corner with this liberty thing. I’m not afraid to take my convictions to whatever extreme and unlikely conclusion you can conjure.
Now, it’s certainly ludicrous to compare contraceptives and Morning After Pills to antibiotics, but go right ahead. The basis of my argument is NOT my own personal views on birth control. My basis is liberty, the constitution, and personal responsibility. If you choose to work for a Scientologist, you agree to play by the Scientologist’s rules, or else make other arrangements.
Pro tip: review a company’s health coverage package BEFORE YOU TAKE THE JOB. Don’t like it? Doesn’t work for you? GET A DIFFERENT JOB.  When was the last time you tried to find a job? Do you have no concept of how difficult it is? No one can afford to be choosey in this economy. Or resign yourself to obtaining your medication through some other avenue.
Here's the problem with your rebuttal. You are essentially saying that employers should not have to do anything they don't want to do, for whatever reason... all in the name of LIBERTY! I know you think employers should be allowed to pay $2 an hour and not service black people, because those opinions were expressed in previous posts. Given the evolution of our society, with fewer large corporations taking over more and more of our economy, including sectors that are vitally important to our survival (say, health care), when does this not become corporate tyranny? Why should allowing corporations to run our lives be any more pallatable than letting government control us? It seems you are in such a tizzy about the government that you have blinded yourself to the real potential of tyranny. You are saying we should allow corporations to run society to the ground (by exploiting workers, paying them a pittance, exacerbating inequalities, refusing services based on race, gender, sexuality) because, hey, at least the corporations are living the dream! When did corporations become more important than people? I guess, when it was determined that they ARE people.
Simple, isn’t it?
Response: “But lots of women use birth control for medical reasons that extend beyond preventing pregnancy.”
Answer: Yes, some do. There’s absolutely no doubt that the vast majority of birth control users are using it to prevent pregnancy, but some women do, in fact, take them for difference reasons.
On the other side of that equation, it’s also true that many of these medical issues — hormonal imbalances, acne, etc — can be, and often should be, addressed in other ways.  How do you know this? Evidence? But what about the medical maladies that absolutely cannot be treated through ANY other means, aside from birth control? Well, now we’ve whittled the percentage down even further.
It simply isn’t prudent or just or fair to pass across-the-board laws for the sake of such a small minority. And it isn’t honest to pretend that the birth control mandate is primarily meant to address these cases.
In a land of freedom, women who need birth control for non-birth control reasons would inspect their employer’s health plan before taking the job.  Are you for real? No one turns down a job in this economy. And also, why again, should we allow employers to determine the policies of health insurance providers?  Remember, these are not "employer health plans." They are health plans, offered by insurance companies, that the employer helps to pay for. If it doesn’t cover their needs, they’d work some place else. If the need arises while already employed at a place that doesn’t offer a plan to cover it, they’d look into other ways to obtain the medicine, or else they’d look into other places to work. Yeah, see my discussion above about corporations controlling our lives. I’m not saying that’s an easy solution, but I can’t give you an easy solution to the hard cases. Actually, it's a terrible solution. That’s the thing about living in a free country: the government won’t, shouldn’t, and can’t find a quick fix for every problem its citizens might face.  But corporations can?
If given the freedom to do so, employers who object to birth control, but not to non-pregnancy prevention uses of birth control, could easily find another way around the problem. They could, for instance, require a diagnosis. INSURANCE COMPANIES ARE THE ONES WHO DETERMINE WHAT IS REQUIRED. Seriously, to what extent do you want random corporations dictating health care procedures and coverage? Do we really want more corporate control of our health care system?  If you are diagnosed with a condition of which birth control is the only treatment, then it’s covered. If not, it isn’t. Again, none of this is terribly relevant because, as BC Mandate proponents always tell us, the huge majority of women are allegedly already using birth control. This seems to suggest that “access to birth control” isn’t the national crisis they purport it to be.  And this argument is irrelevant because you said it doesn't matter how many women are using birth control.
Besides, getting back to the current event that sparked this post, Hobby Lobby already covers the kinds of birth control that might be used for medical purposes. HOBBY LOBBY COVERS NOTHING. HOBBY LOBBY IS NOT A HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANY. GET THAT THROUGH YOUR HEAD. That seems to be a point that’s been lost in almost all of the reporting on this case.
Response: “But what about Viagra?”
Answer: Uh, what about it? I don’t think the government should force employers to cover those things, either. Of course, there is a fundamental difference between Viagra and birth control. Namely, Viagra is generally used to make a dysfunctional thing functional, whereas birth control is generally used to make a functional thing (fertility) dysfunctional. Birth control pills use hormones the body already produces to mimic pregnancy. You are, in essence, saying that pregnancy itself makes fertility dysfunctional. Think about that. Good Matt Walsh logic at work.
Still, I’m certainly not advocating that the government force any employer to provide Viagra to anyone. As far as I know, there isn’t a Viagra Mandate, so this is a moot point.
The fact that some employers might choose to cover Viagra while not covering some birth control methods is completely irrelevant.  Except for that whole "subsidizing your sex life" argument that your case rests on.... Stop insisting that the government swoop in and make everything “fair” and “even.” The government isn’t a Force of Fairness. It can’t be. It isn’t. It never will be. It shouldn’t be.
Read a history book sometime  oh the irony and then come back and tell me what a great job governments do when they try to make things “fair.”

UPDATE: I won’t stop until this post is a one-stop shop for every reason the Nanny Staters are wrong about the Birth Control Mandate. That said, here’s another common response.
Response: “My employer doesn’t have the right to come in between me and my doctor!”
Answer: Agreed. But no employer is trying to stop its employees from using birth control.  The issue is about employers not wanting you to get birth control THROUGH THEM. NO ONE gets birth control THOUGH their employer, once again the porn industry perhaps excepted. Uninvolved in your sex life? Yes, that’s precisely what they would be. Yeah, define "uninvolved"... They aren’t interfering with your reproductive choices.  Not allowing you to get it through your insurance; making it prohibitively expensive? Yeah, that's interfering with reproductive choices.  You are free to do whatever you want to do. You just aren’t free to force others to subsidize it.
Hobby Lobby isn’t forcing its workers to abstain from MAPs and IUDs. They are merely declining to cover it.  Hobby Lobby is not an insurance company. Hobby Lobby does not cover anything. That’s all. Someone declining to give you something is NOT the same thing as them removing your right to obtain it. If I refuse to buy you lunch, am I taking away your ability to eat?  Hobby Lobby does not provide coverage for any medical treatments because, once again, it IS NOT AN INSURANCE COMPANY. Hobby Lobby provides wages and benefits as compensation for the work performed. Hobby Lobby has no right to withhold compensation based on personal lifestyle choices. Hobby Lobby also cannot withhold from women's wages the money they suspect they will spend on birth control. The employer compensates. The employee does whatever she wants with the compensation. That's how it works. The employer does not have a say in private medical decisions, even if said decisions involve the compensation that the employee received from working for the employer.
Let me revise your "refusing to buy you lunch" example so it makes sense in this context. Say the employer found a way (perhaps through some kind of middle man analogous to an insurance company) of ensuring that none of your earned wages could be spent on food. "Oh sure, you can buy food," the employer assures you. "You will just have to use another source of money to buy it. Or find another job. Or don't eat." Then yes, the employer is interfering with your ability to eat.
By this logic, I guess I am.
In which case — considering that I haven’t bought lunch for a huge majority of the nation — I am hereby responsible when all of you starve to death.
My apologies, ladies and gentlemen. May you all rest in peace.

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