Seeing with Clarity

I’m often accused, and see other conservatives accused, of not seeing things clearly. It’s a common refrain in many circles, one generally intermixed with references to Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.

So imagine my surprise when I hear, from the side that sees everything with perfect clarity, the argument that came up in a Congressional hearing last week.

Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown law student, made the case that the federal government must force all insurers and employers, regardless of their religious or moral objections, to pay for contraception for their employees–or, in this case, college students. They must do this because paying for one’s own contraception causes one to suffer “financially, emotionally, and medically.” She even described the sad case of how “embarrassed and powerless” one woman felt upon learning that her contraception would not be free. [1]

Let’s get this straight. The argument here appears to be, “Because I want birth control and paying for it sucks, the government ought to force someone else to buy it for me.” That’s about it. Look closely, we want be sure we’re seeing this clearly.

Birth control is not a basic right, like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Nor is it a women’s health issue. It’s something that, according to recent polls, most people choose to use at some point. But it’s still a choice, and it’s not a choice that everyone makes, and it’s certainly not something that anyone needs in the sense that we need food and shelter. It’s fairly absurd for Fluke to put contraception-on-demand on the same level as antibiotics or insulin, referring to birth control as a “critical health care need.” But this clear thinker makes an even more dubious logical leap: her claim is that their struggle is “for the access to the health care we need.”

Catch that? She’s attempting to make this about access. She’s making the argument that if we don’t force someone else to buy her birth control, we’re saying she’s not allowed access to birth control.

But this is ridiculous on its face. Everyone has access to birth control. Nobody, despite claims in the media, wants to restrict that access. But that doesn’t mean that colleges should have to buy it for their students–especially where the contraception is against the religious beliefs of that college!

This isn’t about access. Nobody’s banning birth control, or telling you what you can or cannot use. Political leaders are making those claims, and those people are lying to you.

If that’s not clear, think about it this way. I’m seeing lots of excitement online about a company that’s making cupcake ATMs–automated cupcake dispensers open 24 hours. The cupcakes aren’t free, you have to put money in the machine. But by Sandra Fluke’s logic, by failing to provide the cupcakes for free, this company is attempting to ban cupcakes. Charging at this machine is nothing less than restricting my right to cupcakes, and causing financial and emotional suffering.

By the way, let’s look at exactly how much of a financial burden she’s claiming this is. Fluke claims that “without insurance coverage, contraception, as you know, can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school.” Now THAT is a lot of–cough–contraception.Β  Many have pointed out that, assuming you’re spending a reasonable average of $1 a condom at CVS, this means you’re having sex almost 3 times a day, every day, for three years. No wonder people say law school is exhausting.

So that cost is a difficult case to present. Besides, I’ve spent the last few months being told everywhere I turn that women can get checkups, screenings, and contraception for free or reduced cost at Planned Parenthood. Indeed, the argument has been that they hardly do any abortions, THIS stuff is really their main purpose. I also seem to remember that when I went to college, they went out of their way to distribute free condoms and let students know where more free condoms were always available. Not to mention the fact that, upon the slightest amount of research, it turns out that the Target near Georgetown’s campus offers various generic birth-control pills for $9 a month, without insurance. [2] So, if we’re going to look at this clearly, her facts are more than a bit off.

She also argues that having to pay for the pill causes you to suffer “emotionally.” Really? Is she simply referring to the woman that was upset when she found out it wasn’t free? I don’t think that counts as a woman’s health issue. I suffered emotionally when I found out that I couldn’t afford to buy a BMW. That’s not an argument that Congress should write a law forcing my employer to buy me one.

So, if we’re really thinking clearly so far: 1. this isn’t about access; 2. the “financial and emotional burden” fail basic reality checks, and 3. they fail to lead to the logical conclusion that the government ought to mandate that someone else must buy college students contraception.

Finally, she argues that paying for your own contraception causes you to suffer “medically.” This one takes a little more thought, and appears to have some merit, considering the stories she tells. But by her own testimony, her coverage includes hormonal birth control if it’s for medical reasons other than contraception. She tells a couple of anecdotal stories she’s heard about women that have valid conditions and the insurance refuses to pay despite the doctor’s diagnosis. That’s a problem. You can bet that if my doctor told me I needed covered antibiotics for a covered condition, but the insurance company refused to pay, there would shortly be lawyers involved. You’d think law students would be able to work that out.

In the meantime, I’d be buying the medication at Target for $9 a month. I’ll be very interested if anyone can ever validate the “friend who lost an ovary” story (to say nothing of the absurdity of the “friend who decided not to report a rape because Georgetown doesn’t buy us condoms” story).

But the kicker here is that Fluke isn’t arguing to enforce medically necessary treatment. I might get behind that. But no, her argument doesn’t have anything to do with medical treatment, and these stories are nothing more than a litany of red herring. She’s arguing that the government should make her school buy her contraception, just because she wants it and doesn’t want to pay for it. I think, despite the claims of the left, the conservative opposition to this kind of thing is pretty clear-headed and fact-based.

But the unfounded accusations continue. Senate Democrats tweet about the “GOP #Contraception ban.” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) claims on the Senate floor that “if this amendment passes, it would ban contraception coverage for any woman in America whose boss has a personal objection to it.” The head of the National Organization for Women even claims that the opponents of this mandate are “demanding that the government step in and use the force and power and police power of the state to prevent women from taking birth control.” [3] [4] [5] That’s some clear thinking. These people are simply lying, and it’s sad that so many people are fooled by these lies. I hope one day we can all try to see things a little more clearly.

But maybe it’s not so bad. Maybe at least I’ll get some free cupcakes.


[1] http://www.whatthefolly.com/2012/02/23/transcript-sandra-fluke-testifies-on-why-women-should-be-allowed-access-to-contraception-and-reproductive-health-care/

[2] http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/dc-target-sells-birth-control-9-month-georgetown-student-tells-congress-friends-are-going-broke-pay-pills_632955.html

[3] https://twitter.com/#!/SenateDems/statuses/174905955853676545

[4] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/sen-chuck-schumers-remarks-about-the-blunt-amendment/2012/03/01/gIQAwt6bmR_blog.html

[5] http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/292488/presidents-anti-catholic-allies-ramesh-ponnuru

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  1. #1 by Dave k on May 23, 2012 - 8:54 pm

    How our system really works, Jobs, and the future of America.

    Marc, come on….did you really write this? loooool

    ”’These people are simply lying, and it’s sad that so many people are fooled by these lies. I hope one day we can all try to see things a little more clearly”””

    — So Democrats are the only ones who lie? hahahahaha. – Marc, I thought you were smarter than that πŸ™‚

    Here is how shit works. You got big money, you pay a guy under the table, and he pushes his bill through for you. Easy, and it has been working like this for many years.

    In addition, you want cheap labor? Sure you do, why pay a person 8 bucks an hour when you can pay them 50 cents an hour to put Barbie dolls together.

    Further, American laws, and taxes are expensive. It is not cheap to live in America. — Political leaders are here for America. REALLY?? Who is for America? Which one? America is a world organization now with Politicians who are big chicken shits. (I’d use a stronger word, but I don’t want to upset any females)
    These chicken shits will not stand up for the American way because money from other countries is pouring into their pockets. Huge sums of money. All they ask is to — keep the trade open, and let us dump our stuff into America — Anyone who thinks politicans are honest, and doing what’s right for America? Show me.

    Romney, has been a butcher to a few companies. Buy them, break they up, have a fire sale, and keep the good stuff. The employees? WHO CARES!! Romney, made million on the break ups!! —

    I had just read where there is a new TV shop opened in Michigan. Really? One TV shop? I guess it’s better than nothing, and a few hundred people can put TV’s together today until they figure out it’s cheaper in China, and no unions, and no legal rammifications if anyone dies. Anything goes. The wild west of China. —

    If we want any of our children to have a decent paying job where they can survive, Americans better start thinking about Americans. There will be nothing left for any of our kids, or grandkids.

    Gail, (my wonderful daughter who is very smart) has been having a lot of problems finding something to support herself, and just live a normal life. The problem is, she is not the only one, and it’s only going to get worse. What should she do? Move to another country? Go to college only to be told “Sorry, all the jobs are in China?”. Something better be done soon in America, or this will be the land of the wealthy only. If you are poor living in America? You’ll be in a cardboard box soon. If you think I’m kidding, get rid of welfare, and where will people live?? What will happen to the wealthy and their 5 million dollar homes? When people get hungry, they will fight, and even kill. Go back far enough in History and watch the rebellions.

    I said some of my peace, but I have a lot of things I see wrong with Political leaders. Even our wonderful retired Presidents are making a fortune on tax payer dollars. G W Bush needs 1.3 Million tax dollars to live on this year. 85,000 is for a phone bill lol — Will we ever wake up in America? When regular Americans see this kind of behavior, they feel cheated, and rightly so, they are being cheated. Do we just keep letting the wealthy run all over the rest of us in the greatest country in the world? or do we fight back, and stop the wealthy from having so much control?

    Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”

    • #2 by basicconservative on May 24, 2012 - 9:26 pm

      Off the topic of this article, but whatever. You’re all over the place here. What do you want me to respond to? Yes, I really did write this. No, I never said that only Democrats lie, don’t put words in my mouth. Yes, interests with tons of money have too much influence on our government. Those evil Wall Street bankers and lobbyists contributed around twice as much money to Obama as they did to McCain, and they’re donating millions to both Obama and Romney now. If that’s a problem for you, I assume you didn’t vote for Obama last time and won’t be voting for him this year either?

      Tell me more about Romney’s record of “butchering” companies. What companies are you referring to? He’s been involved with hundreds of companies, the vast majority of which became successful, grew, hired, and still employ thousands of people. I’m sure you’ve heard of GST Steel, which closed, but I bet you can’t name another. Tell me also, if Romney is an evil, heartless businessman because he laid some people off sometimes, how do you feel about the Obama administration taking over GM in 2009, just to lay off 47,000 people? They sure seem proud of the profit they made off that deal.

      You think business and capitalism are the problem? We need more welfare, more government spreading the money around so that things are more fair? It’s been tried. Multiple times. If the government can successfully do such a thing, why did so many die trying to escape the USSR, why do people still risk their lives trying to escape Cuba? If the government can make everything “fair” and therefore make everyone happy, tell me why, every time that’s attempted in history, it requires the government to murder millions of citizens to enforce this happiness? Why is the history of the 20th century so full of people fleeing communist countries to come to free countries?

      I know it’s hard to find a job today. The economy is still a wreck. We need the government to stop blocking the opening of huge new manufacturing plants, blocking the construction of oil pipelines, preventing banks from charging for their services, requiring businesses large and small to pay more and more and more in compliance, and paperwork, and legal fees. How about Obamacare? Hey you, business owner–you’re going to be forced to pay some unspecified healthcare costs in a couple of years. I don’t know how much it will be, but it’s gonna be a doozy. Here’s some new taxes while we’re at it. What? What do you MEAN you’re going to stop hiring until you know how much this will cost?

      Look, David, I know liberal ideas feel good. They’re all about feeling good, feeling like you’re helping the helpless, saving the world. But they don’t work. Conservatives aren’t perfect–liberals and conservatives can be equally corrupt. But conservative ideas work. I’ll bet on that, because I can’t find anything better.

  2. #3 by Dave k on May 26, 2012 - 12:06 pm

    Ok, China here we come πŸ™‚ Make sure Romney moves all jobs to China after he wins. This way, the rich will only be the ones who have to pay taxes. Why? Because they will be the only ones who have money.
    While Romney is at it, get rid of welfare, and Social Security. With welfare gone people will be hungry. You know what happens then don’t you?? They fight, and burn things down — Like higher priced expensive homes.
    In addition, let’s make sure Gramma and Grandpa are poor too. We certainly wouldn’t want that burden on the rest of the world. Let’s get rid of most of the Goverment too, Who needs that? We can be like Somalia!!
    Balance Marc, we have to have balance. People work, and spend money. A company can make a million cars, but if no one has a job, who is going to buy a car? It’s only going to get worse.
    If you believe your Republican buddies are going to help America, you are a big dreamer. This country will slowly continue to die with Republicans in Charge. I hope I’m dead before I see it, but your kids will get to live through it.

    • #4 by basicconservative on May 26, 2012 - 4:08 pm

      Thanks for not responding to a single one of my points. It’s good to know that you actually want to have a conversation. Not that there’s any point in continuing this, but can you show me where in the Republican platform, or any bills, anyone says they want to move jobs to China, or get rid of welfare or Social Security? The government can’t move any jobs to anywhere. The governmen’t isn’t magic. Do you think the President has big buttons on his desk saying “Give Money To Rich People” and “Give Money To Poor People”, and this is all just a fight over which button gets pressed next year?

      If you have any interest in actually looking at the facts or discussing things like an adult, let me know. If you’re just going to ignore things you don’t want to see and make things up, I’m done wasting my time.

  3. #5 by Dave k on May 26, 2012 - 8:37 pm

    NAIVE MARC!! YOU HAVE NO CLUE!! Politicians, and CEO’s of companies are bound at the hip buddy. Remember that. Unless you are wealthy, keep voting to give the wealthy more power, and put yourself deeper in a hole. It’s your call. You have the right to vote anyway you want. Ignore what? My truth? LOOOOL Typical Republican LOOL If it’s not your way it’s the highway looool. Good luck to you and your new family Marc. Remember that new baby of yours will someday need a job. I hope she/he speaks Chinese. πŸ™‚ Don’t be mad Marc, just remember your point may not be right!!

  4. #6 by Dave k on June 5, 2012 - 4:08 pm

    Marc, congrats on your baby boy. Your Mother just told me πŸ™‚

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