Category Archive 'Contraception'

16 Mar 2012

Free Contraception as Appeal to Group Identity Politics

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When Sandra Fluke Becomes President.

Donald Sensing observes that the great paid-for-contraceptives brouhaha is intended by democrats to persuade silly women to vote on the basis of group politics.

In the Democrat mind, sex without sex’s consequences are the only thing that women should think about when they approach a voting booth. Finney and Thompson, et. al., actually think that unless the government makes sure that women’s sex lives are unencumbered, then a woman simply cannot manage her job, housing or children. Sex rules all else.

The Democrat party truly cannot comprehend a woman going to vote who is more concerned about the dent in her paycheck caused by $5-per-gallon gasoline than finding free condoms, or who worries about the future impoverishment of her children and grandchildren because of Obama’s borrow and spend binges more than she worries about buying the Pill, or whose most pressing concern is not sexual liberty, but a college-graduate son or daughter who has moved back to live with mom because s/he can’t find a job and therefore can’t make student loan payments and rent at the same time.

Not in the Dems’ world view is a woman who pays her mortgage every month but who know that her home’s market value is less than the mortgage principal remaining, and stupidly thinks that this is more important to her future (and thus her voting) than getting morning-after pills. There is no room in Democrat gender-identity politics for a woman who has been married to one man for 35 years and so never thinks about getting free contraceptives or an abortion (that is, what Dems say is “basic health care”) but who is intensely concerned with her elderly parents’ net worth falling as inflation rises.

No, these women simply do not authentically exist in the Democrat universe. Such women simply have not heard the full message that there should be nothing more important to a woman than sex, sex, sex.

To the Democrat party, women are simply sex objects, though with political and statist rather than fleshly purposes. But objects is all they are. That’s the real message that countless women get very well and strongly reject.

13 Mar 2012

Man Bites Dog Story: Liberal Novelist Defends Limbaugh

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Novelist Paul Theroux is a typical member of the community of fashion elite. He is no conservative, and decidedly no fan of Rush Limbaugh’s, but even he finds the left’s attacks on Limbaugh resulting from his criticism of Sandra Fluke hypocritical.

The defense of Sandra Fluke is so shrill that it is almost as though many of her defenders actually believe there is a vicious taint of self-indulgence, if not sluttiness, in a female student’s clamoring for a federal mandate of subsidized contraceptives. How else to interpret such a welter of special pleading? They believe she actually needs defending.

It occurred to me that in this fairly illiterate, irony-challenged country we have no notion of what satire actually is. Satire is merciless, unsparing, savage. It is not the genial teasing comedy of The Daily Show, or the fooling of Saturday Night Live. It is destructive and cruel. It is Jonathan Swift in “A Modest Proposal” writing of cooking and eating babies. It is Daniel Defoe in “The Shortest Way With Dissenters” speaking of killing members of a religious sect. It is Thomas Nast drawing pictures of hideous cannibalistic Catholic priests, or Horace making rhymes about buggery. It is John Collier mocking suffragettes by writing a whole novel about a man who marries an actual ape from the Congo in “His Monkey Wife,” and nearer to the present, it is Hunter Thompson’s “He was a Crook”—“ If the right people had been in charge of Nixon’s funeral, his casket would have been launched into one of those open-sewage canals that empty into the ocean just south of Los Angeles …” …

This whole Limbaugh business epitomizes our confusion and our hypocrisy. The folks who depicted George Bush as a chimp, and Sarah Palin as a skank, are indignant when these same words are used against their people in the virtue industry, and that includes the troopers in the Reproductive Rights Activist Service Corps. The trouble with Limbaugh is that he is not a satirist—hasn’t the brains or the humor for it—and his earnestness, and his vanity, always gets in the way. He seems to believe that he is an opinion leader, but even as a gas bag on the sidelines he has a role to play, because not many other people are playing that role. If only he knew more about the power of satire, how it can do more than mere mockery. But, as a mocker—the Fluke affair is proof—he has an effect, and I think it uncovered one of our greatest weaknesses and our weirdest tendencies.

You have to give Limbaugh a pass, otherwise you lose the right to go on calling Gingrich and Eric Cantor pimps for Israel, and Rick Santorum a mental midget, and if you foreswear colorful, if not robust or wicked language altogether you might as well shut up.

12 Mar 2012

Contraception and the Agenda of the Left

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Thomas Couture, Romains de la décadence [Romans during the Decadence], 1847, Musée d’Orsay

Bruce Thornton explains why forcing Catholic institutions to pay for contraceptives, in the same way the Ancient Romans would have forced Christians to offer sacrifice to Aphrodite, matters so much to the left. Sexual indulgence freed from responsibility is pretty much the only area of life in which the left offers more personal freedom.

[A]s Fluke puts it, “This is about women’s health.” In other words, unplanned pregnancy is a disease, something that like breast cancer just sort of happens to a woman, and for which she bears no responsibility. That’s how House minority leader Nancy Pelosi sees it. Speaking of the failed Senate amendment to allow religious organizations not to fund contraception, Pelosi said that the measure was “part of the Republican agenda of disrespecting women’s health issues [by] allowing employers to cut … basic health services for women, like contraception, mammograms, prenatal and cervical-cancer screenings.”

Since pregnancy is a disease, then, someone else should pay the premium for insuring against the consequences of a woman’s risky, careless behavior. She shouldn’t even be responsible for grabbing some free condoms at the clinic and taking care of the risk herself.

Look even closer, and we see the real progressive agenda at work: increasing the power and reach of the federal government and its bureaucratic minions by discrediting and marginalizing any other source of authority over our behavior, especially institutions of moral authority such as churches. That way the government can aggrandize its power by relieving people of the responsibility for their choices through palliating their damaging consequences while making others pay for them. Tocqueville noticed 150 years ago this tendency of centralized power to expand by infantilizing the citizenry. Centralized governments, Tocqueville remarked, act as “if they thought themselves responsible for the actions and private conditions of their subjects, as if they had undertaken to guide and to instruct each of them in the various incidents of life and to secure their happiness quite independently of their own consent.” Moreover, this insidious paternalism corrupts the people, who “invoke its assistance in all their necessities,” and who “fix their eyes upon the administration as their mentor and their guide.” But all for a price: the diminishment of our freedom and autonomy, both of which require accepting the burdensome and sometimes painful responsibility for the consequences of our actions.

Our modern progressives, however, have added a new twist to this process. Removing sexual behavior from the strictures of traditional authority, and then taking responsibility for the consequences of careless sex like pregnancy, make state-subsidized sexual pleasure a seemingly cost-free distraction from the erosion of freedom and autonomy, as Aldous Huxley foresaw in Brave New World. Sexual freedom now trumps political freedom, and sexual pleasure is the honey that sweetens the bitter poison of diminished freedom. Hence the progressive’s elevation of contraception and abortion into “rights,” which puts the necessary discussion of the obvious destructive consequences of sexual promiscuity out of bounds. But these “rights” have nothing to do with “women’s health” and everything to do with the progressive government’s aim of consolidating and increasing its power at the expense of other authorities, like churches, that might have something to say about the personally and socially destructive price of those “rights.” That’s the real significance of the uproar Rush Limbaugh caused: not his crudity or insensitivity, but calling attention to the centrality of sexual libertinism to the progressive agenda of increasing government power at the expense of individual freedom.

Hat tip to the News Junkie.

06 Mar 2012

The Phoney Georgetown Contraception Controversy

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Cathy Ruse, Georgetown Law ’89, identifies what Sandra Fluke’s congressional testimony and the Georgetown contraception national brouhaha are really all about.

Last week Sandra Fluke, a student at Georgetown University Law Center, went to Congress looking for a handout. She wants free birth-control pills, and she wants the federal government to make her Catholic school give them to her.

I’m a graduate of Georgetown Law and former chief counsel of the House Subcommittee on the Constitution. Based on her testimony, I wonder how much Ms. Fluke really knows about the university or the Constitution.

As a law student 20 years ago, I wasn’t confronted by crucifixes in the classroom or, in truth, by any religious imagery anywhere. In that respect the law school has a different “feel” than the university. The law school chapel was an unadorned, multipurpose room in the basement used for Mass when it wasn’t used for Gilbert and Sullivan Society rehearsals and club meetings. Among the clubs while I was there, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance was particularly vigorous.

I was not Catholic when I attended Georgetown Law, but I certainly knew the university was. So did Ms. Fluke. She told the Washington Post that she chose Georgetown knowing specifically that the school did not cover drugs that run contrary to Catholic teaching in its student health plans. During her law school years she was a president of “Students for Reproductive Justice” and made it her mission to get the school to give up one of the last remnants of its Catholicism. Ms. Fluke is not the “everywoman” portrayed in the media. …

When congressional committee counsels plan hearings, they look for two kinds of witnesses: “experts” and “victims.” The experts are typically lawyers or law professors who can explain the constitutional authority for the new law and its legal impact, and the victims illustrate why the law is needed.

At the hearing of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee chaired by Nancy Pelosi, Sandra Fluke testified as a victim. Having to buy your own contraception is a burden, she said. She testified that all around her at Georgetown she could see the faces of students who were suffering because of Georgetown’s refusal to abandon its Catholic principles.

Exactly what does the face of a law student who must buy her own birth-control pills look like? Did I see them all around me and just not know it? Do male law students who must buy their own condoms have the same look? Perhaps Ms. Fluke should have brought photos to Congress to illustrate her point.

In her testimony, Ms. Fluke claimed that, “Without insurance coverage, contraception, as you know, can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school.” That’s $1,000 per year. But an employee at a Target pharmacy near the university told the Weekly Standard last week that one month’s worth of generic oral contraceptives is $9 per month. “That’s the price without insurance,” the employee said. (It’s also $9 per month at Wal-Mart.)

Ms. Fluke’s crusade for reproductive justice is simply a demand that a Catholic institution pay for drugs that make it possible for her to have sex without getting pregnant. It’s nothing grander or nobler than that. Georgetown’s refusal to do so does not mean she has to have less sex, only that she has to take financial responsibility for it herself.

Should Ms. Fluke give up a cup or two of coffee at Starbucks each month to pay for her birth control, or should Georgetown give up its religion? Even a first-year law student should know where the Constitution comes down on that.

18 Feb 2012

In Obamastan Today

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18 Feb 2012

Barry Antoinette

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Mark Steyn admires the statesmanship that, in a time when a nation is about to find itself with an insufficient working population to fund Social Security payments for all its retirees, prioritizes mandating the provision of contraception.

[T]he Baby Boomers did not have enough children to maintain mid-20th century social programs. As a result, the children they did have will end their lives in a poorer, uglier, sicker, more divided and more violent society.

How to avert this fate? In 2009 Nancy Pelosi called for free contraceptives as a form of economic stimulus.

Ten thousand Americans retire every day, and leave insufficient progeny to pick up the slack. In effect, Nancy has rolled a giant condom over the entire American economy.

Testifying before Congress, Timmy Geithner referred only to “demographic challenges” — an oblique allusion to the fact that the U.S. economy is about to be terminally clobbered by 100 trillion dollars of entitlement obligations it can never meet.

And, as Chart 5-1 on page 58 of the official Obama budget “Analytical Perspectives” makes plain, your feckless, decadent rulers have no plans to do anything about it.

Instead, the Democrats shriek, ooh, Republican prudes who can’t get any action want to shut down your sex life! According to CBO projections, by midcentury mere interest payments on the debt will exceed federal revenues.

For purposes of comparison, by 1788 Louis XVI’s government in France was spending a mere 60% of revenues on debt service, and we know how that worked out for His Majesty shortly thereafter.

Not to worry, says Barry Antoinette. Let them eat condoms.

This is a very curious priority for a dying republic. “Birth control” is accessible, indeed ubiquitous, and, by comparison with anything from a gallon of gas to basic cable, one of the cheapest expenses in the average budget. Not even Rick Santorum, that notorious scourge of the sexually liberated, wishes to restrain the individual right to contraception.

But where is the compelling societal interest in the state prioritizing and subsidizing it? Especially when you’re already the Brokest Nation in History. Elsewhere around the developed world, prudent politicians are advocating natalist policies designed to restock their empty maternity wards.

13 Feb 2012

Not a Coincidence

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Bill Jacobson points out that, in the light of recent events, one of the most peculiar questions asked during the GOP debates suddenly begins to make sense.

Remember when George Stephanopoulos, at the New Hampshire Republican debate on January 7, brought up and harped on whether the candidates thought states could ban contraception?

Everyone, at least on our side of the aisle, shook their heads in disbelief as to why Stephanopoulos was bringing up the issue. There was no active controversy over contraception, it wasn’t in the news, and there were far more pressing political issues, yet what seemed like an eternity of debate time was devoted to the subject at the insistence of Stephanopoulos.

It was, shall we say, something out of left field. …

It’s almost as if Stephanopoulos got the memo first. Unless, of course, you believe in coincidences.

Via Glenn Reynolds.


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