Friday, March 2, 2012

Equality

The debate about contraception going on in Congress and on the campaign trail--who would have thought in the year 2012 we would be having a debate about contraception!--is fascinating for exposing attitudes toward women that haven't been spoken about openly, for the most part, in years. Thanks to Rush Limbaugh, as usual, for making the issue crystal clear. He is now facing well-deserved criticism for calling a law student who publicly demanded that health insurance cover the cost of birth control pills, a slut and a prostitute. She wants the public to pay her for having sex, said Rush.

A lot of the response to these hateful comments has pointed out that birth control pills have many other legitimate uses, and in fact, those uses were the focus of Sandra Fluke's testimony. And that is an entirely appropriate response. But I have to question whether Fluke's defenders should stop there. Anybody who truly believes in equal rights for women has to stand up for more than the rights of women to use birth control pills to treat medical conditions. Let's not dance around the fact that one of the purposes of birth control pills is . . . birth control.

Anybody remember seeing Sean Hannity getting outraged--outraged!--when a guest on his show questioned whether health insurance should cover Viagra? That is a medical problem, he said, versus a choice to have sex. Of course it must be covered.





In other words, all men must have the right to engage in whatever sexual activities they choose, casual or otherwise. Women, on the other hand, traditionally fall into two categories, the "good girls" who don't, and the sluts, who do. Men definitely want the bad girls who are willing to engage in casual sex to be available, but men like Rush Limbaugh also want to treat them like dirt in public. That outdated attitude must be put to rest once and for all.

It's time to stop acting morally superior if Sandra Fluke or any other woman demands access to birth control pills because she might want to have sex once in a while but would prefer not to get pregnant. If we believe in true equality for women, it's not enough to make the argument that birth control pills have other legitimate medical uses, although of course they do. We have to stop stigmatizing women who want the same freedoms men have.

 UPDATE: Cheers to President Obama for calling Sandra Fluke and telling her to tell her parents they should be proud of her. Exactly the right thing to say.

6 comments:

  1. << who would have thought in the year 2012 we would be having a debate about contraception! >>

    Unbelievable.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think this article written by Attorney Cathy Cleaver Ruse, senior fellow for legal studies at the Family Research Council, and garduate J.D. from Georgetown Law in 1989 sums this up very well. What do you think Joe?

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203370604577263281305035966.html

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm not an expert on Christian theology, but I have read enough of the New Testament to recall teachings such as "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's," or "let him who is without sin cast the first stone." To me it seems directly contrary to Christian teachings to try to control other people's sexual morality.

    I don't understand why any organization, no matter what its beliefs, should be exempt from a requirement to provide people with health insurance. That organization can still tell people they think it is sinful to use birth control, or whatever other medical procedure they think is contrary to their teachings, but they should have no right to interfere in the doctor-patient relationship, or to prevent people from obtaining whatever medical treatments they feel they need. Just as the Catholic Church already has to pay its share of payroll taxes for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries but has no right to tell those beneficiaries what health care services they should be using.

    Once you allow the Catholics to prevent people from getting reimbursed for birth control, then don't you have to allow some other religious groups to prevent people from getting reimbursed for blood transfusions, or in vitro fertilization, or vaccines, or psychiatric drugs, or any other treatment that this or that religious group thinks is contrary to their teachings?

    There is already an exemption for churches and similar groups to deny coverage for their employees who are of that religion. That seems broad enough. I just don't understand at all how someone can say that Catholic doctrine gives Catholics the right to tell non-Catholics what medical treatments they are entitled to.

    ReplyDelete
  4. << To me it seems directly contrary to Christian teachings to try to control other people's sexual morality. >>

    We agree, 100%.

    << I just don't understand at all how someone can say that Catholic doctrine gives Catholics the right to tell non-Catholics what medical treatments they are entitled to. >>

    We agree!

    ReplyDelete
  5. To be clear, I haven't heard proposals to deny women access to contraception. It seems to me the left is purposefully obfuscating the issue.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I would go so far to say that Progressives underestimate women. They are not waiting for the feds to supply the pill. They are running business and family budgets, they are organizing and paying for health care of health care for their parents, they are trying to fill the gas tank, they are purchasing food products some of which have risen 10-15% the last calendar year. It's called inflation and Obama owns it. Woman wonder why the Dems and president are so side tracked. Men and women see gas prices as a problem. Progressives see higher gas prices as a solution.

    ReplyDelete