Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Voiding Obamacare's Birth Control Mandate Might Be the Single Greatest Act of Discrimination in American History

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Free contraception is at the center of the Affordable Care Act's notion of proactive health services for women. An Emily Bazelon article in Slate highlights the reasons it's good for women:
Before we get to those [the arguments against], a brief recap of why contraception coverage matters. The Department of Health and Human Services decided to include contraception as part of comprehensive preventive health care for women—and thus a service employers must cover under the Affordable Care Act—based on recommendations by the Institute of Medicine. The IOM looked at the outcomes associated with getting pregnant unintentionally and found connections to delayed prenatal care, premature delivery, low birth weight, maternal depression, and family violence. Getting pregnant without intending to also can prevent women from getting a degree or a job they aspire to. Birth control, in other words, helps women in wide-ranging ways. It’s pretty simple, really: Women are better off when they get to choose if and when to have babies. When birth control is part of the health insurance package, as opposed to an expense women foot on their own, their health literally benefits.
 ...as well as the essential religious nature of the fight against it:
And so, as the AFLC [American Freedom Law Center] argues, contraceptives of all kinds aren’t medical or related to health care at all. They are “procedures involving gravely immoral practices.” Protected sex demeans women by making men disrespect them. (Just as Pope Paul VI did decades ago, the AFLC presents this as true inside marriage as well as out.) By separating sex from childbearing, birth control is to blame for the erosion of marriage, for the economic difficulties of single motherhood, and even for the rotten behavior of men who beat their girlfriends and wives. Birth control is the original sin of modernity. Its widespread availability changed everything, for the worse.
There we have it: The pill and other modern devices and means of contraception have freed women to manage their own lives, thus condemning them to a life of perversion, immorality, and the permanent disrespect of men, even their husbands.

Or not, depending on your belief structures. Interestingly, birth control is unbelievably popular and its use widespread:
Most women who have abortions bear and rear children, too, actually. And it goes without saying that women who have used birth control have kids, too, since “women who use contraceptives” means practically every woman in the country. And yet there are still people willing to say that “well-woman preventive care visits” are about minimizing “the risk and consequence of a sexually licentious lifestyle,” as yet another brief insists.
And right there we find the massive contradiction: Practically every woman in the country uses, has used, or will use contraceptives at some point to help with family planning. Along with this is the reality that for every woman who has followed this path, there is a man quite likely both aware and supportive, not to mention a beneficiary, of the practice.

So how can we view the attempt to stand in the way, using religious doctrine in direct contravention of the U.S. Constitution, of a woman's access to the contraception of her choice as anything but a massive act of discrimination? And it's quite likely the most massive act of discrimination in history, given that the class includes practically all adults in the U.S.

That's how I view it. Any reason why I shouldn't?

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  1. No bible-humping politician will ever control my sexuality, fertility, or medical decisions over my own body. I am well-educated and financially stable, so I will never have to be under the yoke of sillya$$ legislation in red-held states. I feel sorry for women who don't have such control over their own lives.