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February 22, 2012

GOP views on birth control


GOP ContraDEception

GOP ContraDeception There has been more about contraception in the news in the last month then there has been in the past decade. All this over a little pill.

In a typical birth control package, there are seven pills that are basically filled with nothing (those are the ones in the center in the image on the left). They are only there so that the woman remains on a routine schedule of taking a pill each day. I of course would be hesitate to take them - sure, from their appearance it looks like there are no active ingredients inside - but they also appear toxic (at least to me).

The recent firestorm started with the Obama administration announcement two weeks ago that some Catholic institutions would be require to comply with the Affordable Health Care Act of 2010. Specifically, the requirement that birth control coverage be included in all health care policies. Although this mandate did not apply to churches, it did apply to affiliated organizations such as Catholic Hospitals and Catholic Charities.

Ricky Santorum of course was a very vocal opponent of this requirement.

"They are taking faith and crushing it. Why? Why? When you marginalize faith in America, when you remove the pillar of God-given rights, then what’s left is the French Revolution. What’s left is the government that gives you right, what’s left are no unalienable rights, what’s left is a government that will tell you who you are, what you’ll do and when you’ll do it. What’s left in France became the guillotine. Ladies and gentlemen, we’re a long way from that, but if we do and follow the path of President Obama and his overt hostility to faith in America, then we are headed down that road."

Wow - the friggin guillotine (maybe Ricky is confusing  birth control with circumcision). I will give Ricky credit for this. He isn't just using this issue for purposes of his presidential run. He has always pretty much felt that birth control was a nasty thing. This from a 2006 interview: 
"I don't think it works. I think it's harmful to women. I think it's harmful to our society to have a society that says that sex outside of marriage is something that should be encouraged or tolerated, particularly among the young. And I think we've very, very harmful long term consequences to our society. Birth control to me enables that, and I don't think it's a healthy thing for our country."

Alrighty then. I think I see the math:

  •    The Pill = Premarital Sex. 
  •    Premarital Sex = Bad
  •   The Pill = Bad
Okay Ricky, all I need now to totally get on your side here is some evidence to support your claim. I'm not trying to be a stickler here, but before we get the nation off of birth control pills (would that make us a condom-nation?) I think we need something stronger than your opinion.

I am pretty sure that premarital sex did occur prior to the pill. In fact, at least according to Wikipedia, the average age of an American virgin has been increasing steadily since 1988 despite the ever increasing availability of birth control pills. Now, Wikipedia did note two disturbing trends in the virginity battle:
  1. Girls will most likely lose their virginity to a boy who is 1 to 3  years older than they are
  2. The most common month for a girl to lose her virginity is June (don't know why - maybe it's a graduation thing).
So, rather than attacking the pill, perhaps we should pass a laws forbidding girls from dating anyone older than them and - of course - abolish the month of June.  Problem solved.

In terms of "the young" - that's also a bit problematic. Back in 1957, the average age of a bride was 17. Today it is 27. So even if I shared Ricky's views on teenage sexual activity, what are we going to do about that problematic 21 to 27 year old time frame - or, folks who are even older?  When I met Mi Esposa, I was 35 and she was 33. Although she claimed virginity (apparently never consummating her prior marriage), we did have a desire for - well, you know. I would hate to think that every time we - you know - she would have to have a nino amor.  

I guess I just don't get Ricky's point of view - sex outside of marriage should not be encouraged or tolerated... In my mind, folks - particularly adults, are going to (and always did) have sex regardless of whether or not there is such a thing is birth control pills. Remember, Ricky is talking about all women here -as if a fully formed adult is going to make their decision on whether or not to have sex based on the availability of estrogen. When I was in my bar-hopping, man whore stage of my life, I don't recall this conversation ever taking place:

Me:          So, buy you a drink?
Bar Girl:   I guess - why not (As she yawns - scanning bar for better alternative)
Me:         Okay, will you have sex with me now?
Bar Girl:  No, you pretty much disgust me.
Me:         But aren't you on the pill?
Bar Grill: Damn! You got me. Alright - you win. But I'm not going to enjoy it.
Me:        Like that's ever bothered me. 

I don't know Rick's views on "pulling out" or the "rhythm method" - but I can only assume that he is against them as well because - at least according to Ricky's logic - in order to ensure that premarital sex does not occur we must always ensure that the consequence of sex is pregnancy.

So you really want to vote for a guy that thinks any sexual activity outside of marriage should not be tolerated? What do you think a Santorum Admenstruation would look like? Sorry, I could never vote for Ricky (definitely not sponge worthy). With apologies to Pink - Ricky, "You're just like a pill - stead of making me better - you're making me ill.."

Sadly, it doesn't end with Ricky. Mitt, Newt and other GOP pundits have weighed in on the evils of the pill and on February 17th, Congressman Darrel Issa chaired an all male congressional committee investigation Obama's Contraception Regulation.  As as typically the case when men try to intervene in female sexuality - nothing came of it (hmmm - think how close menstruation is to mens true nation- coincidence? - I think not).  Now admittedly, I've spent my entire life wanting to tell women what to do with their bodies (although that had nothing to do with contraception). I just don't think this issue rises to the level of  congressional inquiries. And if you're going to have one - let a few gals speak to the issue.

Now, I do get this - Catholic Bishops are upset about the requirement that their affiliated organizations may be required to provide health coverage for contraception. I was born and raised Catholic (before I converted to Athiesm) and do know quite well that birth control is in direct conflict with the teachings of the church. But isn't the issue a bit larger than the pill?

Isn't the macro issue really whether or not a religious organization can be compelled to comply with any federal laws? Let's take the issue of marriage as an example. We outlawed poligamy even though it was a routine practice and strongly held principle of some in the Mormon faith. Full disclosure - had it not been banned, I most certainly would have converted from Athiesm to Mormonism lickity split.

But the point being - would the Catholic Church support a Mormon effort to be provided an exception to the ban on poligamy under the guise of separation of Church and State? I'm guessing not since, as a Catholic, you can be excommunicated for the act. What about the Muslims who wish to practice Sharia law? Would the Church support their efforts in those instances where Sharia law conflicted with Federal law? Again - I'm guessing no. In my view, the slippery slope is not whether a specific church is required to comply with a specific mandate, it is instead whether or not we are going to start picking and choosing which religions and which mandates we would favor. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but that  - should not be encouraged or tolerated. All that being said, it is important to note that the Catholic Church per se is not being required to comply with the Health Care Act. Organizations that are affiliated (e.g., Catholic Charities, Catholic Hospitals) are.

After the firestorm erupted, President Obama decided to fuck it up a little more. See, so far only those are the right were pissed off. That wasn't fair - got to be a way to piss off those on the left too.

So, his grand compromise was basically this: Catholic Affiliations will not have to pay insurance companies for contraception coverage. HOWEVER - insurance companies that provide services to people who work for Catholic Affiliations will have to provide contraception coverage - at no cost to the Catholic organization or the person receiving the contraception.  Those on the right justifiably rejected this namby pamby piece o crap. Those on the left should have screamed just as loudly. Ya see, the fact of the matter is that most Catholics use birth control. What Obama's compromise basically means is that non-Catholics will basically be paying for the birth control used by Catholics. The insurance companies aren't going to eat the costs - there just going to show up in everyone else's premiums - ugh! That certainly should not be encouraged or tolerated.   

Good grief - I've only been working on this post a day and I'm already sick of the issue. Very tempted to just hit the delete button and write something about the Kardashians instead (I would have already done it but I think that GOP Pill pic was pretty funny and I don't really have anywhere else to use it). Okay - moving on.

Alright . even though I criticized the President for it, I'll offer a compromise. How about this, regardless of whether they are Catholic, Muslim, Mormon, Baptist, Jewish et al  - only those religious organizations that accept federal funds are required to comply with the provisions of the Affordable Health Care Act. That would give all of these organizations control over their own destiny.

As an example, the Federal Government provides almost $3 ba-ba-ba-billion per year to Catholic Charities (nearly 70% of it's total funding). The Church could decide not to take the money and, if so, be exempted from the contraception mandate. The $3 billion would merely be redirected to other charitable organizations. That may be a difficult decision for the Church, but I am sure they would understand that, sometimes, standing on your principles can be a tough pill to swallow.