Friday, February 17, 2012

A Few Brief Thoughts on the Birth Control Debate

Anybody else out there getting tired of all these men getting uptight over whether contraception should be covered in insurance plans?

Yesterday's House hearings on Obama's compromise that allows religious affiliated employers (hospitals, universities) to not have to cover birth control but then requires insurance companies to offer it directly is a case in point. The majority of panelists were men, all crying a variation of the same crocodile tears over how this small feature violates their conscience. The first panel to speak, in fact, was all male. In fact, one woman who wanted to speak on the medical uses wasn't allowed to address the panel because as Committee Chairman Rep., Darrell Issa (R, CA) said, "this isn't about contraception."

Never mind that many states have basically the same policy towards covering birth control; or that in some cases they were passed by Republicans. In this case, the same conservatives who tend to view Viagra being covered in their plans as a god given right, suddenly feel that their rights are being infringed upon. Some even claim this as proof of a "war on religion" on the part of the Obama administration.

All of this in hopes that an amendment Sen. Roy Blunt (R, MO) will attach to a transportation bill will pass. This amendment allows employers to deny any coverage that they feel goes against their conscience or morals. Not just religious institutions, but any employer can deny any coverage for any reason they can make fit this vague definition of religious or moral conscience. Between this and the way too many to count efforts to defund Planned Parenthood that have gone on since the Republicans took back the House last year, it appears that many politicians in Washington would rather wage a war on women and their health care needs as a way to appease their base than actually do anything concrete in trying to get the economy improved.

So what's ahead? Given that coverage for contraception is popular amongst Americans actions like this hearing seem to be little more than throwing raw meat to the GOP's base, which has twisted an interpretation of religion to justify their own prejudices and sexist attitudes. The odds of it passing the Senate is dubious at best. In addition, it's shocking they'd attempt this given the blow back the Susan G. Komen Foundation received when they defunded Planned Parenthood a few weeks back.

While this may be useful in garnering primary and caucus votes, attacking something a majority of Americans agree with and support in such a blatant manner (especially when similar rules are in effect on a state level for over 20 states without incident) seems destined to come back and haunt them as the year moves on. Regardless, this is a firestorm that is far from over at this point in time.

Sorry for the Wait

Hey! Hope all is well out there. Sorry for not posting in so long but there had been a lot going on and I got distracted. Will try and rectify that in the future.