A Sex Ed 101 curriculum for conservatives

By Amanda Marcotte
March 2, 2012

Recent national kerfuffles over abortion and contraception access bring up many important questions: Should employers retain control over your wages and benefits after they sign them over to you? Is contraception, a service used by 99 percent of American women, really so controversial? How much state regulation should there be over women’s most private decisions? But amidst all those questions is one overarching one: Do conservatives need a crash course in sex ed?

Usually, when we think of the sex education debate, we think of junior high and high school kids putting condoms on bananas. But recent events indicate that this country needs remedial sex education for adults, specifically social conservatives who wish to hold forth on reproductive rights without seeming to know the basics regarding who has sex and how it works in 2012. With that in mind, I designed a quick curriculum for these surprisingly necessary courses.

Intercourse 101: It Takes Two to Tango. After voting for a mandatory ultrasound bill that serves no other purpose than to shame abortion patients for their sexuality, Virginia delegate David Albo complained in the legislature that he’s not getting the sex he feels entitled to from his wife. CNSNews columnist Craig Bannister shamed women on the pill for being “sex-crazed co-eds” who exhibit too much “sexual zeal” — before ending his piece by wistfully wishing he could have sex with all the sexually active women he just insulted. Rush Limbaugh, who is on his fourth marriage and is an admitted Viagra user, called Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University law student who testified before Congress about her use of contraception, a “slut” and a “prostitute.”

In this first section of the remedial sex education course, we will discuss this sexual double standard: When having sex, men are behaving well and women behaving badly. The midterm will be an essay on the following prompt: “If women are supposed to say no to sex, whom do you propose straight men sleep with?”

Contraception 101: History as Prologue. Many conservatives appear to believe that prior to the Obama administration requiring employers to fully cover contraceptive care as part of their health plans, contraception wasn’t considered a medical service, but something more like a party item you pick up with your beer and cigarettes. Tina Korbe of Hot Air argued that supporters of the new regulation “labor under the illusion that contraception is a medical necessity.” Limbaugh argued that health insurance covering contraception means women are “paid to have sex.” The reaction on the right suggests that this is the first time in history someone has suggested that contraception care be included in general health benefits.

During this portion of the class, we will look at the history of medicalized birth control. Students will learn (in conjunction with another mandatory class, The Pill 101) that the birth control pill has always been controlled by doctors and pharmacies, and that insurance companies treat it as medical care by offering the drug with a co-pay. Special attention will be paid to the 28 states that already require contraception coverage, the existing Medicaid coverage of contraception, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission decision that found that contraception coverage is a normal part of women’s healthcare that should be covered by healthcare plans.

Premarital Sex 101: A Quantitative Look. Underlying many of the arguments over women’s reproductive healthcare is a widespread fear of women using these rights to have sex outside of marriage. During the Arizona Republican primary debate, Rick Santorum blamed contraception for the problem of teen pregnancy, presuming that teenagers in a contraception-free world would instead abstain. Utah Republican state representative Bill Wright defended a bill banning discussion of contraception in schools by saying: “Why don’t we just be honest with them upfront that sex outside marriage is devastating?”

Contrary to students’ expectations, there is no high-level math prerequisite for this course. The statistics involved are relatively straightforward. Students will learn that 95 percent of Americans have premarital sex and have done so for decades without bringing ruin to the nation. In addition, students will read literature showing that the teen pregnancy rate actually declined after the sexual revolution, leaving it at half the rate it was in the 1950s. Students will be asked to research why it is that blue states, where residents are more likely to use contraception and delay marriage, have lower rates of divorce and teen pregnancy.

The Pill 101: A Scientific Look. The ignorance on display on the right regarding the birth control pill, which has been around as a contraceptive for over 50 years, has been astounding. Limbaugh’s comment — “she’s having so much sex she can’t afford her own birth control pills” — indicates that he believes there’s a correlation between the number of sexual encounters and the number of pills necessary. Limbaugh also seems to think mothers and women who use birth control are mutually exclusive categories, saying: “How do you become a mom if you’re into birth control?” Additionally, with words such as “slut,” “prostitute” and “sex-crazed” flying around to describe women on hormonal contraception, it appears many conservatives believe that the drugs exist primarily for use by single women with multiple partners.

Students in our remedial sex ed course will take their time learning about hormonal contraception. They will learn that women on the pill must take one every day for it to work, no matter how much sex they’re having. Students will discover that monogamy isn’t enough to prevent unintended pregnancy, and thus married and monogamous women use the pill just as single women do. To drive home what not using contraception would mean for women, married and otherwise, students will be asked to watch the TLC show about the Duggar family, with its 19 children, and then offer a five-minute presentation in class.

As evidenced by the ignorant rot tumbling out of various right-wing mouths in response to these controversies, a curriculum of this kind is sorely needed. Perhaps female Democrats in Congress can write a bill funding Sex Education for Grown-Up Pundits and help elevate the conversation with a little basic understanding.

PHOTO: Radio show host Rush Limbaugh speaks at a forum hosted by the Heritage Foundation on the similarities between the war on terrorism and the television show 24, in Washington, June 23, 2006. REUTERS/Micah Walter

44 comments

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[...] Amanda Marcotte just did a piece for Reuters entitled A Sex Ed 101 curriculum for conservatives.  The premise itself is absurd of course, because social conservatives know everything about [...]

This needs to stay in the national spotlight at least until the end of this election cycle. Abortion is a sticky subject and it’s easy to see how opponents can at least make a case against it. Birth control is a completely different topic.

It’s not like theres a only a simple majority of people who have used birth control. It’s not even a massive majority. Almost everyone in the country who has ever been sexually active has used, or had their partner use, birth control. The numbers don’t really change for married or single people; if you are having sex and you aren’t one of the rarest religious fundamentalists, you have used birth control. On top of all that, it lowers overall healthcare costs. One unintended pregnancy costs more than a lifetime of birth control pills. Insurance companies are happy to provide free birth control because their expenses go down when they do.

As long as it doesn’t get framed as some phoney “ATTACK ON RELIGION!!!” this isn’t possibly something that can be a losing battle. You’d have better luck trying to pass prohibition again…

Posted by spall78 | Report as abusive

That it was GOP Rep Darrell Issa who convened his committee and invited five male religious figures to testify how the Healthcare Reform Act required employers to offer women free contraceptive benefits constituted, “an assault on their religious beliefs.” A female Grad student Sandra Fluke was barred from testifying at the faith-based birth control hearing on Capitol Hill because she was deemed “unqualified” by Rep. Darrell Issa. She later went on to testify at a Democratic hearing on the same matter.
Issa’s Committee hearing was a sham and a political red herring event designed to feed red meat to their fundamentalist religious-right base and potentially conflate the HRA with religious freedom. Then Rush gushed in and as usual, smeared and insulted Ms Fluke. The resultant public firestorm refocused the original GOP intent and redirected the public discourse to blame storming and abandoning rational thought.
The need for contraceptives in today’s society is incontrovertible to any rational person. The concept of ‘The State’ interfering or regulating private healthcare decisions by individual citizens becomes so absurd as to be ludicrous and on the face of it, unconstitutional. Yet again and again, the GOP, at the behest of religious bigots, nationally and locally, has passed legislation to that very purpose.
Yes, in some respects, the conservatives do need remedial sex education and their knowledge gaps about ‘the birds and the bees’ is apparent but that is only a symptom of their dysfunctional thought patterns, policies and public behaviors. IMHO, the GOP has abandoned their conservative philosophy that once was a valuable part of our national gestalt for things far less worthwhile; simple greed, ascendant role in government and the nebulous icon of power.

Posted by JBltn | Report as abusive

I realize that most of us put up with the Limbaughs of talk radio, but it really is irresponsible on radio, and society’s part, to let that kind of vitriol spill forth. Someone should set up a dedicated fund just to cover the costs of slander lawsuits against Limbaugh et. al. and he, and his brethren, should be buried in the litigation they so richly deserve.

Most recipients of the wrath of Limbaugh choose to look the other way, but that is no longer a responsible option and only encourages conservative talk radio to rise to greater heights of affront.

Posted by PapaDisco | Report as abusive

When adults behave like children as we sometimes do, I wonder what children think of the adults?

Posted by urvr2 | Report as abusive

Hey JCA. Since I study public health, I almost feel obliged to tell you how preventative health works. You stop something in the present in order to prevent it in the future. Simple, right? Now as of June 2011, researchers concluded that lower-bound, mean and upper-bound estimates of the annual cost of unintended pregnancy are, respectively, $9.6 billion, $11.3 billion and $12.6 billion. Corresponding estimates of the savings that would accrue to taxpayers by preventing unintended pregnancies are $4.7 billion, $5.6 billion and $6.2 billion. The mean estimate of the taxpayer cost per publicly subsidized unintended pregnancy is $9,000; the prevention of such a pregnancy would save taxpayers about half that amount.

You are already paying for unintended pregnancies! Oops! And birth control would PREVENT those unintended pregnancies. I’ll leave you to find your own facts to suit your opinion that subsidized birth control would morally and financially bankrupt the nation, but please get it into your brain that you are ALREADY PAYING for the “sexual activity of others.”

Sincerely,

Someone who gets it.

Posted by bexlizard | Report as abusive

I know it makes sense to assume birth control is actually prescribed and used for the purpose of preventing pregnancy, but that is not always the case. My doctors are required to counsel me to use two forms of birth control because of the antirejection drugs I take to maintain my kidney and pancreas transplants. My sister is prescribed birth control as treatment for ovarian cyst disorder — the medical condition Ms. Fluke was testifying about. My aunt was prescribed birth control in the 1960s to treat severe acne.

Prejudice doesn’t get you off the hook for medicine you yourself don’t or won’t use. What’s next? Deciding fat people are lazy and don’t deserve to have medication for Type II Diabetes? Or blood pressure medicine? Maybe Christian Scientists would prefer not to pay taxes in support of surgery? I and my doctor get to decide what is medically necessary. Not my boss. Not my church. Not some joker who doesn’t even know what my condition is.

And would that sexual activity always was a personal decision. Rape, coercion and blackmail, and illegal medications all take that decision-making power away. Until men actually are able to take full responsibility for their own actions the least we can do is make it possible for women to choose when and under what circumstances they will procreate.

Posted by hearmeroar | Report as abusive

The Issue IS about Health. The Issue IS about a woman’s right to make her medical care decisions.
The issue is NOT about “thumb sucking little human being” because 1 sperm wiggler meeting one female egg and the inalienable right by one or both cell contributors to prevent that meeting, er, mating. Their right to take that preventative action is not trashing their freedoms; it is exer4cising their rights and freedom to choose NOT to procreate.
There is certainly is a NEED for a remedial school certainly about the civil rights guaranteed to every citizen by the US Constitution.
The self righteous rants about freedoms being lost because of two people using a contraceptive and saying contraceptive use will cause “communism” to enter democracy is absurd to the point of jaw-dropping guffaws and rolling-on-the-ground funny.
Sometimes the lack of cognitive thought among the inchoate, self-righteous, pro-taking civil liberties from women’ groups amazes me. They hide behind rhetoric about the rights of a blastula growing inside a woman’s womb and attempt to take away her decision rights over her body because they believe their religion’s ‘god’ has an opinion that ‘they’ want to force on everyone. WHAT consummate idiocy that displays to public ridicule.

Posted by JBltn | Report as abusive

As the editor of an actual curriculum titled “Sex Ed 101″ (see http://www.SexEdStore.com) I would be delighted to send Mr. Limbaugh a complimentary copy. It sure seems like he could use it!

Posted by BillTaverner | Report as abusive

Notice how limapie uses the word “lady” as a form of mockery and putting-her-in-her-place, as an irritated teenager might derisively address a child as “kid.”

Professional pundits and editors learn to cover their tracks by excising such obviously sexist language before publication, but in a forum like this, it slips right through. The imagery is clear: a bunch of rowdy boys are taunting one girl who appears to be alone and defenseless.

I do not hate males — I am one myself. But sometimes our proclivities disgust me.

To be fair, my daughter, at age sixteen, used to say, “Girls are evil.” I suppose she meant, “to each other.” I did not agree, and told her so at the time, but in fact young people of either sex are too busy growing up to have much time for empathy.

The commenters here are presumed to be adults.

Posted by Ralphooo | Report as abusive

Umm, jca. You apparently are unaware that the pill does have medicinal effects for some women beyond the preventing pregnancy medicinal effect. Not so for the viagra that you buy subsidized by your health insurance. Viagra has no other medical purpose than to promote sex. I think this is a case of what’s good for the gander should also be good for the goose.

Posted by majkmushrm | Report as abusive

jca: your argument (and Limbaugh’s also) has one underlying fault…. The law says that employers must provide this medical service as a part of their coverage. The taxpayers DO NOT pay employers anything….. The employer pays a medical provider, and recoups his cost in the price of his product. The taxpayers are NOT forced to purchase these products…. It’s called Accounting 101, and Economics 101…. Get schooled, it’s educational….

Posted by edgyinchina | Report as abusive

The planet’s population is now exponentially doubling at such a quick rate, on a planet unable to support it, that, logically – were any of these representatives using, and applying, their God Given Intelligence, and humble enough to acknowledge that we human animals DO have sex between 2 and 4 times per week, on average —
Logically, we would be trying to find REALISTIC ways to ensure everyone has access to birth control.

This lack of foresight, responsibility and self-discipline on the part of republicans is madness, and a fine example of why the human race is going to dig itself into the grave – faster than ever.

Posted by SeekListenLove | Report as abusive

Outstanding article! Thank you for voicing my and my wife’s view on the radio tubbys rant! I was very glad also to see that most of the comments here supported your article! As for the ones that opposed it “YO, GO GET A REAL EDUCATION!”

Posted by Madashellvet | Report as abusive

@spall78. “This needs to stay in the national spotlight at least until the end of this election cycle. Abortion is a sticky subject and it’s easy to see how opponents can at least make a case against it. Birth control is a completely different topic”

Really, a completely different topic? What about abortion pills Mifepristone and Misoprostol? These will also fall under Obama’s birth control policy umbrella. Currently many doctors will not prescribe these pills because they believe a fetus is a live human being. But what happens when this policy becomes law and a doctor refuses to write the prescription? The media is simply diverting everyone’s attention to big mouthed morons like Limbaugh while the important topics get no coverage whatsoever.

Posted by GLK | Report as abusive

A Great Article !!! (Finally someone who addresses the issues instead of merely assaulting people)

Maybe now we can put this discussion to bed.

Posted by nieldevi | Report as abusive

Dear jca and JohnSkookum : Your arguments about “we” or the “taxpayers” being forced to pay for others’ birth control misses on several points. First, you do not identify who you mean by “we” or the “taxpayers.” Ms. Fluke is a fully enfranchised member of our society so she is one of the “we.” And even though she is currently a law student this does not mean she does not or has never paid her taxes. Second, as Ms. Marcotte has so ably pointed out, the pill is considered part of most health care coverage, both private or government funded.

My wife is on the pill and it is covered in part by our health insurance (small co-pay). We both work and the last time I looked, money is coming out of our paychecks to pay for this coverage. And yes, we had sex before we were married (lots of it) and yes, we used the pill, but what business is that of yours? Guys like you have absolutely no stake in anyone’s use of the pill. If my wife’s use of the pill offends your religious beliefs, well then, I will say this in the most polite way that I can — you can both f*ck yourselves. Just make sure you use protection.

Posted by IntoTheTardis | Report as abusive

You can rely on Reuters to give a left of center argument in the article. And it is patronizing too. Just what the lefties like.

Posted by eleno | Report as abusive

Insurance covers Viagra and Cialis for men to have sex, and sex is a voluntary act. Perhaps we should also outlaw insurance coverage of all ED drugs.

Insurance covers various procedures and drugs to help fat people. Being fat is typically a voluntary condition. Why should we allow insurance companies to cover problems from obesity? Fat people should just eat less.

Posted by Teledon | Report as abusive

As with many issues of this election phase and all other before it, the truth and what needs to happen gets clouded by rhetoric and wanting to be the winner and an overall attitude that the thing to do is to pander to money, whoever has it, on both sides. I am personally a very conservative Christian, but I am also a wife and mom who loves her family and husband who does not want more children. That is my right in this country. I personally am not convinced it’s my right to demand that the implementation of that right be paid for by my insurance company at the expense of others. I choose to use birth control, but we pay for it, and if the sex is worth it, folks will find the money to afford the contraception, even if it’s simply the free condoms available almost everywhere. I am neither Republican nor Democrat and have yet to see a candidate worth a second glance on either side, and I am especially appalled by the inflamatory rhetoric and hypocricy of individuals like Mr. Limbaugh. And this issue should not get tangled up in the abortion debate, on either side. This comes down to how much an employer can be required to pay for in light of issues of conscience, in my opinion.

Posted by tiredofthesame | Report as abusive

Doesn’t birth control cost about the same amount as a regular cell phone plan or cable TV? Doesn’t seem like something that needs to be INSURED. Insurance is to protect you against losses you can’t afford to pay out of pocket.

You buy homeowners insurance in case your house burns down. Not to pay to cut the grass or fix a broken toilet.

You buy car insurance in case you wreck your car, not to pay for oil changes or new tires.

Why isn’t health insurance the same? Shoudn’t it only pay for big bills like cancer treatment or brain surgery etc… Why does it even pay for something that costs what the average cell phone costs. Most Americans seem to be able to buy a phone without phone insurance or cable tv without cable tv insurance. If we wonder why health insurance is expensive we need look no further than insurance plans covering everything under the sun. If the insurance plans listed above covered everything they would be outrageously priced too.

We should pay for birth control for indigent people becuase they can’t afford even the most basic items like food or clothing. But only in those circumstances. Otherwise cancel your cable TV and pay for the drug yourself.

Posted by dantoledo1 | Report as abusive

Oh whoopie, so you’re defending a randy lady and demanding – somewhat sanctimoniously – birth control is paid for by the government.

In other words the rest of us. While I am happy for Ms Fluke and her romps (I have it good authority from a friend that she is called facility Fluke) I am damned if can see the sense of paying for her shenanigans.

After all toilet paper is a health issue – why shouldn’t the government pay for toilet paper for all of us. At least we ALL use paper (except the greenies who use leaves) so that at least would be fairer.

Posted by eleno | Report as abusive

If an employer, any employer, can select to not cover dental or vision health as a part of the benefits they elect to “give” to their employees, are they denying anyone their rights? I think not. That is the starting point of why an entitlement forced to be paid by a private employer is wrong, independent of any tangential controversy. But to require a private employer to act against their moral conscience and provide a benefit they otherwise would not include or support is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Forget the feminist script of suppression, it doesn’t matter if it were true or not. In most cases it is wholly untrue and is a poor justification for compulsion. Forget whoever’s calculation of net cost on society and which plan of action is cheaper… if it is UNCONSTITUTIONAL it is ILLEGAL!

Just because a cantankerous blowhard insults a person while declaring the sky is blue doesn’t mean the sky is not blue! What Rush said to personally attack Ms Fluke was wrong. For all any of us know, she may not personally have a need for contraception and is not sexually active. It isn’t her moral character that is at stake it is the arguments for and against what she was presenting. I happen to disagree with her stated opinion very strongly. But I presume she is otherwise a very nice, intelligent person. I wish those who disagree with my opinion would return that favor to me and not lump me in with a big lump like Rush!

Posted by 2bornot | Report as abusive

The last time I looked the mandate was for insurance carriers to provide this coverage, how the (censored) do you narrow minded few get to government paying for this?

Posted by Madashellvet | Report as abusive

To speak to all those who feel like the “fat man who feels entitled to donuts”. Ignorance just infuriates me when it’s flung around as if it’s something to be proud of. How about all of the married men out there? Unless you’re impotent you should have 22 kids by the time you are 50. What you don’t? You’ve been married for 10 years and you and your wife have only 2 children? Do you practice complete abstinence in your family? If you don’t have or do any of the things above I presume you and the wife practice birth control. My my, we’ve been paying for you two to have wonton sex all these years because I’ll bet you’ve been using The Pill. Does your insurance pay for all or part of it? Shame on you. Guess we should call you the names Rush Limbaugh hurled at miss Fluke. And you should entertain us all in the way that Rush suggested. Since 95% of people have out-of-wedlock sex I presume you did also. Did you use contraception or did you just walk off not caring if the woman you had sex with will end up pregnant? Not your problem? Another “illegitimate” baby on this earth who will maybe become a ward of the court and the taxpayer will foot the bill. Nice!

Posted by babsrae | Report as abusive

Dantoledo1,Yes, casualty insurance typically does not cover home repairs or oil changes. That is a difference risk. Warranties however, which is insurance, do typcially cover repairs, stupid, and to control those losses an insurer would in circumstances provide for maintenance to lower future warranty expenses. Your absolutely the Pill is very cheap most can afford it. However, if you’re an insurer, why not cover the very cheap Pill with a premium which on balance you make money on? Plus, as the insurer you avoid moral hazard by couples using the Pill and lower future losses from maternity claims and childhood illness claims. Not that the insurer will forever avoid those costs, but any cost the insurer can push as far into the future as possible makes the return on the premiums even higher. That’s how they make moeny. That’s why, idiot, the insurer is perfectly happy to cover the Pill.

BTW, I don’t insure my cell phone against casualty because it is so cheap I can “self-insure.” Who can say they can fully self insure against the birth and raising of a child.

Posted by wex2175 | Report as abusive

oneshotal,

Well said,

“given the choice between paying for welfare for unwanted children, and or the crimes that they will commit i’d choose paying for birth control”

Posted by wex2175 | Report as abusive

A truly splendid article, congratulations. It’s a pity that brainless and retrograde Republicans will simply not understand.

Posted by luiscatan | Report as abusive

How about abstinence? God forbid… If not handle the cost yourself. Kinda pay to play

Posted by Crash866 | Report as abusive

Most of the world has known of sex and its advantages. What we have today is the extra advantages beyond sex, i.e., condoms, etc. Whenever a couple follow some basic, common sense rules, they will do just fine regarding child birth. It is the extracurricular activities of singles that mostly bedevils us into paying for condoms (and eventually sexual aids or sexual advisors).

Posted by opuntia | Report as abusive

This is a pivotal issue that resonates with nearly everyone and sheds a much needed white hot spotlight on the insanity of the Right Wing zealots working to rule America.

Next the Republican’ts will want to implement Sharia law and perform virginity tests on teenage girls. The Issa panel is a clear indication the Republican party is on a leash held by religious leaders.

Every woman in America should pay very close attention to the Republican response on this issue and their activities to destroy all efforts that favor women’s wellness & rights issues…so if you want second class citizenship…vote Republican.

If you want rights that help your standing in this country, vote Democrat.

It is a simple choice.

Note the absence of a response from @JCA to @Bexlizard? When faced with facts that justify the reasons for this legislation, right wing zealots with little understanding of the core issues are left dumbfounded.

Posted by NobleKin | Report as abusive

Amanda Marcotte, Those stats you linked to as teen pregnancies are nothing of the sort. They are teen BIRTHS! Add in the aborted babies and, viola! You get a teen pregnancy rate higher than that of the 1940′s and 1950′s (though not as high as during the peak of the baby boom).

Do your research.

Posted by momofthree | Report as abusive

Yes, eleno, truth and fact have left wing spins. The right just votes to proclaim what is true or false, for example there is no need ever for late term abortions or the Bush tax cuts didn’t contribute to the national debt, both things the GOP House voted to approve.

Posted by borisjimbo | Report as abusive

In my 20s , in the 1970s, I had my share of female friends with benefits. I always asked before sex, “Are you taking birth control pills?”or other appropriate questions. I used a condom if she insisted but usually not by mutual agreement. Adults need to be smart, protect yourself and others from all diseases if possible. Who should pay for this? I say the guy should be so grateful for sex he should pay or offer to pay for all condoms, spermicides, dental dams, female condoms, pills etc. “Girls don’t pay… Guys pay!!!” to quote the petite blond actress in American Grafitti the movie 1973. I agree. If you are lucky enough to “get lucky” with a girl, then yes guys pay!! BTW I am married 27 yrs have 2 adult children never asked the govt to prevent pregnancy for me or pay for it. I never made a baby except at age 36 and 40, married with a house, a nest for the baby. I am ok with BC but not abortion, day after abortion pill, or certainly not late term abortion. it is a baby in there. She is “with child” (pregnant)

Posted by hydrographer | Report as abusive

So, let me get this straight, momofthree and boris.
What we are NOT talking about is the brave and courageous
way a multi-millionaire used the national airwaves to
call a young college student obscene words, right?
What we are ACTUALLY talking about is some sort of “spin”.
Do I understand you correctly?
Spin or not, I have 2 daughters and 4 granddaughters, and if this “person” said those kinds of things about
my female family members, he and I would need to have
a face to face discussion about how brave he truly was.

Posted by jjc9999 | Report as abusive

I’ve lived long enough to know that periodically our country adds a new freedom to our wonderful list of freedoms begun on July 4, 1776. For example, back on that date, freedom from slavery had yet to be included on that list. I had thought that women’s right to freedom from unwanted pregnancies while simultaneously enjoying happy sex lives was well established. Was I wrong? I can’t find it in me to pity the wealthy insurance companies, the employing corporations or the religious zealots who would deny women this coverage, especially since it appears to be cost-effective in terms of women’s overall health care expenses. As to the moral issues of contraception itself, do people not understand that no one will force the covered employee to take birth control measures if she herself does not wish to? Women deserve the same emancipation from unwanted pregnancies that men automatically enjoy. It’s time to give this preposterous subject a well-deserved rest.

Posted by Yowser | Report as abusive

jjc9999- I cannot stand Rush or his rantings, but the likes of Ms. Marcotte are using his ridiculousness to gather favor for the HHS mandate. Faithful, reasonable people oppose it.

Do you think it is OK to post misleading facts to support your point? I have watched her writing for a while. She is a fox, and deeply hateful of anything religious.

Posted by momofthree | Report as abusive

I keep seeing the oft repeated misunderstanding (or outright lie) that somehow the taxpayers fund people’s health insurance benefits. Including birth control,, a pharmaceutical commodity. Our health insurance premiums fund those benefits. Only people who buy health insurance get the benefits. Got it? It appears that endlessly repeating this fact is necessary when it should not be. But as long as the lie is repeated….

I wonder, if providing birth control is somehow paying people to have sex, what is providing ED drugs? If people on Blue Cross have babies, am I paying them to reproduce? If someone on Blue Cross is taking blood pressure medicine, am I paying them to make bad dietary and lifestyle choices.

It would be far more productive if we discussed issues rather than conflating them with other issues, or distorted them beyond recognition.

Posted by RynoM | Report as abusive

Does Obama REALLY care about his two girls?
The facts are out there and HE’S ignoring those
facts.

By Tim Drake on March 7, 2012

Reality:

—-Contraception and Abortion are not “Health care”—
Contraception is neither “health” nor “care.” It treats a woman’s natural, God-given fertility as a disease that needs to be controlled or stopped. For something to be healthy it shouldn’t lead to permanent damage or death. Yet, the introduction of contraceptive chemicals into the female body to prevent her natural fertility cycle is far from healthy. The birth control pill has contributed to blood clots, heart attacks, strokes,
and death in women. When the Pill was first being tested in Puerto Rico at least three women died during the clinical trials. The Pill (can) kill (those who take it, either directly or indirectly.)

Those who teach modern, scientific Natural Family Planning will also attest to the numerous couples whom they see who learn NFP after having been on the Pill. Talk to those couples and you will learn that use of the Pill, sometimes over decades, has permanently affected the ability of many couples to conceive. Use of oral contraceptives can render a couple infertile. In other cases, it can be months or years before normal fertility returns.

Radical feminists purport that contraception will increase women’s enjoyment of the marital act because they will be free to have intercourse without fear of pregnancy.
In reality, the Pill decreases women’s libido and desire
for intimacy.

Another potential danger for women… studies have demonstrated a possible link between hormonal contraceptives and breast cancer.

When contraceptives are used to avoid pregnancy, and one results, many then turn to contraceptive’s evil twin of abortion.
One of the ways in which many oral contraceptives work
is to prevent the implantation of a human embryo, hence
inducing abortion. To furthermore understand the description of abortion as contraceptive’s evil twin, consider the statistics.

A 2011 Guttmacher Institute fact sheet states that nearly half of all pregnancies among American women are unintended.
Four in 10 of all pregnancies end in abortion; and 54% of women who have had abortions had been using contraception at the time they became pregnant.

Killing a pre-born child is hardly a “healthy” outcome for the child or the mother.

—-Public Funding of Contraception and Abortion are Not Necessary—
We have also been sold the lie that public funding of contraception and abortion are absolutely necessary, and that those of us who are opposed to their use have an obligation to pay for them.

In the current debate over contraceptive coverage, we’re being told that every insurance plan must provide coverage for contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing medications, and that all employers must provide insurance coverage to make these available, as if contraception and abortion haven’t been freely available for the past 40 years.

Planned Parenthood already offers free and low-cost contraceptives on a sliding-fee scale. Contraception and abortion are readily available. While we’ve been told that there are medical conditions where oral contraceptives are necessary, that’s not the case.
Bio-identical hormones outside of contraception are available, without harming women or their fertility. It’s hard to imagine any condition where the death of a child is the “treatment.”

Posted by limapie | Report as abusive

I walk ten miles a week to improve my health and prolong my life. A new pair of walking shoes costs $130.00 (using Sandra Fluke’s math, this becomes $1,203.00, but for the sake of making a logical case to a liberal, which history has shown to be a fool’s errand, lets stick with the $130.00 figure.) A pair os shoes is good for about 300 miles, or about 30 weeks. This makes my annual cost for walking shoes $255.00, far more than the annual cost of contraception pills ($108.00 from Wal-Mart). I am on a fixed income, am a VietNam vet and I don’t have a job.

Where is the outrage over my situation? Where is Planned Ambulation? Where is Anita Dunn? Where is my call from President-in-Error Obama? This is obviously Gender Discrimination. Where are the Congressional hearings demanding to know why the insurance companies aren’t paying for my shoes? It is common knowledge that walking reduces health care costs; why isn’t Katherine Sebelius demanding that ObamaCare be immediately amended to pay for walking shoes? Where are my free shoes?

Posted by jerseyboy | Report as abusive

Oh GOD!!! What a beautiful article. I love you Amanda!

Posted by tgs10 | Report as abusive

I can’t believe this made the Reuters feed.
EX-CELL-ENT!!!

Posted by Nfojunky321 | Report as abusive

Someone said there were FREE condoms? Where? They used to give them away at gay men’s bars, but I have not seen those in years. Now it’s free lube packets.

And I do think that Viagra and Cialis should not be covered and that vasectomies ought to also be either mandatory, or outlawed altogether.

The issue is control over one’s own body. Men already have control, women want theirs as well.

Posted by CedarCat | Report as abusive

>”Contraception is a discretionary expense of discretionary sexual activity – no sex, no contraception expense”<

I’m afraid that isn’t the “irrefutable truth”. It is not used simply for discretionary sex. Since their introduction in the 1950s, birth control pills have undergone many improvements and some changes. As a result, birth control pills are now prescribed for many other reasons. These include treatment of PMS and PMDD, regulation of periods (flow, duration and frequency) treatment of endometriosis and—the very latest—treatment of acne. In fact, in her testemony before members of congress, Ms Fluke described a friend who happened to be gay, and used the Pill to control her ovarian cancer. The Pill has multiple uses, so this statement: “So Rush Limbaugh was correct to say that Ms. Fluke wants taxpayers to pay for her sexual activity” is incorrect. His ignorance of the pill and how it’s used is astonishing. His suggestion that she uses the pill because of the amount of sex she is having is ridiculous. It has nothing to do with the frequency of sexual activity. You don’t take a pill everytime you have sex.

Furthermore, Limbaugh fell over the cliff of anything resembling decency in using the power of his broadcast to attack a normal citizen who expressed her views before congress. He’s a common bully. A Thug.

The fact of the matter is that all students at Georgetown as well as other universities are required to obtain health insurence. Since Georgetown is a Catholic school, her coverage doesn’t provide for birth control. She and all others are forced to get it outside of the school. That means private insurence which as we all know is expensive. The Affordable Care Act helps people just like her afford the coverage that she needs.

Women make up slightly more than 50% of the population. I see no reason to deny that segment of our population healthcare that serves their biological needs,even though they don’t apply to me. If that’s the case, then why include maternity coverage? There are many things my tax dollars go toward that I may not agree with, so when you decide to reimburse me for my tax dollars that went to fighting a war in Iraq, then I’ll pick up the tab for you on birth control pills. Fair enough?

Posted by murphy831 | Report as abusive

>”But to require a private employer to act against their moral conscience and provide a benefit they otherwise would not include or support is UNCONSTITUTIONAL”<

No it isn’t. You have no understanding of the constitution and the first amendment. Your “morality or religious” beliefs don’t play into it at all. We don’t govern this country by bending to the individual morality of 300 million people. Obviously if we did, society couldn’t function. Everybody could claim a moral objection to anything they don’t like.

The First Amendment reads; “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercize thereof”. And it seems that your objection to everything is based upon the second (Free Ex)clause. The problem with your argument is that the sentence “congress shall make no law…prohibiting the free exercise thereof” makes absolutely no sense. The “Thereof” refers back to the first clause to get its meaning. Therefore, logically and grammatically, whatever counts as religion for the purpose of free exercize, must also count as religion for the purpose of establishment. The establishment clause says that Congress may make no law respecting an establishment of “religion,” while the free exercise clause says that Congress cannot prohibit the free exercise “thereof.” Again, logically, the word “thereof” must have the same content as the object to which it refers. Accordingly, what counts as “religion” for one clause must count as “religion” for the other.

Birth Control Pills are not a religion. But if you are going to use them for the purpose of free exercize, then you must logically use them for the purpose of establishment as well. The state, for example, abridges free exercise when it tells students they cannot pray during school, even if it allows them complete freedom to practice all other aspects of their faith. Similarly, the state cannot tell a church it must provide contraception coverage even if the church is otherwise left free to use its property as it wishes. The Obama Compromise deals with this. Private prayer and contraception are protected by the free exercise clause despite the fact that neither of these practices constitutes religions in and of themselves.

If prayer and contraception count as “religion” for the purposes of the free exercise clause, they must also count as “religion” for the purposes of the establishment clause. Just as the state abridges religion when it tells a student she cannot pray, so too does it establish religion when it requires prayer to be said in the schools. Just as the state abridges religion when it tells a church it must provide contraception coverage, so too does it establish religion when it makes a law that would deny contraception coverage to people based on a religious exemption to those outside the realm of the church at public expense. The state does not cross the line to establishment only when it goes to the trouble and expense of setting up a state church; it crosses that line when it sets up any religious practice that constitutes “religion” for the purposes of free exercise. To the extent that Republicans want to read the “thereof” in the free exercise clause broadly, they must also accept a broad reading of “religion” in the establishment clause. That’s basic logic. Logic isn’t a Republican or Democrat thing. It has no bias to it. You can’t ignore this fact, without illustrating yourself as an irrational putz.

The Blunt Amendment is an absurd and totally transparent attempt to undermine the Affordable Care Act. It opens a loophole that you could drive a battleship through. It gives a religious or moral exemption to anything an employer may object to. If an employer decides that prayer cures all, then he could deny any kind of health care to his employees based on a religious or moral objection. It introduces government mandated discrimination based on religious or moral objections outside the title VII exemption of the Civil Rights Act for the church. If held as valid, then logically that same argument could be used for denying a veteran a job because the employer doesn’t believe in War, and it could also introduce discrimination based on a host of other moral or religious objections.

We cannot function with 300 million people making decisions over what laws they will follow based on moral or religious objections.

Posted by murphy831 | Report as abusive

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