When You Wrestle With A Pig…
Running errands Friday I heard Rush Limbaugh speak for the third day about a college student who spoke before a House Sub-Committee. Unfortunately, I could not get past his absurd name-calling to listen for the real concern.
His tirade might have been meant in some sort of humorous way but it was lost on me. As a conservative, as a woman, and as one who may have used birth control I was insulted. As a conservative I want less government involvement in my life, not more. I do not want the government to have any say what happens in my home…my bedroom. As potential user of birth control I was appalled that this issue, which was not the question of the committee, had become the center of attention. On my Twitter time line there were hundreds of tweets joking about the ease of buying condoms. In losing sight of the real topic men, in particular, spoke out how available condoms are. They portrayed the co-ed as a silly girl, hinting her knowledge of contraception was limited. Apparently they not realize accidental pregnancy rates and side effects vary greatly with the different methods of birth control. Additionally, as a woman I was upset that so many thought this was a great time to revert to abject junior high jokes and criticisms. Is it ever appropriate to refer to a stranger in such a way? Because a supposed comedian regularly makes vile remarks about conservative candidates is it appropriate for us to do so?
None the less, one has to wonder if some on the left hoped to change the issue to women’s rights of contraceptive care—of which, there is no argument from the GOP platform. However, the primary focus buried deep in the center of the firestorm, revolved around a committee hearing about Freedom of Religion. The Catholic Church, backed by others, has been speaking out against a mandate in the new health care law the required them to provide birth control and abortifacients (abortion pills). The co-ed who spoke was asking that her Jesuit school be required offer the free services and change their policy.
Because many churches, like the Catholics believe in the sanctity of life; from conception to natural death they choose to not cover birth control that may stop conception as part of their insurance policy. As an employee or student of a religious institution if I choose to do otherwise should I ask them to break their laws in order to this contraception? Does it really matter if virtually all women have used birth control? Can the government demand that a church violate its own policy and provide a service? Whether I use birth control is a personal issue between my partner, my doctor, and my God. It is not and should not be something that the government can control.
There appear to be agencies, some already receiving government funding, that offer reduced cost effective methods of birth control to any woman. Those who feel this is an important service are welcome to contribute to such agencies.
Thankfully, Rush has apologized and, in my opinion, today offered a sincere apology to the woman. In today’s radio program he explained the background of the testimony in clear language. I wished he’d done this last week. Damage has been done. As the old saying goes, “When you wrestle with a pig you both get dirty…and the pig likes it.”
One aspect of this discussion about governmental requirements of medical services needs, I think, slightly more attention: everyone keeps talking about how the services should be “free.”
We’re all grown-ups, right? So we KNOW that *nothing* is ever free – you may not have to PAY for it RIGHT NOW, but that does N-O-T mean that it is free (without cost of any kind).
For example, our President suggested his “compromise” on the latest issue, saying that religious institutions did not have to offer insurance for their employees which covered contraception – instead, the employee could contact the insurance company directly and receive such services “for free.”
OK, this is wrong on sooo many levels…here’s just two:
#1 – when’s the last time a for-profit insurance company ever gave anything away for free? You can BET that SOMEbody is going to be paying for it (likely spread over ALL their clients). And so the religious institution WILL end up paying for those services, like it or not – it just will be buried in “overhead & profit” and won’t be a specific line-item on their bill from the insuror…
#2 – if these services which the religious institution finds objectionable are utilized by someone in the institution’s employ, and they receive such services as a result of that employment, how is that NOT the same as the institution is PROVIDING those services? I mean, really, that sounds like the kind of “angels dancing on the head of a pin” rhetorical sophistry that some people really object to about organized religion, doesn’t it?
There’s a very good reason that “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” (tanstaafl) is a famous phrase – whenever somebody says what they’re offering is free…grab your pocketbook!
Thanks for your comments! You are so right–there is no free lunch. Somebody has to pay. One real problem today is that so many in the country do receive government assistance. Why shouldn’t they expect/want more and more?
I heard an interesting comment about the costs of birth control and how affordable these services would be if some of the bandwagon celebrities put their money into their cause. People helping people… so much more efficient than involving govt.
Thanks Teresa for your contribution to the discussion. I think this is the best article I’ve read on the topic, and coming from a woman, it rings true. I don’t think I could have said it better if I tried.
John makes a good point also.
Thank you for your encouragement. It has been an interesting hot subject. Unfortunately, it has also taken us away from other serious election issue.