Oh Please….get a GRIP!!!
The Supreme Court just ruled on the Hobby Lobby case where the company sued to be excluded from the necessity of paying for certain types of contraception, to be precise, 4 kinds out of 20 that it considered abortive rather than preventive. The court backed their claim and people went ballistic. I was naively startled by the response from some quarters. The hyperbolic reaction would make you think that the decision made contraception per se illegal. Of course it did no such thing. What the case was all about legally and what the court tried to to was to juggle the internal conflict between two very poorly written laws passed by congress (an earlier protection for freedom of religion law signed by President Clinton and the Affordable Care Act rammed through by the disciples of Barrack) and the unintended consequences of their inevitable collision. One reaffirmed their support for a citizen’s freedom to worship and practice their religion as their conscience dictates, and the other was the Affordable Care Act that imposed on employers the need to pay for the various types of “medical” care as defined by the politicians and lobbyists, not by doctors.
What was NOT at stake was a Constitutional issue, merely the conflict of two laws. Even Allan Dershowitz, hardly a bastion of Conservative thought, called the ruling “Monumentally insignificant.” In an interview the day of the decision he had this to say,
“Why is it insignificant? First of all, it was not a constitutional decision. Second, the effect will be that not a single woman will be denied contraceptive care or birth control care,” he said.
“The opinion made it clear that there are alternatives by which the women can get adequate contraceptive care and won’t be burdened in any way.
“It was a decision that tried hard to balance freedom of religion against the needs of the government. If the majority doesn’t like it, they can change it tomorrow because it’s not a constitutional decision.”
“[It] won’t, though, because Congress does support freedom of religion. I met the people from Hobby Lobby, they’re very decent people. I disagree with their views, but who am I to tell them that they’re wrong about their religious view?” Dershowitz said.
“They regard these four or five methods of contraception as abortion and as murder, and they just don’t want to be part of it. I don’t blame them for that, especially since there are alternatives.
“The Supreme Court made it clear: this is not as if they would refuse to vaccinate their employees, because vaccination protects all of us. This is something that can easily be balanced . . . It’s a win, win . . . Ten years from now or five years from now. no one will remember this decision.”
Nor was the issue of contraception itself questioned… merely who has to pay for it. Let me be perfectly clear here… personally I believe that a woman has an absolute right to do with her own body anything she wishes. Period. But… if what she does with it is a result of a choice by her to engage in specific behavior, then I think the burden to deal with any potential consequences of that choice belongs to her as well. If two people are involved, as in sexual relations, I do think that burden should be shared by BOTH parties and would favor legislation that made any man shown by DNA testing to be the father of a child liable for at least half of the costs of raising and parenting that child EVEN IF the woman subsequently got married to someone else. But if the behavior was a matter of choice, and it was consensual in every way, then I do not feel the slightest imperative to have to contribute to paying for the consequences either as a taxpayer or as a consumer via higher prices.
Let me be equally clear here; if the behavior was NOT a matter of choice by the woman, i.e. if she was raped or in NO WAY consented to it – to include simply saying, “No!” then it is a completely different story. The man involved, the direct and proximate cause of any result, should bear the burden for ALL costs whether that is for an abortion or for the raising of that child and I would support legislation to make that the law of the land.
I believe in Freedom. But there is a price for Freedom, writ large and writ small. The price for our nation’s freedom has been and will continue to be paid in blood by those willing to fight for it, even to provide those freedoms to others too craven to fight for it themselves. But there is also a price for the application of those freedoms, and those should be paid by the citizens specifically enjoying those freedoms.
For Example, another current hot topic is the 2nd Amendment and Gun Rights. Let’s compare that with contraception “rights” from a Constitutional perspective. If you have followed this blog at all you know I come down hard on those irresponsible gun owners that abuse their rights vis-à-vis guns and believe they should be hammered into the ground and perhaps be considered even treasonous since their actions bring about a real threat to the continuation of that (to me) fundamental right. At a very minimum, the individual cost of exercising a right is personal responsibility and personal accountability when that right is abused. But apart from the granting of the right to engage in certain freedoms, there is no further entitlement granted by the Constitution or common sense.
For example,even though the right to bear arms is specifically spelled out in the Constitution, there is no place where it mandates that the government must supply the citizenry with guns. They have a right to own them but must bear the cost of purchase and maintenance on their own if they choose to own one. I think that is fair. I would not be opposed if with the right to own a weapon came a duty to train and gain skill and discipline so long as the government did not have to pay for it. But the Constitution does not mandate that all citizens acquire weapons, they are also perfectly free to NOT do so. Therefore it has taken on itself no duty to provide the weaponry, it is a matter of choice whether to exercise that right or not.
But nowhere in the entire constitution is there a single word about any “right” to contraception or even abortion. Those rights are modernly implied but not specifically spelled out. So if there is no mandate for the government to purchase the weapons for which they specifically grant the rights of ownership, by what sophistry of reasoning do we think there is a mandate for them to purchase or cause to be purchased contraception for a behavioral choice? I support making the costs applicable to the parties making the choices and engaging in the behaviors, but not in making uninvolved third parties liable for them.
This is hardly an isolated issue. We are also, for example, granted freedom of the press but not the Right to receive free newspapers; we are granted freedom to assemble but not the Right to escape any costs of the assembly; we have the freedom to travel between jurisdictions but not the Right to a government-provided free means of transportation. Those are freedoms spelled out carefully in the Bill of Rights, freedoms we often take for granted, but the costs of enjoying them is borne by the people engaging in them. In many states including my home, Colorado, you have the absolute freedom to head off into the wilds but you must supply your own gear and if you get in trouble you will be liable for the cost of your rescue.
So even though this specific decision was not in any way tied to our freedom to have sex, to use contraceptives, to have abortions, it is being reviewed as if it somehow prohibited all of those things and was an attack on the Rights of women. I do not believe it did any such thing. One author stated that by not paying for it we were denying women the use of them. What? We would be denying the use if we made them illegal and said NO ONE can buy them. Where did this new entitlement get spelled out?
Those who know me know I have a limp that comes from a service-connected injury. Before that I could run, climb, do all manner of activities that required leg strength. But no more. Now I would dearly love to be able to climb to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite, but it is, for all practical purposes, impossible for me. But wait, that is a public federal park. Wheel chair access is mandated so why not an elevator or chair lift up the back of Half Dome? Because it is stupid. I would vote against it even though it might allow me to do something I would like. Even though I was injured in service to the country I do not feel I am somehow entitled to that level of accommodation. Sometimes live just deals you a bad hand. Boo Hoo. But that does not mean, in my mind, that the government owes me the cost and effort of making the limitations I sometimes face all go away. It may owe me a basic level of care and thus far it has provided that through the V.A. and I have to tell you I have no complaints about the care I have received in Colorado or California. But it does not owe me the eradication of all inconveniences my injuries have created.
I do not philosophically oppose broad aid in health care even though I think the specifics of of AHCA are galactically ill conceived and will ultimately be economically ruinous for far more people than it will help. For catastrophic illnesses that sometimes blindside us the potential was there to create a policy that could have been incredibly valuable. But I do not believe the government should bew paying for voluntary behavior even if it is not illegal behavior. And no, by the way, I do NOT believe it ought to be paying for ED medicine such as Viagra for the exact same reasons. But doing one stupid thing does not mandate doing another stupid thing… it means the first stupid thing should be stopped not used as an excuse for more.
So, again, get a grip here.