Birth control: destroyer of civilizations or “blasted” woman’s play thing?

In a move that rectifies what should have never been a problem in the first place, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has established new rules that will require health insurance companies to cover birth control for women.

The Obama administration says health insurance plans must cover birth control for women with no copays.

The requirement, affecting most insurance plans, is part of a broad expansion of women’s preventive coverage. Breast pumps for nursing mothers, an annual “well woman” physical, counseling on how to avoid sexually transmitted diseases and other services will also be covered at no cost to the patient.

Huzzah! Now women with an insurance will be able to plan their lives in the healthiest way possible. How radical! Unfortunately, lest one cause too much of a stir there has been a religious exemption granted for those who “morally oppose contraception.” As Catholics for Choice president Jon O’Brien says:

“The multi-billion dollar Catholic health care industry has a lot of influence with this administration, influence that it has now used to allow religious institutions to ride roughshod over the needs of their workers, … Not only that, it ignores the consciences of those who decide that to use a modern method of family planning is what is best for them and their families.”

What this means is that while some women will be able to take advantage of the new rules, many women whose bosses decide that Sex Is For Generation Only won’t. To say that religious organizations have a right to deprive others of a Right to Plan Their Family is absolutely absurd. While I could understand hesitation on the behalf of the administration if this were relative to abortion, this has nothing to do with that. This is nothing less than explicit agreement that one’s employer has a right to interfere with one’s sexual mores.

This is the kind of move that directly undermines the ability of the state to extend rights and liberties to all of its citizens – how many more exemptions do we grant under the relativistic auspice of what is “morally opposed” to organizations whose very text approves of slavery, stoning (blacks, gays, women), monarchy, conflict, and so on?

Maybe I am being too hard, though. As Republican congressman Steve King has made clear on the House floor, this is about preventing our nation’s decline into a “dying civilization.”

We have people that are single, we have people that are past reproductive age, we have priests that are celibate. All of them, paying insurance premiums that cover contraceptives so that somebody else doesn’t have to pay the full fare of that? And they’ve called it preventative medicine. Preventative medicine. Well if you applied that preventative medicine universally what you end up with is you’ve prevented a generation. Preventing babies from being born is not medicine. That’s not— that’s not constructive to our culture and our civilization. If we let our birth rate get down below replacement rate we’re a dying civilization.

You heard it right, women: even though the new rules will cover a whole range of new preventative services (cervical cancer screening, breast-feeding supplies, HIV testing, counseling and more) your number one job is to pop out babies. Never mind the fact that one reason why women are having children later and later in life is because we, well, you know, let women know that there is more they can do with their lives than … pop out babies … when they are old enough to be basically be children themselves.

(On a side note: this is not how you use Kantian ethics to judge the validity of an action. Were birth control the nom de plume of sterilization his statement would be true; it’s not.)

If King’s argument does not win you over, perhaps you may appreciate the perspective of one Bill O’Reilly:

Many women who get pregnant are blasted out of their minds when they have sex. They’re not going to use birth control anyway.

Well there you go.


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