I spent a little time this weekend going beyond the headlines on the contraceptives mandate and I have to say I'm kind of pissed off at everybody involved at this point. I'm pissed at the right for not recognizing that there are legitimate women's health issues here and not just women acting as sluts. I'm pissed at the left for using those legitimate health issues as cover for a far more aggressive and overreaching agenda than they will admit. I'm pissed at the news media for stoking the controversy instead of cutting through the bullshit. And I'm pissed at our political leadership, especially President Obama, for being political hacks instead of leaders on this issue.
Let's start with the right. I've read far too many posts that scream "slut" while ignoring or even disparaging the use of birth control pills as treatment for real medical conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome, among others. I'll deal with the left's overreach on this in a moment, but there is no denying that such conditions exist and hormonal treatments, including the pill, can be part of the treatment regimen. It's a fact. Deal with it instead of denying it.
On the left, the women's health issue might be more respected if it wasn't used as a club to extend free contraceptives to everyone and not just women needing medical treatments. If they don't want the issue to be about sex, then they kind of need to stop making it, at least in large part, about sex. The rate of PCOS in women is somewhere around 1 in 10 or 1 in 20 from what I read. Other conditions obviously make the rate where hormonal treatments such as birth control pills are prescribed even higher. I don't know what that number is, but it certainly doesn't include all women, all the time. That means the rest of the mandate is all about sex and not women's health. Stop pretending otherwise.
The news media seems to be playing its usual role in preferring to stoke controversy instead of weeding out the half-truths and the political games. Instead of focusing on Limbaugh's "slut" stunt perhaps we could get some larger perspective on the women's health issue and the constitutional issues with the mandate. We would get actual information on how big an insurance issue this really is for women across the country and and not be left with policy making by anecdote.
My real anger is reserved for our pathetic political leadership. I think it's obvious that Obama is using this as a wedge issue and a distraction from his pitiful record as president. If he actually gave a damn about women's health he would be focused on that and not forcing a broad, and probably unconstitutional, mandate that goes far beyond that. Instead, he and his Democratic colleagues are playing politics with the issue and have turned it into a huge and angry mess. The really sad thing is that's what they wanted all along.
More: Just to be clear, I'm opposed to forcing insurance plans to cover contraceptives for purely birth control reasons. If one is old enough for sex then one ought to be old enough to take responsibility for their own birth control methods. I checked Amazon this weekend and they offered a 40-pack assortment of Trojans for about $.37 each. Turning birth control into a universal entitlement is ridiculous.
That said, if my employer decided that this was one of the benefits that should be included in health insurance plans then I would have to live with it or find another employer. I think the flip side should be true too. If someone thinks birth control should be fully paid for by their employer's health insurance offering then by all means ask for it, lobby for it, campaign among your coworkers for it, but don't have the feds jam it down everybody else's throat. Demanding that the feds do just that doesn't make you a slut, but it does make you a major league asshole in my book.
More more: Anybody know what the Vatican's official position is regarding hormonal treatments prescribed by a doctor to treat a medical condition that essentially have birth control as a side effect? I'm not trying to be funny or find a way around the church's prohibition of birth control. I'm really do want to know if this has been addressed by the church. I'll try to do some research tonight, but if anyone knows feel free to pipe up.