I can't even believe I am writing about contraception for a blog on politics. But nonetheless, here I am. I'm not going to point fingers at the candidates on who has said what about contraception. I'm just going to get down to specifics on what voters really need to understand on the topic.
Contraception is not always cheap. If you have insurance it may still not be cheap.
Contraception (and we use this term to mean the hormonal therapies available specifically to women) can be used for much more than birth control, as it is often prescribed for actual illnesses that effect women.
Contraception is available to every woman in the United States as of this moment, even if minivan-driving soccer moms aren't willing to drive to their inner-city clinic to ask for it. Don't believe me? 33.5% of Planned Parenthood's services are for contraception.
In this new contraception debate, voters need to get off the moral issues surrounding contraception. The questions they need to be asking are far more simple-
Are you the type of person who believes that the government should provide services to individuals?
Are you the type of person who does not want the government involved in pricing and services, and wants to see businesses provide affordable products?
Are you the type of person who believes that the government should forces businesses to provide certain services?
Are you the type of person who can't answer those questions, but when you find yourself in trouble, you get mad that the government doesn't have an obvious solution for you?
Right now people are focusing on the wrong issues (the moral side of the question). It isn't a moral issue. And it also isn't about a woman's right to choose this time around (even if a lot of people are discussing it as if it is). The question at the end of the day is whether or not you are the type of person who wants the government to make it happen, or you believe the government needs to get out of business.
The Obama policy as recently enacted is flat-out about the government making a business do something. You either like that or you don't. Take the “moral” contraception part out of the equation, and insert in any other numbers of scenarios, and use the same, equivalent argument.
Should the government force businesses to provide employees with fuel for their cars? After all, the employee works there, and has a car, and therefore should use it and be expected to use it! It is the employee's RIGHT to have a car and to drive it! The employee has the RIGHT to free gas!
What? You don't like that example. It is too impersonal? Okay, we'll use one a little more closely related.
Should the government “require” (it sounds so much nicer than “force,” doesn't it? But really, it is the same thing.) businesses to provide free drug addiction rehab services to employees? After all, by current definitions drug addictions are not the fault of the abuser. If it isn't the person's fault that they are addicted (except that they took drugs in the first place) (yes, there are exceptions to this rule for prescription addictions versus illegal drugs, see below), don't they have the RIGHT to free care?
Apparently we have become a country that no longer believes in personal accountability. Shouldn't the person be at fault for taking an illegal drug in the first place? Where is the accountability for that?
It is the same exactly thing with contraception. Either the woman is accountable for her own choices and body, or she is not. As stated earlier, yes, contraception is used for more than just birth control. It is used for many illnesses, and no one can help whether or not they have most medical conditions. This is where and why the need for a defining line on birth control for contraceptive purposes versus hormonal treatment for medical conditions must be drawn.
Where is the accountability? It is a woman's right to choose what she does with her body. Shouldn't she also be accountable for her choices? Why should the American taxpayer and/or her employer be accountable for her choices?
The precedent set by the government requiring businesses to offer contraception options to employees could have very negative effects. The drug addiction scenario is very real. The gas for cars? Not as immediate and realistic, but still a future possibility. (How many employees already expect commuting stipends and parking spots? Is this really that much of a stretch?)
All of this does beg the question over and over, why stop at contraception? Why only contraception? If the argument is that birth control is for more than preventing unwanted pregnancies, because it helps with illnesses too, why are we not forcing employers to provide complete coverage for terminal illnesses, diabetes, asthma, etc? Individuals are obviously not at fault for getting cancer or diabetes, so why aren't we forcing companies to pay for them? Why are we forcing them to pay for something there is actual personal accountability for?
Is the price of contraception expensive? It can be. Is the price of an unwanted or unexpected pregnancy expensive? Yes, even more so. But is that the government's problem? Or should voters be putting the pressure on businesses to lower the prices? Or should voters be putting the pressure on the government to create a business climate that allows businesses the lower prices?
The current political question is not about the morality of contraception. The real current question is about whether or not you believe the government should force a business to provide an offering to employees?