Birth Control “Mandate”

In the Twitter to-do surrounding the Supreme Court’s hearing two cases related to this, Planned Parenthood linked to one of their favorite posters, reproduced just below.  The poster is so mendacious, it cries out for a post in point-by-point response.

1. 99% still can—and 99% already were, long before Obamacare came up.  Neither case before the Court has anything to do with women’s access, only whether employers, or insurers, must cover birth control in every plan offered.  And it’s always been cheap, too, including for guys (why aren’t condoms mandated, by the way?  Whatever happened to equality of the sexes?).  WalMart, for instance sells birth control pills for as little as $4/mo.  The doctor’s appointment to get the prescription still is extra.  WalMart sells condoms for as little as $15 for three dozen.  No doctor’s appointment required.

2. Birth control for health reasons isn’t birth control; it’s medicinal use for treating an illness or other condition unrelated to pregnancy.  As a medicine, it’s already covered in other aspects of a health plan.  If it isn’t, that would be a legitimate gripe, but it would be legitimate only between customers and plan purveyors.  It would remain no business of government.

3. 27 million women still can; this is wholly unrelated to any question of the legitimacy of a contraceptive coverage mandate.  See #1 above.

4. 70%?  That depends on who’s polling.  Of course there’s a bias involved: who doesn’t like free stuff?  Especially when they’re not the ones paying to make it “free.”

5. Who, indeed, are the plaintiffs?  Two families with deeply held religious beliefs who live their religion in their business operations, too—like charity toward all, family nurturing practices vis-à-vis their employees, and so on.  What products they offer to sell matters to this debate how, exactly?

6. Slippery Slope?  This is a cynically offered straw man.  No one is regulating women’s access to birth control here except the government.  No one is looking to regulate access to vaccines, transfusion, etc—except, perhaps government as it attempts to start down this slope.  The only thing the plaintiffs in these two cases want to do is to not be regulated in this arena.  As to access itself, see #1 and #3 above.

7. First time for whom, actually?  Businesses always before have had the choice to offer health coverage plans (back when they actually resembled insurance policies and not Obamacare’s mandated health welfare plans).  Now it’s government that wants, for the first time, to eliminate that right to choose.  And, of course, with this point, Planned Parenthood ignores the fact that in opposing the plaintiffs, they’re seeking nakedly to impose their own personal beliefs on others.  This whole argument also cynically elides the fact that it’s a market choice, not business’ or government’s, that determines what gets included in a health coverage plan.  At least in a free country.

As to the Twitter hashtag #Notmybossbusiness, indeed it’s not.  The employer has no business providing birth control to his employees, “free,” or otherwise.  The use of birth control is a personal choice, not an employer’s.

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