With Friends Like These…

I don’t know about other women, but I’m really starting to feel picked on and singled out.

Conservative activists now try to redefine the word “preventive” to exclude birth control:

The Obama administration is examining whether the new health care law can be used to require insurance plans to offer contraceptives and other family planning services to women free of charge. The law says insurers must cover “preventive health services” and cannot charge for them. The administration has asked a panel of outside experts to help identify the specific preventive services that must be covered for women.

Dr. Hal C. Lawrence III, vice president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said contraceptives fit any reasonable definition of preventive health care because they averted unintended pregnancies and allowed women to control the timing, number and spacing of births. This, in turn, improves maternal and child health by reducing infant mortality, complications of pregnancy and even birth defects, said Dr. Lawrence, who is in charge of the group’s practice guidelines. But the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and some conservative groups, including the Family Research Council, say birth control is not a preventive service in the usual sense of the term.
Administration officials and Democrats in Congress said free preventive care was just one of the health care law’s benefits for women. It also prohibits insurers from charging women more than men of the same age for the same coverage. Such disparities have been common. As a result, premiums for women have often been 25 percent to 50 percent higher than those for men.

Advocates for women’s health, including the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, have urged the administration to require coverage at no cost for family planning, including contraceptive drugs and devices. Likewise, the American Academy of Pediatrics said, “Adolescents and adult women need to have access to the full menu of contraceptive methods without cost-sharing,” along with counseling and education.

I don’t think this will fly, for two reasons: 1. the “panel of outside experts” are actually experts in health care, and they’ll approach “preventive” from a health care angle rather than a “redefining words to further conservative ideology” angle, and 2. “birth control” pretty much means “prevention” to the women I know, in a commonsense conservative sort of way.

“Prevent” or “prevention” would be high on the list of words women use to describe birth control, I bet.

Please stop helping women, conservatives. You’re killing us with kindness. Isn’t there some other group or class that needs your help? Go look.

130 replies
  1. 1
    Napoleon says:

    And to think people have been calling condoms “prophylactics” for years.

  2. 2
    Bill Murray says:

    My experience is that conservative activists want to eliminate Griswold v. Connecticut Eisenstadt vBaird and Lawrence v Texas nearly as much as Roe v Wade.

  3. 3
    kay says:

    @Napoleon:

    Where’s the concern for men? I think it’s HIGH time they “helped” you with your health care decisions. Please. Take them.

  4. 4
    Redshift says:

    But remember, they’re against abortion purely because they’re “pro-life,” not because they’re anti-sex or want to control women’s sexuality!

  5. 5
    Face says:

    As a result, premiums for women have often been 25 percent to 50 percent higher than those for men.

    While I will get flamed for saying this, it’s my somewhat unscientific observations that, in general, women visit doctors much more frequently than men. Perhaps there is a financial basis for a slightly higher premiums to cover those increased visits.

  6. 6
    Kryptik says:

    I think George Carlin put it best and put it to rest at least 15 years ago, when he said:

    “They’re not pro-life! You know what they are, they’re Anti-Woman

    That and:

    “They want live babies so they can turn them into dead soldiers!

    Their concern is tantamount to crocodile tears.

  7. 7
    Don K says:

    @Bill Murray:

    Sounds right to me (I’ll admit I had to look up Eisenstadt). And I’d be willing to bet big bucks that “ex gay” therapy would be a required coverage “service” under a future conservative administration.

  8. 8
    Elvis Elvisberg says:

    There is no anti-abortion movement in this country. There is an anti-woman movement. Fetal life is a talking point. The movement is 0% about government protection of fetuses and 100% about government shaming and disempowerment of women.

  9. 9
    jrg says:

    This opposition to a natural instinct is something I will never, ever understand. I mean, for God’s sake, these people can’t keep their dicks out of choir boys, yet somehow they think the rest of us are just going to stop having sex because they want us to? Morons.

  10. 10
    Zifnab says:

    Please stop helping women, conservatives. You’re killing us with kindness. Isn’t there some other group or class that needs your help?

    I’m curious to see how many Republican women sign on to all this legislation. I mean, Hutchinson is talking about retiring in 2012, so she doesn’t have to keep sucking up to the crazy. But she does have to live with the law’s repercussions. And the Ladies of Maine are walking a tight-rope, campaigning as moderate conservatives in a state where the conservatives have grown increasingly nutty, but the independents and liberals haven’t really budged.

    It seems like the House leadership has completely forgotten that our nation’s Greatest Deliberative Body also gets to weigh in on their crappy bills. Does anyone honestly believe any of these bills are going to pass?

  11. 11
    Kryptik says:

    @Zifnab:

    They won’t pass. But that won’t mean that it’s the Senate that stops them cold. At least, that’s my paranoid worry.

    @Elvis Elvisberg:

    This was made so explicitly clear by the bill proposed saying that hospitals can essentially let the woman die if the choice is between having an abortion, or forcing her to carry to a birth that neither mother or child might survive.

  12. 12
    Bill in Chicago says:

    Isn’t there some other group or class that needs your help?

    Yes, alter boys.

  13. 13
    Redshift says:

    I think they’re playing catch-up. They had some major action in the past several years pissing off nearly every non-straight white Christian male demographic, and they didn’t want women to feel left out.

  14. 14
    Ash Can says:

    I’m confident that this administration will listen to the actual participants in the health care and insurance fields, and blow off the outsiders. It’s still galling to see the outsiders get publicity, though.

  15. 15
    Comrade Dread says:

    There is no anti-abortion movement in this country. There is an anti-woman movement.

    That’s rather hyperbolic.

    The Catholic Church has long been against birth control. It’s not exactly a new position for them.

    And the FRC, I imagine, is probably falling back on the ‘increasing birth control availability means society is promoting all sorts of crazy sex’, which given their ideal of promoting the formation of more traditional nuclear families, isn’t ideal to them either.

  16. 16
    kay says:

    @Face:

    it’s my somewhat unscientific observations that, in general, women visit doctors much more frequently than men.

    It’s complicated, but, actually, insurers have had some problem justifying “gender rating”. Most women were not aware they were paying (much) more (on the individual market) and they pay more regardless of whether they purchase a policy with maternity coverage or not.

    On a wider level, I think singling women out like this is just drop-dead stupid for conservatives, on a policy level. The fact is we pool maternity care in because it’s unique to women, but it certainly benefits men, who either have children or were children.

    Do we really want to single out women as needing “special” coverage, and divide like that?

    I would think that would harm people who have lots of children much more than it would help.

    Where does this end? With warring factions, one refusing to pay for “men’s health” issues and the other refusing to pay for “women’s health” issues?

  17. 17
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    Isn’t there some other group or class that needs your help?

    Well, they do keep trying to help all of those who got lost on their way home and crossed into America. And then there are those other people who just seem to have trouble dying quickly. And don’t forget the oppressed wealthy people.

  18. 18

    By conservative logic since the word “abortion” (Like “privacy”, “federal bank” and “healthcare”) does not appear in the Constitution then Congress doesn’t have the authority to regulate it. Right?

  19. 19
    kay says:

    @Face:

    The link I gave you on “gender rating” doesn’t work, so try this one.

  20. 20

    Let me guess: those little blue ED meds that I can’t mention here or I’ll get labeled a spammer are covered, right?

  21. 21

    OT: Kay I remember a point you made a few months ago about the individual health insurance mandate not really being a mandate. A Yale law professor agrees with you:

    Strictly speaking, Obamacare does not mandate the purchase of insurance. It says that those who remain uninsured must pay a tax.

  22. 22
    jrg says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    That’s rather hyperbolic. The Catholic Church has long been against birth control. It’s not exactly a new position for them.

    Yes, because when I think of an organization that stands for equal rights for women, the Catholic Church is the first thing that springs to mind.

  23. 23
    kay says:

    @A Commenter at Balloon Juice (formerlyThe Grand Panjandrum):

    That tax argument hinges on semantics, ultimately. There’s a legal difference between “tax” and “penalty”, certainly, but the judge in Florida used the legislative record to conclude that this was a “penalty” and not a “tax” by finding that a draft contained “tax” rather than “penalty”.

    The problem with that is, I can just as easily use that to “prove” it’s a tax. I would use it to “prove” it’s a tax.

  24. 24
    Left_Wing_Fox says:

    That’s rather hyperbolic.

    The Catholic Church…

    Yes, let’s talk about the Catholic Church. The same Catholic Church which is anti-birth control in any circumstance, ban women from the priesthood, encourages priests to be celibate (Why? Afraid the dirty will rub off on ya?), and will happily excommunicate the doctor and mother who get a 9-year old rape victim an abortion, but not the man who raped her.

  25. 25
    matoko_chan says:

    I double dog dare anyone here to try to tell me AGAIN that America is a “secular” democracy.
    we are a jeebus democracy….or a jeebushumper democracy if you prefer.
    the consent of the governed.
    more than half the country apparently believes in ensoulment.

  26. 26
    Napoleon says:

    @kay:

    Apparently there is plenty of USSC case law for the support that no matter what you call it a financial imposition is a tax. I do not appear to have saved a link in my bookmark system though.

  27. 27
    kay says:

    @Napoleon:

    The Michigan judge who upheld the law did a tax analysis (I think he was analyzing standing, and if I recall con law correctly, taxpayers don’t have any, so in that context).

    Anyway, he came down on the side of “penalty” because he wanted to grant standing and reach the cc issue (IMO).

    So, it’s going to be an ungodly mess.

  28. 28
    kay says:

    @A Commenter at Balloon Juice (formerlyThe Grand Panjandrum):

    And, thanks for the link. I’m so glad “the dissent” is finally weighing in. I suppose they had to wait until they had an actual decision to attack the conservative argument, but I do notice that conservatives didn’t wait.

    Which, I think indicates the relative “good faith” of both sides, and not in a way that is favorable to conservatives, who took their argument to the media before the ruling.

  29. 29
    Roger Moore says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    The Catholic Church has long been against birth control.

    So the Catholic Church believes not only that a woman shouldn’t be able to end a pregnancy, but also that she shouldn’t be able to prevent it, either. That’s obviously a seriously pro-woman position.

  30. 30
    Rev. Miller says:

    I think it’s sweet that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is trying to make it possible for those of us who are not Catholics to be forced to live as though we were. It feels very, I don’t know, American to me.

  31. 31
    Napoleon says:

    @kay:

    What I read was something independant of what any particular judge had ruled in this case. It was a general survey of the law in this area with an eye towards the pending litigation. I wish I had marked it.

  32. 32
    Silver says:

    @jrg:

    More birth control=less kids=less kids to fuck.

    You expect the Catholic Church to reduce the size of their dating pool?

  33. 33
    Napoleon says:

    Kay,

    By the way, just off the top of my head it seems to me that if you were going to define “Tax” and “Penalty” it would be that “Tax” is an imposition upon anyone whereas “Penalty” is an additional imposition for not paying the Tax, or as a result of violating a law, neither of which are the case here (you are not required to buy the insurance, its perfectly legal not to buy it).

  34. 34
    kay says:

    @Napoleon:

    Conservative lawyers and politicians have been incredibly effective at framing the question in a way that benefits them, in the media, well prior to any decision. They all repeat the same line, which is “forced to buy health insurance”. Of course, any fair recitation of what the law actually does would include “or pay….”, but they stop there. That’s deliberate.
    I’m not even all that attached to the mandate. As long as people understand that without the mandate there is no guaranteed issue, I’d be happy to look at alternatives.
    In a sense, it comes down to “what is guaranteed issue of a health insurance policy worth?” What’s that security worth? I think it’s a valuable guarantee, but if most people are willing to give that up, I’m fine with it, as long as they KNOW what they’re giving up.

  35. 35
    Roger Moore says:

    @Left_Wing_Fox:

    encourages priests to be celibate (Why? Afraid the dirty will rub off on ya?)

    Originally the celibacy requirement was put in place to prevent the priesthood- with its material benefits- from being hereditary. I don’t know if they’ve concocted some theological justification since then, but it was originally rooted in a serious practical problem.

  36. 36
    John PM says:

    Ironically (or not), the Family Research Council is not concerned about families or research, as far as I can tell. And I think a lot of other people have already covered the Catholic Church, so there is nothing more I can add there.

    If I were to ever win the lottery, I think I would open a Contraceptive, Abortion and Gay Marriage Imporium, just to fuck with these fuckers.

  37. 37
    Martin says:

    So, all of those drugs that list in their warnings about ‘women who may become pregnant’ – all the drugs for high blood pressure, etc. Women aren’t supposed to be eligible for those if they can’t knock down the ‘may become pregnant’ part?

    Dems need to present it in that way, that the GOP wants to deny women access to all of these medications that have hit the market in the last 10 years because they they they know better than women do.

  38. 38
    Martin says:

    No edit? FYWP!

  39. 39
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    O/T, but isn’t this interesting:

    Jane Harman to resign from Congress
    By Chris Cillizza
    California Rep. Jane Harman (D) will resign from Congress, according to two senior Democratic leadership aides, a surprise announcement that will set off a special election in her 36th district.

    NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, who broke the news of Harman’s resignation, has reported that the California Congresswoman will take over as director of the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. That job is currently held by former Indiana Rep. Lee Hamilton (D).

    I have done some work over the years with one of the units of the Wilson Center. I’ll be interested to learn what my colleagues there think of this.

  40. 40
    Biscuits says:

    they’ve mostly lost teh gay battle. It naturally falls on the wimmens now. Like an anvil.

  41. 41
    Xenos says:

    @kay: This is not my area of expertise, but the issue of whether a particular assessment is a penalty or a tax is a pretty heavily and thoroughly litigated matter. I am a bit surprised that nobody seems to be doing any independent research to figure out where the law stands on this.

    Any law students in the house?

  42. 42
    Soprano2 says:

    @Elvis Elvisberg:

    This, this, 100 times this. I’ve been saying for years that the movement against abortion is all about controlling the sex lives of young women rather than being about “innocent life”, because the people who seem so worried about abortion don’t seem concerned about the women who get pregnant at all.

  43. 43
    Jacquelyn says:

    If the Catholic Church continues to exercise its “legislative” voice, then it should pay taxes. Can you imagine a better way to get out of debt?

  44. 44
    Catsy says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    That’s rather hyperbolic.
    ____
    The Catholic Church has long been against birth control. It’s not exactly a new position for them.

    Hyperbolic? The Catholic Church–one of the oldest and largest criminal organizations on the planet–is effectively if not intentionally anti-woman. There’s simply no other plausible way to read the absurd confluence of medievalism and misogyny inherent in Church doctrine on sexuality and gender roles.

    Citing them as an example doesn’t exactly bolster your argument that “pro-life” is “anti-woman”.

  45. 45
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    We’ve covered this ground before, many times, but it always seems that those who scream the loudest about abortion also scream about how terrible birth control is.

    It’s not about abortion. It’s about fucking, and controlling women.

  46. 46
    Uloborus says:

    As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, I don’t think it’s a stance based on prejudice against women. It’s a stance based on being sociopathically unconcerned with human suffering of any kind in favor of a dogma written by a disturbingly repressed asshole (Paul) who believed that suffering WAS virtue. Paul was pretty misogynystic, so the dogma is harsher on women than men, but I put to you that he hated everyone and they don’t give a good god damn about young boys or seminary students or ANYONE but their own church and its rules.

    (This is a reflection on current official stances of the Catholic Church. A historic view is more complicated… but still not flattering. I’m told that on-the-ground experience is very different, but have no personal knowledge.)

    Also, I could have sworn that I was told that Obama was quite happy with the Stupak amendment and had no interest in women’s rights and would throw women under the bus in seconds. Although I never understood the explanation of why.

  47. 47
    Left_Wing_Fox says:

    35: Perhaps, but given how long the idea of institutional ownership of property has existed, I tend to think that sticking with celibacy has much more to do with the perpetuation of bronze-age patriarchal bullshit.

  48. 48
    kay says:

    @Uloborus:

    I’m all for giving Obama credit where due, but this is actually the result of an amendment to the PPACA offered by Senator Barbara Mikulski, so she should probably get credit for it.

  49. 49
    Whick says:

    Two objections to characterization of contraception as an essential health care service: pregnancy is not a disease, and avoidance of pregnancy is primarily a matter of personal behavior.

    You can’t win this debate by focusing on the word “preventive” and claiming that anything that prevents something is preventive health care. My boots might keep my feet from getting wet, but I don’t get them for free under my health insurance plan.

  50. 50
    Uloborus says:

    @kay:
    I read this as the administration attempting to extend the language to include contraception, but I didn’t read deeply and may have gotten the wrong impression.

  51. 51
    Sko Hayes says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    It’s about consequences for having sex for fun. You see, fundies (no pun intended)don’t think sex is fun, they think it’s dirty.
    That’s why every hetero- and homo-sexual act they do is in the closet- molesting boys (Mark Foley), sex in bathroom stalls (Larry Craig), affairs with your best friend’s wife (John Ensign) or on trips to the Appalachian Trail (Mark Sanford)- sex is bad and dirty (remember when Larry Craig called Clinton a “dirty, nasty, bad boy”?), and women who have sex for fun must have consequences, or they’ll keep doing it!

  52. 52
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    I think those guys are gonna be in for a big shock when they die. They’re not going where they think they’re going, that’s for sure.

  53. 53
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Whick:

    Really, really silly attempt to justify this. Pregnancy is a bit more complicated than getting your feet wet.

  54. 54
    shortstop says:

    Right, if we call it “prevention,” then people (especially women, who are notoriously childlike in their linguistic suggestibility) might all start equating babies with diseases. And if we vaccinate our daughters against HPV, they might think it’s okay to have sex. Better that we not send the wrong message by endorsing these things or allowing others to procure them without a fight.

  55. 55
    kay says:

    @Uloborus:

    No, you’re right, but the Senator amended the bill to include an analysis of what preventive care means for women.
    Where “gender rating” (women pay 25 to 50% more) has shown up is on the individual market, and this “preventive” category will apply to insurance sold on the new state markets, or “individual market”.

  56. 56
    Catsy says:

    @Whick:

    Two objections to characterization of contraception as an essential health care service: pregnancy is not a disease, and avoidance of pregnancy is primarily a matter of personal behavior.

    1. Irrelevant. Not everything involving preventive care is a disease, and for many women birth control is necessary in order to treat or prevent a medical condition. I’ve known several women, for example, who get absolutely horrifying, crippling cramps and health-threatening bleeding with their periods when it is not controlled by–you guessed it–birth control pills.

    2. A statement that can only be made in blissful ignorance. I’m guessing you don’t know any rape victims.

    Nice try, but fail.

    Actually no, it’s not even a nice try, it’s just the same tired bullshit we’ve heard a thousand times before.

  57. 57
    catclub says:

    @Bill Murray: Not to mention Loving versus Virginia.

    OT: Why is the Muslim Brotherhood no longer demanding Mubarak go NOW?

    http://www.csmonitor.com/World.....ompt-anger

  58. 58
    kay says:

    @Whick:

    The medical rationale for it are in the part I highlighted at the top of the page, for both women’s health and pediatrics.
    It isn’t just semantics. It’s health care experts versus religious experts. One has proof, the other does not.

  59. 59
    Sko Hayes says:

    @Whick:
    Contraceptives are preventative meds, just as people with tendencies to blood clots take cumadin to prevent strokes or other problems, or people with high blood pressure take blood pressure meds to prevent associative side effects of high blood pressure.

  60. 60
    liberal says:

    @Whick:

    Two objections to characterization of contraception as an essential health care service: pregnancy is not a disease…

    It might not commonly be considered a disease, but it’s certainly a medical condition which, when left untreated, has a pretty high mortality rate, so your point isn’t valid.

  61. 61
    bemused says:

    If it wasn’t all about controlling women, we would have seen campaigns to make condoms illegal and crowds picketing businesses who sell them in the last 50 years.

  62. 62
    Scott says:

    Pregnancy is not a disease, but it can lead to severe, life-threatening health complications. And there’s not a single question that is a health care issue.

    I’m going to assume Whick is a Rethug troll, because who else would make that kind of moronic argument?

  63. 63
  64. 64
    Quarks says:

    You’d think that any group squawking about out of control spending and the need to cut costs would be all for birth control, since no matter what else you might think about it, the pill (and condoms and foams and Depo-Provera and so on) costs considerably less than prenatal care and childbirth at a hospital or home setting.

    @Whick at 49 – Thing is, pregnancy can complicate and/or worsen some pre-existing medical conditions, which is one reason why some women may choose to avoid these complications by preventing pregnancy. And, yes, preventing pregnancy until the woman is in the right place/time for it (for example, able to afford and go to prenatal appointments, able to ensure that she has the right nutrition and so on) also can help prevent birth complications, so, yes, I’d definitely agree that birth control is preventative.

    And sure, “avoidance of pregnancy” may be “primarily a matter of personal behavior,” but much of that “personal behavior” includes birth control and condoms. Celibacy sounds great in theory but can be harder in practice.

  65. 65
    Jules says:

    I don’t know about other women, but I’m really starting to feel picked on and singled out.

    Yeah, this.

  66. 66
    shortstop says:

    avoidance of pregnancy is primarily a matter of personal behavior

    Well, yes, primarily, when we exclude cases of rape or coercion. And that’s personal behavior that includes using contraception, unless you’re suggesting that women eschew having sex for the entirety of their childbearing years, and men for their entire adolescence/adulthood if and until perpetual ED comes knockin’.

    I don’t think you were suggesting that, though. I think you were hauling out the tired old idea that people preventing babies are all unmarried teenagers and selfish 20-somethings; once you’re married, why wouldn’t you want babies? And if you’ve had enough, you can always tailor your “personal behavior” to rely on the stunningly effective rhythm method, eh?

  67. 67
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @matoko_chan: The fact the a small number of people are saying something does not mean that the majority of Americans believe it or that it will become either policy or law.

  68. 68
    Uloborus says:

    @bemused:
    They campaign to restrict birth control – including condoms – at every opportunity. This crowd believes that condoms are as immoral as any other form of birth control. However, it doesn’t have the angry-mob-forming emotional impact of being able to claim that it’s baby murder.

  69. 69
    Lirpa says:

    With the recent bill that tries to stop all insurance coverage of abortions by making any insurance plan that covers it no longer a tax-free work benefit, I wonder if this is a consequence of allowing government to step into the issue of what insurance companies cover. I support the health care reforms passed so far, but now I worry that coverage will change with each new Administration or even Congressional election. “My birth control was covered under Obama but then wasn’t under Palin…..” Did we ask for this mess?

  70. 70
    Jules says:

    pregnancy is not a disease, and avoidance of pregnancy is primarily a matter of personal behavior.

    It sure feels like a disease if you don’t want to be pregnant.
    And really?
    Back to the “if only you were not a HOR you would not be knocked up, you made you bed no lie in it”.

  71. 71
    Zifnab says:

    @Kryptik:

    They won’t pass. But that won’t mean that it’s the Senate that stops them cold. At least, that’s my paranoid worry.

    That’s what I’m saying, though. I think every female GOP Senator voted in favor of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. These kind of issues resonate with politically powerful women.

    Even if you could swing a few conserva-Dem Senators like Nelson-FL or Nelson-NE, you’ll likely lose a few Republican women for your trouble. How does the bill even break 51 votes?

  72. 72
    kay says:

    @Lirpa:

    Well, government has always been in the business of what insurance companies cover, except it is now state government, which means 50 different definitions or “preventive care”, which are also subject to change with a change in a governor or statehouse, not to mention when you move.
    It is quite literally different in every state.

  73. 73
    kay says:

    @Jules:

    It’s not a good argument. “Well baby” checkups aren’t a disease either, nor is smoking cessation or obesity prevention and management and they’re regularly covered under preventive care.

    The whole point of “preventive care” is “not a disease”.

    I just think that’s a loser.

  74. 74
    Uloborus says:

    @Lirpa:
    We’re stuck with this mess regardless. Like gay rights they really, really will fight tooth and claw over every inch of birth control and abortion until social standards drift so overwhelmingly against them that no one even listens anymore. They’ll try and turn back anything. They’ll try and repeal any law, or run it through the courts until they find someone to invalidate it.

  75. 75
    Whick says:

    @Scott:

    If I were a troll, you need not have responded to me. And whatever Republican leanings I have (there are some) have not induced me to vote for a Republican in more than a couple contested races in the last 30 years. My votes and political contributions go overwhelmingly to Democratic candidates and organizations.

    Given how thoughtful and broad-minded the rest of you are, I probably need not mention the many sorts of products and services that prevent physical harm or reduce the chances of death, injury, or illness, and nevertheless are not covered by health insurance. (I already offered my boots as one example, but you all can think for yourselves and do better than that.)

  76. 76
    rikryah says:

    they are who we thought they were.

    period.

  77. 77
    kay says:

    @Lirpa:

    I wonder if this is a consequence of allowing government to step into the issue of what insurance companies cover.

    Honestly, Lirpa, you just didn’t know that an administrative agency at the state level in each state was making these decisions on what has to be covered in a health insurance policy. But they were. It just was never a national topic. It was between the state insurance regulator and the insurance company.

  78. 78
    bemused says:

    @Uloborus:
    The mention of condoms in the anti-birth control battle is minute in comparison to any form of birth control for women.

  79. 79
    matoko_chan says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: America is NOT A SECULAR NATION. refute that if you can. more than half the country believe in ensoulment aka life-at-conception. that is a religious belief. they are seeking to IMPOSE their belief system in a RELIGIOUS democracy.
    i can explain our problems in the ME in a single sentence.
    christians (70% of america) believe they are commanded to proselytize by their religion, and muslims believe their religion commands them to NOT ALLOW Christian PROSELYTIZATION (Iraq 97% muslim, Egypt 90% muslim, A-stan 99% muslim, Pakistan 99% muslim).
    that is why america cannot impose western culture by force in majority muslim states.
    If you want proof, Omnes, consider civil rights; America is not a Martin Luther King nation, it is a Martin Luther protestant nation. praps we will actually become a MLK nation post the demographic timer.
    ;)

  80. 80
    Gretchen says:

    Rev. Miller @30: Even the Catholics don’t live as Catholics – most use birth control. My husband and I, when we still went to church, wondered how the priests explained to themselves a congregation of 2 and 3 child families, when back in our childhood those were rare and the 6, 8, 10 child family was common.

  81. 81
    matoko_chan says:

    If you want more proof consider the failure of Strongman Theory. what American propped secular dictator is still standing?
    How do you change someones religion by force? it cannot be done.
    that is why martyrs happen.
    Another example.
    70% of Americans are against the “terror mosque”.
    70% of Americans are nominally xian.
    the same 70%?
    But freedom of religion and freedom of speech are core American values, arent they?
    You see…..Martin Luther was never for total separation of church and state–he just wanted the OTHER GUYS (anglicans) church separated from the state.

  82. 82
    liberal says:

    @Whick:

    “…I probably need not mention the many sorts of products and services that prevent physical harm or reduce the chances of death, injury, or illness, and nevertheless are not covered by health insurance.”

    So? That’s irrelevant to your absurd claim that because pregnancy isn’t a “disease” as commonly understood, measures to prevent pregnancy are not preventive health care.

    Your boots analogy is terrible. What fraction of people who get their feet wet end up dying without medical treatment directly related to their feet being wet?. I claim very few. What fraction of women who go through repeated pregnancies end up dying if they receive no health care (e.g. obstetrical care)? Astonishingly many, IIRC upwards of 10% or more.

  83. 83
    Silver says:

    @liberal:

    I assume Mr. Rubber Boots is a guy. I think you can summarize his position with, “Heterosexual white man says homophobia, racism, and sexism not an issue.”

  84. 84
    Mnemosyne (iPod Touch) says:

    It always amazes me how short-sighted people like Whick are. Apparently they would rather pay hundreds of millions of dollars each year for the consequences of pregnancy (abandoned children, birth defects, preeclampsia, etc.) than prevent those very expensive problems from happening in the first place.

    Go look up ” fistula” and then come back here and tell us it’s just too expensive to help women prevent pregnancy.

  85. 85
    kay says:

    @liberal:

    It’s not just that. As Martin pointed out, pregnancy is contraindicated for some women, because they can’t take medication they need for other serious health problemsif there’s a chance they’ll become pregnant, because of risk to the (prospective) child. Cancer treatment is like that.
    It hardly seems fair to put that in the realm of “choice”. I guess they could “choose” complete celibacy or permanent sterilization, but that’s a little harsh.

  86. 86
    Barry says:

    @bemused:
    “If it wasn’t all about controlling women, we would have seen campaigns to make condoms illegal and crowds picketing businesses who sell them in the last 50 years. ”

    Have you noticed that condoms are something worn by men?

  87. 87
    Tancrudo says:

    Of course contraception is preventative medicine. One thing contraception prevents is abortion. Making abortion illegal doesn’t reduce abortion; it just makes abortion more likely to be fatal to the mother. The number one way to actually reduce abortion is to provide contraception and prevent unwanted pregnancies.

    Therefore, any legislative attempt to prevent people from getting contraception can rightly be described as a pro-abortion bill. And should be, loudly and frequently.

    The free preventive care element of the Obama healthcare bill could result in the largest reduction in abortion in American history. Somebody needs to ask the Republicans why they are so desperately pro-abortion.

  88. 88
    Uloborus says:

    @bemused:
    Of course. Condoms would be less discussed for a variety of other reasons. There are far less health issues associated for men – mostly STDs – so that debate is removed entirely. Condoms do not require a doctor to prescribe, so regulating them is an entirely different process and requires much more sweeping laws that are much harder to pass. The risk/reward for investing their time and effort in it is different. Perhaps more important than either, it’s very hard to link it to the ‘baby killing’ argument. They really, really depend on the ‘baby killing’ argument to make themselves feel morally superior and turn a ‘sure, but I don’t care’ reaction amongst their flock into ‘this must be stopped at all costs’. They try quite hard to associate regular birth control with it. Even a suggestive link helps their side immeasurably.

    However, they are STILL anti-condom. They try to block male-focused birth control as well as female. The issue is that they hate sex and want to extend their culture (which for them is indistinguishable from their religion). Misogyny is a side show. They’re far more callously unconcerned than they are actively against women – and they’re callously unconcerned with EVERYONE who doesn’t support their culture.

  89. 89
    Barry says:

    @Whick:

    “Two objections to characterization of contraception as an essential health care service: pregnancy is not a disease, and avoidance of pregnancy is primarily a matter of personal behavior.”

    The number of health conditions for which that could be said is vast……………..

  90. 90
    Roger Moore says:

    @Left_Wing_Fox:
    I doubt that it has anything to do with enforcing bronze age ideas. Jewish priests were allowed to marry, and the priesthood was absolutely hereditary. The whole tribe of Levi was one big hereditary priesthood. The early Christian church allowed priests to marry, too. Eastern Orthodox churches don’t have a celibacy requirement (at least for parish priests; celibacy is still required to advance much further than that in the church hierarchy) because it was imposed after the East/West split. So it really is a Catholic invention that came quite late as these things go.

  91. 91
    Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac says:

    IIRC, there are a few cancer treatments out there you cannot get unless you are on some form of BC.

  92. 92
    ppcli says:

    Also Sprach Whick:
    “Two objections to characterization of contraception as an essential health care service: pregnancy is not a disease, and avoidance of pregnancy is primarily a matter of personal behavior.”

    OK, let’s set aside rape, as your remark presupposes. Then by your thinking, since becoming pregnant is primarily a matter of personal behavior, and it isn’t a disease, insurance shouldn’t cover women who want to give birth in a hospital?

    Is it possible to institute a minimum IQ test for the trolls around here?

  93. 93
    bemused says:

    @Barry:
    Duh.

  94. 94
    DBrown says:

    OK, lets get one clear point – pregnancy is absolutely defined as a medical disease using standard medical definitions – it is a parasitic disease. Now, mammals have evolved to reproduce using this method but to say it is not a disease is incorrect. True, it is a parasitic “illness” that many women do desire to endure at some point in their lives but it fills the all the definitions of any parasitic disease.

    Of course, this whole argument is silly because anyone who tries and argue that medical coverage is only for treating diseases and hence birth control is not covered needs medical help to clear out the vast amount of shit that is building up in their bodies – the truth is repug-a-thugs want to control woman – the churches (All OF THEM) want to enslave woman and these goals are always wrapped up in hype to cover this truth: woman, sex are dirty and need to be controlled by white males for their sole use, needs and pleasures. All else is window dressing.

  95. 95
    Lihtox says:

    If we take conservatives at their word, and put possible misogynistic and anti-sex motivations aside, then the major stumbling block here is that they believe that an embryo is a full human being from the moment the sperm enters the egg. If you accept this as truth, then any birth control which prevents implantation (rather than conception) is murder; and anyone who says “My body my choice” sounds like a serial killer promoting their right to their own lifestyle too.

    If we want to convince people to accept the middle ground (i.e. pro-choice), then we *must* challenge this basic assumption. The rape/incest exceptions are one way: murder is murder. The leftover embryos from IVF are another. Maybe photographs of embryos would help; they certainly don’t look human. And the fact is that this assumption is a modern invention, with no basis in Biblical text or church tradition. If someone wants to believe that a four-celled embryo is a “human being” deserving of the same rights as you or I, then that’s their business; but that’s not a mainstream opinion and should not be the basis for law.

    Until we challenge that assumption explicitly, talking about choice isn’t going to convince the other side.

  96. 96
    Brachiator says:

    @kay: These people are insane. Again, are any conservative women, pundits or politicians, actually signing on for this foolishness?

    @DBrown:

    OK, lets get one clear point – pregnancy is absolutely defined as a medical disease using standard medical definitions – it is a parasitic disease.

    Cite a reference or stop making shit up.

  97. 97
    Lirpa says:

    @Uloborus: You’d think that social standards HAVE changed enough that we would run out of office those who put up bills that would allow hospitals to refuse life saving treatment to a patient simply because the patient is currently carrying around a fetus, or that would change the law to prevent rape victims from actually being called victims and instead call them accusors. Or at least, I thought that up here in California. Yet another instance where I feel like a stranger in my own country.

  98. 98
    Lirpa says:

    @kay: I knew that the California insurance commissioner had some influence over pricing and minimum standards, but I have not seen a tug of war that would change my coverage when party control changes. It is more likely that you get a Republican insurance commissioner and, lo and behold, there are no issues that the commissioner needs to address. Then you get a Democratic commissioner and you see a fight over rate increases.

  99. 99
    kay says:

    @Brachiator:

    Again, are any conservative women, pundits or politicians, actually signing on for this foolishness?

    They’re rule-writing for the policies that are qualified to be offered on the exchanges, in the same way that states write rules that mandate certain coverage, so, no. I don’t think anyone is “signing on”, other than conservative activists, who are lobbying the committee that makes the recommendations.

    It’s just a little creepy to me, because “women of child-bearing age” are a discreet and distinct population, and I’m uncomfortable with what feels like targeting of them, by conservatives, and exclusively in the area of reproduction.

    It’s an odd way to look at the world. Even the most practical, facile analysis would admit women’s general health has a connection to child-bearing, right? Why don’t they ever worry about their, oh, I don’t know, hearts or lungs or something?

  100. 100
    Brachiator says:

    @kay:

    It’s just a little creepy to me, because “women of child-bearing age” are a discreet and distinct population, and I’m uncomfortable with what feels like targeting of them, by conservatives, and exclusively in the area of reproduction.

    It’s more than creepy. It’s repugnant. It’s primitive. It’s as though a segment of Republicans are embracing their inner Taliban.

  101. 101
    kay says:

    @Lirpa:

    but I have not seen a tug of war that would change my coverage when party control changes.

    To offer a policy in California an insurer would have to cover certain things (like birth control, for example). That’s the price of entry into that market. Just today, Virginia mandated that insurers who enter that state market offer coverage for autism. It changes.

    Conservative states mandate less coverage than liberals states, so you really could see a loss of coverage with a change in governance. The state could loosen the restrictions on what insurance policies have to offer.

    Oklahoma has a much less strict mandate on comprehensive coverage than Maryland, for example, and that’s an ideological choice.

  102. 102
    Nutella says:

    @Face:

    For one thing, 25-50% higher is not ‘slightly higher’ premiums.

    I first realized how grossly political insurance rates are when I saw the rates for a hospitalization-only plan for 20-30 year-olds that excluded all maternity benefits. It was 50% more for women than men. Only deliberate discrimination could account for that.

    You will generally find that for all kinds of insurance the rates are improperly skewed to benefit the class of old, white, suburban, middle-class men which includes pretty much everyone in the senior management of the insurance companies.

  103. 103
    Stillwater says:

    @kay: Why don’t they ever worry about their, oh, I don’t know, hearts or lungs or something?

    What, you mean care about the whole person? Unpossible! If they did, they’d be liberals!

  104. 104
    Ruckus says:

    I don’t know about other women, but I’m really starting to feel picked on and singled out.

    Starting? I’ve seen this for my entire life. Must be something wrong with me as I’ve never understood why. And I’m male and born in the 40’s.

    @Catsy:
    Nice.

  105. 105
    Stillwater says:

    @Uloborus: As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, I don’t think it’s a stance based on prejudice against women. It’s a stance based on being sociopathically unconcerned with human suffering of any kind in favor of a dogma

    This is a good insight. I think it generalizes to all conservatives, with slight tweaking of the ‘dogma’ that the sociopathology is excused by. One way to get at the point is to notice the difference between a positive critique of conservatism (advocating for moral, religious or constitutional principles necessary in a complex society) and the negative critique, that is, identifying all the things left out of conservative ideology. Almost universally in the US, conservatives leave out of their arguments the adverse effects their policies will have on people, including conservatives. Hence, it embraces a sociopathic disregard for the well being of others on its own terms.

  106. 106
    Barry says:

    @kay: “Why don’t they ever worry about their, oh, I don’t know, hearts or lungs or something? ”

    Because they don’t care? Because if she dies early and in agony, but had to live her life under their rules, it’s OK by them?

  107. 107
    BC says:

    Regarding the 25-50% more premiums for women than men: men in the same age demographic as child-bearing-age women are at a higher risk for heart attack. If insurance companies were using the actual risks rather than stereotypes to price their policies, then men between the ages of 35 and 55 would pay the highest. It costs much more to treat a heart attack than it does to care for a pregnant woman. Of course, if they did that, then the actuaries themselves would be paying more in premiums and we could never have that, could we? So they put higher premiums on women and point to child birth as the reason why.

  108. 108
    liberal says:

    @kay:
    Sure; Martin’s point was a good one. I was just presenting one of many possible arguments for why Whick’s argument was a stupid one. As @ppcli #92 pointed out.

  109. 109
    liberal says:

    @BC:

    It costs much more to treat a heart attack than it does to care for a pregnant woman.

    I have no idea whether the sex-based premium diff is legit or not, but the fact cited above isn’t sufficient for your argument; you need to know the respective chance of occurance. I assume pregnancy among women is much more likely than heart attack among men. Whether that is a stronger effect than the avg costs the two conditions lead to, I’m not sure.

  110. 110
    liberal says:

    @Brachiator:
    Don’t have a reference, but IIRC it’s pretty established that mother and fetus have goals which aren’t completely harmonious. Something about the fetus wants more resources than the mother is willing to provide (on average). It’s a typical natural selection/kin selection argument, and AFAICT there’s evidence confirming it from fetal biology, but I’m not sure.

  111. 111
    liberal says:

    @kay:
    …adding, I definitely know this cuz I have a big fat copy of _Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation_ sitting on my bookshelf. :-)

  112. 112
    WereBear says:

    @Comrade Dread: It’s not hyperbolic; the Catholic Church has long been anti-women.

  113. 113
    Brachiator says:

    @liberal:

    Don’t have a reference, but IIRC it’s pretty established that mother and fetus have goals which aren’t completely harmonious.

    Doesn’t make pregnancy a disease, nor does this support the claim that it is “clearly defined” medically as a disease.

    Something about the fetus wants more resources than the mother is willing to provide (on average).

    Absurdity. A pregnant woman cannot easily monitor or ration the amount of resources that will be allocated to the fetus, as opposed to the amount that she will use for herself.

    It’s a typical natural selection/kin selection argument, and AFAICT there’s evidence confirming it from fetal biology, but I’m not sure.

    This is not the same thing as a medical argument. I guess I see what people are driving at here, but I don’t think it gets you to your destination. It’s certainly not necessary to arguments in defense of women’s health or reproductive rights.

  114. 114
    Hob says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Pregnancy is a bit more complicated than getting your feet wet

    If it’s only the feet that get wet, you’re doing it wrong.

  115. 115
    brantl says:

    @Whick: When pregnancy could kill you, it for damn sure is preventative health care to avoid it. You’re just wrong.

  116. 116
    Hob says:

    @Whick: By “debate”, do you mean the debate between you and a bunch of blog commenters, or the debate between medical experts and the Catholic Church? Because the latter is what this blog post is talking about, and there is really no significant disagreement about it among doctors; I don’t think you’ll find a single health-care provider who would take your “wet feet” analogy seriously, except the ones who have a religious objection to contraception. And there is already a trend among insurers to include this in preventive coverage. The “debate” is being driven entirely by social conservatives who disapprove of contraception, and that’s why people here are jumping to that conclusion about you.

  117. 117
    JITC says:

    @Whick:

    Much has been well said in response to this comment, but it is always worth another response to correct total misinformation.

    There are MEDICALLY necessary reasons to avoid pregnancy. Pregnancy can exacerbate some cancers, swelling conditions, high blood pressure, Multiple Sclerosis, diabetes, etc. Doctors recommend or prescribe pregnancy avoidance and then PRESCRIBE birth control (which must be dispensed by pharmacists and must be monitored by doctors when used).

    Even for the generally healthy, birth control can help minimize debilitating (or even just VERY annoying) menstrual symptoms.

    The wearing of boots does not interact physiologically or chemically with the body and therefore does not need the supervision of medical professionals.

    Your comparison was inapt and instead demonstrated clearly why birth control absolutely should be covered.

  118. 118
    Mary says:

    @Brachiator:

    @DBrown:

    OK, lets get one clear point – pregnancy is absolutely defined as a medical disease using standard medical definitions – it is a parasitic disease.

    Cite a reference or stop making shit up.

    (In case the double block-quote doesn’t work, I am responding to Brachiator’s demand that Dbrown’s provide citation for his/her comment in response to Whick’s original comment about pregnancy not being a disease.)

    Parasite: An organism that lives in or on and takes its nourishment from another organism. A parasite cannot live independently.
    http://www.medterms.com/script.....lekey=4769

    Main Entry: par·a·site
    Pronunciation: ˈpar-ə-ˌsīt
    Function: noun
    : an organism living in, with, or on another organism in parasitism
    http://www.merriam-webster.com.....s/Parasite

    Main Entry: par·a·sit·ism
    Pronunciation: ˈpar-ə-sə-ˌtiz-əm, -ˌsīt-ˌiz-
    Function: noun
    1 : an intimate association between organisms of two or more kinds ; especially : one in which a parasite obtains benefits from a host which it usually injures
    http://www.merriam-webster.com.....Parasitism

  119. 119
    malraux says:

    @Brachiator:

    Absurdity. A pregnant woman cannot easily monitor or ration the amount of resources that will be allocated to the fetus, as opposed to the amount that she will use for herself.

    Consciously or via biological mechanisms? Cuz there are biological mechanisms to regulate what crosses the placental barrier. And I believe the original claim on this relates to the idea that a lot of pregnancy in mammals resembles a lot of host-parasite interactions. The fetus dampens the immune system, grabs a bunch of resources, etc that are not in the mother’s best interests.

  120. 120
    liberal says:

    @Brachiator:

    Doesn’t make pregnancy a disease, nor does this support the claim that it is “clearly defined” medically as a disease.

    I myself didn’t say that it’s clearly defined medically as a disease. But AFAICT it can be useful to think of it as somewhat if not entirely parasitic.

    Absurdity. A pregnant woman cannot easily monitor or ration the amount of resources that will be allocated to the fetus, as opposed to the amount that she will use for herself.

    Huh? Obviously not consciously. But physiologically speaking, you’re wrong, AFAIK.

    This is not the same thing as a medical argument. I guess I see what people are driving at here, but I don’t think it gets you to your destination.

    I’m not saying it’s the same as a medical argument. And it’s not really relevant to the medical/ethical/whatever issues being discussed. I’m saying that, to the extent that you’re claiming that the fetus as parasite is 100% wrong, you’re not 100% right on the biology. That’s all.

  121. 121
    liberal says:

    Adding to what malraux #118 said, I think a (somewhat) technical term is “maternal-fetal conflict.” One link:
    http://harvardmagazine.com/200.....ition.html

  122. 122
    tkogrumpy says:

    @kay: Exactly

  123. 123
    Jeanne ringland says:

    @Roger Moore: My understanding of the celibacy issue is that it was to prevent the inheritance of what we now consider church property, not inheriting the priesthood.

  124. 124
  125. 125
    matoko_chan says:

    @Lihtox: you cannot challenge it. it is WEC religious doctrine, called ENSOULMENT in medieval times.
    It is part of their religion, and in this country we have freedom of religion.

  126. 126
    tkogrumpy says:

    @ppcli: It’s possible, perhaps even desirable, to refute an arguement without snide insults.

  127. 127
    JITC says:

    On the discussion of “pregnancy as disease.” It doesn’t matter if it’s a “disease.” For some women it’s a blessing. For some it is a body or life threatening condition.

    Whatever it is, it IS a medical condition. Often medicine or medical devices are used to ensure this medical condition is not achieved.

    Non-over-the-counter birth control is prescribed by doctors, administered by doctors, filled by medically trained pharmacists, monitored by doctors for safety, etc.

    What more do birth control pills, IUDs, etc. have to do to be considered worthy of coverage by medical insurance?

  128. 128
    Ruckus says:

    @JITC:
    What more do birth control pills, IUDs, etc. have to do to be considered worthy of coverage by medical insurance?

    Just being a ass here but I’d say that if they were guaranteed 100% ineffective then the religious/social conservatives would probably be OK with them. Of course the medical system would probably not be too keen on using them, so still a problem.

  129. 129
    fuckwit says:

    It’s the Right-Wing Anti-Sex League, and they’re at it again.

    Every “pro-life” Taliban is really just anti-sex.

  130. 130
    Lihtox says:

    @matoko_chan: First, in medieval times, ensoulment was connected with quickening, when the baby first begins to move, around 18-20 weeks (midway through the second trimester); only in the past century or two have they moved it back to conception, without a lot of justification imo.

    Second, freedom of religion has limits: someone who claimed human sacrifice as part of their religion would nevertheless be tried for murder. That’s how the anti-abortionists feel about abortion. And if we want them to stop fighting this war with us, then we have to convince them to agree to disagree on “ensoulment at conception”. Not saying that’s easy; but without hitting that main point, other arguments (particularly those relating to choice) are pointless IMHO.

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