Republicans, Democrats, and Birth Control
by Michael Stikkel | Syracuse University
American women should declare independence from the Democratic Party rather than be used by the Left to propel an agenda less about women’s health and more about entitlement and attacking the freedom of religion.
Specifically, the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mandates all insurance provided by employers and educational institutions, regardless of religious affiliation, include free birth control for women. This act is commonly known as “Obamacare.” The Left’s goal is to argue that American women would not have adequate access to birth control without the government help provided by the Obama administration. Liberals also aim to convince women that Republicans want to take away a woman’s right to use birth control.
At this year’s Women in the World Summit, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton compared Republicans in America to Islamic extremists regarding attitudes toward women.
“Why extremists always focus on women remains a mystery to me,” she said. “But they all seem to. It doesn’t matter what country they’re in or what religion they claim. They want to control women.”
She continued: “They even want to control the decisions we make about our own health and bodies. Yes, it is hard to believe, but even here at home we have to stand up for women’s rights and reject efforts to marginalize any one of us.”
This is a terribly inaccurate comparison. No Republican candidate seeks to restrict a woman’s right to purchase contraception.
For example, in a recent article, the ideologues at The Huffington Post did their best to paint Rick Santorum, the most socially conservative of the Republican hopefuls, as an extremist. The left wing news website highlighted Santorum’s support for the Blunt Amendment. This amendment to Obamacare would have allowed employers to deny coverage for medical services based on moral or religious grounds. The amendment was gender neutral.
In other words, the best The Huffington Post could do to discredit Santorum was report he is against forcing organizations morally opposed to contraception to pay for employee insurance plans that cover contraception.
Republicans are not against women making the choice to purchase birth control and use it. Thus, Clinton’s claim that Republicans “want to control the decisions [women] make about [their] own health and bodies” is absolutely false. Republicans believe all women have the right to purchase birth control, but not the right to have birth control for free. Hence, Republicans are against government mandating a private organization must pay the full cost of someone else’s contraception.
In support of the mandate, the Department of Health and Human Services argues that, with the mandate, women will no longer “have to forego [contraceptive] services because of expensive co-pays or deductibles, or because an insurance plan doesn’t include contraceptive services.”
Sandra Fluke echoed the liberal claim in late February, testifying to a congressional panel in support of the birth control mandate. Fluke is a Georgetown University Law student. She supports the mandate because it would require her university, a Catholic institution, to pay for her contraception.
In defense of the mandate, she said, “Without insurance coverage, contraception, as you know, can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school. For a lot of students who, like me, are on public interest scholarships, that’s practically an entire summer’s salary.”
Fluke is correct in saying contraception could cost a woman more than $3,000 during her three years of law school, but it would not cost a frugal woman this much.
A month’s supply of generic birth control can be purchased at Wal-Mart, Target and some pharmacies for $9 with no insurance. Admittedly, this does not include the cost of a visit to the doctor for the birth control prescription. Without insurance, this can cost up to $250, according to the far-left Center for American Progress. Because of the source’s leanings, this figure is likely a high estimate.
Despite Fluke’s claims, the total three-year cost could be as cheap as about $1,000 — including the cost of doctor’s appointments. Noting these figures, three years’ worth of birth control could cost her only one-third of what she considers an entire summer’s salary.
Conservatives believe women are resourceful enough to handle this cost on their own.
Fluke also defended the mandate with a number of anecdotes regarding some of her fellow students’ need for birth control to treat serious medical conditions.
However, these anecdotes are moot. While some religious institutions reject the use of birth control for recreational purposes, no religious organization objects to the use of birth control for the treatment of a medical condition. Hence, no religious organization would opt to deny birth control coverage in this situation.
At a recent campaign stop, Republican hopeful Mitt Romney offered a clear description of the Republican position. In response to a heckler’s demand for free birth control, he said, “If you’re looking for free stuff you don’t have to pay for, vote for the other guy.”Michael Stikkel is a NGJ Voices Contributor and a computer engineering and business student at Syracuse University. He is an unapologetic conservative.