New Arizona Contraception Bill Outrageous
“…allows any employer to refuse to cover contraception that will be used ‘for contraceptive, abortifacient, abortion or sterilization purposes.’ If a woman wants the cost of her contraception covered, she has to ‘submit a claim’ to her employer providing evidence of a medical condition, such as endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome, that can be treated with birth control.”
This repressive bill now contributes to the long list of attacks on women’s rights, including, but certainly not limited to:
The Blunt Amendment, which would have allowed “not only religious groups but any employer with moral objections to opt out of the coverage requirement.”
Virginia’s forced trans-vaginal ultrasound bill, later amended to a forced trans-abdominal ultrasound bill, dictates that a woman undergo this procedure at least 24 hours before having an abortion.
The defunding of Planned Parenthood by Texas, and other states' and Mitt Romney's threats to defund Planned Parenthood, because it provides abortions, despite the fact that 97 percent of its services are for women’s and men’s health.
Not to mention the congressional discussions on birth control that have been convened by, and open to, only men.
The new Arizona bill, sponsored by Debbie Lesko, is unprecedented not only because it “differentiates between birth control used for medical reasons and birth control used to prevent pregnancy,” but also because it “will force female employees who can’t afford to pay full price for birth control to share private, sometimes embarrassing medical information with her employer in order to get her prescription covered,” as Huffington Post explains.
Oh, the irony. Lesko claims that the government shouldn’t be compromising the freedom of religion, but the government should be compromising the right to practice one’s religion, without retribution, in whatever way one chooses? The government shouldn’t be telling organizations or employers what to do, but the government should be telling women what to do? The government shouldn’t be invading the lives of its citizens with health care mandates, but the government should be invading women’s right to privacy, in both their medical and sexual lives?
Some women, hell most women, use birth control because they want to control what happens to their own bodies. The government has no business limiting their ability to do so, by denying them coverage by health insurance plans of a means with which women are able to do so.
This debate comes down to this: whether those in power will refuse to allow a woman the continued freedom to choose when she wants to get pregnant, the continued right to determine when she is most ready to have a family, and the continued ability to have a discussion of family planning with the man with whom she’s having sex; or, whether those in power will refuse to infringe on a woman’s power to determine the course her own life, starting with the power over her own body.
The gender inequality inherent in this discussion on women's rights has been made apparent by the assumption that women are unable to determine what is best for their own health and therefore they need the government to determine their best interests for them, whereas men are perfectly capable of deciding their own reproductive needs. That inequality is also being attacked, however, by men as well as women.
There has been an upsurge recently of bills proposed to insert a bit of gender equality into the discussion. Ohio State Senator Nina Turner, after introducing a bill requiring stress tests and sex therapy for men seeking prescriptions of Viagra, stated:
“We want to make sure that men, vulnerable, fragile men, who are not capable of making decisions for themselves, understand all of the side effects and the implications of these types of drugs.”
In Virginia, Missouri, and Wisconsin, Democratic lawmakers have also proposed legislation in response to bills limiting women’s rights:
In Virginia, a state senator responding to the new forced ultrasound bill “sought an amendment requiring doctors to perform a rectal exam and stress test before prescribing erectile-dysfunction drugs."
The Missouri bill, echoing similar abortion bills, would “allow vasectomies only to protect a man from serious injury or death.”
In Wisconsin, Democrat Mark Pocan introduced an “equality” amendment to a bill governing abortion services in Wisconsin. The amendment “mandates similarly private restrictions for men looking for male enhancement medications, such as Viagra” in “an effort to highlight the hypocrisy of increased legislative interference in a woman’s private medical decisions.”
“The best that we can do is put an amendment out that is equally as ridiculous, but to show the true comparison about how unequal we’re treating men and women when it comes to healthcare.”
The double standard being used for women’s reproductive health is already backfiring. Realize that men care about the outcomes of this debate, too. Last I heard, men like sex, and they don’t necessarily want a child to be a concern every time they have it. The proposal of “equality” amendments by men, which, if passed, would limit their access to drugs like Viagra, illustrate that this issue is not going to be restricted to women.
But, if women’s rights continue to be attacked by those in official positions of power, remember that women make up over half the entire population, and together have an extraordinary power of their own. Liberal Ladies who Lunch has proposed a sex strike. Huffington Post reports:
“A group that supports health care coverage of contraception is calling for women to withhold sex from their partners between April 28 and May 5.
“‘This will help people understand that contraception is for women and men, because men enjoy the benefit of women making their own choices about when and if they want to get pregnant…Once congress and insurance agencies agree to cover contraception, we will then resume having sex. Until then men will have to be content with their left hand.’”
You’d better leave women’s reproductive rights up to them, because if you don’t, guess what? Men don’t get to have sex, either.