Equality, defined by Merriam Webster as the “state or quality of being equal”, “as great as”, “the same as”. The fight, for oneself, one’s family, team, gender, race, or any other defining element, has always been and likely will always be a great motivator for the individual, and great rallying cry for the whole. Equality of the individual is a foundation in America’s civil rights framework and a constant in America’s mission.
And so our great country recognizes the right of humanity to exercise its civil freedoms so long as the exercise of those freedoms does not infringe on the rights of others.
With the passing and implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the US is suddenly at a very exciting (relative to the individual’s definition of the term) and contentious time in defining just how far our “civil rights” extend, and just exactly what it means to infringe on the rights of others.
The Act (as you know by now if you’re one of the seven readers of my articles) forces most employers to fully cover the cost of contraception and abortifacients for its employees…no co-pays, no deductibles, nothing out of pocket to the employee.
As the argument goes, women’s rights groups are fully in favor of the mandate, as the use of contraception is a woman’s right. Religious employers and organizations are fully against the mandate, as it forces them to pay for the use of a drug that it has morally opposed since its creation.
Who’s right? Both of them, naturally. American women have a right to contraception. And every citizen has the right to the free exercise of their religion. The real issue, however, is what are we really arguing about?
From the women’s rights perspective, this is what Americans United Executive Director Barry Lynn had to say. “No corporation should ever be able to tell its employees that they can’t have access to contraceptive coverage simply because it offends the boss’ religious preference.”
ProchoiceAmerica.org backs their stance by stating that “No one is being asked to prescribe or take birth control. Those who [oppose the mandate] are free to continue opposing contraception.”
And Prospect.org, in an article about 2012’s “war on women” states that after the passing of the Affordable Care Act “conservatives began shouting about ‘religious freedom’ – as if the U.S. government and insurance companies had an obligation to enforce the Catholic Church’s beliefs on its secular employees.”
From my perspective, and presumably from the perspective of most reasonable adults, all of the above quotes are factually, 100% accurate. But again, what’s really being argued about? Whose “rights” are imposing on the rights of the other?
Mr. Lynn should be told, before this becomes the Equality Rally Cry for his team, that no one has requested that employers be able to cut off access to contraceptive coverage. Believe it or not women used contraception before the Affordable Care Act, and will continue to do so whether their religious bosses pay for it or not. I can’t take credit for the analogy, but just because your boss won’t pay for your car insurance doesn’t mean you’re being denied access to it.
In an attempt to advance the inference that no one’s rights are being violated, Pro-Choice America correctly points out that no one is being asked to prescribe or take birth control. Pro-Choice America also points out, that so long as you buy it for us, you’re free to oppose the drug verbally. Somewhat akin to a giant secular middle finger. (And regardless of your own personal view, can’t we all agree that there’s humorous irony in an organization, that calls themselves Pro-Choice America, feverishly backing a mandate that gives Americans No Choice? What would they say if the Government Mandated Abstinence Education?) http://www.prochoiceamerica.org/media/fact-sheets/sex-education-abstinence-only-programs.pdf )
And finally, Prospect.org chimed in with their own highly accurate, highly irrelevant, statement on the issues. The U.S. Government does not have an obligation (or right) to enforce the Church’s beliefs on its employees. Nor does the U.S. have the obligation (or right) to force someone to violate their religion just so someone can save $30.00 per month in co-pays.
So what are we really arguing about? We’re arguing about whether women have a right to have their contraception spoon fed. Because no one in this argument is trying to take it away…they’re just saying go get it yourself. The audacity.
To naysayers this will be seen to be sexist, chauvinistic, and disrespectful, because if a man doesn’t support everything termed to be a Woman’s Right then he’s an un-chivalrous bigot. Getting prescriptions paid for isn’t exactly on par with women’s suffrage.
And if you think this line of thinking is oppressive, then how far do women’s rights go?
Abortion as a means of birth control? http://www.lifenews.com/2013/04/01/pro-choice-blog-supports-abortion-as-method-of-birth-control/
Infanticide if you don’t like the “product” within 48 hours of birth? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infanticide#Modern_proposals
Child Euthanasia? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_euthanasia
Recently in Florida, Planned Parenthood publicly lobbied for allowing a baby born alive after a botched abortion to be killed at the Mother’s choosing. Doesn’t exactly lend to the proposition of Equality for all of humanity (although to be fair it definitely creates a monster of a woman’s right).
So before we litigate the issues brought up by American’s United and other women’s rights groups…let’s make sure someone is trying to take a right from women in the first place.
And before more troops are deployed to this battle of the "War on Women", a peaceful exit strategy may be to stop creating an imaginary battlefield.
Accountability vs Infallibility; And The Reason You Will Never Change