Monday, February 13, 2012

In U.S., 99% of women have used contraception

By Amanda Marcotte

11 February 12 -  After two solid weeks of Republicans rapidly escalating attacks on contraception access under the banner of "religous freedom," Obama finally announced that the White House is proposing an accomodation of religiously affiliated employers who don't want to offer birth control coverage as part of their insurance plans.

In those situations, the insurance companies will have to reach out directly to employees and offer contraception coverage for free, without going through the employer. Insurance companies are down with the plan, because as Matt Yglesias explained at Moneybox, contraception actually saves insurance companies money, since it's cheaper than abortion and far cheaper than childbirth. Because the insurance companies have to reach out to employees directly, there's very little danger of women not getting coverage because they are unaware they're eligible.

That's the nitty-gritty. The fun part of this is that Obama just pulled a fast one on Republicans. He drew this out for two weeks, letting Republicans work themselves into a frenzy of anti-contraception rhetoric, all thinly disguised as concern for religious liberty, and then created a compromise that addressed their purported concerns but without actually reducing women's access to contraception, which is what this has always been about. (As Dana Goldstein reported in 2010, before the religious liberty gambit was brought up, the Catholic bishops were just demanding that women be denied access and told to abstain from sex instead.)

With the fig leaf of religious liberty removed, Republicans are in a bad situation. They can either drop this and slink away knowing they've been punked, or they can double down. But in order to do so, they'll have to be more blatantly anti-contraception, a politically toxic move in a country where 99% of women have used contraception.

My guess is that they'll take their knocks and go home, but a lot of the damage has already been done. Romney was provoked repeatedly to go on the record saying negative things about contraception. Sure, it was in the frame of concern about religious liberty, but as this incident fades into memory, what most people will remember is that Republicans picked a fight with Obama over contraception coverage and lost.

This also gave Obama a chance to highlight this benefit and take full credit for it. Obama needs young female voters to turn out at the polls in November, and hijacking two weeks of the news cycle to send the message that he's going to get you your birth control for free is a big win for him in that department.

I expect to see some ads in the fall showing Romney saying hostile things about contraception and health care reform, with the message that free birth control is going away if he's elected. It's all so perfect that I'm inclined to think this was Obama's plan all along.

And our favorite Comment in response to this column comes from "Cactusman" (surely this enlightened dude does not live in Arizona):

"The last thing we need is more humans. Birth control is critical to our future. Not more mouths we cannot feed, house, and transport.

"We're already the most successful large mammal ever in terms of population density ever achieved. WE are the world's most invasive species. It's high time we quit letting the religion nuts dictate population and sexual morality. Keep it to yourselves. Dogmatic religion poisons everything it touches."


Debra Speakes said...

If it's true that this would turn out to be a bargain for insurance companies, you would think the insurance companies would offer contraception or even sterilization for free without being told to.

The problem is, this still only affects people who HAVE insurance, and we still have the situation where many DON'T. People with insurance generally have jobs, which gives them the money to pay for contraception. The people who need this most are the ones who don't have jobs, who are living on welfare or unemployment benefits, and who most desperately don't need another mouth to feed -- that WE all end up supporting.

Where is the provision for free clinics to address the problem that REALLY needs to be solved?

Noble said...

Free clinics are offered in many places across the country. They are a target for crazed bombers or the Republican Party, however.
They are known as Planned Parenthood.

Just the facts Ma'am said...

Free clinics the targets of the Republican Party?
Nice try Noble. But you conveniently forgot to include the "service" Planned Parenthood type clinics provide that gets all the attention of the right.
Care to be more clear?

Noble said...

Year after year the Republican Party has attempted to cut off all federal subsidies to Planned Parenthood based on one narrow concept alone.

PP allots approximately two percent of their budget for safe medical procedures not otherwise available to many women. The other ninety eight percent goes toward cancer screening and many other medical services as well as professional help and advice for family services. In other words, PP does a vast amount of good, but is targeted for only one thing.
It's amazing how the mere mention of a word can immediately shut down all rational thinking and intelligent conversation in some circles- primarily Republicans strongly influenced by religious fundamentalists who are more and more dominating the party.
As for the bombers, there are many documented cases of deranged individuals bombing clinics "in the name of God." Their murders are exempt from condemnation, however.
Even the Supreme Court may soon be heard on the abortion issue once again. Attempts are constantly made to overturn Roe vs Wade, and now, with the strong right wing influence by Bush appointees, the long standing ruling could conceivably be overturned. The court has already thrown elections into a highest bidder game with their "open the money doors" ruling.
I could go on and on, but I'll bow out for now

Noble said...

Ironically, if Pro Lifers practice birth control, they are as guilty of destroying life as any Pro Choicer.

Hypocrites and demagogues all.

That's more like it said...

I'll assume your facts are correct. No sweat. But I know you've been listening these last bunches of years and have heard that the "one narrow concept" you talk about is a BIG thing to those on the right who strongly disagree with abortion.
The idiots aside, and you're right there are idiots out there, there are those of conviction who do not, and will never agree with you. And they'll never go away. Stating your case as you did above is a much more honest way of expressing your opinion then the slide job you tried earlier. And, while there will be disagreement, you can be respected for stating your point clearly, openly and without slinging Olberman type mocking around.
Hope to read more of the latter from you then the former.