Thursday, March 09, 2006

Your Private Parts Are the Public's Business
Today's "ohferchrissakes" moment comes courtesy of Salon's Broadsheet, which reports on a bill proposed yesterday in Congress by Repug Senator Mike Enzi of Wyoming, which would allow insurance companies to ignore state laws that require coverage for certain treatments or conditions. As Broadsheet's focus is on women's issues, they note this: If the bill became law, states would be free to prohibit women from designating their OB/GYNs as their primary care physicians--and to permit insurance companies to stop covering birth control if the companies chose.

Certain right-wingers have, for a long time, wanted to declare war not just on abortion, but on contraception, too. Legislation like this, even if not aimed squarely at contraception, make it pretty clear that this thinking is not just on the nutty edges anymore, but in the mainstream of Repug thought. (There's also the weird devaluation of OB/GYNs implicit in the bill's provisions, but that's another post.) And in fact, the bill's attitude toward birth control hints at a larger goal of the anti-contraception crowd. In the end, they're opposed to sex itself. And they seem to think that by making birth control harder to get, they'll make it so most people--those who don't want to make a baby every time they do the horizontal bop--just won't be able to have sex at all. This logic, if you can call it that, is persuasive only to people who have forgotten, if they ever knew, what their private parts are for.

In conjunction with a ban on abortion, it's easy to see that restrictions on birth control will inevitably lead to more unwanted pregnancies. Those babies, of course, will be on their own. The wingers are only interested in protecting embryos and fetuses. Speaking of fetus protectors, Salon's Tim Grieve reported today on an exchange he had with a New York talk show host who refused to answer a "trick question" on abortion called in by a listener--if you were in a clinic with five fertilized embryos and a two-year-old, and the place caught on fire, and you could save only the embryos or the two-year-old but not both, which one would you save? The only logical answer for the life-begins-at-conception crowd is to save the embryos, of course, on purely utilitarian grounds of saving five lives instead of one. The talk-show host wasn't willing to go there. He knows what he should say, but he can't do it, or his entire position on abortion will be exposed as the illogical mess it is. Read it. It's fun to watch him squirm.

(Note: I'm off tomorrow. No new posts until Saturday at least, unless the Sage is on about something.)

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