It's been quite awhile since I attempted a Political Tuesdays post, but the political world just keeps rolling along and I still have political opinions that I like to write about. The usual warning should be restated: if you don't want to read (or are bothered by) my political opinions, feel free to skip today's post and come back when I'm blogging about knitting or quilting. The following post may contain satire.
Thousands of years ago, nomadic camel herders discovered that if you insert a pebble into the uterus of a female camel before setting off on a long trek across the desert, she won't get or stay pregnant. Pregnant camels are, apparently, a big drag on a long caravan route. (Who knew?) So, naturally, in the progress of history, men decided to try this technique on women, and the IUD (intra-uterine device) was invented (I almost said born, but that would be ironic, wouldn't it?)
Ironically again, the IUD is not among the top results to come up when you Google "women are like camels." I got things like this story of real women being herded like camels as part of a protest in Egypt. And this quote from some influential Koranic commentary, comparing women to cows, horses and camels. And this bit of strange fashion advice on how correct Muslim women can avoid bouffant hairstyles under their hijab that make them look like camels and thus make them haram, or sinful. But perhaps I digress from the topic of this post.
The original IUD worked in an abortifacient manner; not preventing ovulation, not preventing fertilization of the egg, but preventing implantation of the embryo in the uterus. Newer formulations (I almost said generations -- again the irony!) of the IUD supposedly add an element of hormonal contraception, but whether that methodology or the anti-implantation methodology is the primary one is exceedingly controversial, at least among those who have researched it enough to have an opinion on the matter. Most people who believe that human life begins at the moment of fertilization have an ethical problem with a form of birth control that potentially "flushes away" that human life. This includes the IUD and the "morning after pill," which have prevention of implantation of a fertilized egg as a primary methodology of their operation.
We aren't talking about the traditional Roman Catholic view, which forbids any non-natural form of contraception. Protestants, like ethical human beings who have any other or no religious persuasion, tend not to condemn all birth control categorically, but prefer to avoid abortifacient birth control. However, it's a poorly understood area and many doctors are little more than overworked middlemen for pharmaceutical companies. It's often left up to the individual to research the subject. It's definitely a grown-up decision, with a lot of gray areas on which people of conscience can disagree, and even in the internet age it can be difficult to get authoritative and accurate information. And I don't think Obamacare has made it any better. I mean, who really wants both the government and their employer involved in their birth control decision? Apparently, the entire left wing.
Which brings us to Hobby Lobby and the recent Supreme Court ruling. By all accounts, Hobby Lobby is a pretty good company to work for. Of the 20 types of birth control that Obamacare mandates, they freely cover 16. The company's owners simply object on principle to paying for abortifacient birth control. I can see their point - it would feel like having to drive the delivery truck to the Nazi death camps. Honestly, you would think, judging by the shrill reactions of the left's propaganda machine, that they were even more evil and oppressive than those monstrous charities like Little Sisters of the Poor who won't cover the regular birth control pill -- but they do, at no charge to their employees. And condoms (I wonder, under Obamacare, are employees supposed to file insurance claims for condoms, and if so, how many will bother? Who's going to check the expense accounts to make sure they have all been used? How would you verify that? Or do we assume that, since everybody lies about sex, those claims are always going to be inflated, so to speak? And if so, how is it fair to make employers pay for fraudulent charges? But I'm digressing again). The actual Supreme Court Ruling was pretty narrow in its focus, and while it was a victory for pro-life forces, it still leaves many problematic issues in Obamacare unresolved.
If Hobby Lobby employees want abortifacient birth control, they can still pay for it out-of-pocket. Now, it may seem strange that some people actually pay for medical expenses themselves, and it may seem expensive, especially to someone like Hillary Clinton, who has been dead broke before. But I can assure you from personal experience that the average working family can afford the occasional out-of-pocket medical expense that is not covered by even a good health care policy. We have paid our own money for such things as specially compounded medication (to keep me alive and out of the hospital during hyperemesis), the occasional diagnostic test or specialist visit that wasn't within the plan or wasn't billed exactly right; orthotic inserts for Tertia's shoes, one dental crown (after that, we purchased supplemental dental insurance, which was a very good idea), chiropractic adjustments beyond a fixed limit, massage therapy, and specialized eyeglass frames. The costs may have been high, but we were happy to pay them because the treatment offered a vastly improved quality of life compared to no treatment. Is it weird that some medications or treatments were provided at no or very low cost, while others were quite costly? Yes, but health insurance is weird. I don't pretend to understand it, before or after Obamacare. In the long run, it's just money, and money is supposed to be used to help the family, and if the family thinks it's a worthwhile expense, then the family is willing to pay for it.
But if Obama and his party really think that American women are such frail flowers that they desperately need a federal mandate for employer-funded birth control at the expense of conscientious objections, then they really don't know American women very well, do they? I'll leave off with one last irony to contemplate: a form of birth control originally designed by misogynistic camel-herders is now cherished by self-proclaimed feminists as a sacred right.