Rush Limbaugh has sparked an intense controversy with his sexist, misogynistic, and immoral statements about Sandra Fluke’s testimony supporting mandated provision of contraceptives by health insurers. Besides his horrendous comments and personal attacks against Sandra Fluke, his comments also begat a strange, terribly misinformed notion that American taxpayers are paying for women to get free contraception, in essence, we are all paying for women to have sex.
First of all, the foundation of this argument is totally bogus. Taxpayers are not paying for anything here. Insurers are paying for it. These insurers pass the cost of free contraception (just as they do free pre-natal care, yearly physicals, etc) onto employers in the form of insurance premiums. The employers then pay their portion of the premiums and the employee pays their’s. Nowhere does the taxpayer pay one penny for contraceptives, except for government programs like Medicaid.
So Limbaugh’s argument, which is being taken up by the religious right, is false. I might give him and others the benefit of doubt that they are just clueless, but I find it hard to believe that anyone in the public sphere, especially legislators, are ignorant of the reality. They are simple liars, lying to promote their particular political agendas.
But, for sake of argument, let’s assume that Limbaugh’s argument it valid and that taxpayer money is being spent to provide contraceptives. If that is the case, then it is no different than paying for Viagra for old, impotent men. Why should we pay for these men to have sex? There isn’t even any corollary argument for it, as with contraceptive. Contraceptives prevent pregnancy, STDs (in the case of condoms), help some women regulate periods and treat ovarian cysts. Viagra has no other benefit except to give a man a hard-on. So all these aging white men can stop getting viagra at taxpayer expense. I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t want to pay for Rush Limbaugh to have sex, never mind actually watching him do it on video (as he suggested Sandra Fluke do).
Of course, the above argument is just a spurious as Limbaugh’s. The real lesson here is that this is one more attempt by privileged men to control women. The latest outrage is taking place in Arizona (that hotbed of radical religious inspired insanity). Read Rebecca Watson’s take on the new law that would force doctors to lie to their female patients about the health of their unborn child.
If you don’t think that there is a war on women being waged by the religious right and the GOP (which have become one and the same), there have been dozens of similar attempts to allow the state to control a woman’s body. For a party that claims that they are for less government and putting a stop to government’s intrusion into our personal lives, they sure don’t seem to think that applies to women. I supposed that as long as the government isn’t trying to regulate your guns or property, everything else is fair game.