A Few Thoughts on the Oldest Profession

Yesterday, I came across a photo of this bumper sticker: 
 

Taken aback, I posted a link to it on my Facebook wall while making sure to specify that this does not reflect the views of all conservatives. I got quite a few responses, which can be summed up by the following comment: “WHAT?!”  

Inevitably, as it is an issue on the minds of many, someone made an off-topic remark about how the Right is trying to restrict women’s liberties. A friend of mine (the post has since been taken down for mysterious reasons, meaning this person now exists anonymously) replied: “As for the reproductive ‘rights’ thing, do you mean women’s ‘right’ to have me pay for them to have sex…and not with me?”  

I, in no way, expect to change the mind of the person who wrote this. I did, however, in the interest of civility, send him a private message (which lacked the reflexively tempting snide comment about him having to pay for sex): “Um, so what you wrote about ‘women’s “rights”‘ on my now-removed post was kind of disgusting, the implication being that my wife and the vast majority of my female friends and family are prostitutes.’ 

The thing is, people really feel this way, and it kind of makes me want to throw up. So, let me explain how this works, and I will leave out the parts about the health of women with conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome so I can focus on the real issue, which is sex. And, because I don’t want people rolling their eyes at me, I will also leave out the word Viagra, despite its pertinence here. 

The word I won’t leave out is vasectomy. I have had a vasectomy. My insurance paid for it. My insurance is Federal Blue Cross, which means it is covered by the taxpayers. I had a vasectomy because I have no desire to impregnate anyone. By this logic, taxpayers are paying for me to have non-reproductive intercourse. Until the same pious men (and, occasionally, women) decry the use of private and public insurance funds to cover such a procedure, then I will not take seriously their claims of religious freedoms. 

Besides, what’s to stop those of certain religious convictions from going to a private insurance company that did refuse to cover contraception? Instead, they want government to do that work so they don’t have to. Just them, of course. Religious freedom and all. 

But let’s leave out the word hypocrisy here, because, as an arbiter of morality like Newt Gingrich have demonstrated, or as craven opportunists like the pro-choice-when-it-suited-his-political-ambitions Willard Mitt Romney has demonstrated, or as all of the people who support and believe them while trumpeting values have demonstrated, they don’t give the slightest shit about hypocrisy.  

Let’s focus on the sex, and why it matters. People like to have sex, because it’s fun. There is absolutely no correlation between crime and pre-marital sex. There is no correlation between self-identified Christian believers and pre-marital sex either. Regardless, those are the beliefs and values of one portion of one religion. Why should I do as I am told by someone who follows a different set of laws and commandments—laws and commandments that have nothing to do with the country in which I am a citizen? 

Let’s focus on the money, which is what the argument comes down to. The poster above feels that private, employer-based insurance should not have to cover the birth-control pill, because that is tantamount to him purchasing the pill (Never mind that the person who wants to purchase birth control is paying premiums for such a service). Those of this mindset say that anyone whose birth control is not covered by an insurance company can just find an insurance company that does cover birth control. Never mind that the out-of-pocket costs of birth control and private insurance are prohibitive, something I can tell you from experience.  

If companies feel that there is money to be made covering birth control, they will cover it. This logic justified segregation, under which no place that refused service to African Americans ever suffered businesswise. It took the federal government to correct that. 

Under this logic, there is nothing to stop any private insurer from not covering my Attention-Deficit-Disorder medication if they don’t believe it exists. And many don’t. There is nothing to stop a Scientologist-run insurance company to deny me coverage for my psychiatric medication, without which I may have literally killed myself long ago. There is nothing to stop a blood transfusion being paid out-of-pocket if the owner of your insurance company is a Jehovah’s Witness. 

For those of the religious/business freedom mindset, is this okay? If you don’t say yes, then your contraception bullshit is meaningless. 

In the South, after the Civil War, came the concept of the poll tax. The poll tax did not technically discriminate against African Americans. What it did was charge a fee to anyone who went to vote. See? Not racist. This, of course, eliminated newly emancipated slaves who had no money to begin with from having a say in their own government. But there were many poor people in the South of all colors. See? Not racist. To help out the poor, an exemption was made for those whose grandfathers could vote. The exemption didn’t specify that the grandfather had to be white—it just said they had to be your grandfather. See? Not racist. If your grandfather was actually a slave, well, that has nothing to do with race as it does with bad timing. 

I wonder why I don’t have to pay for my vas deferens to be cauterized. Is this a kind of Grandfather Clause (or, in my case, a Smolderingly-Attractive-and-Virile Young-Man Clause) because it was a one-time thing? Or should all men in the future be denied this as well, because of bad timing? 

In conclusion, tell me, do you really believe that insurance coverage for birth control medication is the same thing as prostitution? Do you really believe that every single woman I know who has used hormonal contraception, like most of the women in my life—and likely yours—are whores? I don’t even know what to say to that. 

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