Obama, Catholics, and Contraception
If you’re too poor to get contraception, you’re too poor to get laid.
Harsh? Well, I’m trying my hand at my own “Proverbs of Hell” a la William Blake. “Purgatorial Proverbs” perhaps? –And this protest shot below is from Britain, but it’s just too cute to pass up:
ABC News’ Jake Tapper offers a he said, she said play-by-play on the internal White House debate on this initiative to force Catholic hospitals, orphanages, charities, etc. to pay for their employees’ contraceptives. Although Vice-President Biden and a couple of others are portrayed as offering principled objections as well as purely political ones, it does look as if politics– i.e. picking up women voters in Campaign ’12– was by far the overriding consideration. Tapper’s usually pretty good with the inside dope, or at least has the best we can get till the inevitable Woodward/esque books hit the stands. I’ll just cut off a slice:
The policy was wrong, the two Catholic men, Biden and Daley, argued, saying that the Obama administration couldn’t force religious charities to pay for something they think is a sin. Sources say that Biden and Daley in these internal debates emphasized the political fallout more so than the policy issue. Catholics are the ultimate swing voters, they argued. President Obama won the Catholic vote 54-46% in 2008, but he lost among white Catholics 47-53%, according to exit polls.
What should we make of that? The “policy was wrong” is a strong, moralizing lead; but Tapper bluntly tells us without further comment that Biden and Daley “emphasized the political fallout”. Is Tapper telegraphing that Biden and Daley are not men of principle, or is he suggesting that they understand that Obama is not a man of principle himself, so in internal White House debates you have to present the politics of a matter rather than the morality? What does Tapper really think? What should we?
Here’s how the other side is presented:
For these advocates, this issue was logical and based on science: birth control saves women’s lives, reduces the number of unwanted pregnancies, and is a fundamental issue of a woman controlling her own health care. And the politics were in the long term good, they said. Even with the current controversy raging, many Democrats maintain that the voters they need to vote for Obama in November – young voters nationwide, women voters in battleground states such as Colorado, Virginia, and Pennsylvania – support the president’s decision.
Those advocating for the rule argued that the Catholics likely to be most offended by this rule – those who attend mass at least once a week – voted for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., 59-41%. (Though sources say this tidbit was not discussed internally at the White House, it’s interesting to note that President Obama narrowly won the Catholics who don’t attend church regularly, 52-48%.)
I’m fatigued by this liberal appeal to “logic” and “science” on these plainly, singularly moral issues. Are Catholics denying that contraception works? Are they denying that some pregnancies are “unwanted” (by the parents, perhaps by society– though not, crucially for them, by God)? “Science” has exhausted its potential on the issue simply by inventing effective means of contraception– it has nothing to say about whether they should be used any more than it does about whether the atom bomb should be dropped, or whether the earth should be swallowed by a black hole. Garbage in, garbage out. The fact that these technologies were developed testifies to the fact that somebody wanted them, of course. So too does the construction of the Nazi concentration camps. The mere invention of a technology doesn’t mean that the whole human race automatically gets on board with its deployment, or (more to the point) that said technology is morally just, or even beneficial in utilitarian terms. If some assholes finally blow up the earth while colliding quarks trying to find the 17th dimension beneath Mont Blanc, I hope there’s enough oxygen left on my flying shard to enjoy a good cruel laugh at your expense before I crash into the moon. To say nothing of that Captain Trips thing we’ve got going . . . .
But what am I, Mary Shelley?! Laugh it up, fuzzballs: far be it from me to complain if Scientific Progress Goes “Boink”.
And while I’m aware that disaster waits, even for those of us living in an advanced Western capitalist democracy, at every turn, what on earth is meant by this piteous wail about “saving women’s lives”? Exactly how many women die in childbirth in the United States of America? I know it happens, but c’mon! How many middle-class white women in America have ever given a moment’s thought to this supposed terror? –I was about to look it up anyway, but you know what: I don’t care. I’m going to stew in ignorance (for the moment) just to savor a point: this is a bullshit complaint. Nobody who watches “Sex and the City” has ever given a moment’s thought to this supposed travail. You’re more worried about dying from botulism, and you know it. “Saves women’s lives”– who are these physically imperilled creatures who are still capable of getting laid but not of delivering a baby, by hook or crook (Caesarean? early labor? I mean, those fetuses can survive out there in some incubator from a pretty early season in the womb– not that that should stop us, I mean, from flushing them, surely not!). Or I suppose I’m to imagine we’re really talking about those malnourished knocked-up teen non-brides in the ghetto, who are the whole reason we have feminism, abortion, no-fault divorce, and silicone dildos in the first place: it’s about saving lives people! for those, you know, less fortunate than ourselves!
Of course, Obamacare’s advocates don’t give a damn about inflicting “parsimonious” end-of-life care to the elderly (oh wait, it’s not just about end-of-life!), yet they get hysterical about the Grim Reaper’s reign of terror in the OBGYN ward, even though a white woman hasn’t died in childbirth since the days of William Makepeace Thackeray.
(and you know you want that baby more than some dumb pill. Plus, if you’ve got that baby, you don’t, ah, need a pill)
But to resume:
Tapper’s paragraphs cited above make it abundantly clear that Obama and his partisans in the White House give not a moment’s consideration either to Constitutionally-enshrined freedom of religious conscience nor to inherently moral considerations. This is simply about picking up the Women’s Vote, with the consciences of Catholics dismissed because their votes already belong, they assume, to a Republican. Well, if it’s only the Constitutional rights and moral determination of the other party’s voters at stake, to hell with them! What, surely Obama doesn’t have to work for the Constitution does he? Not for the people as a whole, surely?
What a despairing picture of women and their poll-able thoughts this leads to. Are women in America truly this biddable? With all the strife and contention and suffering in the world today, with all the fraught economic, social, and legal controversies hanging over the American polity, they’re to decide who to vote for based upon who offers them a contraceptive freebie?
I mean, how the fuck much does contraception cost anyway?
And what are all these floozies doing working for some Catholic hospital to begin with? Or did they get in because they threatened some Civil Rights suit over discrimination if Sister so-and-so questioned them over why they were wearing two shades of eyeliner at 3 in the afternoon on the cardiac ward?
I’m absolutely not a libertarian (which is to say: I’m not in favor of just letting employers deny their workers everything), but all the same can I make a helpful suggestion? Ladies: since you have jobs and shit, why don’t you take your wages and go buy yourselves some goddamn contraceptives?
I mean, it’s a bit like something I read in Seventeen magazine back in the ’90s: if you’re not mature enough to go into the store and buy some condoms by yourself, you’re not mature enough to be having sex.
An adult addendum: if you’re not making enough so you can afford to go buy your own contraception, you don’t need to be having sex.
And yes– I did look into how much the Pill costs every month. I spend that much monthly ordering Malaysian tea cookies in bulk from amazon!
If I was getting laid, could I afford contraception? Well, that would force me to make some difficult decisions, and I might make some big sacrifices to keep my Malaysian tea cookies.
Or, you know, just try sodomy. Unreal. I really wonder if women aren’t hardwired by Mother Darwin for sugardaddydom. Just gimme gimme gimme! Brag and brag about taking matters into your own hands, ladies, but in the end–
Wanna prove me wrong? Then let the Pope and his believers have the freedom to say no. Then cash your check and go buy whatever fetishwear, butt plugs, Viagra, and X Libris smut novels for your Kindle you want. Fair enough?