Monday, March 5, 2012

A Fluke?

I had a whole lot to say about the Fluke Saga and I don't even know where to start, so let's start here:

- on a FB debate this afternoon, I spoke my opinion about being embarrassed by this whole thing, as a woman, and was immediately accused of supporting Viagra being covered by policies when birth control is not. My response to that is I know nothing about male impotence and have no clue how many insurance companies cover it, and therefore have no opinion on that matter. I am not a man, I do not know if there are any mental or emotional or physical health issues related to impotence, and I do not know how many young college men require the medication (since the gist of this issue is catholic colleges not wanting to cover contraceptives in their policies). I have no clue if that same university (georgetown) covers Viagra or not, and I do not know their reasons one way or another. What I did do was look up Viagra coverage in the US and found several online remarks that about 50% of insurance companies offer coverage for it. Okay, so like - half. Not all, not even most. Just half. Then I saw several differing reports about contraceptive coverage - ranging from 33% to 50%. So let's say somewhere in the middle, to be fair. That's pretty darn close to the companies that cover Viagra. I think it has become a catchphrase that no one who uses it actually knows anything about. They hear someone say 'but they cover Viagra'. And they say it with disdain, as though Viagra is only used for horny buggers who want to run amuck and have sex with as many young hotties as they can, and need Viagra to stay in shape. There is no mention of men who are in lasting relationships and are suddenly unable to perform with their beloved wives and feel less of a man for it. No mention of the psychological impact on a man who has gone his whole life having no trouble getting it up to suddenly having this embarrassing flacid creature hanging around that is completely useless for anything besides urination. We have seen reports on the news for many years about women who go through that terrible female circumcision and how sex and childbirth are painful for them. There are whole causes out there trying to stop this barbarism and help women escape - but a man who is no longer able to have sex and needs Viagra (or similar) to help him is just classed as a horny toad who should not get any coverage. Maybe he shouldnt get coverage for it - but that should be up to the members of each insurance company and the owners to debate, not the federal government. Is that not correct?

- Another point I made in my FB debate was that I do not think it should be considered a given right that women get free contraception. I am a woman. I have been on various birth control pills and the depo provera shot. I have never had private insurance coverage for it, even paying for it when I was a single mother with 2 children and working a low income job. I managed to sort it out when I did a year of college as well. So what's the problem now? One mentioned is cost - I keep hearing women talk about paying $100 a month for their pills and how they cant afford it. But I went online to various cities in the US, perusing their pharmacy websites, and looked up the price of the pill. Some were $95 a month, for the new ones like Yasmin, while other older tried and true products were $16 to $35 a month, like Ortho Tri Cyclen. They can even be purchased online. and they are offered for FREE in 75% of all US counties (according to stats I have seen online and heard on the Bill O-Reilly show). but in the end it comes down to this - if you cannot afford the trendy new Yaz or Yasmin - try another one. There are tons of different brands and types of pills. Don't tell me 'this is the only one that works for me' when you are only 20 years old and have only tried 2 brands! It took me a very long time to find one that worked with my system and did not give me strange side effects. When I went off those and tried Depo, it did not work well for me at all and I shunned my decision to change. It was horrid, and I went back on the pill. Which I paid for, about $20 a month back in the 90s.

But really in the end it all comes down to choice. It's a choice to use whatever kind of contraception you want. It's a choice to have sex. It's a choice to use a pill and a condom (to double combat pregnancy, but take care of STDs at the same time). Because someone decides to go to Law School, which sure aint cheap, and somehow cannot afford their birth control, the rest of us are supposed to pay for it? Um. Okay. One example the student gave was a married friend who sat with her husband to do their budget and could not 'fit' birth control into it. Well - I would ask to see their budget. If contraception is SO important, why is it last on the list? What comes first? Are they a starving student couple living in a ramshackle apartment with no car, just riding old bikes to campus and back? do they work? Or are they paying for some trendy furniture on a payment plan, and a nice car, and living in a pretty nice place? We have no idea. Everyone goes 'ohhhh that poor woman' without asking questions about their budget. If they don't work, would they be able to work someplace one night a week in order to pay for these all-important pills perhaps? I just do not understand why people are complaining about the price when there are other choices out there, and other means to get them. Are you telling me that no where around Georgetown Uni is a family planning clinic that gives out free contraception to any woman who wants it? None? Well let's consult The Google... Georgetown is in Washington DC. There are two planned parenthood clinics in DC, north and downtown. There may be a fee but it's a place to start. There are 23 Family Planning clinics listed within a few miles radius of DC. They specifically name the Title X Family Planning funding on their main page. They also list Medicaid as a funding potential. A student that barely works would seem to fall under the 'less than $10,000 year earnings' category and could very well get all contraception free, or at a reduced cost.

These places exist. So why force more changes?

I am a woman and I know that there are a lot of children born out there that cost taxpayers a kazillion bucks - and the theory is that providing free contraception will reduce this. But OH OH wait - contraception in Britain has been free for DECADES but their rates of 'unintended pregnancy' remain high. It's difficult to find good stats because every page you look at says something different, but the most correlated stats I found showed that while the US is top in teenage pregnancy, the UK comes in at more than half that total, and Canada is almost half of that again. I paid for my stuff in Canada, but not when I lived in the UK (aside from a small dispensary fee) and yet their rate is higher. Hmm. Odd.

At any rate, I find the whole thing baffling. 100 years ago almost exactly, women were put in JAIL if they even dared to speak about human reproduction to others. They would be jailed and have their attempts at opening family planning clinics closed down. It was a federal offense to try to mail pamphlets or other information about pregnancy, the workings of the body, or ways to try to avoid pregnancy (which needed an understanding of the female body and menstrual cycles, etc), even douching. They could go to jail for that. Some women went on hunger strikes and some even died from that. This was all going on as a sidebar to women fighting for the Right To Vote. there were MANY women's issues going on at the same time as that, did you know that? So do you think those women were fighting so that one day, women could get it all for free and demand that the government mandate it? Is that what they were doing it for? It's mind boggling. They fought because women were not even seen as human beings. They fought because women were basically at the mercy of their bodies and had no control. They often had child after child and did not want any more, or could not afford any more, but that would mean complete abstinence in their marriages and they were lost. Some women fought hard to teach them the workings of their own bodies and went to jail for it. Now we have all sorts of contraception ideas coming out of our ears and can talk about it any place we please, and can have ads on tv and radio about it with no ill effects or jail time - but we want more. We want it to be FREE. Whoa. I don't really think that's the point of women's lib, is it? I'm confused.

You make the choice to go to college right out of high school. You make the choice not to be able to afford much stuff because most of your time is spent in class or studying. You make the choice to go on birth control to avoid pregnancy, you make the choice who your sexual partner(s) is/are. But you want someone else to pay for that birth control. Oh okay.

and then have a big fit when Rush Limbaugh calls you a bad name. Or he sorta does. It wasn't a very nice piece to hear, but he is a radio show host who likes to throw in some shock and awe from time to time. Gee rather like when Bill Maher called Sarah Palin 'the C word'. Or when some Matt dude from Rolling Stone magazine goes off calling every name in the book at all sorts of conservative women. Or when Letterman made reference to Palin's daughter and a baseball team. Or when Ed Schultz called Laura Ingram a slut. Those are apparently okay tho. Yeah a couple of them ended up apologizing - but I did not hear the President of the US talking about it the next day, did you? Oh but he did Ms Fluke. And he probably will again tomorrow at some speech he is giving. You just wait and see.

Here is the link to a good piece from the Mike Church Post Show Show this morning. Look for the little purple Play symbol a bit further down the page. I thought it was really good.

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