Columns 2014

The Republican War on Women is alive and kicking

Let’s discuss the reality of family planning reducing the number of abortions that might be sought in any given year. What, you say in shock, you mean avoiding conception unless it is planned is a good way to cut abortion numbers? Yes it is. And apparently everyone who is anyone seems to understand that fact except perhaps for some members of Alaska’s enlightened state legislature.

Senator Fred Dyson (R-Eagle River) seems to feel that if sex is fun, then the participating players should bear all responsibility for any costs associated with it. I assume he also thinks that anyone who builds a blaze in their fireplace and then has the house catch fire should have to have their own fire department to put out the fire. Because, after all, the house had a furnace so building a fire in the fireplace was recreational.

By the same token, recreational boaters should have to pay to have rescuers on call every time they go out. The state should not have to pay for the consequences of their fun. Ditto for people who ski or use snow machines in the backcountry and get caught in avalanches or lost. Why should I pay to have Search and Rescue people on call to save them? If it’s just recreational, let them fund their own backup.

If Senator Dyson is so concerned about spending other people’s money on recreational sex, why is he not fighting to overturn the federal requirement that health insurance cover Viagra? Does he really think all those little blue pills are being used for serious matters? Does he really think covering treatment that allows for recreational sex without a concomitant coverage making that activity safe for all concerned makes sense?

I find it a source of continuing amazement that so many men seem so involved with women’s reproductive choices in a punitive fashion while viewing male reproductive choices as sacred and worthy of total support. What is it about a woman wanting to make healthy choices that makes these men so nuts? The argument that they are not against choices as much as they are against paying for them holds no credibility so long as those little blue pills loom so large in the picture.  In a country that allows organizations to bow out of providing birth control for women while being required to provide a pill that does the exact opposite for men, we should probably be doing some serious soul searching about where our priorities really are.

Not only does the current crop of politicians want to cripple all family planning efforts except for those rich enough to afford them, they’d also like to cut back on the funding for all the “whoops” babies that may result from their short-sighted planning. Fund early education programs?  I think not. Expand Medicaid to cover our poor?  Nope. Provide food stamps and other help to families literally starving in a country with an embarrassment of riches? Nah.

Our current politicians would just prefer to punish women who dare to have fun when they’re poor.  As anyone who has seen Les Miserables can testify, the poor are not supposed to have fun. And if they do, they should be prepared to pay for it, even if that means skipping a few meals along the way.

Every year this country has a surfeit of children available for adoption who wait for what must seem like an eternity for their forever home. Now our esteemed legislators would like to add to that number by forcing those who can least afford it to have more babies. And then they cut every program that could support a family living in poverty, thereby guaranteeing that the child will suffer in some way if not given up for adoption. They do all this while piously proclaiming that the child’s parents should not have been having sex if they couldn’t afford it.

There is plain shortsighted and then there is idiotically shortsighted. Not only does Dyson’s proposal penalize people for having a bit of “recreation” in their lives, but you can almost see his little Puritan lips lifted in a half sneer as he proclaims them unworthy of his precious tax dollars if they are unable to control their basest instincts.

I guess the Republican war on women is real. Wow.