Contraception: Bad Argument the First

In the aftermath of Rush Limbaugh calling college student Sandra Fluke a slut, one of Fluke’s fellow law students, Angela Morabito, has announced (not a direct link) that “Sandra Fluke Does Not Speak For Me” because:
•She’s not a clergy member so why is she qualified to speak at that Congressional hearing (you know, the one run by an entirely male panel) when it’s all about religious freedom?
•Fluke is “asking for the cost of her sex life” to be school-subsidized. And that if she can afford law-school tuition, she should be able to afford contraception. And it “might make more sense for her maybe not have so much sex that it puts her in financial peril?”
•Oh, and she’s a skank, and an irresponsible one too. And has no self-respect, since she’s slutting around, then whining that government should cover the cost.
•It’s ridiculous to “ask for the cost of her sex life to be subsidized by other students.” It should be treated like other lifestyle choices: If a student demanded the government to provide her with free protective equipment so she could go rock-climbing without risk, we’d tell her to pay for it herself, right? Same here.
Actually, that’s a shit-ton of bad arguments.
For starters, Fluke was actually attending the meeting on behalf of a gay friend of hers who needs contraceptive drugs for non-birth control medical issues. Even if she was there for herself, as I noted yesterday, taking birth-control pills is something women do on a daily basis, not on an every-time-I-have-sex basis: The amount you take has no relationship to your sexual activity.
And yes, I can actually believe that someone who’s putting together money for law school might not have a lot left over for contraception.
•The “she’s not a clergy” argument is a clever tie to turn around the fact that a hearing on female contraception was all male (as Echidne of the Snakes pointed out, can anyone imagine an all-female hearing on prostate cancer?), but it doesn’t hold. For one thing, much as the religious right tries to insist it’s positions on contraception are irrelevant to the current furor, they’re definitely as much a part of the issue as the First Amendment.
For another, the First Amendment isn’t a religious doctrine like transubstantiation or what sins damn you to hell. It’s a secular policy on the relationship between law and religious practice. And it affects lots of people beside the clergy: Landlords who are told they can’t discriminate over religion, employers who are told the same, employees and tenants who don’t want to be discriminated against.
•Last, but not least is the argument that Fluke wants the other students to subsidize her sex life. Umm, no. Despite Morabito’s reference to government paying for it, it isn’t: It’s simply mandating that the school’s insurance provide it. So how exactly is Morabito or any other student forced to pay for it?
I suppose you could rationalize that birth control adds to the total cost of insurance, which will increase the school’s costs, which will increase what the school has to charge all the students, so therefore Morabito is paying for it. But that’s how group insurance works: By bundling people at various levels of medical need under one package, the insurer stays in the black and the people who need medical care the most aren’t overwhelmed by having to pay something that reflects their higher expenses.
Morabito’s rock-climbing example actually works against her. If the student did fall and got injuries, he’s covered (if I’m missing some technicality of insurance law, let me know). Even if Morabito thinks he’s a complete moron who should pay for his own injuries, he’s covered. Why is birth control any different? More generally, is she seriously suggesting that individuals who are covered by the same health plan have some sort of veto power—that they have some right to oppose what someone else spends their coverage on?
Or is it just birth control? Since that and abortion seem to be the one thing everyone’s entitled to refuse (like Limbaugh, Morabito doesn’t seem to have an objection with Viagra)?
Or just that this law student really can’t put together a coherent argument?


Filed under Politics, Undead sexist cliches

6 responses to “Contraception: Bad Argument the First

  1. Pingback: Bad argument the second: The idea that “skank” “Slut” “bitch” and similar words mean something objective « Fraser Sherman's Blog

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