Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Small businesses get tangled up in GOP obsession against birth control

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More Americans would start a small business if it weren’t for two crucial financial issues. Until Obamacare kicks in for the vast majority of Americans (assuming Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum or Sarah Palin don’t become president), buying health care insurance is next to impossible if you’ve had sniffles of any kind. And paying your own share of Social Security and FICA is financially depressing.

If you somehow leap over both those issues, Republicans in Arizona want to add an extra burden to your small business. You have to pay attention to your employees’ sex lives.

Some might consider this a perk to owning a business, but the party that claims to want government out of your private life wants to be in your private life.

The proposed law in Arizona would require women to disclose to their employer that they are on birth control and if they weren’t using it for their reproductive cycle, they would have to provide evidence to their employers that the drugs aren’t for avoiding pregnancy for birth control to be covered by health insurance. The bill also makes it easier for employers to fire a woman for using birth control to prevent pregnancy.

If someone shared that information with a boss or co-worker, TMI wouldn’t be a strong enough term to describe what was happening. The government requiring people to disclose that is TMG — Too Much Government.

Telling your boss about your birth control sounds mild compared to a proposed Tennessee law that would require women who get abortions to disclose marital status, education level, number of children, how many times she has been pregnant, location of the procedure and the doctor who performed the procedure. Even those who might think this would be an awesome law forget that miscarriages count in “how many times she has been pregnant.” Forcing a woman to relive that statistic qualifies as a violation of the Eighth Amendment.

Let’s not forget the New Hampshire (and possibly New Jersey and Kansas) effort where in the Granite State, a proposed law requires a doctor to inform women “at least 24 hours before the abortion” of “the increased risk of breast cancer” with abortion. Of course, there is no association. State sanctioned deception: Telling you a lie in order for you to get health care.

In a world that Alice in Wonderland would consider a little weird, corporations are people, corporations get to decide who gets what health care, yet people as people don’t have the rights that corporations have as people.

The divide has traditionally been “pro-life” — those who don’t want abortions — and “pro-choice” — those who want abortions for those who need them.

The left has countered that more birth control leads to fewer abortions. So does a strong economy. Abortions went down under Bill Clinton and up under George W. Bush, some of those numbers were economic-related.

What the new legislation tells us is that we are no longer talking about abortions. The “pro-life” element never agreed with the argument about more birth control, but kept the focus more on abortions. This was a smart political strategy because some independents aren’t crazy about abortion, even if they don’t want it to disappear.

For if the “pro-life” sector wanted fewer abortions, they would have agreed with the “pro-choice” argument. But they want fewer abortions AND less birth control, even for married couples. Independent men and women find that last part to be a lot creepy.

If you discount religion (for the moment), family planning is a win-win scenario. Women get to be in better health, the children who come out are better taken care of and better loved. And the health care market saves tons of money.

For the religions involved — primarily conservative Catholics and evangelical Christians — less birth control trumpets women’s health and health care savings. Their philosophy with children is “the more, the merrier.” Whether the children who come out are better taken care of and better loved — this isn’t a question they even think to ask.

The government — local, state, and federal — while defending the rights for those to observe religion, must put the health of those of us already here, especially the vulnerable, on a higher plane. After all, you don’t have to take birth control if you don’t want to do so, but the government shouldn’t have to humiliate people who are trying to get needed medical care.


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