Jail Comments Raise Lots of Questions

"Divisive" comments about mandatory contraceptive coverage

Fury has been raining down upon Ken Cuccinelli the past few days, as it often does. His offense this time was to suggest that those opposed to the contraception mandate in Obamacare should go to jail for their beliefs.

In a talk-radio interview, the Virginia Attorney General—and GOP candidate for governor—cited Lincoln’s dictum that the best way to get rid of a bad law is to enforce it strictly. His local bishop, he said, told him he was willing to go to jail over the matter. “And I said, 'Bishop, don't take this personally: You need to go to jail.'”

The usual suspects pounced. “Virginia women deserve better than an Attorney General who wants employers in this commonwealth to 'go to jail' rather than comply with the law of the land,” said Democratic Party chairwoman Charniele Herring. Cuccinelli is trying to “set reproductive rights back 50 years,” said the campaign of Terry McAuliffe, Cuccinelli’s likely opponent, which urged followers to sign a petition telling Cuccinelli to “stop attacking women’s rights.”  “Politicians should not be involved in a woman’s personal decisions about her birth control,” said Planned Parenthood Virginia PAC.

You get the drift.

But these rejoinders raise a host of questions. For example:

  • If politicians “should not be involved in a woman’s personal decisions about her birth control,” then what business do politicians have dictating who pays for it? 
  • Last year more than two dozen women’s-rights supporters were arrested at the Capitol when they refused, during a protest against Virginia’s ridiculous ultrasound legislation, to vacate the steps of the South Portico. Those protesters were willing to go to jail for the sake of their beliefs. Were they wrong to do so? If not, then why is it outrageous to suggest others should be willing to do likewise?
  • The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was passed less than two years ago, does not require contraception coverage itself. Rather, it requires coverage for preventive services, and leaves the decision about which ones must be covered to the Department of Health and Human Services. HHS announced the rules requiring contraception coverage last Jan. 20. So if in fact Cuccinelli is trying to “set reproductive rights back,” isn’t it more accurate to say he is trying to set them back not “50 years” but (as of this moment) 362 days?
  • The McAuliffe campaign says Cuccinelli is “leading the charge to prevent women from being able to make their own healthcare decisions along with their doctor.” Were women being prevented from making such decisions 363 days ago?
  • For that matter, the insurance mandates in the Affordable Care Act apply only to those businesses with 50 employees or more. Those with a payroll of 49 or fewer are free to provide no coverage of any kind, including no contraception coverage. If Cuccinelli is “attacking women’s rights” by suggesting that a company with 50 employees should not have to provide contraception coverage, then isn’t President Obama equally attacking women’s rights by allowing even greater insurance freedom to a company with 49?
  • If, to the contrary, Obama is not “attacking women’s rights” by allowing the 49-worker company to provide no contraception coverage, then how is Cuccinelli attacking women’s rights by seeking precisely the same rule  for a 50-worker company?
  • Cuccinelli’s critics deem it outrageous that he thinks people should be willing to go to jail over this dispute. But why is that any more outrageous or extreme than thinking we should be willing to send people to jail over it?
  • That is what his critics want to do, isn’t it? Would they suggest that an employer who neither obeys the mandate nor pays the resulting fines be permitted to get away with such noncompliance?
  • The AG’s critics object to his suggestion that the law be enforced vigorously. Would they prefer that the law be enforced laxly, or not at all?
  • McAuliffe terms Cuccinelli’s stance “divisive.” Why is it divisive to suggest that the U.S. revert to a policy nobody considered divisive when it was in place 363 days ago?
  • Were it not for the Affordable Care Act and the HHS mandate, this dispute—and the numerous lawsuits over the mandate now proceeding through the courts—never would have arisen. If objecting to the new policy is divisive, then isn’t imposing it more divisive still?
  • Abortion-rights supporters strenuously object to Virginia’s indefensible new regulations governing abortion clinics (regulations Cuccinelli, wrongly, supports). Are they being divisive? Is their objection the source of division, or is the real source of division the imposition of those standards in the first place?

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  • Enough About Palin||

    Will Obamacare mandate that porn studios pay for the actors' condoms?

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    That's OSHA. Some cheapskate shops might have employees reuse protective equipment like they did with hairnets and earplugs.

  • Doctor Whom||

    If politicians “should not be involved in a woman’s personal decisions about her birth control,” then what business do politicians have dictating who pays for it?

    Good luck raising that issue with progressives. At least in my experience, they have no difficulty switching back and forth between "My body, my right to choose" and "We have a government to decide those things." Special pleading is one of their specialties.

  • Finrod||

    Progressives tend to be allergic to logic, reason, and facts.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "Abortion-rights supporters strenuously object to Virginia’s indefensible new regulations governing abortion clinics (regulations Cuccinelli, wrongly, supports). Are they being divisive? Is their objection the source of division, or is the real source of division the imposition of those standards in the first place?"

    Not only is the law wrong, it is "indefensible." Nobody can legitimately have any concern for what goes on in these clinics or seek ways, within the framework of federal court decisions, to limit these clinics' activities. And limiting abortion clinics is like forcing employers to provide birth control, abortifacicients and sterilization to employees.

    Got it.

  • $park¥||

    Cuccinelli is trying to "set reproductive rights back 50 years," said the campaign of Terry McAuliffe

    Fuck off, you dumb cunt. There is no such thing as reproductive rights now and there wasn't 50 years ago either.

  • Doctor Whom||

    Of course there is. Not forcing others to pay for something is exactly the same as outlawing it. All right-thinking people know that.

  • ||

    My right to not pay $20 a month for pills is more important than your right not to be forced to do things that violate your religious beliefs.

  • $park¥||

    Fuck religious beliefs, this horseshit goes way beyond that.

  • Zeb||

    The religious beliefs thing should be a minor issue here. The problem is forcing people to pay for any particular medication. As I read it, the first amendment says that religion gets no special treatment under the law.

  • ||

    But if you have a "right to health care", and that includes free "preventive care", and birth control is "preventive care", then you have a right to free birth control.

    Q.E.D.

  • $park¥||

    Stop narrowing it down to the point that the big picture gets lost. You don't have a "right to health care." Period.

  • ||

    You don't have a "right to health medical care." Period.

    FTFY. Major pet peeve of mine. "Health Care" is what you do to manage your congenital hand you have been dealt, on a daily and ongoing basis, AKA "lifestyle".

    "Medical Care" is a product or service that is provided by someone else.

  • $park¥||

    "Medical Care" is a product or service that is provided by someone else.

    Point taken.

  • ||

    The religious beliefs thing should be a minor issue here. The problem is forcing people to pay for any particular medication.

    Or any other medical or surgical procedure. Religious beliefs are not minor WRT to patients, medpros, and the law (read: discrimination based upon religious beliefs or convictions, including Atheism).

    As I read it, the first amendment says that religion gets no special treatment under the law.

    Like The Conscience Clause, Zeb? Or how about "Conscientious Objector" status in the US Military?

    Protection and subsequent enforcement of those protections of religious beliefs was central to the founding of the USA, Zeb.

  • $park¥||

    Religious beliefs are not minor WRT to patients, medpros, and the law (read: discrimination based upon religious beliefs or convictions, including Atheism).

    This is why everything gets so cockeyed. Doctors should be able to refuse to care for someone without having to give a reason. That's it, end of story. If a doctor refuses care then go find one who won't. People should have the right to SEEK care from anyone willing and able to provide it.

  • Zeb||

    My problem is that if religious beliefs get special protection that other types of beliefs do not get, then someone in government gets to decide what is and is not religious belief. That is what I object to. The first amendment talks about laws regarding the establishment of religion. In my view, any legal attempt to define what is or is not religion is a law regarding the establishment of religion. I like to think that means that religion gets no special place in law. I think that roughly equivalent would be that anything I say is religion is religion, even if the extent of my religion is that I shouldn't have to pay for some form or other of medical care (I like your point about medical vs. health care).
    Someone's religious objection to providing free birth control should have no more legal weight than my objection to the same on other grounds. No one should be forced to violate their religious convictions, I agree. But not because it is religion, rather because no one who isn't harming someone else should be forced to do anything.

  • Zeb||

    IOW, laws that violate religious freedom violate everyone's freedom. I don't think anyone here thinks that people should be able to violate other people's rights on religious grounds. You don't get to rape or murder or crash planes into buildings if your religion requires it. What I am saying is that if a law violates the religious freedoms that don't hurt other people, then it should not apply to anyone, regardless of their actual religious beliefs. I'm not arguing for less protection of religious beliefs at all.

  • ||

    As I was illustrating, this shows how "positive rights" inevitably come into conflict with negative rights, including religious liberty.

    If you have a positive right to health care, then someone else has to come up with the health care, and that someone may have a moral objection to the kind of health care you want or need.

    But the point that religious liberty is a minor issue is well taken. Because beyond the specific right not to be forced to act against one's religious faith, is the more general right not to be compelled to do things one hasn't undertaken a voluntary commitment to do.

    It's not enough to say that people shouldn't be conscripted if they have a religious belief that forbids them from killing. People shouldn't be conscripted *period*.

  • SugarFree||

    What bugs you, Zeb, is what bugs me... far too often I have to scratch and spit and fight for the same rights that religious people just get handed to them.

    Look at restrictive diets. All the people on here (and I'm one of them) that howl with laughter over the raw foodies or the vegans wouldn't dare make jokes in polite company about someone keeping strict kosher.

    I don't want the religious beliefs to have less respect; I just want more for my beliefs and preferences.

  • $park¥||

    I just want more for my beliefs and preferences.

    There's our entitlement culture at work!

    MORE?!? /Mr Limbkins

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    "All the people on here (and I'm one of them) that howl with laughter over the raw foodies or the vegans wouldn't dare make jokes in polite company about someone keeping strict kosher."

    I would. Kosher is obsolete in respect to the science behind modern food sanitary practices.

  • Zeb||

    "There is no such thing as reproductive rights"

    Sure there is. You have the right to reproduce, or not, to the extent that you are able to.

  • $park¥||

    See below.

  • $park¥||

    "stop attacking women’s rights."

    Fuck off!

    "Politicians should not be involved in a woman’s personal decisions about her birth control,"

    Fuck OFF!

    "leading the charge to prevent women from being able to make their own healthcare decisions along with their doctor."

    FUCK OFF!

  • The Sego Sago Kid||

    BUT.. BUT.. MUH VAGINAL FREEDUMS!

  • Dweebston||

    I hear "reproductive rights," and feel something akin to vertigo. Was "my body, my choice" always a bullet point on the Democratic campaign agenda, or just recently?

  • kinnath||

    Civil Disobedience is only worth admiring if it is performed by dirty, unwashed hippies.

  • ||

    It's called "civil disobedience" you twat. Ever heard of it?

    That's what people who are being forced to do things that violate their conscience tend do.

    Kind of like those old-timey people who used to object to being force to carry a gun around and shoot at other people.

  • califernian||

    All "mandatory coverage" laws are ludicrous.

  • R C Dean||

    There is no such thing as reproductive rights now and there wasn't 50 years ago either.

    I have to disagree. You, as a human being, have the right to reproduce with the human of your choice (assuming they agree, of course) free of any government interference.

    That, however, is pretty much the extent of it.

  • ||

    Yes, and you have the right to use birth control.

    What you don't have is the right to have society (let alone your employer) pay for your birth control.

  • $park¥||

    To call them "rights" assumes that they were assigned by someone or something. The ability to reproduce is a function of being alive, there is nothing further than that required.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Assuming one was not born or becomes sterile.

  • $park¥||

    Exception noted.

  • Zeb||

    I have heard enough people say that this or that person should not be allowed to reproduce that I think it needs to be considered a right, in the same way that doing anything that does not harm other people or their property is a right.

  • $park¥||

    I have heard enough people say that this or that person should not be allowed to reproduce that I think it needs to be considered a right

    I see your point, but I'm not sure we need to give in to the whims of assholes who would make statements like that.

  • Zeb||

    I don't have a problem with your way of looking at this, but I'm going to keep thinking that we have the right to perform our basic biological functions and that it is appropriate to call those things rights.

  • kinnath||

    Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Making babies seems to fit in their somewhere.

  • $park¥||

    While I agree that making babies fits nicely into the pursuit of happiness (though the ladies may say otherwise), it is just a function of life. Saying people have reproductive rights is the same as saying clams, tigers, and eagles have reproductive rights.

  • kinnath||

    Life was the first item in that list.

  • $park¥||

    Yes, but in the document that spells that out it was referring to the right of a person to be secure in their own life not a right to create life.

    Saying to have a right to be alive isn't the same as saying you have the right to reproduce.

  • kinnath||

    Since various levels of government in the US continued to force women to get sterilized against their will well into the 1970s, this topic is still clearly relevant.

  • SugarFree||

    Same tiresome semantics as always. Just because people don't jump through the correct hoops doesn't mean they aren't saying a functional equivalent of a negative rights argument.

    "You don't have the right to tell me if I can or cannot reproduce and what methods I employ to those ends that does not interfere with some other person's right of self-ownership."

    Any of you assholes have a problem with this?

  • Zeb||

    Tiresome semantics aids digestion. I always need a little after lunch.

  • SugarFree||

    I prefer leaving pretending to be ignorant to the leftists and the GOP.

  • $park¥||

    Same tiresome semantics as always.

    Hey, jerkoff, words mean things. Or at least that's what I'm told time and time again. Saying it right is more important than agreeing.

  • SugarFree||

    But all it ends up being is a way to look like a fuckhead. You know what they mean, or you can ask them what they mean and they can clarify, or you can clarify and ask them if you are correct. Jawing on and on about "clips aren't magazines" doesn't change their minds whatsoever.

    And the inconsistency bugs me. People say stuff like "the right to keep and bear arms" here all day without everyone piping up that they are formulating a negative right in a positive way.

  • $park¥||

    Wait, we're talking about guns now?

  • SugarFree||

    No, but it is the equivalent irrelevant argument. I assure you not one news anchor is swayed one bit by the "clips" argument; just as no one who understands their natural right to control their reproductive choices care that they aren't saying it the right way to suit you.

    It's a cheap tactic, worthy only of trolls and people from Ohio.

  • $park¥||

    My mother is from Ohio. Hmm, things seem a little clearer now.

  • ||

    That's the thing though. The people on the pro-mandate side of the argument are formulating a positive right in a negative way. Not a negative right in a positive way.

    The want people to positively provide them with free birth control. Not their right to purchase birth control or birth control coverage with their own money.

  • SugarFree||

    But rather than argue that relevant point, we end up sounding like we are mocking the notion of access to contraception altogether. Which makes anything else we say invalid.

  • $park¥||

    What difference does it make anyway? Retards who are after free stuff can't think past "GIMME!"

  • SugarFree||

    At least mock them for the right things.

  • ||

    How do you get there?

    The only think I have heard from libertarians is repeating the point, with increasing frustration, that this isn't about whether someone is allowed to purchase BC with their own money, but about forcing other people to pay for it.

    I havn't heard ANYONE, except Rick Santorum, mock the idea of access to birth control.

  • SugarFree||

    When you mock the idea of reproductive rights as opposed to being forced to pay for other people's reproductive choices, you end up sounding like a loon.

  • ||

    Ok, I see what you are referring to. I'd just say I think that the other argument is at least as well represented. In partictular, in the post we're all responding to.

    Your response doesn't specify who you were responding to.

  • ||

    Are you sure you don't end up looking like a loon by turning a basic biological function into a political "right"? Where's the "respiration rights" lobby? It's literally the same fucking thing.

  • waaminn||

    Now thats what I am talking about man. Wow.

    www.anono-web.tk

  • buybuydandavis||

    "The AG’s critics object to his suggestion that the law be enforced vigorously. Would they prefer that the law be enforced laxly, or not at all?"

    Yes,they would.

    They like terrorizing people with the threat of prison, but don't like to soil their delicate hands by actually putting people in prison. If they never prosecuted anyone for this, most everyone would still knuckle under to avoid the risk. Mission Accomplished, and they don't have to feel guilty about it, because everyone went along "voluntarily".

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