I Want My DNA!

The FDA is wrong to restrict access to cheap genotype screening tests.

This first appeared at The Daily Beast on November 26, 2013. Read the original version here.

In its infinite wisdom, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has forbidden the personal genetic testing service 23andMe from soliciting new customers, claiming the company hasn’t proven the validity of its product.

The real reason? Because when it comes to learning about your own goddamn genes,the FDA doesn’t think you can handle the truth. That means the FDA is now officially worse than Oedipus’s parents, Dr. Zaius, and the god of Genesis combined, telling us that there are things that us mere mortals just shouldn’t be allowed to know.

23andMe allows you to get rudimentary information about your genetic makeup, including where your ancestors came from and DNA markers for over 240 different hereditary diseases and conditions (not all of them bad, by the way). Think of it as the H&M version of the haute couture genetic mark-up that Angelina Jolie had done prior to having the proactive mastectomy that she revealed this year.

23andMe is fun and it’s cool and, as my Reason colleague Ronald Bailey has shown, it is a small but meaningful step toward a glorious future of radically individualized medical interventions and a deeper understanding of the human condition on a fundamental level. Marlo Thomas had no idea just how right she was when she released her Free to Be...You and Me records.

Up until a few days ago, for $99, you could spit in a test tube and send it to 23andMe’s Los Angeles-based labs and get a picture of who you were on a genetic level. The company keeps a constantly growing online database of new studies and information about genetics and illnesses; it also hosts a thriving (and totally voluntary) community of people who can talk among themselves. Unlike your doctor, who is likely to bitch and moan and drag his heels when you ask for a copy of your latest blood test, 23andMe lets you easily access and even download your personal genetic service (PGS) readout. (Some folks have even used the info to make the ultimate statement in personal music.)

Not no more. While the company can keep serving its current clients (full disclosure: I’m one of them, though with an asterisk I’ll explain in a second), it can’t grow its customer base until it jumps through more hoops as laid out by the FDA.. Although the company says it will do what it takes, the smart money is always on government bureaucrats shutting down whatever they want. The ultimate beef, says the government, is that 23andMe is giving away too much information to the unwashed masses without scratching the right bureaucratic backs first:

Your company’s website at www.23andme.com/health (most recently viewed on November 6, 2013) markets the PGS for providing “health reports on 254 diseases and conditions,” including categories such as “carrier status,” “health risks,” and “drug response,” and specifically as a “first step in prevention” that enables users to “take steps toward mitigating serious diseases” such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, and breast cancer. Most of the intended uses for PGS listed on your website, a list that has grown over time, are medical device uses under section 201(h) of the FD&C Act. Most of these uses have not been classified and thus require premarket approval or de novo classification, as FDA has explained to you on numerous occasions.

The FDA is especially worried that folks like you and me will get some news that will literally cause us to hack off our own breasts, remove our own testicles, or become so genetically arrogant that we’ll stop seeing the doctor altogether:

If the BRCA-related risk assessment for breast or ovarian cancer reports a false positive, it could lead a patient to undergo prophylactic surgery, chemoprevention, intensive screening, or other morbidity-inducing actions, while a false negative could result in a failure to recognize an actual risk that may exist.

You got that? The FDA is seriously claiming that you might learn you have a possibility of developing breast cancer and then insist on having the potentially cancerous body part lopped off. And that you'll be able to find a doctor or hospital or taxidermist who will do any or all of that without doing further tests and followups. They don’t provide a single instance of this happening nor do they specify any possible medical world in which this might happen, but that’s enough to shut down 23andMe for the foreseeable future. (The company has issued a short statement about how they will work to meet the FDA’s demands.)

The FDA is now apparently taking policy cues from The End, a 1978 comedy starring Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise. In that groaner, Burt is convinced he is going to die soon and sets about offing himself. Spoiler alert: Hilarity doesn’t ensue. It’s a Burt Reynolds-Dom DeLuise showcase after all.

I’m still waiting on the results of my second spit test from 23andMe, which I sent in a couple of weeks ago. I was informed that the saliva I provided in my first sample was so lame that it couldn’t provide a legitimate reading of my DNA—a curious and dispiriting result that made me angry without triggering any action in me other than wanting to drink some water. If and when I learn something potentially dangerous—or potentially uplifting (like most kids, I went through a phase in which I hoped against hope that I would turn out to be adopted rather than the obvious and incontrovertible product of my dear, departed parents)—it will be the start of a new conversation with my doctors and friends.

And regardless of the limits of a $99 DNA test, it will be a more informed, not a more-hysterical conversation revolving around what body parts I need to lose immediately.

But don’t expect the FDA to understand any of that. Peter Huber of the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank, has an important new book out called The Cure in the Code: How 20th Century Law is Undermining 21st Century Medicine.. Huber writes that whatever sense current drug-approval procedures once might have had, their day is done. Not only does the incredible amount of time and money – 12 years and $350 million at a minimum – slow down innovation, it’s based on the clearly wrong idea that all humans are the same and will respond the same way to the same drugs.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    "Be careful what you look for Taylor! You may not like what you find." -- DrZ

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    I won't let you look for anything Taylor, because I won't like what you find.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    If this is the best they've got around here, in six months we'll be running this planet.

  • ||

    What will he find out there, doctor?

  • Live Free or Diet||

    "The Forbidden Zone! It was once a paradise. Your breed made a desert of it, ages ago." -- DrZ

    (Yeah, I know, "Your destiny." I like this better.)

  • DJF||

    I think as technology improves there is going to be a big battle over testing. Not just DNA but food testing, and other product testing. We have already had the government stopping a company testing for Mad Cow Disease base on the idea that its unfair to other company's who don't test for it.

    Imagine a hand held tester which could test for contaminates or disease or even test to see if the salmon at the store is actually salmon, how old it is, what variety and even where it came from. This will make the food side of the FDA obsolete.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    The government wishes to remain the final arbiter of all disputes. I expect them to fight for the position as technology renders them obsolete. After all, letting those bureaucrats go would affect the unemployment rate negatively.

  • DJF||

    I wonder if pregnancy testing can be used as an argument against restricting testing. After all pregnancy has huge medical and emotional effects yet any woman can go to a drug store and buy a test and the cost has gone down and the accuracy up. I can’t imagine the government being able to pull them off the shelves and so if you can test for pregnancy at home why can’t you test to see if the salmon you bought was actually salmon?

  • DJF||

    Or for that matter test your DNA to see if you have a high risk for a disease or condition

  • Entropy Void||

    You bespake the magic words: yet any woman

    Only proper gyno-Americans (those over 14) can handle the responsibility of a self-administered test.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Oh, goody.

    "For a reality check on the Obamacare, we now turn to our health care experts, Ezekiel Emanuel and Ezra Klein."

    Tell me again, why does the President need Jay Carney, when he has David Gregory out there clearing brush for him?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Version 2.0 can't be as bad as 1.0.

  • Jordan||

    In the same sense that polio is not as bad as ebola.

  • everyone||

    It's a sad day when even we can't suck Shrike's cock.

    Bush 2.0 worse than Bush 1.0.
    Bush 3.0 worse than Bush 2.0.
    Politician (t+1) usually worse than politician (t).


    Palin's Buttplug| 9.2.13 @ 5:57PM |#

    If everyone agreed with me I would quit posting.
  • The Late P Brooks||

    Next, the Archbishop of New York will admonish us for our sins and rattle his tin cup, while wearing thousand dollar shoes and wearing a hand tailored dress.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    NYT's Ross Dougthat: Pope's Message Should Spur Revival of Compassionate Conservatism

    -This Catholic case for limited government, however, is not a case for the Ayn Randian temptation inherent to a capitalism-friendly politics. There is no Catholic warrant for valorizing entrepreneurs at the expense of ordinary workers, or for dismissing all regulation as unnecessary and all redistribution as immoral.

    And this is where Francis’s vision should matter to American Catholics who usually cast ballots for Republican politicians. The pope’s words shouldn’t inspire them to convert en masse to liberalism, or to worry that the throne of Peter has been seized by a Marxist anti-pope. But they should encourage a much greater integration of Catholic and conservative ideas than we’ve seen since “compassionate conservatism” collapsed, and inspire Catholics to ask more — often much more — of the Republican Party, on a range of policy issues.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12.....inion&_r=0

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Jeb Bush is paying close attention.

  • Mike M.||

    What's the new Pope's position on child molestation anyway?

    As far as I know, none of the rapists have been handed over to face justice yet.

  • Irish||

    Dammit. And Douthat is the only person at the New York Times who isn't a complete moron.

    It's too bad that even Douthat can lapse into this nonsense.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    We're not anti-gay! Just ask the altar boys!

  • Mickey Rat||

    "For $99, the company 23andMe can run a quick, rudimentary test on your spit and give you a readout of who you are on a molecular level..."

    Maybe it can tell you what you are on a molecular level. Who you are is something different.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    "Live with a man 40 years. Share his house, his meals. Speak on every subject. Then tie him up, and hold him over the volcano's edge. And on that day, you will finally meet the man."

  • Mike Laursen||

    Wtf. Live with someone forty years and then one morning they're dangling you over a volcano?!

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    It's a Firefly quote.

  • Mike Laursen||

    I feel deep shame that I did not recognize a quote from Firefly.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    What is so egregious about this is that it is 'second order' nannyism. It is bad enough for the government to prohibit transactions in something because the something itself has been shown to have some direct danger when used, but in this case the argument is 'sure, this analysis itself is not harmful, but people might do foolish things upon getting it so we have to ban it altogether.'

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Special Meet the Press guest, mayor of Baltimore.

    Because when you think of well-run cities, Baltimore jumps into your mind first.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    The mayor of Atlanta has actually done a stellar job. He has cut the budget, cut pensions, began repairing the water system, and he even did a Obama style backflip on gay marriage. Unfortunately he is black and thus has no future in a statewide election in Georgia.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -Unfortunately he is black and thus has no future in a statewide election in Georgia.

    Georgia's Attorney General from 1997-2011, Thubert Baker, was an African-American (and a Democrat).

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    98% of Georgians don't know that the AG exists.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Would that count the average of a million Georgians who voted for him in his winning campaigns of 1998, 2002 and 2006?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Thubert Baker (I)ncumbent - Good ole Boy.

    You ever hear of a brutha named "Thubert"?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    It is "Thurbert" anyway. And he was crushed in the Gov (D) primary in 2010.

  • Brian||

    I guess you were right: a black has no future in a statewide democrat primary in Georgia.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Be afraid. Be very very AFRAID!

    The leaders of the House and Senate Intelligence committees said Sunday that terrorists have gained ground in the past two years and that the United States is not any safer than it was at the outset of 2011.

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, and Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, agreed that despite the death of Osama bin Laden and drone strikes aimed at decimating al Qaeda's leadership, President Barack Obama's administration has lost ground in the ongoing battle with global terrorism.

    ----

    Rogers said the potency of the al Qaeda threat comes at a time of heightened scrutiny of the American intelligence apparatus working to root out the next terror events.

    "The pressure on our intelligence services to get it right, to prevent an attack, are enormous," Rogers said.
    Rogers said a wave of disclosures about U.S. intelligence collection - revelations prompted by leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden - has turned public opinion against agencies that are working to defend the United States.

    "Our intelligence services are not the bad guys," Rogers said.

    Less scrutiny, more funding!

  • wareagle||

    how much of the FDA's butthurt is over wanting access to 23andme records, AND how long before insurance companies go down this same road before issuing policies? Man, talk about your pre-existing conditions.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Insurance companies were already denying coverage based on genetic predisposition - that is why the cartel had to be broken up.

  • Jordan||

    So True Classical Liberals(TM) don't support freedom of association?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    It is like banks saying "we won't make loans to black people".

  • Jordan||

    That's a long way of saying "yes".

  • Jordan||

    So why are you violating the rights of millions by not providing them with health insurance at this moment?

    Oh, and your analogy is inapt, since genetic predisposition is an indicator of how much healthcare someone might require. Race is not an indicator of anything.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    But a cartel will (and does) say, "Hey you with juvenile diabetes, we will never sell you insurance."

    Of course it in their financial interest to avoid covering people with risk.

    Given our laws that require ER treatment of sick people the result is the current financial calamity.

    Now if you wish to run on a pure LP platform that revokes that law - fine, do it. But the GOP/Dems don't have the balls.

  • Jordan||

    But a cartel will (and does) say, "Hey you with juvenile diabetes, we will never sell you insurance."

    That has absolutely nothing to do with a cartel. Since you believe that people have a right to health insurance, why are you violating the rights of millions at this moment?

    Given our laws that require ER treatment of sick people the result is the current financial calamity.

    Uncompensated ER care is a fraction of healthcare spending.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I don't believe people have a right to health insurance. I do believe they have a right to buy a product in any given marketplace.

    Could a local utility refuse to sell power because the consumer is undocumented?

  • Jordan||

    I don't believe people have a right to health insurance. I do believe they have a right to buy a product in any given marketplace.

    You contradicted yourself in 2 sentences.

    Could a local utility refuse to sell power because the consumer is undocumented?

    Utilities are natural monopolies, often government monopolies. This is, of course, why health insurers should be allowed to sell policies across state lines, an idea which you, Mr. One True Classical Liberal like to deride. You prefer to further entrench the cartel while denouncing it.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    "SELLING ACCROST STATE LINES" is no fix for anything and is already done in fact.

    States get to tweak policies via federalism.

  • SQRLSY One||

    “Race is not an indicator of anything.”… Excepting you forgot all about preferential treatments of different (supposedly non-existent) “races” provided to you by Government Almighty, whether you want it, or not. If we did away with THAT whole charade, a bunch of Government Almighty “servants” would be in the un-employment lines, and none of us should want THAT!

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I am steadfastly opposed to affirmative action.

    But I support the Civil Rights Act.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    It is like banks saying "we won't make loans to black people".

    Just to be clear. You, as a "libertarian" are espousing government intervention OVER freedom of association?

    Wow, Shitstopper, you really ARE libertarian, aren't you?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Banks are taxpayer subsidized thus lose their freedom of association.

  • Jordan||

    So, do Medicaid recipients lose their freedom of association as well?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    You truly are a steaming pile of progressive worshiping shit. You don't have a libertarian bone in your body.

  • Mike M.||

    Never fling shit around with a monkey. It loves it, and you just end up covered in shit.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Real Americans comment at CNN, too.

    Fn Edward Snowden should have kept his tree hugging mouth shut. The next attack is partially his fault. I dont care if nsa listens to my phonecalls or know what sites I visit, as long as I'm safe and my family is too.

    "Take my rights, please!"

  • cavalier973||

    The God of Genesis isn't such a bad guy. He did, after all, warn Adam that eating the poison fruit would kill him, but He didn't monitor Adam's movements to make sure Adam followed the rules.

    Technically, God didn't even curse Adam afterwards (Eve, however...); He merely explained the consequences of Adam's decision (well, he also kicked Adam out of the Garden of Eden, but since Adam could now be considered a parasitic trespasser, no "socially tolerant" libertarian could deny God's right to do what He wanted with His own property).

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    That "poison" was actually the Tree of Knowledge - something the Church still frowns upon.

  • cavalier973||

    Not "the Tree of Knowledge". It's "The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil".

    There is a difference.

    Besides, the first bit of "knowledge" that the couple gained was the knowledge of personal shame over their nakedness--a shame that God did not create them for.

  • SQRLSY One||

    This is along the lines of what I have been saying for a long time... Government Almighty has replaced God. God forbade us from eating of the fruits of a tree of knowledge, and Now Government Almighty / FDA gets between us and knowledge about our own bodies! All Hail Government Almighty!

  • SQRLSY One||

    I can see the Gypsy Lady down the street and have my fortune read, w/o Government Almighty blessings, but can’t get do the same to get my DNA read? 23andMe needs to send our saliva samples to China for “Feng Shui analysis” of totally non-medical fortune-telling about our future, and THEN maybe it will be permitted! As is, DNA analysis is entirely too rational… Throw in some irrational rites, rituals, songs, and dances, about the Holy DNA Molecular Spiritual Spirality maybe, and THEN it shall be permitted in the Sacred Name of Religious Freedom. We need some sort of Government Almighty agency to finely calibrate just HOW MUCH irrationality do we have to have, before we deserve Religious Freedom, though; the picture is entirely too murky as is…

  • SQRLSY One||

    See www.churchofSQRLS.com for details, but I have written a fairly good amount about Guv-Mint Almighty requiring your religion to be IRRATIONAL before it is valid. Here is an out-take, use it as a search string at the site if you want more…
    Then the other new Federal Agency would be the Ministry of Silly Religions (MSR). Now before y’all (believers) start spamming me with endless angry emails and postings, let me say, don’t pre-judge where I am going with this thing here. I am ***NOT*** saying that all, or even most, religions are “silly”. Many-many of them have done WAY significant things over the ages, to teach us to “Love our neighbors”, and there is NOTHING AT ALL silly about that, that is a WAY important thing, there! AND, many-many individuals HAVE done important, beneficial, usually self-sacrificing things, over the years, in the name of Religion or God. In balance, I will add that religious organizations have ALSO, obviously, done some horrible things over the ages as well. See http://www.amazon.com/Holy-Hor.....1573927783 . And we all know some church-going SOBs who show little love for their neighbors. SOME church-goers DO dispense some very good and noble things, though, and, since GAWD never likes to get all up-staged, GAWD usually bends over backwards, in the Name of All That is Holy (Religious Freedom). We Scienfoloogists just want our fair share of religious freedom, that’s all.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    But God has been absent since the Middle East invented him.

    Adults had to intervene.

  • SQRLSY One||

    But God has come back now! He has come back re-incarnated as GAWD = Government Almighty’s Wrath Delivers! To learn more about GAWD and Scienfoology, please see www.churchofSQRLS.com

  • Tom_+||

    This is a reposting of my belated comment on this article from last week:

    Tom_+|11.27.13 @ 2:44AM|#

    Isn't Mr. Gillespie misrepresenting Jehovah? I presume he is referring to Genesis 2:17, which talks about the only restriction that God saw fit to put upon the first humans: don't eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and bad. What is the meaning of that? Man doesn't have the authority to DECIDE what is right and what is wrong - that is my emphasis.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    As a humanist I maintain that man not only has the authority to decide what is good and bad but also the duty to.

  • cavalier973||

    You don't really believe this. You believe that it is the duty of politicians to decide for us what is "good and bad", especially with regard to how we finance the medical services we consume.

  • Jordan||

    Yeah, he said "man" when he really meant to say "Top Men".

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    The USA has one social contract - our Constitution. The SCOTUS is the final arbiter therein. If you don't like it then change it or leave.

  • Jordan||

    You hear that, Mr. Korematsu? Now shut up and get in the camp!

  • cavalier973||

    Hey, I have an idea! Why don't you leave. After all, my family has been here since before the War for Independence from Great Britain. If you count my mother's side, we've been here since before Columbus. I have better reason for remaining than you state-worshipping snotnoggins.

  • everyone||

    The mask is slipping. Even we can no longer agree.


    Palin's Buttplug| 9.2.13 @ 5:57PM |#

    If everyone agreed with me I would quit posting.
  • hotsy totsy||

    Don't eat from the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil..but why put the stupid tree there? What was the purpose of that tree.

    Ancient humans ideas of God, Good and Evil, were rudimentary. And you know that never ever happened.

  • ||

    'What was the purpose of the tree'?

    Choice. No tree, no choice. Here the choice was to obey or not obey. There was only one rule in the Garden.

    We cannot be moral beings without the ability to choose between being moral and immoral. And if we choose wrong, we have to accept the consequences of our choices.

    But, you know the Bible is mythology and mythologized history, right? I mean, there are a few radical Protestant weirdos of the "it's all literally true" ilk, but that doesn't describe the vast majority of actual practicing Christians.

  • AuH20||

    SHOCKER:That poverty thoughts essay from HuffPo is BS

    The "roaches on toothpicks" was sort of a give away. Still, I look forward to when her book becomes the next Nickel and Dimed and is read and believed by smug college freshmen everywhere

  • ||

    Hmm, I'd heard bits an pieces of that on here, but it would've been nice to have had that article to post without comment on people's fawning facebook comments.

  • Sevo||

    Poor, poor, Obo had to deal with someone who didn't bow and scrape!:
    "An apology to Obama for city's bad behavior"
    "The White House is steaming over San Francisco's lack of vetting of the people who joined President Obama onstage in Chinatown last week for his immigration speech -..."

    The WH can suck canal water; Obo needs to hear from someone other than his sycophants.
    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/.....024637.php

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    They should adopt the Bush/Cheney practice of requiring signatures on "loyalty oaths" from attendees.

  • Sevo||

    BOOOOOOOOSH!
    Got it, prick.

  • Generic Stranger||

    I wonder if Obo could dodge a shoe as well as Bush?

    I somewhat doubt the shoe thrower would live to talk about it, though.

  • Acosmist||

    "Tu quoque" is, again, not an actual form of argument. It's a logical fallacy, which means you might as well post "I'm a drooling retard" instead of the specific words you do post. It'd signal the same thing.

  • Mike M.||

    You know it's getting really bad for Block Yomomma when even San Francisco has to be vetted!

  • AuH20||

    Seriously San Francisco? Fucking seriously?

  • AuH20||

    Seriously San Francisco? Fucking seriously?

  • AuH20||

    Seriously San Francisco? Fucking seriously?

  • AuH20||

    Fucking Kindle!

  • Pope Jimbo||

    "Mayor Brown, do us all a favor," a reader writes, "and complain loudly about the gouging pricing that's being done by some of these new app-directed transportation systems around the city. They seem to change their price based upon volume."

    When Salesforce had its big convention here, it did appear that all the app car rides doubled their prices.

    "Let's hope, Mayor Brown, that there's some way to begin to control the prices."

    Yes, there is! Let's just put the app operators under the direction of the city's transportation regulators, like the Taxi Commission.

    They would have to justify their fares, just as cabdrivers have to justify theirs.

    What? Prices change with volume (aka demand)? Who would have thunk it.

  • AuH20||

    Most Economically Ignorant City is a pretty fierce competition right now between Detroit and San Fransisco. Although, with DeBlasio, I think New York may be ready to throw its hat in the ring as well.

  • Sevo||

    "What? Prices change with volume (aka demand)? Who would have thunk it."

    Wonder if this idjit will gripe when the prices drop in January.

  • cw||

    Price signals, how do they fucking work?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Mayor Ed Lee is going to have to rethink whom he puts in charge of future presidential visits - assuming there are any.

    On behalf of the city, Mr. President, I apologize for our bad behavior.

    "Golly, Your Eminence, I'm sorry you're such a petulant, thin-skinned little bitch."

  • Mike Laursen||

    Kudos on working in a reference to The End.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Who's more awesome, Obama or the Pope?

    Inquiring haters want to know.

  • cavalier973||

    That's a hard one. On the one hand, people already don't like or trust Obama, so he has that going for him. Pope Francis (FRANCIS!) is still in a sort of honeymoon stage, and so gets a lot more leeway than he should. His ignorant rantings concerning the "unregulated Free Market" is teeth-gnashingly painful to even hear about tangentially.

    On the other hand, Obama has actual authority backed with legalised violence, while the pope must rely on argument and debate (as far as I know), so the pope is less threatening, practically speaking.

  • AuH20||

    Also, the Pope isn't proposing anything that NEW, in Catholic circles. The Catholic Church has always been trying to finagle a third way, between Capitalism and Socialism, that isn't government run but does have a lot of charity (Charity administered, of course, by the Church).

    I mean, it is painful that they have never gotten how awesome capitalism is... but whatever? IDK, it just seems something that Protestants freak out over more than Catholics.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I think Protestantism is more philosophically aligned with capitalism than Catholicism. Less authority from hierarchy, more decentralization, more empowerment of the layperson (the priesthood of all believers, soul liberty, etc.) and such lends itself to a greater individualism which fits with capitalism better than the Catholic model.

  • ||

    I think Protestantism is more philosophically aligned with capitalism than Catholicism. Less authority from hierarchy, more decentralization, more empowerment of the layperson (the priesthood of all believers, soul liberty, etc.)

    I think that varies widely and becomes truer the closer you move to "low church" Protestantism.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Sure, I agree with that.

  • ||

    IDK, it just seems something that Protestants freak out over more than Catholics.

    That makes sense considering Protestants have a history of walking when official church positions and community positions drift too far apart. Church shopping is still an important Protestant pastime. It's no wonder why Protestants are baffled when folks remain in communion with a church while ignoring its doctrine.

    If I lived near a Quaker* community again I'd attend meetings because the Quakers fit me better ideologically than the Foursquare church does generally, or the heavily Calvinised Foursquare church I was raised in does particularly.

    *Whittier's Quakers are a bit different from the larger East Coast Quaker communities that are slowly bleeding into Universalism.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Whittier? Soes that mean you went to Richard Nixon's old Friends Meeting?

  • AuH20||

    Mrs. Sunderman has an excellent take down of the contraception mandate

    Social media was on fire over this when it happened, and I confess that I am struggling to see why. There was a lot of outraged talk about how corporations aren’t people, of course, but a lot more about employers trying to control their employees’ sex lives, treating women as second-class citizens and so forth. To judge from these reactions, you would think that birth-control pills were a scarce resource that could only legally be obtained through employers. In fact, generic birth-control pills are available for $25 a month through a Costco pharmacy, $50 if you want a brand name.

    [Snip]

    The administration didn’t force employers with a religious objection to offer contraception because it made financial or medical sense; they did it because it had great symbolic value to Barack Obama’s political base. And much of that symbolic value seems to actually come from the willingness to coerce people who object to buy the stuff.

    Emphasis added, because DAMN, that's a good summation of the position of most of the laws supporters

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    So a public company run by JW could deny their employees blood transfusions for religious reasons?

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug|12.1.13 @ 12:07PM|#
    "So a public company run by JW could deny their employees blood transfusions for religious reasons?"

    No, you stupid shit, a company could refuse to pay for it.
    What a fucking idiot.

  • cavalier973||

    They could decide not to pay for the transfusions. That's not "denying the employees transfusions", though.

  • Jordan||

    And not just for religious reasons. Any reason. Of course, proglodytes like Stalin's Buttboy can't countenance that.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Then it is not health insurance.

    This is akin to Islamic honor killing. Your "religious freedom" does not trump case law.

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug|12.1.13 @ 12:22PM|#
    "Then it is not health insurance."
    Fuck you, you lying turd.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    But it is factual.

    "I had to kill my daughter as the Bible/Koran dictates. It is my religious freedom!" - does not supersede state case law on murder.

    At least not in the USA.

  • Jordan||

    Why do you insist on continually confusing what's legal with what's moral? If you believe the two are the same, then explain the moral basis for rounding Japanese people up into camps.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Both morality and legality are largely subjective.

    To swingers adultry is moral. In the RCC adultry is immoral.

  • Jordan||

    Then explain why freedom of association is immoral instead of hiding behind "case law".

  • Mickey Rat||

    A law that is subjective is no law at all, but the ruler's whim.

  • Brian||

    Both morality and legality are largely subjective.

    By the same token, is everything you say subjective? It's just true to you, right? Or is your wisdom a magic, special pleading exception?

    To swingers adultry is moral. In the RCC adultry is immoral.

    This is not universally true.

  • Jordan||

    This is akin to Islamic honor killing.

    DERP DE DERPITY DUMB

  • Mickey Rat||

    That is nothing like honor killing. If the employee does not like what the company has to offer they can buy their own insurance or find a job that provides a better compensation package.

    No one's life is taken , no one's rights are violated.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Yes, they could but the action of the employer itself is still illegal.

    We will see now that the SCOTUS has taken on the case. The ramifications will be huge.

    I predict a conservative/Catholic bloc win, by the way.

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug|12.1.13 @ 12:46PM|#
    "Yes, they could but the action of the employer itself is still illegal."

    It might possibly be as a result of your fave liar-in-chief, but if so, it's just one more perversion.

  • Mickey Rat||

    The government has no legitimate authority to make that illegal. That is why this is entirely different from an honor killing, which was the absurd comparison you were trying to make.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    The government has the legitimate authority to make Native American religious ceremony illegal.

    (which disgusts me).

    You don't know me. I despise religious ignorance and intolerance like Scalia and Clarence Thomas represent.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Odd, since you are both ignorant AND intolerant.

  • Brian||

    The government has the legitimate authority to make Native American religious ceremony illegal.

    [citation needed]

  • Whahappan?||

    "Then it is not health insurance.

    This is akin to Islamic honor killing. Your "religious freedom" does not trump case law."

    This may be the stupidest thing you've ever posted here. Or maybe not. It's hard to keep track of your boundless stupidity.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Then Justice Scalia is stupid.

    In 2003 he ruled the religious freedom to smoke peyote was trumped by anti-drug law.

    Now I expect him to do a full reversal on Hobby Lobby - the scion of the Catholic Church he is.

  • Jordan||

    That has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not a policy that doesn't cover blood transfusions is or is not health insurance.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    That has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not a policy that doesn't cover blood transfusions is or is not health insurance.

    I can find 2-4 Constitutional arguments to prove you wrong (like Scalia does).

    I will mix and match them in my sides favor (like Scalia does).

    Then I can turn around and contradict myself (like Scalia does).

    I won't though.

  • Jordan||

    So what? The Supreme Court ruled that black people are property for 100 years. It doesn't make it true.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Yes, we are gradually gaining more liberty (like Nick and Matt say).

    I am on their side unlike most Peanuts.

  • Jordan||

    Way to dodge the argument.

  • Generic Stranger||

    Strawmen arguments and red herring are Buttplug's specialty.

  • Seamus||

    He will do a full reversal because Congress, in response to his decision in Employment Division v. Smith (the peyote case), passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, granting as a matter of statute the kind of religious exemption from federal law that Scalia (and the Court) found was not in the First Amendment itself.

  • cavalier973||

    Then it is not health insurance.

    Okay. And?

    This is akin to Islamic honor killing. Your "religious freedom" does not trump case law.

    *CUCKOO!*

  • Brian||

    Then it is not health insurance.

    This is akin to Islamic honor killing. Your "religious freedom" does not trump case law.

    That's just your opinion. It's all subjective, remember? So, it's not health insurance to you, etc.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    There is actually a very (fiendishly in my opinion) clever legal argument making its way around legal circles that since to strike down the contraception mandate, or heavily exempt employers from it, would amount to an Establishment Clause violation.

    The argument, as I understand it, goes like this: the ACA essentially conscripts businesses of 50 employees or more as the delivery mechanism of subsidized health insurance. All employers of that type must offer insurance, that insurance must meet certain government mandated requirements, and the government subsidizes that arrangement. Furthermore, the government requires all persons to have such insurance under pain of 'penaltax,' and someone with employer supplied health insurance is not to get it in the other ways that subsidized health care is offered (the exchanges, or Medicaid or Medicare, the eligibility requirements of which they do not meet). Therefore, if Hobby Lobby and similar companies are allowed to not offer the mandated insurance you have a situation where the employee is mandated to get health insurance but is denied the chance to get the subsidized version that everyone else is getting, and denied because of the religious beliefs of their employers (who, the theory goes, are acting for the government). Hence, Establishment Clause violation!

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    That is a winning argument. We all subsidize Medicaid which in turn performs abortofacient services. Medicare does too - if you are a dependent of a survivor.

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug|12.1.13 @ 12:41PM|#
    "That is a winning argument..."
    So you and the other asshole in the WH chose to spin that piece of law too?
    I suppose there is some cesspool too deep for you to stick your head in. We just haven't found it yet.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "... the ACA essentially conscripts businesses of 50 employees or more as the delivery mechanism of subsidized health insurance."

    That's not clever at all. It assumes it premise that the government has any authority to conscript private entities to something against the owner's consciences. It is an entirely circular argument.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Edit: "It assumes its conclusion as a premise that the government..."

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    It does not assume it, it simply recognizes Robert's decision in Sebellius as creating this new reality.

    For the record, I think if this argument shows one thing it shows how 'messed up' the ACA's machinations are, for the reason you point to.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Well, it is not as if Robert's decision was stellar example of legal reasoning rather than a craven capitulation to Presidential opinion. However, that does not make what you posted above not absurd.

  • cavalier973||

    From the Facebook link to this article:

    L'ee W-hipple II It's my hypothesis that the reason the FDA does not want people accessing their own DNA is a fear that people will copyright their individual and unique DNA. I can see this as a potential stumbling block to forced blood test and cheek swabs and DNA databases as they fill up with pirated copyrighted materials.
    Like · Reply · 13 minutes ago via mobile
  • Acosmist||

    Yeah, that's insane.

  • hotsy totsy||

    I think bureaucrats and medical personnel in general have a problem with people feeling an ownership of their bodies, and thus health information.

    When I was in Venezuela, I decided to get a health screening. It cost the equivalent of $10. And they gave ME back the results. Even when the doctor orders the test, they give the results to the patient and he or she gives then gives them to the doctor. They paid for them, so they own them. One of the few decent things in that country, by the way, and quickly declining.

    Here, if a nurse took my blood pressure in the hospital, she wouldn't tell me the results. You have to ask the doctor. They think it's HIS information, not yours. It's really stupid.

    So if it's something as "sophisticated" as a fairly cheap DNA SNP readout, they feel cheated of this information.

  • Harun||

    My insurance is through Kaiser. They send me all my lab results. The doctor gets a copy, too, but I also have one.

    So, some places in the US are doing it right.

  • Sevo||

    Update:
    "Officials claim partial repair of Obamacare website, fail to meet user success target"
    [...]
    "The claims of technical success are also questionable...."
    [...]
    "Zients declined to answer some awkward questions"...
    [...]
    "Julie Bataille, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, declined to say they have met the administration’s November goal of allowing four out of five visitors to enroll on the site."...
    [...]
    "Zients didn’t mention growing concern about the danger that hackers could steal Americans’ private data"...
    [...]
    "The officials also declined to identity the website as the “Obamacare” website, reflecting the administration’s post-October effort to distance the president’s name from the unpopular system."...
    http://dailycaller.com/2013/12.....z2mFDZXJ4L
    But it's FIXED, I tell ya!

  • Sevo||

    BTW, this was pretty obvious in that the Chron, noted water-carrier for that lying piece of shit, didn't have front page coverage of the 'NEW, IMPROVED, WONDERFUL...'
    Pretty much buried on pg 10; something about 'much better, mumble, mumble'

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Therefore, if Hobby Lobby and similar companies are allowed to not offer the mandated insurance you have a situation where the employee is mandated to get health insurance but is denied the chance to get the subsidized version that everyone else is getting, and denied because of the religious beliefs of their employers (who, the theory goes, are acting for the government). Hence, Establishment Clause violation!

    And if I grow wheat on my farm to feed my cattle, I'm stealing money from ADM.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    More incoherent babbling about commie Papism.

    And I think that survival of the fittest has never been a tenet of either Judeo-Christian values or Christian -- our culture. And I think the pope has confronted us with a fundamental question: What are we first? Are we a free market system, that we have confidence that, untrammeled and unfettered, it will eventually provide good for more people?

    Or are we a community, a community of human beings of equal dignity, and that a capitalist system, a free enterprise system, under regulation and required regulation -- and that's what he -- that's the difference he makes more than any to me in the economic sphere, which is not private charity and private generosity, which have always been important, but that we have a collective responsibility to make that sure all of us, the least among us, through our collective instrument of government, have education, have health care, have shelter, have food, that that's not just a matter of individual kindness or compassion.

    Collective Responsibility, FTW!

    Hand it over, Hoarder.

  • cavalier973||

    "Human dignity" finds its fullest expression in a free market system.

    Having a government agent place a gun against your head to force you to "help out your fellow man" isn't quite so dignifying.

  • cavalier973||

    DAVID BROOKS: Yes, if I could just say one thing, capitalism tells you, be ambitious, be self-interested.

    No, that's what government tells you. "Demand your rights! Get that rich guy to pay for my medical services!"

    Capitalism (as a shorthand label for the Free Market) tells you almost the exact opposite: "Find out what other people want, and figure out a way to get it to them in a manner that uses the least amount of scarce resources."

  • cavalier973||

    I mean, is there anyone more pathetically obsequious than the shopkeeper afraid he's about to lose your business?

  • hotsy totsy||

    Well, also get them to pay you for it too. What they want is tied in with how much they are willing and able to pay.

  • hotsy totsy||

    As Thomas Sowell put it, "Bill Gates has done more for me than I'll ever do for him."

  • Mickey Rat||

    "Are we a free market system, that we have confidence that, untrammeled and unfettered, it will eventually provide good for more people?"

    The free market is the community dealing with itself. Fettering the market is the same as putting the entire community in bonds, and you limit the ability of the community to engage in kindness and compassion.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "Are we a free market system, that we have confidence that, untrammeled and unfettered, it will eventually provide good for more people?"

    The free market is the community dealing with itself. Fettering the market is the same as putting the entire community in bonds, and you limit the ability of the community to engage in kindness and compassion.

  • cavalier973||

    Okay, I like your first point, but I'll respond to your second one.

    There's really no such thing as an "unfettered Free Market"; competition in the marketplace is very effective at regulating market participants.

    Government regulation is mostly rules to eliminate competition--which actually results in a "less fettered" market.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    What are we first? Are we a free market system, that we have confidence that, untrammeled and unfettered, it will eventually provide good for more people?

    Yes.

    Or at least we should be.

  • HarryUSA||

    I would love to hock a lougie at some people in government, but they would probably try me as a terrorist or something for using my saliva as a bio-weapon.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Harry, I think it is more likely that Government Almighty would take that lougie of yours and DNA-analyze it, patent all of your DNA, and then BUST you for intellectual property theft! So BEWARE!

  • Car Scanner||

    I also think as technology improves there is going to be a big battle over testing.

  • Duelles||

    I'm a 23andMe consumer and very happy with the information provided. It is fascinating, educational and . . . Argh! After seeing how the FDA works in dealing with new science - stem cell and various personalized vaccines - I can only think that they want to collect a 2.3% medical device tax in addition to exhibiting their absolute idiot arrogance. Oofah, FDA!

  • ibcbet||

    Or for that matter test your DNA to see if you have a high risk for a disease or condition

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  • VictorMHuff||

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  • Jill00||

    I build $82h whereas i am traveling the planet. Last week I worked by my laptop computer in Rome, Monti Carlo and at last Paris…This week i am back within the USA. All I do square measure simple tasks from this one cool web site. check it out, www.bar29.ℂom

  • buybuydandavis||

    "The real reason? ..."

    Because it would limit the ability of doctors to charge $200 a piece for each SNP tested, along with a $150 office visit charge, instead of getting a million for $99 from 23andme. Another reason? If the doctors can't charge for a zillion and one single SNP test, the FDA can't regulate a million and one SNP tests.

    Basically the same old same old. Snuffing 23andme serves the interests of the regulatory/medical complex.

  • parkerbce586||

    until I looked at the draft that said $8761, I have faith ...that...my best friend had been actualie erning money part time at their laptop.. there mums best friend has been doing this 4 only about 8 months and resently repaid the morgage on there villa and purchased a brand new Aston Martin DB5. see here now
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  • mtbwalt2||

    The FDA is actually worried that the government is not a party to your DNA data if you get it tested privately.

    The whole idea of "Meaningful Use" information systems, a big part of Obamacare, is that the government gets a feed of all of your medical data. Doctors get a large multi-year bribe from the gov't, about $40k per doc, if they use a system capable of being directly queried by the government and generating reports with your health data.

    If your DNA test goes through your doctor, it is accessible to the NSA. If it is a private transaction, and sent as a printout, it is much harder for them to procure and maintain a copy.

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