Feminists Shouldn't Make Coverage For Oral Pills Their Holy Grail: Shikha Dalmia in TIME


Feminists were up in arms last week when the Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge against the Obamacare mandate requiring employers to provide contraceptive coverage as part of a standard insurance package (along with

oral contraceptives

pediatric dental coverage to childless couples; fertility treatment to 60-year-olds and drug rehab to teetotalers). But explains Shikha Dalmia in TIME today, by forcing employers against their religious beliefs, feminists are using unsympathetic means to promote a sympathetic cause. She says:

Men everywhere can walk into a store and buy as many condoms as they want, no questions asked. Likewise, women in Mexico, India and 44 other countries can buy oral contraceptives when they wish. Not so in the United States, even though 99 percent of all sexually experienced American women — and 98 percent of Catholic American women — use some form of birth control. This seems downright bizarre.

Despite such overwhelming demand, a Rasmussen poll released Monday found that only 38 percent of Americans support forcing employers to cover contraceptives— and 51 percent oppose it.

Feminists claim that such attitudes stem from "sexism," "misogyny" and a "fear of women's sexuality." But if that were the case, 90 percent of Americans wouldn't say that birth control is "morally acceptable." What feminists don't seem to get is that there is something problematic about making one person's access to contraception contingent on trampling on another person's religion…

The only reason American women need insurance coverage for contraception is because they can't buy birth control pills without a prescription—which doctors won't hand them without an annual exam.

Doctors don't require the exam because the pill is unsafe or requires medical supervision. No. It is a way to keep their clinics busy and their bank balances flush — and use women's own biology against them to make them do the medical establishment's bidding because, you know, women are too stupid to be trusted with their own health. That's the real sexism.

So if feminists were smart, they wouldn't cast this issue in terms women's rights versus religious rights.

That'll turn it into a lose-lose proposition. Medical paternalism is a far bigger threat to women's reproductive choices than religious zealotry. Focusing on the first will do more to give women control over their bodies— including the female employees of Hobby Lobby — than a pitched battle against the second.

Go here to read the whole thing.

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  1. What feminists don’t seem to get is that there is something problematic about making one person’s access to contraception contingent on trampling on another person’s religion pay for things that folks should buy for themselves?

    1. But if someone else isn’t forced to pay for it, you are denying them access.

      1. Not giving is taking and not taking is giving!

        So not giving free birth control is the same thing as taking birth control away!


        1. I actually read this in comments on the Volokh conspiracy. It looked plainly stupid the first time that I read it.

        2. See, NOW you’re understanding!

        3. Just like growing your own wheat is stealing from professional wheat growers.

        4. Yep, and States declining to establish their own exchanges is the reason Obamacare is failing.

          At least they are consistent.

      2. It’s amazing how much of this mindset floats around. is full of it. Apparently if you don’t want to pay for certain things for your employees, you’re issuing edicts against their behavior.

        The other weird thing that I’ve noticed pop up lately is people talking about medical insurance in terms of contracts eg., Since my employer included medical insurance in my contract, they would be denying me something or forcing beliefs on me if they choose to reduce coverage for something.

        I’ve never had a contract the entire time I’ve worked, and neither have the literally tens of thousands of people who’ve had the same employer(s) as I. I wonder how many of the people who embrace this mindset have ever worked in at-will/rtw states and/or for the myriad companies that do not have contracts with their employees.

        1. a) you are correct, the vast majority of jobs in today’s economy which come with decent health insurance packages are not hired with a contract – execs and others however usually have a contract for some time period…. but I digress.
          b) health insurance is not a right (though maybe with SCOTUS….), but even if it is…
          c) (who) WTF told anyone that they retained all their Constitutional rights at work? Sure, your employer cannot discriminate (technically speaking) – but it’s not like they are also setting up chapels of various faiths to allow the practicing of ones’ religion.

          Though even without that, the logic that with any restrictions from their employer they lose rights can easily be dismissed as there are almost none (I actually assume none… but cannot prove) mid-to-large size corporations which do not have specific employee policies limiting the speech of their employees both on and off work.

          It’s ridiculous for anyone to think they retain their full range of rights at work – childish even. It screams “the world should bend to me because of my rights {wince and think whiny voice}”.

          An attitude most corporations actively seek to remove, as anyone this self absorbed is going to have issues working well in a normal corporate environment for lots of reasons.

          But either way… Newton wrote 5 million words – only 1 million on math/science – 4 million on alchemy and such… so smart one subject doesn’t always translate to other subjects

  2. So if feminists were smart,…

    I think I’ve found the issue right there.

  3. “Feminists Shouldn’t Make Coverage For Oral Pills Their Holy Grail: Shikha Dalmia in TIME”
    True, but female lefties should and will; they are commonly understood to be “feminists”.

  4. Freedom means asking permission and obeying orders!

    How can a woman be free if she can buy birth control without asking permission from a doctor who then orders her to take a yearly exam?

  5. It is almost as if feminists care more about leftism and fighting the culture war than they do about helping women. I would also point out that giving yearly exams to poor women and billing the government is very good money for planned parenthood.

    1. Of course feminists care about women. Don’t you know that lack of subsidized birth control is the worst thing that’s happening to women in the world today? Those victims of honor killings and female circumcision don’t know how easy they have it.

      1. If they saw a viable means to make those people knuckle under and do what Feminism demanded they would surely do it.

        And preen about it incessantly.

        But don’t mistake the motive and method.

        The motive is to make people knuckle under, Feminism is merely a method.

    2. It’s even better money when half of the annual exams are only blood pressure checkups, because whatever OB/GYN board has decided you only need a pap smear every two years now, instead of every year. The annual exam for birth control is such a fucking scam. Weigh me, check my blood pressure, and hand me my permission slip. Yeah, that needed a doctor.

  6. “So if feminists were smart…”

    Lost me there.

  7. Actually, unlike condoms, there are medical risks associated with oral contraceptives that arise out of the fact they are tinkering with your hormone levels. If you’ve had breast cancer or certain liver diseases, for example, most hormone based birth control is dangerous. This isn’t some binary thing like latex allergy, the interactions and side effects are far more complex.

    With that being said, I opine that the pills should be available over the counter. But I personally wouldn’t take them without discussing it with a doctor – if I were a woman.

    1. Sure, but I would think those are things the patient might have already discussed with the doctor when they were seeing them for their breast cancer or liver disease.

    2. The risks associated with birth control are a good example of the culture war affecting how the media reports science. The risks associated with a normal drug are reported to death and often exaggerated. But the risks of the pill are never mentioned. I had no idea there were risks to it until just a few years ago.

      I agree that the pill should be OTC. But I think that about pretty much everything. The media in contrast is constantly harping about the risks of drugs and the need for government control. But not for the sacred pill.

      1. Why does the media take sides?

      2. I’ve had discussions with ‘feminists’ who’ve said flat-out that there is literally zero physical risk associated with birth control pills. ‘Safer than baby asprin’ was the exact phrase they used.

      3. In Mexico, where I receive all of my dental work and routine medical stuff, everything except for narcotics and (recently) antibiotics are otc.
        Its odd how people who would think poorly of this fail to realize that consumers have the greatest vested interest in taking appropriate meds responsibly.

    3. I hear that these pills could cause miscarriages if taken by pregnant women in large enough doses.

      1. You mean ABORTIONS?

    4. The solution to those issues is in the treatment of the disease.

      Got hormone receptive breast cancer? Your oncologist has already given you a big list of do’s and dont’s, add OC to the list.

      Ditto for serious liver disease, etc.

      But the problem here isn’t, product packaging and education. The problem is lawsuits.

      Selling OCs OTC in the US would be a lot like the private aircraft industry – too much of the price is liability insurance.

  8. Someone is betraying the sisterhood here.

  9. I want my auto insurance to cover oil changes and I want you to pay for it. It is totally unfair that I have to pay about $65 every two or three months for synthetic oil changes in order to continue getting pleasure from driving my car. That’s about the same as “the Pill” at Walgreens ($28 for one month generic).

    1. It’s such bullshit. I’m still stunned that advocacy groups can publicly throw away even the slightest but of credibility and get away with it. Like these same people did when Clinton had sex with an underling.

      1. If they have no credibility, they obviously can get away with it.

        1. I suppose, but that’s not the universal position. Certainly, the equally uncredible media doesn’t view them that way.

    2. By denying coverage for oil changes, you’re anti-car and are trying to deny me the right to choose where I drive.

  10. Great column, Shikha!

  11. Some things that feminists should remember:

    1. Freedom is not a zero-sum game.

    2. The solution to a problem caused by government coercion is not more government coercion.

  12. If you can’t afford birth control, maybe you should stop having sex and focus on getting a better job. Just a thought.

    1. that’s because you’re a monster. Why, it’s a right to have children you can’t afford and force others to pay for them.

    2. maybe you should stop having sex

      No need for that. I can think of a couple of alternatives that don’t result in pregnancy.

  13. Its standard-issue proggy thuggishness. Their highest priority is putting their boot on the neck of their enemies. If that actually helps their putative constituents, that’s a nice bonus. If it doesn’t help, whatever. If it hurts, well, that’s the price you pay for proggyress.

    1. It’s just about winning.

      Any argument will eventually devolve into personal attacks, false promises, bizarre rationales, etc. which all the have the same end goal-for them to win, or feel as though they won, the argument.

  14. But WHAT ABOUT THE FETUS!!!!??

    When I vote, whether it is for President, or Judge, or Dog Catcher, my first and only question is WHAT IS YOUR STANCE ON FETUSES!!!??? What would you do to FETUSES if you are elected? Are you Pro-FETUS or Anti-Fetus!?! NOTHING ELSE MATTERS!!!!!

  15. I see you covered the alt-text with a condom.

    Speaking of condoms, they do realize that they still work if a women goes into the store to buy them, right?

    Disclaimer: I do think the pill should be OTC.

    1. Disclaimer: I do think the pill should be OTC.

      IMO, testosterone (and derivatives) as well. All the cancer and heart disease risk and temporary sterilization effects of estrogen with the added benefits of increased strength, lower bodyfat, increased physical and mental drive, etc., etc.

      The fact that a woman is largely in charge of whatever dose of hormones her doctor gives her and her insurance pays for while men *barely* have the same access to the analogous hormones clearly shows that feminists have plenty of high-ground to give, some even to their own advantage.

  16. I agree 100% that the pill should be available OTC.

    But having said that, women already have cheap, easy, OTC access to birth control. It’s called condoms. Yup, women are allowed to buy them too. Women are also allowed to tell a guy that he isn’t getting laid without one.

  17. Feminists claim that such attitudes stem from “sexism,” “misogyny” and a “fear of women’s sexuality.

    Of course they do. One of may favorite aspects of the left/”progressive” movement is the complete inability and/or unwillingness to understand anyone else’s point of view, or even that there are other points of view.

    I adore the childlike simplicity in portraying those who disagree with them in any way as holding a position directly opposite theirs. There are always two, and only two, ways to feel about an issue-their way and the wrong way.

    If I feel that subsidized, employer sponsored, etc. birth control is a women’s right issue and someone disagrees, then they don’t support women’s right and are anti-woman. If I feel that birth control allows women to take/maintain control of their sexuality, anyone who opposes anything I support in regards to birth control is trying to control women’s sexuality.

    1. One of may favorite aspects of the left/”progressive” movement is the complete inability and/or unwillingness to understand anyone else’s point of view, or even that there are other points of view.

      Tolerance means being intolerant of different points of view, inclusiveness means excluding anyone with a different point of view, and equality means superiority over anyone with a different point of view.

      So when they are hostile towards people with a different point of view, they’re just showing their dedication to tolerance, inclusiveness and equality.

    2. It’s all because people are trained to be superficial in their empathy. There’s no second order thought to their analysis. Effectively they think as far as “would it help women to have free birth control?” They say yes, their opponents say no.

      They’re too intellectually lazy to approach the issue in a thoughtful way, so they just simply break down the question in as fallacious a way as possible.

      Their logic is effectively a giant question beg. “I think free birth control is a good thing, but they don’t. It’s obvious that free birth control is a good thing because it helps women, therefore they must want to hurt women since they don’t support free birth control.”

      Zero empathy due to hopping from echo chamber to echo chamber their entire lives. No critical thought because they’ve been taught to think on a superficial level since pre-K. No depth of analysis, because they just beg the question as a shortcut. This is your modern feminist, your modern progressive, and a summation of political discourse in the current age.

  18. The oddest thing about the debate, perhaps the feminist have been arguing for free vagina related shit for years, but the idea took off in the spring of 2012 when Obama ran on it. It was explicitly rejected in the votes leading up to the ACA to appease Democrats. Now, it is settled dogma treated like canon in leftist holy scripture.

    1. It’s like they’ve shifted from the policy of “push the boundaries on one issue while holding ground on all the rest” to “push the boundaries on all the issues at the same time.”

      1. They are tired of waiting for all the white people to die off. They want the eternal one-party rule that demographics makes inevitable to start NOW.

        It never seems to occur to them that, if the GOP becomes even more nationally uncompetitive, that doesn’t mean that everyone just votes 100% Democrat forever. It just might lead to the rise of a party favoring a limited government, but without all the flat earthers and the fetus-obsessed and the bigots who have ruined the GOP “brand”.

        1. but without all the flat earthers and the fetus-obsessed and the bigots who have ruined the GOP “brand”.

          I mostly agree, but the folks you mention here aren’t just gonna die off. Abortion is always gonna be an issue. Bigotry is and will be rampant in any party large enough to win on a national scale.

          What I don’t get is why the “fringe” elements are such an issue for the GOP, but PETA and the Sierra Club and La Raza and the Black Panthers aren’t an issue for the Dems. If you want wacko fringe, the Dems have a near monopoly on it. Somehow that doesn’t hurt their electoral chances.

          1. The fringe of one party gets overwhelming media attention, while the other’s doesn’t.

            For a recent example consider Mark Pryor’s latest appeal to religion. If a Republican did something similar the cries of ‘theocracy’ would be coast to coast deafening.

        2. that doesn’t mean that everyone just votes 100% Democrat forever

          Isn’t that pretty much how a one-party state works?

        3. Basically they want the US Congress to be like Hawaii’s.

          Technically, it’s bipartisan. But with a 24/1 split in the Senate, 44/7 in the House, and a Democratic Governor, it’s one party rule.

          I wonder if the average Hawaiian and/or Democrats there still blame Republicans or conservatives for things that go wrong.

  19. Liberals fuss that if conservatives win this, it will be nearly apocalyptic, but actually, it will just be the same situation we had before Obamacare and no one was complaining about contraception then. Obamacare invents rights that people didn’t even know they had.

  20. So? the feminists are the Baptists and the doctors are the bootleggers?

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  22. You can expect a lot more fights when government effectively nationalizes health care for more and more Americans. It is a perfectly valid fight. Women were utterly at the mercy of biology and had little control of their future before effective enough contraception was commonly available. We should scream bloody murder if anything threatens access to that. It was no problem really on a relatively free market. It becomes an issue when government is allowed to effectively monopolize health care. So stay of the backs of women and focus on the real proble.m

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