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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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56 Responses

  1. Lissette
    Lissette December 11, 2008 at 1:08 pm |

    I fully agree! I had an atrocious thing happen on campus. Right before the elections, we had an anti-abortion “abortion-is-genocide” group touting their stuff to kids on campus, including things like, “birth control is bad, abortion is bad, if you have an abortion you’re a murderer, etc. etc.” To say that this little show wasn’t politically motivated, is absurd, especially since I live in Florida, a traditionally red state, and Obama is viewed as a pro-choice candidate. Thankfully most of the students called them on their BS and said as much.

    This power dynamic by men and certain women of trying to “keep women in their place” is really just a bunch of nonsense. What are men really afraid of losing if women are viewed as their equals? Why is there this constant power struggle and need to control? At times, I really just don’t get it.

  2. Chris
    Chris December 11, 2008 at 1:24 pm |

    “This power dynamic by men and certain women of trying to “keep women in their place” is really just a bunch of nonsense. What are men really afraid of losing if women are viewed as their equals? Why is there this constant power struggle and need to control? At times, I really just don’t get it.”

    Lissette, as a man, it boggles my mind as well. I really don’t see what I’m losing by you having rights to choose for yourself. Yeah, I don’t get to force women to have sex with me or bear my children if they don’t want to…and? Why the hell would I want to force someone to do that? It’s insane, in the literal definition of the word. And it’s sad to see how widespread this insanity still is.

  3. nonskanse
    nonskanse December 11, 2008 at 1:50 pm |

    “What are men really afraid of losing if women are viewed as their equals?”

    Most of the arguments I’ve seen from men as individuals against abortion and other things that might make women equal are arguments coming from the fear that somehow they’re going to lose ALL of their free passes (unfortunately they keep one forever since they have no uteruses. ). Or they desire children and somehow they’re afraid that no woman would have theirs if women were allowed to prevent it.

  4. E.M. Russell
    E.M. Russell December 11, 2008 at 4:21 pm |

    What I really don’t like about this type of action by the pro-life movement is that it’s undermining all women’s right to abortions and sex education regardless of whether they agree or disagree. If you don’t want to have an abortion, awesome. Then don’t. But that you are campaigning to take away other women’s right to abortions is awful. This issue for the pro-lifers is so steeped in white, privileged, fundamentalist Christianity. It’s a shame they can’t see from another person’s point of view and realize how much damage they’re causing.

  5. Our Obligation to Reproduce | Change Happens: the SAFER blog

    [...] Research Council’s position have to do with breaking the heterosexual contract? Jill over at feministe.com puts it best: …there is a greater cultural war being waged here, and it has little to do with [...]

  6. nyu law libertarian
    nyu law libertarian December 11, 2008 at 5:35 pm |

    The 97 percent “not aborting babies” function that Planned Parenthood engages in can be done by local clinics and hospitals. I don’t think that anyone is complaining, necessarily, about government money going to non-abortion activity of a clinic (except for libertarians). However, how does the fact that Planned Parenthood supplies other services than abortion remove the problem that it does perform abortions?

  7. nyu law libertarian
    nyu law libertarian December 11, 2008 at 7:36 pm |

    First let me say that I am not against first trimester abortions. However, I am against people forcing me to pay for their first trimester abortions. I also sympathize with people who think abortion is the actual taking of life having to pay for something that is abhorrent to them.

    Let me make my argument more clear for anyone that couldn’t make sense of it. Federal money funds PP. PP performs abortions. Even if the law states that PP may not use federal money to perform abortions directly, any funding they get, from any source, will relive some financial burdens. Given the fact that money is the most fungible commodity in existence, it is a canard to claim that any money going towards an entity that performs abortions does not “support” those very abortions.

    If $100 of federal money is spent on cancer screening, thats $100 dollars PP has saved to perform other tasks which require funds … 3% of which are apparently abortions (according to your graph).

    Fungibility – the property of a good or a commodity whose individual units are capable of mutual substitution.

  8. Cara
    Cara December 11, 2008 at 7:46 pm |

    In other words, fuck women and their cancer screenings. Let ‘em die.

    YAY PRO-LIFE POLITICS!!!!

    Is anyone surprised that NYU Law Libertarian didn’t address Jill’s question about hospitals, and how they perform abortions, too? Anyone? No? Me neither.

  9. evil_fizz
    evil_fizz December 11, 2008 at 7:52 pm |

    However, I am against people forcing me to pay for their first trimester abortions.

    NYU, meet the the Hyde Amendment.

  10. nyu law libertarian
    nyu law libertarian December 11, 2008 at 8:06 pm |

    I’ll address the hospitals. I actually wanted to revise my comment after I had put it up because the hospital question does present a problem to my argument. Put simply, public hospitals should be barred from performing abortions; unless it is an emergency situation.

    There is no reason why private clinics or doctors could not provide abortion services to those women who want the service but cannot pay for it. As I understand it, PP raises around $223,000 dollars a month in donations. PP is a non profit which is extremely successful, boasting over a $100 million in “surplus” annual funds. Why should tax payers be supplying it with unneeded cash? It would be interesting to see what percentage of women who want abortions cannot actually afford it. I’m sure PP or some other private provider could handle it.

    Look, I’m somewhat neutral here. I think PP public funding is just as irritating as abstinence only public funding. The Conservatives and Liberals can fight it out. Meanwhile they are both using my money for their bullshit. Money I could be donating to the Red Cross or some other non-profit without a political agenda.

    Seriously … $100 million surplus. And Jill still thinks that ending taxpayer support would be creating a crisis of some sort?

  11. Cara
    Cara December 11, 2008 at 8:12 pm |

    I’ll address the hospitals. I actually wanted to revise my comment after I had put it up because the hospital question does present a problem to my argument. Put simply, public hospitals should be barred from performing abortions; unless it is an emergency situation.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    There is no reason why private clinics or doctors could not provide abortion services to those women who want the service but cannot pay for it.

    Right, except for the fact that I don’t know of any non publicly funded doctors and clinics who are into providing services for free. Other than that minor glitch, great idea! NYU doesn’t want to pay a few cents a year for it, let the doctors pay for it ALL out of their own pockets!

    Seriously … $100 million surplus. And Jill still thinks that ending taxpayer support would be creating a crisis of some sort?

    YEAH, HOW DARE WE FUND AN ORGANIZATION SMART ENOUGH TO PREPARE FOR ANTI-CHOICE GROUPS SUCCEEDING IN DOING EXACTLY WHAT THEY’RE NOW TRYING TO DO???

    Seriously, I’m done now. My head hurts.

  12. Lauren
    Lauren December 11, 2008 at 8:49 pm |

    As for 97% of PP’s services being done at local clinics and hospitals… well, in a lot of places, Planned Parenthood IS the local clinic, so I’m not sure what you’re talking about.

    And if you don’t have insurance like a good number of people in the nation, hospitals and private doctors aren’t even an option.

  13. NoInsurance
    NoInsurance December 11, 2008 at 9:31 pm |

    Hey NYU,

    I have no insurance. I will be laughed out of a doctor’s office.
    If I go to a my campus clinic I will pay 180 dollars for STD screening. I will pay 60 dollars at PP.
    For a pap at the doctors (back when I had insurance), my insurance covered 250 dollars plus. At PP, 50 dollars. I can’t afford a PAP SMEAR, a glorfied bacterial petri dish culture, at a private doctor’s office, how could I afford an actual surgical procedure, such as abortion in my first trimester should I medically need it?

    Have you looked at medical costs lately? Do you really think 200,000 plus profit a month will cover all of America? That’s what, 1000 free private doctor visits? Come on….

    But thank you a lot for trying to curtail my available medicinal access. I do so love not being able to properly take care of my reproductive system…
    Unless I misunderstood your argument somewhere along the lines, it’s just incredibly hateful.

  14. bleh
    bleh December 11, 2008 at 9:35 pm |

    I tire of these people, I really do. I don’t want to pay for my father-in-law’s outlandish medical costs (medications, operations, oxygen, physical therapy, hospitalizations, the list goes on) either. But he is a veteran (in the army for a few years, never saw action), and thus, we all pay for him to extend his feeble life interminably.* I also don’t want to pay for cancer treatments that kill more healthy cells than cancerous ones for people who get gov’t assistance, because I think poisoning people is silly. Yet, I do not get to make those decisions for my father-in-law or for anyone else. The funding is there, and the treatment happens, whether or no the quality of life is at all there. Don’t I get to sit on a moral high horse and beleaguer all of the organizations who provide these so-called medical procedures or the gov’t organizations who fund them? Why the hell not?

    *Not heartless, just making a point.

  15. nyu law libertarian
    nyu law libertarian December 11, 2008 at 11:52 pm |

    I never said I don’t want to help indigent people with their problems. I just said I don’t want to do it through federal expenditures. There is a difference. I give tax money to the feds, they give it to FEMA, and 1,000 trailers sit in the south Louisiana sun taking up space with no occupants.

    I give money to charities like the Red Cross and they get shit done.

    If public spending were to cease going towards abortion clinics, why wouldn’t women like you donate to PP? What would stop anyone from privately funding a non profit like PP? Why do liberals think the only way things get done is through government spending? By the way, PP gets a hell of a lot of money from private donations; which I think is great – but makes me wonder why they need to pay lobbyists to go to Congress. The ACLU is a nonprofit that doesn’t seem to need that type of government support.

    If public funds stopped flowing to PP, PP would not cease to exist. Because good natured and warm hearted people, like the ones on this comment thread, would give to that organization on their own free will. But of course thats not what you want, you want to force other people to donate THEIR money.

    “Right, except for the fact that I don’t know of any non publicly funded doctors and clinics who are into providing services for free”

    How about the Red Cross, Planned Parenthood, Doctors Without Borders, or the thousand private hospitals that have pro bono programs? Have you never heard of charity?

    “I have no insurance. I will be laughed out of a doctor’s office.
    If I go to a my campus clinic I will pay 180 dollars for STD screening. I will pay 60 dollars at PP.”

    Well, you should probably get some insurance. It isn’t that expensive. It usually runs about $3,000 a year. Beyond that, $180 dollars isn’t that much. But this misses the point because you may be able to get help through PRIVATE charities. If not, save some money for your STD’s. The new 2009 minimum wage of $7 an hour will only take one day’s work plus an hour to pay $180 off. And really, I don’t have the same problem with the government giving out pap smears, its not a controversial procedure. The point was that abortion is more problematic because there are many people who fundamentally believe that abortion is murder. How is it moral to make them pay for what they really believe is killing? Even if you think they are idiots for believing that, and I might be on board with you (for first trimester and the morning after pill at least), why would you want to do that to them?

  16. piny
    piny December 12, 2008 at 12:44 am |

    I give money to charities like the Red Cross and they get shit done.

    …And the government gives money to PP and they get shit done. Then pro-lifers who would rather women die than seek legal abortions ruin everything. Then PP closes its doors. Then the money is spent telling pregnant ninth-graders that their fetus can braid its own armpit hair in the womb.

    This isn’t a rational rejection of government interference or inefficiency. It’s not a demand for individual moral-fiscal autonomy–these people aren’t insisting, to take your example, that the government stop funding their ancillary role in reproductive decision-making. It’s not even a misguided attempt to prevent abortion qua abortion. Planned Parenthood is on the hitlist because it is a forerunner in teaching women not to hate and fear their own reproductive systems. Its reality-based attitude towards women’s health is the root problem here.

    Well, you should probably get some insurance. It isn’t that expensive. It usually runs about $3,000 a year. Beyond that, $180 dollars isn’t that much.

    Yes, it is. “Only” three thousand dollars a year? “Only” an extra few hundred dollars a month? That’s not a small amount of money for most people, particularly people who struggle–and many people do–to come up with a couple hundred dollars a few times a year.

  17. Bene
    Bene December 12, 2008 at 12:47 am |

    I would really love to live in the world where you live, NYULL, where people can afford to work a whole day just to pay off one single appointment bill. Where private charities can pay for the essential healthcare of any woman who cares to look. Where…gee whiz, $3K sure is cheap for insurance, considering that insurance will probably have a whole bunch of co-pays, a high deductible, and problematic ‘preexisting conditions’ issues.

    Not.

    I pay about $2700 for mine, and I’m a relatively healthy Wisconsinite in my mid-20s, who can afford health insurance because I don’t have to pay rent. I don’t even want to know what it’s like somewhere where the COL is so much higher and where I’d have to cover plenty of other bills besides. Did you even know that almost all insurance companies will put an automatic denial on anyone with a diagnosed mental illness? It makes it pretty hard to get insured. I pay extra for the privilege, and even then I have to pay my shrink bills out of pocket. And I’ve never been hospitalized or any threat to myself/others.

    Y’all in the libertarian contingent are so keen on making people be accountable only for themselves, but you neglect to take in any shades of gray in real life application.

  18. piny
    piny December 12, 2008 at 1:30 am |

    The new 2009 minimum wage of $7 an hour will only take one day’s work plus an hour to pay $180 off.

    Three. Three days. And two hours. And two more for the appointment itself. (And then there’s payroll tax, so….) But it isn’t pocket money; that money is spoken for, spent on rent and utilities and food and clothing and getting to and from work. If you make fifty-six dollars a day, before taxes, you probably don’t have two dollars left over at the end of the week, let alone two hundred. I hate having this argument, because no one should have to beg their basic health from people who can’t even do basic math, but again: it’s not a small amount of money. It’s more money than they have.

  19. Stlthy
    Stlthy December 12, 2008 at 1:54 am |

    nyu law libertarian, it sounds as if you do indeed have an anti-choice agenda, since what you’re proposing would prevent women from having abortions. As for second and third trimester abortions – they’re more often performed due to foetal abnormalities that aren’t compatible with life, and when the mother’s life or health is endangered. What is your problem with that?

    I’m guessing, though, that as a libertarian, you hyperventilate at the idea of any kind of social services. Ideology is so much more important than people’s lives, right?

    Funny how a lot of people who object to their godforsaken tax dollars paying for social services, but don’t mind the government paying trillions of dollars on wars. Hypocrites.

  20. nyu law libertarian
    nyu law libertarian December 12, 2008 at 2:04 am |

    yes, those pesky payroll taxes …

    But your right, I did a 24 hour workday plus an hour which is retarded. And it only adds up to 175 not 180 … you win on the math. A coup for feminists.

    But let me ask you this … if no one accepted indigents or Medicare who would you “beg your basic health from.” I guess if we don’t force other people to give us health care we are screwed. Or we could just pay for it. I thought feminists were all about self autonomy.

  21. nyu law libertarian
    nyu law libertarian December 12, 2008 at 2:06 am |

    * You’re

  22. Rebecca
    Rebecca December 12, 2008 at 2:16 am |

    I also sympathize with people who think abortion is the actual taking of life having to pay for something that is abhorrent to them.

    Do you sympathize with people who know that war is the actual taking of life having to pay for something that is abhorrent to them?

    I’ve never seen any laws trying to stop the use of taxpayer money for war.

    But in any case – NYU, Hyde Amendment. Hyde Amendment, NYU. I do hope the two of you will get on like a house on fire, particularly so that you, NYU, will stop harping on anti-choicers paying for others’ abortions.

  23. SarahMC
    SarahMC December 12, 2008 at 7:22 am |

    How about the Red Cross, Planned Parenthood, Doctors Without Borders, or the thousand private hospitals that have pro bono programs?

    Did you not just advocate de-funding PP?! PP can’t provide services for free unless they have the funding to pay for those services, and YOU are arguing that the funding be taken away because the organization is fiscally responsible.
    Why do you want to keep women from getting affordable cancer screenings? Why do you want to stop women from obtaining low-cost contraception? Why do you want more abortions, NYU?

  24. Julie
    Julie December 12, 2008 at 9:02 am |

    Yeah, I really don’t understand the math here at all. 7×8=56, nyu libertarian. Basic grade school math. So three days of work =168 meaning you can’t even cover it in three days, let alone one. Then add in the time you have to take off work for the appointment. Hell, I make a little over 10.00 an hour and 180 dollars would mean going without groceries or gas. Planned Parenthood provides a valuable service to women who are in desperate need of service and it makes me sick when people try to pull this “what about the baybeez?” crap. Look, I’m as pro-choice as they come, but I can admit that abortion makes me uncomfortable. So I support planned parenthood providing people with things that make abortion less necessary, because I actually care about a)women and b)reducing the need for abortion. It doesn’t make sense from any logical point of view to defund an organization that helps prevent abortion in the goal of having less abortions.

  25. Julie
    Julie December 12, 2008 at 9:05 am |

    Oh, and to make my comment more clear I also support abortion availability and public financing of abortion because I don’t think women should be forced to pay for their own necessary medical procedures. I don’t think anyone’s personal comfort level should enter the equation. I’m just saying even if you accept the premise that abortion is bad and evil, this policy STILL makes no sense if it’s about the “babies”. The only way this policy makes sense is if your actual goal is to harm women and punish them for having sex.

  26. littleapples
    littleapples December 12, 2008 at 10:01 am |

    Are you kidding me, nyu law libertarian? Look, I make $16.48 an hour as an admin. I’ll just be honest here. On top of rent, car payment, gas, and food, $180 for ONE FUCKING PAP SMEAR (which women have to get yearly) is a lot of money and without the awesome insurance that I have, I wouldn’t be able to afford it. Period.

    $7/hr? Do you honestly think that someone making $7/hr would be able to afford a $180 pap smear EVERY YEAR on top of food, gas, transportation, flu medication, the pill (which, guess what, PP provides for cheap!), asprin, fixing that flat tire when you drive on a nail, eye appointments, the dentist, and all that other much-needed and sometimes unexpected stuff that everyone has to pay for every day?

    Something tells me you don’t make $7/hr.

  27. SarahMC
    SarahMC December 12, 2008 at 10:21 am |

    Well, you should probably get some insurance.

    Wow.

  28. ACG
    ACG December 12, 2008 at 11:12 am |

    I think smoking is wrong. It’s a horrible, disgusting habit and a completely voluntary lifestyle choice, and nobody who smokes these days is unaware of the health risks of smoking. I don’t want my tax dollars going to treat someone who made the choice to put him/herself at risk for lung cancer and now needs expensive cancer treatments. Let the private clinics do it.

  29. Cara
    Cara December 12, 2008 at 11:33 am |

    I guess if we don’t force other people to give us health care we are screwed. Or we could just pay for it. I thought feminists were all about self autonomy.

    Shorter NYU: Get rich, or shut the fuck up!

    Actually, I do believe the phrase you’re looking for is “self reliance.” And no, we’re about a lot more than that. We’re about silly, communist things like social justice, too. THE KIND THAT TAKES UR TAX $$$$ OMG!!!11!1!!

  30. Cara
    Cara December 12, 2008 at 11:34 am |

    Also, is it just me, or does this style of libertarian remind you a hell of a lot of that NO IT’S MY TOY MINE MINE MINE I DON’T WANNA SHARE GET YOUR OWN IT’S MINE kid on the first grade playground?

  31. Maria P.
    Maria P. December 12, 2008 at 11:45 am |

    100% agreement with Slthy and Rebecca. I was incredibly relieved when I found out that I was going to get all of my taxes back last year, as the thought of my money working to kill Iraqis and Afghanis (and Americans!) made me sick. This is where my mom and I always get stuck in these kind of discussions. Although fabulous in just about every other way, the abortion (and gay marriage) issue is always the ‘agree to disagree’ point. I ask her why anti-abortion groups don’t also work to end the war, and all she can say is, “Well, we all have to pick our battles.” (Pun not intended, I think.)

    And agree with Bene too. One of the main reasons I left the US again is because of a pre-existing mental health condition that made insurance impossible. My out-of-pocket expenses for my meds are $700 in the US. Thankfully, I found an awesome private doctor who hooked me up with the ‘sample’ kits that the drug companies were always giving him. I realize, too, my incredible privilege of being the only kid of financially-secure parents!

    And I realize my incredible privilege in having a good education in a field that lets me live in a country where I /can/ afford essential drugs and treatment. Most Americans don’t have that option. That’s why, even if spending is cut in other areas (like wars, na?) public health must not go under the knife. Care about the unborn to your heart’s content, but don’t forget those already here and paying taxes.

  32. Maria P.
    Maria P. December 12, 2008 at 11:48 am |

    Agree with /Stlthy/, that is. Getting all worked up and inaccurate!

  33. littleapples
    littleapples December 12, 2008 at 12:08 pm |

    Yeah, SarahMC, that gave me pause. Because insurance is SO easy to get!!! And personal insurance (not getting it through work) is SO CHEAP! *rolls eyes* If anyone has ever been offered COBRA after being laid off, you will realize that health insurance is NOT CHEAP. I think, when I was let go from the state, it was over $400 a month. And I’m a single, young woman!

    It’s obvious that nyu law libertarian is talking out of his/her ass and has done no research and has no knowledge on the health care and health insurance industries work, let alone how people actually live. Anyone who says “Yeah, $7/hr, you can afford health insurance on your own! Or just save to pay for that $180 pap smear, every year!”

    Ugh, ridiculous.

  34. littleapples
    littleapples December 12, 2008 at 12:13 pm |

    obvs. my train of thought was out of wack, but i think y’all will understand what i was trying to say, even if i seem to be missing entire words. :D

  35. nyu law libertarian
    nyu law libertarian December 12, 2008 at 12:26 pm |

    For everyone that is calling me a hypocrite for supporting the war … I don’t. I don’t know where you got that from in any of my posts. I think Bush forcing you guys to pay for his war is just as wrong as you guys forcing other people to pay for some third parties abortion. I don’t think there has been one war worth fighting in this country since 1942.

    -”Shorter NYU: Get rich, or shut the fuck up!”

    You don’t have to get rich, just enough money to pay for your own basic needs. Also, there are millions of people in this world who will help anyone who hits dire straights without having the government force them to do it. So no one will starve or miss a pap smear. Let me make clear that I don’t want to just say fuck everyone else, live and let die. I just think helping people would be more efficient if the government got out of the way. Example being PP … they get tons of private donations. Also, when you give your money to the government they might spend it on … wait for it … some fucking middle eastern war nobody wants.

    -”NO IT’S MY TOY MINE MINE MINE I DON’T WANNA SHARE GET YOUR OWN IT’S MINE kid on the first grade playground?”

    I give to people all the time … share with others whenever I can. I love sharing. Member of the ACLU, donate to private charities, help my family out so they aren’t burdening others.

    You remind me of the bully on the playground that hits kids in the face and takes their lunch money to spend on what they want.

    -”I don’t think women should be forced to pay for their own necessary medical procedures.”

    Why? Should they pay for their own food, rent, transportation … or do you make other people pay for that too?

    -”Something tells me you don’t make $7/hr.”

    I have, and I was fine. I didn’t have a whole bunch to spend after obligations, but I still had a clean and safe life that I enjoyed. But of course I realize that here are going to be people out their who are in rough times for whatever reason. We should help them. But would you rather a poor women live in a HUD building or a Habitat For Humanity Building? I bet your answer is the privately funded latter.

  36. nyu law libertarian
    nyu law libertarian December 12, 2008 at 12:37 pm |

    straits*

  37. Cara
    Cara December 12, 2008 at 12:37 pm |

    I give to people all the time … share with others whenever I can. I love sharing. Member of the ACLU, donate to private charities, help my family out so they aren’t burdening others.

    Here’s your cookie. But I don’t see people in need as “burden,” including your and other people’s families.

    You remind me of the bully on the playground that hits kids in the face and takes their lunch money to spend on what they want.

    Yup, I remember that kid who was chosen by all of the other kids on the playground to collect a percentage of everyone’s money based on what they could afford, and then used it to make sure that people have basic living expenses! God, I hated that little fucker, didn’t everyone else? But actually, I’d be the kid speaking up in support of my vote, and doing my best to encourage that kid in charge to actually spend the money on things that save lives, rather than pocketing or giving into the demands of that selfish kid who doesn’t want to share their life-saving toys, or at least will only do so under their own rules, making sure that everyone properly lines up and begs first.

    I am officially done engaging. And I actually mean it this time. I have no patience, NONE, for this kind of bullshit.

  38. piny
    piny December 12, 2008 at 12:52 pm |

    yes, those pesky payroll taxes …

    But your right, I did a 24 hour workday plus an hour which is retarded. And it only adds up to 175 not 180 … you win on the math. A coup for feminists.

    But let me ask you this … if no one accepted indigents or Medicare who would you “beg your basic health from.” I guess if we don’t force other people to give us health care we are screwed. Or we could just pay for it. I thought feminists were all about self autonomy.

    Terminology aside…it’s not just that it’s stupid, although it was a very stupid thing to say. It’s stupid in a very telling way. It strongly indicates that you’ve never worked for a similar wage, and maybe that you’ve never worked for an hourly wage at all. It pretty much proves that you’ve never had to support yourself on minimum wage. Why else would you forget an eight-hour baseline? Why else would you forget to subtract payroll taxes?

    This is all kid stuff, in wage-slave terms. Payroll taxes are a really painful lesson you learn the very first time you get a paycheck. (Assuming that your parents’ fortunes haven’t brought it home already.) You don’t ever forget. And you wouldn’t ever argue that someone making seven bucks an hour works for twenty-five hours and nets seven times twenty-five dollars.

    Now, the standard libertarian response to this reality is, “Then wouldn’t it be great if we paid fewer taxes rather than more? National health insurance would only cost!” Your blithe ignorance about the real-life function of money rebuts this point on its own. Someone earning seven dollars an hour–here’s another rule of thumb, so write it down–makes about fourteen thousand a year, before taxes. Pesky payroll taxes are a significant deduction from that figure as well, but I’ll just front you the extra few thousand for simplicity’s sake.

    You want those people to drop three thousand dollars, or more than a fifth of their tiny income, on private health insurance. You think that our system should rely on that choice. Never mind that it’s flat-out unfeasible for just about every minimum-wage earner. Never mind that if you have a health problem or an actuarial pall, insurance is either astronomical or unavailable at any price.

    Our solution is governmental. Our solution would involve an obligatory payout on the part of the majority of working Americans. Our solution would certainly create a massive bureaucracy–or at least replace a massive private bureaucracy with a massive public one–and would probably create many opportunities for bureaucratic dysfunction. But do you have any idea how much inefficiency, how much waste, how much impossible failure must be intrinsic to that system before it could match the standard you’ve just set?

  39. littleapples
    littleapples December 12, 2008 at 12:54 pm |

    “I have, and I was fine. ”

    Yeah, and I made $8/hr and I was essentially fine. I also lived alone and did not have kids. I couldn’t afford a car but I was lucky enough to live in a city with okay public transportation (not great, but good enough for a single gal such as myself). I was also lucky enough not to need health insurance, because I didn’t get offered health insurance through work. I was lucky that I was healthy enough for it not to be a big deal.

    Of course, that changed when I sprained my ankle REALLY badly. I didn’t have health insurance, and there was no way I could pay for the exam on my own, and I made “too much” to get government help. I ended up having to deal with the sprained ankle on my own. I was lucky. What about those who aren’t as lucky as I was? And if I had had kids, I wouldn’t have been so lucky.

    Guess who took care of my yearly pap smears, cheaper than any doctor could have? That’s right, Planned Parenthood! I also got the pill through them. If it weren’t for planned parenthood, I would not have been able to do my yearly pap (WHICH IS VERY IMPORTANT AND EXPENSIVE, nor would I have been able to afford the pill. But PLANNED PARENTHOOD! was there to help me, and other women like me.

    You said “Just save for it yourself!” but then you say “someone will be willing to help!” You’re inconsistent.

    nyu law libertarian, it’s our obligation to keep people as healthy as we realistically can. If someone can’t afford the medical care THAT THEY NEED, then we need to step in and help them. Which is what Planned Parenthood does.

    If people aren’t kept healthy, then our health care costs will just skyrocket. It makes much more sense to fund (YES FUND, as in federally) preventative health care costs than it does to sit and wait until someone gets sick.

    Planned Parenthood has saved many women’s lives.

    If you’re against Planned Parenthood, and if you’re against federally funding Planned Parenthood, you are quite obviously anti-women and very uneducated.

  40. piny
    piny December 12, 2008 at 1:04 pm |

    I have, and I was fine. I didn’t have a whole bunch to spend after obligations, but I still had a clean and safe life that I enjoyed. But of course I realize that here are going to be people out their who are in rough times for whatever reason. We should help them. But would you rather a poor women live in a HUD building or a Habitat For Humanity Building? I bet your answer is the privately funded latter.

    (Does anyone else remember that we’re talking about funding Habitat for Humanity? Planned Parenthood is privately organized and maintained; it’s the governmental financial contribution that’s apparently the problem here, not some intrinsic socialized functional suckitude.)

    I still doubt it. Your situation was either very special or imaginary.

    This is a false dilemma: Habitat for Humanity has the money it has. It provides the help it can. You talk as though a categorical lack of government spending on public welfare were a fascinating hypothetical, floating umoored to reality.

    We had a system that relied almost exclusively on private charity. We organized via that system for most of modern history. It was miserable, and many more people died–and were sick and homeless. Welfare is an evolution from that, not a degeneration.

    Speaking as someone who has actually worked with private charities–including the Red Cross–and who has worked with them in a couple situations where they had to replace governmental relief, they aren’t a substitute. They simply aren’t big enough. And telling people that public welfare isn’t their obligation won’t fill their coffers or increase their scope by the order of magnitude required.

  41. piny
    piny December 12, 2008 at 1:08 pm |

    I was lucky enough to live in a city with okay public transportation (not great, but good enough for a single gal such as myself).

    Interesting. Which private charity created and maintained this transportation system?

  42. SarahMC
    SarahMC December 12, 2008 at 1:13 pm |

    I don’t think any man, woman or child should have to beg richer people for charity in order to feed and clothe themselves or to obtain basic medical care. I know people like you enjoy the feeling of being puppet-master of other people’s lives and all, but the charity of private citizens is not dependable.

  43. littleapples
    littleapples December 12, 2008 at 1:22 pm |

    “Which private charity created and maintained this transportation system”

    Ironically, no private charity! Ironically enough, I’m pretty sure Tax money is what maintained the transportation system! Ironically enoug, I bet nyu law libertarian has used PLENTY of things supported by tax money. If he’s ever been inside a museum, even… If he has children that go to public school…

    Nothing good ever comes out of publicly funded orginizations, does it?!?! (sarcasm, obviously!)

  44. piny
    piny December 12, 2008 at 1:34 pm |

    Well, the point I was making is that it is, sorta–private orgs like HfH and PP have a lot of experience in extrapolating the value of private contributions over a year. You can predict other things, too, like a sharp drop in charitable contributions during a recession, for example the one we’re in now.

    What you can’t do is expect private charity to function with the power or consistency of governmental relief: private orgs are smaller, and dependent on the kindness of donors. The government can get all fascist with your tax dollars, and decide not to accept a massive shortfall in postnatal healthcare during a lean year.

  45. nyu law libertarian
    nyu law libertarian December 12, 2008 at 1:44 pm |

    “You said “Just save for it yourself!” but then you say “someone will be willing to help!” You’re inconsistent”

    That’s not inconsistent.

    -”If you’re against Planned Parenthood, and if you’re against federally funding Planned Parenthood, you are quite obviously anti-women and very uneducated.”

    I’m not against PP. It’s a great privately funded organization. But I’m not going to make my evangelical uncle support it through his labors.

    -”it’s the governmental financial contribution that’s apparently the problem here, not some intrinsic socialized functional suckitude.”

    It’s really both. The moral question is the use of force to collect money to support a controversial PRIVATE charity that is PP off the backs of people who think they commit murder (even though that view point may be wrong). The second point is that yes, the “functional suckitude” of government programs is nothing BUT apparent … especially after Katrina and – in my appeal to the feminist sensibilities – HUD v. Habitat. How many women are raped in HUD housing each year? I wouldn’t let my worst enemy live there.

    -”We had a system that relied almost exclusively on private charity. We organized via that system for most of modern history. It was miserable, and many more people died–and were sick and homeless.”

    I disagree with your history. The reason people were miserable way back when (I’m not sure this is correct, modern people are more unhappy even with all the pap smears they can handle) is because of shit like polio and Nazis. But this is too broad a topic to debate here. I take it you think gov. programs has made everyone happier. I’ll just say that I disagree.

    Finally, according to the chart on the original post, the government funding accounts for only 33% of PP. It is a private organization. Everyone here is saying how wonderful this organization is. Wrapping this into the “functional suckitude” argument, it just proves my point. Private charities get shit done. I think the real disagreement here is whether state and federal expenditures should go to it. PP is extremely successful … they wouldn’t close their doors if the public funding dried up … so the moral problem of forcing others to support it should be avoided.

  46. Rob
    Rob December 12, 2008 at 3:02 pm |

    Somehow I don’t expect these same people to agitate for funding cuts to CPC’s. Indeed, it’s clear that “pro-life” organizations are against women, as has been made abundantly clear.

    PS: I think from Capella describes most effed-up fundie fetus fanatics well.

  47. Rebecca
    Rebecca December 12, 2008 at 4:04 pm |

    Ohshit NYU you are just incredibly dumb.

    You don’t have to get rich, just enough money to pay for your own basic needs. Also, there are millions of people in this world who will help anyone who hits dire straights without having the government force them to do it. So no one will starve or miss a pap smear. Let me make clear that I don’t want to just say fuck everyone else, live and let die. I just think helping people would be more efficient if the government got out of the way. Example being PP … they get tons of private donations. Also, when you give your money to the government they might spend it on … wait for it … some fucking middle eastern war nobody wants.

    There are several things wrong with this block of text.
    1. Basic needs…like housing, food, transportation, and healthcare? I’m not sure what basic need you would cut out, given what other commenters have demonstrated.

    2. I doubt you’re seriously suggesting tax evasion on account of the war. We don’t pay taxes because they might support PP patients rather than Blackwater CEOs, we pay them because it is the law.

    3. If private charities and individuals so reliably help the poor, why the fuck is poverty still a problem?

    I’m not against PP. It’s a great privately funded organization. But I’m not going to make my evangelical uncle support it through his labors.

    Yet you’d still like to make us support abstinence-only education or CPCs or anti-gay charities or yes, war?

    The reason people were miserable way back when (I’m not sure this is correct, modern people are more unhappy even with all the pap smears they can handle) is because of shit like polio and Nazis.

    …wtf.

  48. piny
    piny December 12, 2008 at 4:13 pm |

    The second point is that yes, the “functional suckitude” of government programs is nothing BUT apparent … especially after Katrina and – in my appeal to the feminist sensibilities – HUD v. Habitat. How many women are raped in HUD housing each year? I wouldn’t let my worst enemy live there.

    You don’t want to talk about privatization and Katrina. You know who took a leadership role in keeping some of those poor people from total devastation, in its laudable but still inadequate way? Your friends, the Red Cross. You know why? Because the government refused to do its job–had a prior policy of dismantling the structures that enabled it to do its job. Was it more moral to refuse to force taxpayers to support the infrastructure that helps mitigate disasters, or mobilizes relief efforts on a national scale? Lotta controversy over the right to life of destitute elderly black people in Plaquemines and Lafourche, IIRC. Katrina wasn’t a massive, massively-funded bureaucracy that refused to step up. It was a spavined, massively-defunded bureaucracy that couldn’t.

    Same with HUD. You’re not looking at an efficiency shortfall; you’re looking at a categorical difference in need and needs met. Charities, by your own logic, operate independent of fiat and pipeline. They also predate social welfare. If they were a solution to the scale problems state welfare has to solve, state welfare would be neither necessary nor competitive. The charity model would win. In other words, HUD doesn’t exist because HfH isn’t allowed to pick up the slack. It exists because HfH can’t. HfH builds better homes; it builds fewer homes; it houses fewer people.

    And now one of those private organizations is insisting–correctly–that its capacity is enhanced by government funding, and that private status will keep it puny and default women into want. You insist that they can do the big job with none of the cooperative obligation that defines collective providence: they have to serve everyone and please everyone at the same time. Their current problem argues against your rule: their public worth can prevail over controversy and draw down public help, or they can make massive cutbacks in their portion of the public good.

    And polio? (and smallpox, and influenza, and syphilis, and pellagra, and TB, and cholera….) (And even Nazis?) Yeah, the government never does anything but waste our damn money. Toddlers didn’t stop nursing cholera out of contaminated watered beer because of a magical increase in the profit margin of clean water for slums (or real milk for broke babies).

    We all got better because we stopped telling their mothers to look out for themselves and started letting our elected officials dun us to save lives. It was maybe easier to be good back when your housemaid could cough a little premature death into your sheets, too. It wasn’t like now, when poverty-related lack of healthcare poses no general risk wrt infectious disease *blood-spattered cough* tuberculosis *blood-spattered cough*. Public health has never been a shining star in the private-sector crown.

  49. nyu law libertarian
    nyu law libertarian December 12, 2008 at 4:22 pm |

    -”Yet you’d still like to make us support abstinence-only education or CPCs or anti-gay charities or yes, war?”

    If you had read the rest of the thread you would have seen that I, in fact, don’t want you to have to pay for abstinence only education, war or anti gay charities. My whole point is that the way you feel about your tax dollars going to that shit is the same as some feel about their tax money going to PP. I’m taking the middle position and saying you are both right. Bush and the evangelicals are wrong for making you do that just as the liberals and PP are wrong for making others pay for their stuff. Get it? … you’re both doing the same thing to each other.

    Why is poverty such a problem? Isn’t this question more damning of your position? Given the expenditures of the federal government on Medicaid, SS, and other humanitarian ventures … why is poverty still a problem? Why are the D.C. schools fucking worthless when they are the most well funded in the nation (the Feds spend millions on them and they still fail). I don’t know.

  50. Rebecca
    Rebecca December 12, 2008 at 5:10 pm |

    If you had read the rest of the thread you would have seen that I, in fact, don’t want you to have to pay for abstinence only education, war or anti gay charities. My whole point is that the way you feel about your tax dollars going to that shit is the same as some feel about their tax money going to PP. I’m taking the middle position and saying you are both right. Bush and the evangelicals are wrong for making you do that just as the liberals and PP are wrong for making others pay for their stuff. Get it? … you’re both doing the same thing to each other.

    And your solution? Since we don’t have a system that would let taxpayers opt out of paying for things they don’t support, why not protect everyone’s conscience equally?

    Why is poverty such a problem? Isn’t this question more damning of your position?

    Except our position isn’t “public money will solve everything,” whereas your position is “private money will solve everything.”

  51. nyu law libertarian
    nyu law libertarian December 12, 2008 at 5:28 pm |

    -”Except our position isn’t “public money will solve everything,” whereas your position is “private money will solve everything.””

    My position isn’t that ‘private money will solve everything.’ I don’t think we have the capacity as a species to “solve everyones problems.” The main point is that we can avoid creating more problems and a whole lot of grief by not having to fight each other over the Federal Budget. If you put the money back in the hands of individuals, or even local governments like school boards and city councils, you will avoid a harm. Hell, you’ll avoid the irritating arguments with libertarian kids from NYU over PP. Bush has done more to help me convince liberals that this position is the correct one by spending all their tax dollars on shit that they hate. Now Obama is going to help convince Social Conservatives of the same thing. You wonder why a Presidential election costs a billion? Because whoever gets power gets Treasury; and half the country gets livid. Just don’t forget what it felt like when Bush won his second term in the wake happy times being here again for the left. If you reduce the importance of the federal government another Republican take over will hurt a lot less.

  52. Rebecca
    Rebecca December 12, 2008 at 7:10 pm |

    The main point is that we can avoid creating more problems and a whole lot of grief by not having to fight each other over the Federal Budget. If you put the money back in the hands of individuals, or even local governments like school boards and city councils, you will avoid a harm.

    There will always be fighting about budget priorities, and neglecting important issues like healthcare in order to avoid conflict is pretty stupid. (And yes, school boards and local councils fight over things too.)

    If you reduce the importance of the federal government another Republican take over will hurt a lot less.

    I’m not sure whether I find this argument disingenuous or pointless.
    –Under Bush, the federal government expanded. This after Clinton tried to contract it. Precedent isn’t always important.
    –A strong Democratic federal government can neutralize Republicans at the state level.
    –It would seem that the ideal would be to oppose the hypothetical Republican’s positions when he comes to power, rather than refrain from doing good out of fear that the system will be abused in future.

  53. Bene
    Bene December 12, 2008 at 7:21 pm |

    NYULL, I spent a good minute or so trying to figure out what the hell you’re on about with the war and the Bush administration, but I’m sorta giving up.

    Essentially, I think the issue is this–just because the liberal stance is to socialize does not mean the liberal stance is leave the bureaucratic structure the way it is. Period. To say ‘well, fine, we just have to fund all of this privately, screw the government’ is, frankly, throwing the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to eventually having a productive system. You can’t rework things by not funding them. It’s an empty threat, it gets things absolutely nowhere.

    Believe me, I have little interest in throwing money at the gov’t wall and seeing if it sticks. The liberal ideal is to change the system, not just insist on current status quo practices. To say that it is would be working from false premises.

  54. Stlthy
    Stlthy December 13, 2008 at 4:35 am |

    NYULL–

    I’ve got to admit, I roll my eyes whenever someone identifies her- or himself as a libertarian, because they’re inevitably going to trot out the same ideologically driven drivel. Ditto for fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, or any combination thereof.

    I brought up taxpayer $$$ funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan because libertarians and ‘fiscal conservatives’ seem to spend a great deal of time whining about social services and generally express very little concern about the billions of dollars of taxpayer money being spent on wars, paying Blackwater mercenaries, and on and on. Ditto Christian fundamentalists who rabidly support any and all wars, but insist they’re oh so pro-life because of their great concern with fetuses.

    As for your Evangelical uncle — well, unless he gets off on women dying from undetected, untreated cervical cancer and STIs, he can suck it up and accept that an incredibly miniscule proportion of his tax dollars are going to fund an organisation that performs a procedure he doesn’t happen to like. He can also accept that his taxes aren’t funding that particular procedure, but potentially life saving functions like cervical cancer exams and STI treatment (and so on) and contraception, which will reduce abortions. If he’s truly pro-life rather than just a hypocritical, misogynistic ideologue, he’ll learn to appreciate the activities of PP, because they’re doing more to save lives and reduce unwanted pregnancies (thus abortions) than he’s doing by whining.

    Sorry to get angry, but damnit, libertarians and conservatives piss me off.

  55. GumbyAnne
    GumbyAnne December 13, 2008 at 11:12 am |

    If you were, in fact, able to live a decent life on $7/hr, I bet you didn’t have any kids to support. That is true for a hell of a lot of people and for many of them, Planned Parenthood is the only thing standing between them and total financial ruin (that is, the difference between supporting yourself and going on welfare, mr. libertarian).

    In my city, having one kid in day care 40 hours a week costs about what you make working 40 hours at minimum wage. The ability to control when you reproduce is absolutely basic to the ability to support yourself if you are a low income woman and that is what PP does. The idea of cutting 33% of its funding (and therefore 33% of its services) as some kind of lesson about self-reliance is just perverse in light of what PP really does for women.

    And about the cost of pap smears: the numbers cited in this thread are assuming that the test comes back normal and no further action is required. Too bad a lot of people get an abnormal result and have to go for further testing and maybe future treatment for a condition, up to and including cancer. Don’t think that just cause somebody can scrape together 200 bucks for a pap that they are in the clear until next year. If that were the case, paps wouldn’t even be necessary because we would be living in a magic land where nobody ever had a medical problem.

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