Obama getting it wrong on birth control

Well, I suppose my Best Week Ever had to end sometime. Reportedly Barack Obama is “begging” Sen. Henry Waxman to pull contraception funding from the economic stimulus package.

Republicans are bloviating about how the provision, which makes it easier for states to expand Medicaid coverage of contraceptives, is wasteful and somehow subsidizing abortion. House Republican leader John Boehner is leading the charge, asking, “How can you spend hundreds of millions of dollars on contraceptives? How does that stimulate the economy?”

Well, as Cory Richards points out on RH Reality Check, the $825 billion stimulus package already includes $87 billion to help states with Medicaid. And that’s not just because when the economy is bad and jobs are lost, more people rely on government benefits — it’s also because state programs are hurting, and Medicaid spending helps to create new jobs. While I doubt this is part of the calculus, I’ll also throw it out there that a healthy workforce is a more efficient and effective workforce; further, having children you can’t afford is certainly a financial burden.

Either way, though, Medicaid spending generally isn’t being attacked; it’s contraception spending. The reason that contraception is even in the package in the first place is because of Bush administration rules that made states specifically request federal government permission to fund contraception services. And contraception spending saves money in the long run — some $200 million over five years, according to a Congressional Budget Office evaluation of a nearly identical plan from 2007. This will surprise none of us, but contraception is a lot cheaper than the medical expenses related to pregnancy and childbirth.

And of course there’s the abortion issue. Boehner claims that funding contraception is a subsidy for “the abortion industry” — proving again that this isn’t about fiscal responsibility or taxpayer dollars, but about controlling women’s bodies and punishing women for having sex. From Cory:

Coming from a member who is adamantly antiabortion, Rep. Boehner’s opposition is doubly ironic, since publicly funded family planning services significantly reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions that occur. Each year, the contraceptive services provided just at publicly funded clinics help women avoid 1.4 million unintended pregnancies, which would result in 640,000 unintended births and 600,000 abortions. Without these services, the number of abortion performed each year in the United States would be 49% higher than it currently is.

I wish President Obama would just repeat that paragraph ad nauseum.

Update: Thanks a lot, liberal male allies. You mean a Democratic president made “concessions” on the backs of low-income women and it didn’t earn him any benefits from Republicans? Shocking, just shocking. And if you were looking for a reason to scratch your own eyeballs out this fine evening, read the comments.

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64 comments for “Obama getting it wrong on birth control

  1. Sarah
    January 27, 2009 at 11:37 am

    Seriously. I just wrote Waxman (even though I’m not in his district – shhh) to ask him not to let it go. If tons of people do that, it might be harder for him to cave.

  2. Kristen (The J one)
    January 27, 2009 at 11:47 am

    So the score for the last seven days is…progressives 5, asshats 2 (ahem…tax cuts as well).

    They’re gaining on us!!!!

  3. Clayton
    January 27, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    I’m crossing my fingers that Obama is doing this to pass the stimulus with the intention that he’ll provide money for contraception from another non-stimulus source. I think a big fight, if it came to that, over contraception spending involving stimulus money would be bad news for everyone.

  4. M
    January 27, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Wait – what kind of logic makes providing more contraception mean supporting abortion?!? More contraception = less unwanted babies. There is no question of that.

    The hypocrisy is so clear. This has nothing to do with contraception. It only has to do with the idea of dictating the Puritan morality of not wanting people to have sex without the purpose of creating children. As if the absence of contraceptives will stop people from having sex.

    I’m tired of the government constantly catering to the fundamentalist Christians. They are the most protected, catered to group of people in this country, all the while QQing incessantly about any small loses in the constant ‘culture war’ they impose on the rest of the public.

  5. Kathy
    January 27, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    This is supposed to be an “economic recovery plan” not a way for Obama and the democratic party to payback supporters who voted them into office (planned parenthood).

    There are people who are losing their homes, can’t feed their kids, can’t fill their gas tanks and we want to give them contraceptives. Ridiculous.

  6. TG
    January 27, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Sarah, how did you contact Waxman? The web page bounces me for being in the wrong zip code. (And seriously, why? What good is it to write my Rep if she’s not on the relevant committee?)

  7. January 27, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Clayton- but that’s what always happens. What is good for women is sacrificed on the basis that the “larger good” will be served. This is “trickle down” sociology. If women wait, eventually we can see the effect. That is the same old indirect access that women have always had to economic security and social capital, etc. – through fathers, husbands, brothers, sons. In this case, I guess women will have to marry a man that gets an infrastructure job. Until we recognize as a society (and government) that what is good for women promotes the larger good it will never change. Some time. Some where. Some how. We have to insist on this.

  8. January 27, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Obama is missing something.

    He wants bipartisan support. He has preemptively trimmed the package to get Republicans to support it, to take partial ownership. Yet they have not come around. Obama appears to think this can be fixed. It can’t.

    Republicans destroyed the economy and our position in the world. Their base, demographically, is shrinking. They are out of power. If Obama solves crises and puts the world right, the Republicans are the problem party and the Democrats are the solution party and they are in the wilderness for a generation.

    Any dream of bipartisanship is delusion. The Republicans need to destroy Obama. They need his administration to be an abject failure, of they are out of power for the rest of their careers, and their post-public lives are far less lucrative. Obama needs to succeed despite them, and in every case over their opposition.

    Those are the facts.

    Also, good to know that, when the first opportunity to throw GLBT folks under the bus came, he took it, and when the first opportunity to throw reproductive autonomy under the bus came, he took it.

  9. Clayton
    January 27, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Jane Lane, that makes sense. I guess I’m just hoping that the money makes it to the states at all, at this point. Good on the people who tried to get it passed.

  10. LiserDoesLaw
    January 27, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    I think a lot of people are missing the point here. It’s not whether the statistics for saving money by providing contraception are true, and it’s not whether contraception funds the “abortion agency” or not. This debate is about what belongs in an economic stimulus package.

    Whether or not you think contraception should be included in the stimulus package (and I do think it belongs there because it saves money, hence an economic benefit), chances are it’s the first special interest request to get dropped. The reasons that it’s the first to get dropped anger me, but what angers me more is that other requests will remain in the bill, presumably because they’re less “controversial” or just because they’ve been overlooked by the GOP in their pissy “I hate pork” crusade.

    But the question that remains is what to do from here. Maybe the stimulus package isn’t the place for special interest requests at all. Maybe funding requests that don’t have to do with immediate job creation should be passed on their own merit. Maybe the pro-choice lobbying focus should be to get this type of important bill passed on its own without piggybacking the economic stimulus package.

    Just a thought. I’m angry that my cause is the first to go and I think to level the playing field so that all interests are represented, none of it should be in there at all.

  11. ucsbclassics53
    January 27, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    Republicans will NEVER come around until they have 100% of what they wanted in the stimulus bill, that is their idea of bipartisanship…and even if they got everything they wanted, they would still whine and moan about something, the victims they always love to frame themselves as…

  12. January 27, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    I wonder how the “begging” was verified… digital photos of him on his knees, hands clasped?

    In any event, seeing as Boehner’s tipped his hand, the House leadership is free to ignore this “”””begging””””.

  13. tql
    January 27, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    I am a supporter of states funding contraceptives through public programs, but the provision you all are so up in arms about really doesn’t belong in the economic stimulus package. The Medicaid provisions in the stimulus package are mostly tied to people losing jobs and helping states with a higher match to cover the increases in Medicaid spending they are experiencing with more people unemployed or to expand coverage.

    I have to agree that, politically and pragmatically speaking, I say take it out if it is going to cost this the stimulus package as a WHOLE from having bipartisan support. Removing this provision so does not completely do away with family planning waiver programs. it just maintains the current waiver process for getting the waivers approved. Waivers that will likely be much more likely approved in this administration than under Bush.

  14. shah8
    January 27, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    One thing I’d like people to be aware of, is that the media in general is concern trolling for all it can get away with.

    Secondly, Obama is seriously too much like George Thomas at times. Very deliberate and joint logistial-tactical minded. It’s hard to tell what is sausage-making and what is spineless. At any rate, it will be longer before we can say much of anything about what he really is.

    At the end of the day, Republicans are being pigs who are trying to get Obama to wrestle them. They hate the whole stimulus plan, but it’s popular. Thus they go after small stuff. I’m getting a gnawing suspicion that Obama is taking advantage of a certain play and that the leaks are targeted at US rather than at Republicans. He’s trying to demostrate a “reasonable” attitude before passing what he wants to pass.

    Just a reminder, the rider in question makes it *easier* for states to access cash for contraceptive materials rather than *creates* access to contraceptive materials. This has little more meaning than symbolic, I think. That business tax cut are a more serious give-in.

  15. Ken
    January 27, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    I think every little child, every person is precious; a gift from God, and that abortion and the culture of death tends to corrupt everything. How many artists and musicians, doctors and mathematicians have we allowed to be killed since we legalized abortion some 35 years ago?

    It is important that we understand the big picture, that each person, no matter how humble, brings something to the table. We should understand that as a society, as long as we allow or even promote abortions, because of how via legal abortion, we are so short-sightedly sacrificing our future for perceived immediate gain, we all lose.

    Honestly it seems that in general, pro-choice and the abortionists tend to prefer that poor women abort their kids. Nobody would encourage a Kennedy or other rich folks to have abortions. There are no abortion clinics on Martha’s Vineyard. No, most abortion houses are in poor neighborhoods, and proportionally, abortionists target Blacks and other poor minority women. In fact, women deserve better than abortion.

    The fact of the matter is that Planned Parenthood’s famed founder Margret Sanger was a stone-hearted racist from the old Eugnenics school of thought and sadly, in general among the so-called pro-choice crowd those cold-hearted narrow minded attitudes, while quieter and couched in softer tones, still prevail.

    As we nowadays wonder how slavery could have been legal for so long in our land, future Americans will look back at our time and wonder how we could have been so cruel and ignorant.

  16. January 27, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    And that’s not just because when the economy is bad and jobs are lost, more people rely on government benefits — it’s also because state programs are hurting, and Medicaid spending helps to create new jobs. While I doubt this is part of the calculus, I’ll also throw it out there that a healthy workforce is a more efficient and effective workforce

    Bravo. Healthy workplace policies allow for greater productivity and stress release for the employee as well as cutting insurance costs for the employer by being proactive in regards to the individual worker’s health. Considering contraception as a part of a wider healthcare initiative for business is smart.

  17. Jessica
    January 27, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    “Medicaid spending helps to create new jobs.”

    F’real. My friend has been looking for counseling/psychologist jobs and was stuck for a long time because most of the places that hire people like her (recently graduated, early in her career with little experience) are Medicare or Medicaid funded and those places just don’t have the money to bring on new staff now.

    It seems clear enough to me that funding these kinds of programs will create jobs in exactly the same way that funding transportation infrastructure repair & construction would. Only maybe a higher percentage of these jobs would be held by women.

  18. Jon
    January 27, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Please sponsor me in the Bowl-a-Thon to help raise $200 for Pro Choice Resources. Your help will ensure that no woman faces barriers to reproductive health and personal freedom.

    Read about why I support Pro Choice Resources: http://opinioniv.blogspot.com/2009/01/pro-choice-bowl-thon.html

    Or donate directly here: http://my.campagne-online.com/personalPage.aspx?registrationID=29691

  19. January 27, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    House Republican leader John Boehner is leading the charge, asking, “How can you spend hundreds of millions of dollars on contraceptives? How does that stimulate the economy?”

    If Boehner thinks abortion is an industry, why doesn’t he see that pharmaceuticals, like oral contraceptives, are an industry? And since when are Republicans opposed to giving federal money to private industry? Oh yeah. When it goes to helping people.

  20. William
    January 27, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    My friend has been looking for counseling/psychologist jobs and was stuck for a long time because most of the places that hire people like her (recently graduated, early in her career with little experience) are Medicare or Medicaid funded and those places just don’t have the money to bring on new staff now.

    As someone in the same business I have to say: huh? If your friend is licensed at the doctoral level (and if she isn’t then she isn’t qualified for a psychologist position) then Medicare pays out at an hourly (if somewhat meager) rate. An agency doesn’t have to worry about having the money to bring staff on because those types of jobs tend to be semi-independent. As long as they have the office space, a locking file cabinet, and a reliable referral source they should be good. Medicaid, on the other hand…they’re just a nightmare.

  21. January 27, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    Just like the trolls who have shown up on this thread, no Republican is going to change his or her mind and support the bailout bill because this provision has been taken out. The new (and only) Republican strategy for reinvigorating their support base is to oppose the bailout. Succumbing to their woman hate and moving target will not change this. Contraception funding will increase more immediate jobs and state funds than the corporate tax breaks in this plan.

    Oh, and troll idiots, I can’t resist. CONTRACEPTION PREVENTS UNPLANNED PREGNANCY AND ABORTION. Get some logic.

  22. Ismone
    January 27, 2009 at 6:52 pm


    I think you’re missing something, which is that in order to make up for existing Bush policies which decreased medicare spending on contraception, the additional contraceptive spending is necessary to get them back to what they were pre-Bush. Here is a planned parenthood release regarding how Title X funding hasn’t even kept pace with inflation. http://www.plannedparenthood.org/issues-action/birth-control/title-x-family-planning-funding-21013.htm

    Hey, Ken,

    The man who invented the first birth control pill was a Catholic.

  23. Ismone
    January 27, 2009 at 6:53 pm


    If they cannot feed their kids, don’t you think contraceptives to prevent them from having even more kids that they cannot feed might be a good idea?

  24. Stlthy
    January 27, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    I hate the fact that ‘bipartisanship’ always seems to equal Democrats moving toward the Right. And trying to placate the Christian right is pointless, because they have a pathological persecution complex and won’t be satisfied unless they control everything 100 percent. Even then they’d probably find something to complain about.

    Also, Ken, congratulations!! You managed to incorporate almost every ridiculous anti-choice argument into your comment. ‘What if Mozart had been aborted?!!!’, slavery comparisons, the idea that abortion providers are chasing women down the street, dragging them into clinics and forcing them to have abortions, that the practical problems with banning abortion (women dying from unsafe abortions because abortion doesn’t magically go away when it’s illegal, and so on) are less important than ‘sending a message’, and so on and so forth. The only thing you forgot was a Holocaust comparison. And I just cannot take seriously anyone who uses the term ‘abortionist’.

  25. Anne
    January 27, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    It would not shock me at all if he is asking for the contraception funding to be scrapped. I don’t think he would hesitate in the slightest to screw women over. And then of course in the grand tradition of politcians, insist he didn’t turn a blind eye to his base.

  26. Christina
    January 27, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    The Medicaid Family Planning State Option will save the government money, help ensure a healthy workforce and help ensure that people who lose their jobs can continue to receive health care services. The Congressional Budget Office estimates it would save the federal government $700 million over ten years. This frees up hundreds of millions of dollars to go toward other pressing state and national priorities during these tough economic times.

    In California alone, independent evaluations of the current family planning expansions have significant estimated cost savings – approximately $1.5 billion annually in state and federal government savings from costs associated with unintended pregnancy. Allowing a waiver also saves state administrative costs in tough budget times.

    The Medicaid Family Planning State Option would allow millions of low income women to obtain basic health care including breast and cervical cancer screenings. It extends safety net health care coverage for millions who are losing their jobs and health insurance in the economic downturn.

    It is appalling to me that our President and the Democratic Leadership caved so quickly on such an important issue.

  27. Ken
    January 27, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    Well then Stlthy, what do you call the person who performs abortions? Also, I was trying to be polite; everyone knows the most prominent promoters of Eugenics were the nazis.

    Other than getting shrill about Mozart or slavery comparisons, how do you account for what might have become of the many children we have dumped in the garbage. If they had been given the chance to live, what might they have done with their lives? Surely not all of them would have been Mozarts, but a mechanic or an electrician or a farmer is as valuable. Do you not think those kids deserved a chance at life? And of course the pro-choice position that anyone has the right to kill their baby is not that far removed from the right of one person to own another (slavery). It involves the straighforward devaluation of the life of one person, solely for the benefit of another.

    I try to be open minded, and I am always willing to listen and try to be polite, but honestly, in all the time I have discussed this subject, I simply do not see the pro-choice point or how they justify their position.

    As for President Obama, while I do not agree with his thinking on abortion, I do in fact think he is a decent man and I hope he will help the country, especially in things related to Muslim nations. He has a lot of work in that regard, to unravel the problems Bush had with Muslims.

    Our economy is down now, but that will bounce back via the ingenuity of the Americans, and maybe with some help from government stimulus deal. However in reality any president is only one man and domestically, our Congress and the Fed holds more sway. Inside of a year, Obama’s influence of domestic politics will wane a bit and while he will have some influence, power will tend to shift back to Congress (it usually does, regardless of who is president).

    The president has more control over foreign affairs and we definitely need some real leadership when it comes to international relations. That will involve more than handing out money (of which we currently do not have that much to spare), and I think that regarding foreign affairs, Obama would do well to try to focus on: dealing with Mexico (i.e., amnesty for the indocumentados) and in improving our relations with Arab lands.

    In short, I think Obama should of course work with Congress on the economy, and that he should spend some real time improving our international relations. I do not think he should waste political capital on promoting abortion.

    It is true that legal abortion is the law of the land. It is also true that many Americans honestly feel that abortion is murder plain and simple. Given the controversial nature of abortion, that so many Americans have such strong religious and/or philosophical objections to abortion, it is not too much to ask that taxpayer money not be used to pay for abortions. Plus, if abortionists are such philanthropic souls, when the occasion calls for it, they should be willing to do the deed pro-bono.

    There is certainly no reason the US taxpayer should subsidize a for-profit outfit like Planned Parenthood.

  28. January 27, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    I wrote him a note about this through the White House website.

  29. Angela
    January 27, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    “I’ll also throw it out there that a healthy workforce is a more efficient and effective workforce; further, having children you can’t afford is certainly a financial burden.”

    Jill, not having children is not indicative of a healthy, efficient and effective workforce, but it’s the ability to prevent, intervene and monitor diseases, like heart disease, diabeties, and cancer, that keeps a population healthy.

    To my knowledge, I was not aware that children were considered a diease process.

  30. January 27, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    Sure, Angela. And last I checked, it’s an awfully big burden on a worker for her to be pregnant when she doesn’t want to be. It’s probably going to make her less healthy, efficient and effective.

  31. January 27, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    Ken, two quick things:

    1. Taxpayer money doesn’t pay for abortions. Even tax money that goes to Planned Parenthood cannot be used to fund abortion. See the Hyde Amendment. It’s been the law for a few decades now.

    2. Medical procedures cost money. Does anyone impugn the motives of heart surgeons or OB/GYNs or ER docs because they don’t do their work for free? Why should only abortion practitioners perform surgery for free? (And FYI, abortion practitioners often do perform procedures for bare-bones costs — there aren’t very many other surgeries you can get in this country for $500).

    Also, this provision had NOTHING TO DO WITH ABORTION. It’s about contraception funding — and not really, even. It’s basically about allowing states to extend Medicaid coverage of contraception without getting federal permission.

  32. Butch Fatale
    January 27, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    Who are Pro-Choice and the Abortionists? A new band?

  33. urbanartiste
    January 27, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    Putting funding for contraceptives aside, this package is very dominant on jobs classified as male dominant. Since it is women that also contribute to families by having to work, this bothers me more than medicaid funding.

  34. tql
    January 27, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    urbanartiste – you are exactly right! I find it fascinating that women’s organizations are up in arms about this SMALL provision of a HUGE package to stimulate the economy and provide jobs but have been silent on the push for “shovel ready jobs” and no mention of occupations that are primarily female that have experienced cutbacks and stagnant wages.

  35. Clayton
    January 28, 2009 at 12:55 am

    What’s with the language of the update hyperlink? Does Matthew Yglesias have a hidden blog title “liberal male allies”, or am I missing something? Matthew Yglesias doesn’t speak for all of us.

  36. Angela
    January 28, 2009 at 1:01 am

    “Sure, Angela. And last I checked, it’s an awfully big burden on a worker for her to be pregnant when she doesn’t want to be. It’s probably going to make her less healthy, efficient and effective.”

    Say what!?

    Jill, you seem like a very nice person, but in this country, if a working woman who gets herself pregnant and doesn’t want to be, then tough kittens. In this age of technology, you can look up any information you want on the internet and find answers.

    What good is harping on wanting access to contraceptives (and you do have it), when you don’t exercise good judgement and use them on a consistent basis?

  37. Christina
    January 28, 2009 at 1:26 am

    This isn’t just about providing condoms – it’s about allowing states to have medicare coverage for men and women’s reproductive health. This includes cervical and breast cancer screenings. This includes providing information on preventing STIs. This includes helping a woman plan so she has a healthy pregnancy and baby. This is about women and the lack of focus and priority our leaders place on our needs and our health.

  38. The Amazing Kim
    January 28, 2009 at 5:14 am

    What with all this bridge-building going on, there seem to be so many more trolls hiding underneath…

    People are advocating restriction of prescribed medication ? Really? And what’s this bipartisan thing – didn’t the democrats win the last election? Does “winning” mean something I’m not aware of, like “conceding”?

    I’m getting the feeling it’s because contraception is seen as frivolous

  39. Stlthy
    January 28, 2009 at 7:57 am


    1. ‘Abortion provider’ is fine.

    2. Who’s dumping children in the garbage? That’s just silly. Foetus != child. Who knows if the foetuses would have become famous composers? Who knows if they would have become serial killers?

    3. Pro-choice position is that the mother’s autonomy & right not to be property of the state outweighs the right of a foetus to be gestated. You can disagree, but you can do so while keeping your nose out of my medical and reproductive decisions.

    4. Did you just compare pro-choicers to Nazis? And you want to be taken seriously? (Since you’ve already Godwinned yourself, you should know that Hitler banned abortion, thus you’re supporting Nazi policies.)

    5. This thread is about contraception funding, and I’m going to stop derailing. Sorry, Jill.

  40. January 28, 2009 at 8:00 am

    Weird, Angela, I just used your age to technology suggestion to find out how the heck women get themselves pregnant, and nothing seems to be turning up — perhaps you can tell me how one goes about spontaneously conceiving?

    And answers are great, but if you can’t afford to pay for contraception, you’re still in trouble. All the internet-surfing in the world isn’t going to help. Your point seems to be, “Women who get pregnant should know better, but I’m going to support a position that makes sure they don’t know better and that they aren’t given access to the tools they need.” It’s bizarre.

  41. Kristen (the J one)
    January 28, 2009 at 10:22 am


    Those people shouldn’t be having sex! If you’re poor in America, you don’t deserve comfort or pleasure or intimacy. And if you violate this precept a heterosexual woman should be “punished”* with pregnancy and ultimately with a child. Who cares if pregnancy may result in a loss of employment, significant health problems or death? Who cares if a child grows up in poverty or if hir siblings grow up in more extreme poverty because of hir birth? The only thing that’s important is punishing people who are poor.

    * yup, babies are punishment…hence the tough “tough kittens”.

  42. Kathy
    January 28, 2009 at 10:41 am

    Who has been in control of Congress for the past several years? The Democrats. They have been making the majority of decisions regarding the lending practices at the banks which was one of the huge causes of the financial crisis we are in. It doesn’t help that no one sees what is happening before their eyes. Everyone is too busy placing blame somewhere else. The currect stimulus plan (which is what we are talking about here) is just a huge earmark that will cost the American taxpayers a bundle for years to come. Open your eyes—Obama states that no earmarks will be allowed and his stimulus plan is one big earmark. Let’s stop going down memory lane and start dealing in reality before it’s too late. Contraception has no business being in an economic recovery plan. Any fool should be able to see that.

  43. January 28, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Thank you for posting about this immensely important topic. The fact that people still do not understand why family planning is an integral part of economic stimulus boggles my mind.

    I think on this issue, the Dems should simply use their strength in numbers and stop trying to get bi-partisan support. The Republicans had control of the country long enough and as far as I can see they haven’t done anything of real value. Time for a change–not a concession.

  44. Endor
    January 28, 2009 at 11:41 am

    That Ms. cover is looking more than a little silly now.

    “Putting funding for contraceptives aside, this package is very dominant on jobs classified as male dominant. Since it is women that also contribute to families by having to work, this bothers me more than medicaid funding.”

    Agreed. I mean, it all bothers me, but that the focus seems to be more on the removal of contraceptive funds, as opposed to the fact that the entire stimulus package gives women the shaft, is bothersome.

  45. Draftzilla
    January 28, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    > Update: Thanks a lot, liberal male allies.

    Don’t know if you saw it, but Ian Welsh at HuffingtonPost definitely got this one right.

  46. thyrsus
    January 28, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Well gosh, no, of course contraception isn’t that expense…if you have a fair amount of disposable income. In which case presumably you wouldn’t be on Medicaid.

    If you actually are low-income enough to be on public assistance, though, it can easily become “Do I spend $20 on a box of condoms, or $50+ on birth control pills, or do my existing children get to eat vegetables AND protein this month?”

    Not convincing enough? How’s this: my married, straight, white, liberal, college-educated, male husband isn’t getting laid because right now we can afford neither contraception nor another child.

    (Rant aside, I’d rather see the contraceptive coverage jettisoned so that the stimulus package passes quickly, since as much as I’d like to have sex I’d also like to have a job and health insurance. But that doesn’t mean contraceptive coverage is unimportant or of huge financial benefit.)

  47. tql
    January 28, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    Ednor – but isn’t this forum as much to blame for contraceptions being front and center in the conomic stimulus packageand not the broader issue of women and work. Maybe I missed it, but where was feminste’s stimulus post on low-wage working women getting shafted in the stimuls package…?


  48. tql
    January 28, 2009 at 9:59 pm
  49. Paul Ryan
    January 29, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    Ok So I’m a little bit confused here. If you Google Obama, birth control. The majority of the stories brought up are saying Pres. Obama supports contraception and that there is a 87 billion dollar provision for state medicaid programs. And furthermore he has lifted the Bush ban on abortion clinic funding. Let’s try some responsible journalism here ladies. And if I am wrong I apologize. Can email with any comments at bubbleboy@writeme.com.

  50. January 29, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Let’s try some responsible journalism here ladies.

    Let’s try clicking the links provided in the post, darlin’.

  51. Rhonda
    January 29, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    I will NEVER understand how one could be soooo deadset against the OPTION of abortion AND simultaneously the one very thing that could prevent the need for that option altogether- contraceptives. WHat’s more is that these are usually the same people who look on with disgust and indignation at people who have more than 2 or 3 children and pity those who aren’t married. I mean COME ON something has to give here. How can someone be married, with NO contraception, have a healthy sex life and have less than 3 children WITHOUT contraceptives and/or abortions?

  52. Rhonda
    January 29, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    FYI, if you’re having sex with someone who can’t at minimum pay for condoms and/or go half on preventing you from becoming a human baby making-abortion factory then you’re screwing the wrong person. Scream reproductive rights from here to high heavens but if THATS your choice you are making one heck of a irresponsible and detrimental choice when there are oh so many other options out there. Not to mention the risk of spreading diseases. This argument could go on all night.

  53. Tanda
    January 29, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    If you don’t have the money to buy birth control you really shouldn’t be taking the chance of having a baby by having sex. Even if you get birth control for free it doesn’t ensure you are safe. It isn’t about stopping poor citizens from having sex just understanding that there are consequences to actions sometimes. Sex is a luxury like wine, you need to be responsible before partaking in it.

  54. Kristen (The J one)
    January 30, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    Okay, so I know that this is an old thread and no one is here any more, but I just can’t let this go. This:

    “if you’re having sex with someone who can’t at minimum pay for condoms and/or go half on preventing you from becoming a human baby making-abortion factory then you’re screwing the wrong person.”

    Is just the most hateful, classist, judgmental and just plain WRONG thing I’ve heard in a while.

    FYI, if you’re speaking about HUMAN BEINGS and you describe them as a “factory” or judge who they should or should not fuck based on their partners wealth and education then YOU ARE A SHITTY PERSON.

  55. Ken
    February 9, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    Kristen – You are exactly correct in that we are talking about Human Beings. We are not talking about birds or dogs or cats. As such, considering the dignity of Man, abortion is all the more horrible.

    Keeping in mind the dignity of each person, it is important to note that sex, because it is the Culmination of true love, of giving oneself Entirely to another (without reservation) while being open to having a child as a result, is no small thing. Far from being a small and/or insignificant matter, sexual relations are a very precious way in which married persons share their love for each other.

    Sexual relations should be the Result of a courtship and marriage, not the beginning of a relationship.

    Those who advocate sex anywhere with anyone, entirely miss the point about how decent and special each person really is. Rather than encouraging each other (either via advice or example) to embrace our more base instincts, we all do better (i.e., as a society, or community) when we encourage each other to embrace our better angels, to try to live up to the dignity that each of us – having been created by and in the image of God – inherently possesses.

  56. February 9, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Where did Ken come from, and why is he telling me what to do with my body and how to fuck?

    Oh, that’s right. He’s a man. Obviously he knows best. I now renounce the previous sexual relations that I had with my husband when he was my boyfriend/fiance, in order to better celebrate the exact same sexual relations we have now that we are married. Clearly, they are precious and special, and before they were dirty, and wrong, and against some God I don’t believe in but Ken thinks I should.

    /eye roll

  57. Ken
    February 10, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    Cara – I am not talking about what you or anyone should believe, and I am certainly not telling you or anyone else what to do with you body or how to do anything.

    I am simply pointing out that when we actually take a moment and think about the dignity of the other person (of all persons), and honestly try to understand how special each person really is, we would begin to see that we should treat each other with more respect. Indeed, this point extends far beyond sexual relations.

    I happen to believe in God and so I expressed my idea using language associated with my world view (Roman Catholicism) and I do not see anything wrong with this. As you of course are entitled to your world view or life phiplosophy (which I did not and do not ridicule), and to express yourself accordingly, I also am entitled likewise.

    But back to the dignity of Man. If each of us thought for a moment about this, we would try to encourage each other to live up to the hope that is within us, rather than (intentionally or unintentionally) tending via low expectations or cynicism, to pull ourselves and each other down to our most base level and insticts.

    This is one reason Rev. Martin Luther King appealed to so many Americans. I was just a toddler when he died, but from films I have seen and books I have read about him, it seems that rather than scolding or belittling the nation, rather than using cycnicism, snide remarks or cutting sarcasm, he simply and directly reminded folks of the dignity of Man and the potential of this nation, and he honestly tried to encourage all Americans to at least try to live up to the ideals we profess.

    This is a large topic but for now, in summary, I would simply say; I think that as a society, we are miles ahead when we actually try to see the inherent value of the other person, indeed the inherent value of all persons regardless of their background or state in life, and when we try to encourage each other to live up to the higher ideals we profess rather than just accepting our more base notions and tendencies.

  58. February 10, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    Get off the blog, Ken. If you want to spread your views about Roman Catholicism, and how sex outside of marriage is evil, that is indeed your right. But not here. There’s this nifty thing called blogger.com. You sign up, and you can write all you like there, and no one can tell you to stop. Unlike here.

  59. February 10, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    @Cara can we please stop sending the concern trolls to to blogger, I use that format. Try wordpress.com Ken, you can have your own little platform. When you discover that it is an echo chamber, you should probably take the clue to stop telling people what to do with their bodies.

  60. Crystal
    February 10, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    @Cara and Renee- Ken’s not exactly going to win any popularity contests here, but isn’t it a bit ignorant to say “you don’t agree with me, so GTFO?” You realize you can be a Catholic and a feminist right?

  61. February 10, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Sigh. Yes, Crystal, you can be a feminist and Catholic. Of course. And yes, I am fairly insulted at your insinuation that I believe otherwise.

    But you don’t get to come onto a thread and derail it by talking about things that are unrelated to the topic of the post while preaching your religion and claiming that abortion and sex outside of marriage are both wrong on a feminist blog. Those things are against the rules on numerous counts, as you will see by taking a look at our comment policy.

    Plus, he totally Godwined up thread. I don’t think that invoking Godwin’s Law is technically in our comment policy, but it really should be.

  62. artdyke
    February 10, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    I’m not gonna really throw my hat in the ring here, but I thought I would just add this tidbit of helpful info re: Medicare.

    I used to work in a medical office doing billing for a surgeon. I dunno if psychology is the same, but in the medical world, everyone takes their cues from Medicare. All insurance companies will only pay what Medicare will, and if you want to receive your checks in a timely manner, you have to basically sign something promising you won’t charge any more than Medicare pays out. Which everyone does or they would never get paid.

    Basically, it doesn’t matter if they only accept Medicare or accept private insurance: it all pays out the same. For the doctor anyway.

  63. Ken
    February 12, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Cara – The topic of this thread involves the question of whether or not the Obama administration will press to have Medicaid pay for contraceptives. I am not certain how it stands now (12-Feb), but given the smaller size of the overall stumulus package that passed, money for this may well have been reduced or dropped outright.

    As the article (for this discussion) points out; from a strictly monetary standpoint, contraceptives may be cheaper than sinlge women (especially poor single women) having babies. But keep in mind that while all the chemicals and materials in an average human body (e.g., water, calcium, salt, etc.) amount to less than $100 to purchase or manufacture, the actual value of the person, the human being with his or her attendant personality and gifts, is incalculable.

    I do not think my points are off-topic, and I am not preaching anything. There are more than a few factors that affect this issue and understanding them would naturally involve looking at the bigger picture, and taking a broader view than you seem to want to permit.

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