POLITICS

No, Sandra Fluke, your boss does not ‘control’ your access to birth control

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney

CHARLOTTE — Democrats at the podium and around town have deceived and misled on Barack Obama’s contraception mandate consistently — perhaps in the hope that through repetition they can make the lie become the truth.

What really happened is this: The Obama administration used Obamacare to require employers to buy health insurance plans that cover 100% of all contraception for female workers. Many Republicans, including Mitt Romney, oppose this mandate, arguing that employers – especially those with moral objections to contraception – should be free to choose whether or not to pay for employees’ birth control.

But here’s how the issue gets described from podium:

 Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood: So why are we having to fight in 2012 against politicians who went to end access to birth control?

Rep. Diana DeGette: And when they deny women access to birth control so that we can plan to have our children, it hits women and families right in the pocketbook.

I don’t think any honest person can claim that making birth-control insurance optional for employers is “end[ing] access to birth control” or “deny[ing] women access to birth control.”

Sandra Fluke: an America in which access to birth control is controlled by people who will never use it.

Nydia Velazquez said Republicans would “turn over women’s health decisions to their bosses,” and Richards used almost identical words.

The notion here is that if your boss can choose whether or not to pay you in birth control coverage or in money, then he or she is “control[ing]” “access to birth control.” Let’s think about that line of reasoning. Currently, employers in D.C. can choose to cover your metro fare or not cover your subway fare. Are those who pay you money instead of SmartBenefits “controlling your access to the subway”?

It’s a grossly misleading way to speak. If your employer were your only possible source of contraception, then you might fairly worry that he or she would “control your access” to birth control. But you can get birth control at Wal-Mart for $9 a month. As long as your employer isn’t guarding the door to Wal-Mart, he’s not controlling your access.

Sure, you could argue that subsidizing something “increases access” to that. But you can’t honestly say that ending a subsidy “ends access” or “controls access” to that thing. And even using the phrase “limiting access” is misleading — you wouldn’t speak that way unless you misunderstood the policies or were trying to make them sound like something other than they are.

But Democrats got even worse. Congresswoman Gwen Moore said at a Planned Parenthood rally Tuesday that one issue in the election was “whether or not you can have contraception.”

Of course nothing like this is at stake. But of course, Democrats will keep up this deceptive line of attack from the podium.

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