Friday, March 9, 2012

The War on Women... That Dean Heller Doesn't Want You to See.

After reading Karoun Demirjian's Sun article on the impact Rush Limbaugh may be having on Nevada's US Senate race, one gets the sense that Shelley Berkley is just "desperate to manufacture controversy". We've heard plenty from reporters and pundits on the political games supposedly being played in "Limbaugh-gate". However, we're still not hearing enough about the actual policies being debated in Congress.

Thankfully, Nevada's own Desert Beacon has been able to cut through the spin and deliver the real story here.

When the Obama Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services proposed that basic health care insurance policy coverage would include contraceptive prescriptions the issue was drawn into focus. The compromise position was adopted saying that no religious institution which did not tolerate views accepting of contraception would be required to offer such coverage — but, health insurance corporations would be required to offer the coverage to those wishing such provisions.

Unfortunately for the improvement of our national political dialogue, the level of mis-information soon out shouted the level of accurate commentary. Opponents of comprehensive health care reform (health insurance corporations) have treated us to a barrage of fact-free statements like, “This is taxpayer funded contraception…,” which, of course, it isn’t. Twisting the logic to say that a coverage requirement for basic policies is tantamount to a taxpayer subsidization of contraceptives necessitates mental gymnastics comparable to the contortions of Cirque du Soliel.

A Gordian Knot of similar proportions is also required to frame this issue in terms of religious freedom. The concept of religious freedom as contemplated in an American context requires the accommodation of varying religious precepts, NOT the acquiescence to the precepts of any single institution. If the views of the Catholic Bishops had prevailed, then what we would have experienced was the antithesis of religious freedom, i.e. one group imposing its views on all the rest. The American public seems to sense this.

This is why I was irritated when I saw Jon Ralston give credence to the radical right's meme of "ObamaCare attacks religious liberty!!!!!!!" Just because Erick Erickson's and Rush Limbaugh's lies about women's health care are being repeated by Dean Heller doesn't make them true. And just because Shelley Berkley is making this into a campaign issue doesn't negate the fact that Republicans keep proposing legislation to restrict women's access to needed health care.

Funny enough, a REPUBLICAN state legislator in New York actually summed up what's at stake quite well.

And so did a G-O-TEA Representative from Pennsylvania, albeit from a different angle.

Never mind that...

The “financial” logic is sound. A study from 2000 estimated that it costs employers 15 to 17 percent more to not provide contraceptive coverage to employees than it would if the insurance coverage included the benefit. This higher spending accounts for the direct medical costs of a pregnancy and indirect expenses like employee absence and reduced productivity.

So is this "the new normal" that we're supposed to embrace and the media are supposed to provide with "fair and balanced" coverage? So the G-O-TEA wants to reduce women to baby-making machines that are "malfunctioning" if they're doing anything other than serving their men while barefoot and pregnant at home?

So are we supposed to ignore REPUBLICAN women running away from the Blunt Amendment and the G-O-TEA effort to criminalize anything and everything other than heterosexual procreative "missionary" sex (except when their own members are "dabbling" in it)?

Last night, Rachel Maddow actually put this whole matter into proper perspective.

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I know that not everyone gets excited about discussing the details of contraception and reproductive health care policy, and I suspect that's why many in the media have been more than happy to reduce this discussion to "just another partisan mud fight"... But it's not. Ralston may not like the Berkley campaign comparing Dean Heller to Rush Limbaugh, but the fact of the matter is that Dean Heller voted exactly how Rush Limbaugh wanted him to vote in supporting the Blunt Amendment to restrict women's health care access. And if Heller doesn't like the political repercussions of this, he only has himself to blame.

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