Contractual Post-Contraception
By R. D. Flavin


     Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) and The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, by 2014 companies with more than 50 full-time employees will have to legally provide and/or pay for contraceptive methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration.  Most (but not all) are cool with the condoms and the birth-control pills, but some draw a line with the FDA-approved pre-implantation contraceptions (IUDs) and the so-called “morning-after pill” with its (alleged) 89% success rate which some have claimed is a quasi-abortifacient (as prior implantation and conception are unverifiable due to lack of physical evidence).  Well, this seems like a binding contract between America and its corporate citizens which basically requires a company to pay for an elective procedure, like the removal of a mole or a new and larger [insert fetish body-part here].  I'm all for companies providing for the prevention of conception (as well as the occasional icky disease stuff), including diaphragms, IUDs, and such, however I regard a non-life-threatening abortion or abortifacient to be elective and non-essential, and thus an unnecessary government imposition.  The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores (No. 13-354) and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius (No. 13-356) in March of 2014 with a decision expected the following June.  Well, I'm guessing the debate on government mandated contractual post-contraception will be a spirited one and can only hope the Twelve Robes make the correct call.

     As I'm well into androgenic alopecia (i.e. male pattern baldness), I'm not one to intentionally split hairs...  Some decades ago I used to offer an analogy between cheeseburgers, the death penalty, and abortions.  My memory is not what it once was, but I'm pretty sure that the analogy went over worse than Grandma breaking wind at the dinner-table.  Actually, much worse...  I meant to compare the cessation of life and how different folks (and their personal, government, or theocratic ethics) separate a death, any death, into a good and necessary thing or a bad and vengeful act.  There are vegetarians and vegans, execution abolitionists, and several varieties of Pro-Choicers.  To do my part to curb climate change, I regularly consume cheeseburgers to cut down on the CO2 and methane produced from cow flatulence.  I support a federal death penalty in extreme cases and wish that all states could be deprived of any exercise of capital punishment due to their inherent incompetence from too much politicizing and financial perks.  Yeah, we kill in war and self-defense, but as far as civic vengeance such barbarity better be reserved for the most heinous of murderers, treasonists, and certain evil sickos.  Honestly, I still struggle to justify my carnivorous diet and my support for capital punishment for “some” crimes.  I'll likely argue with myself for some years to come.  However, regarding a woman's right to choose to carry a pregnancy to term or not is a subject I'll not debate.  It's a woman's right, men have no business imposing their post-coitus opinions, and that's a part of the definition of “freedom” that will never change.  It's all death, but what defines us is how we handle it.  Honesty is ALWAYS a good place to start...

     Do you really think we've significantly advanced from that playground debate if Jesus ever accidentally stepped on an ant?  Yeah, Zombie-Ant versus Lazarus of the Four Days in 3D!  Cheeseburgers, criminal executions, and legal abortions all involve the cessation of life does accidentally stepping on ants.  We need to stay focused on our current laws and how they will surely change at some point and do our best to ensure the laws evolve for the better and not devolve to the worst.

     That His Holiness Pope Francis has instructed American Catholics to lighten up on the anti-abortion intimidation is nothing short of profound compassionate wisdom.  I mean, there's a long road yet to travel, but the path so far seems manageable.  At least in this country, most abortions are legally sanctioned procedures if individually requested or deemed necessary from a medical standpoint.  As mentioned above, I will not debate a woman's right to choose to carry a pregnancy to term or not, as I don't believe male intellectual opinions could ever compare with a woman's physical self-determination.  I deeply wish many abortions weren't necessary, but I took an oath in 1981 (when joining the Massachusetts Army National Guard to “protect and defend the Constitution”) and except for that one indiscretion with the girls from the Greiningardeild Ríkislögreglustjóra, I've been a fairly normal Liberal Democrat who never drives more than seven miles an hour over the posted speed-limit (I hear they don't ticket until you hit eight mph over).  I will continue to obey a large percentage of US laws, if I get an occasional ticket or citation that's on me, however when there's a law which is blatantly unacceptable I will do my best to champion its revocation or revision.  I believe such a clarification as the “morning-after pill” being regarded as a preventative pre-cotius birth control substance (or device) is an indefensible neo-femenist freebie.   A mistake was made, this one “slipped through the cracks,” and now it's time to jurisprudence some essential health-care.

     America's assistance programs are by necessity designed to provide for only basic needs.  And, damn, most of those are under attack from the fiscally heartless...  It's been a struggle since Reagan's 1981's attempt to get a packet of ketchup classified as a nutritional vegetable serving.  Now, here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, our MASSHEALTH program does not cover dental work (except extractions) and has long since ceased offering eye-care and glasses.  They've been deemed non-essential and personal elective choices for the individual which are not paid for by our state government health-care system.  I wish it wasn't so, but at least my essential health-care is taken care of.  BTW, Viagra and Cialis aren't covered by MASSHEALTH and pills cost over thirty bucks a piece (from what I've read, of course).  Now, some private insurance programs cover such erectile dysfunction medications, but many do not.  Crucial and economics are always at loggerheads because that's how The Discordians intended it.  Essential versus elective is, I believe, what remains to be determined by the Twelve Robes next year.

     Since 2006, when the FDA allowed 18 year-old women to buy the “Plan B One Step” pill without a prescription, we've seen the ages drop to 17, then 15, and now the Obama Administration has instructed the Justice Department to find another hobby and allow the purchase by anyone who asks.  This is a wonderful thing, similar experiments elsewhere in the world have repeatedly provided positive and encouraging results, and must really make some angry who can't afford the $45 it costs at Walgreens and Walmart.  I fervently hope the Twelve Robes decide the pre-coitus IUD is essential birth-control and determine the post-coitus Plan B One Step pill is an elective and non-essential choice that companies should not be forced to pay for.  It seems reasonable, but it also seems likely that my dating choices are probably going to ...fluctuate for the near future.

Oh, and if there's something I've not considered, please bring it to my attention,

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