Pollit Part II
Emboldened by their many successes under the Bush administration, anti-abortion activists are going after contraception, too.Hmmm. The “many successes” of the anti-abortion activists under Bush? Personally I can’t think of a single success that the anti-abortion movement has had in the last 5 years (apart from the fact that the abortion rate has been declining slightly.) But let’s assume that there have been some legal successes. What could Bush possibly have to do with them? The responsibility for abortion law currently resides in two places…the state governments and the Supreme Court. States make abortion laws, and the Supreme Court ultimately reviews them and either upholds them or invalidates them as unconstitutional. The president has nothing to do with the passage of state laws, and his only power over the Supreme Court is the ability to appoint justices when a vacancy arises. But no such vacancy has arisen during Bush’s tenure in office, so to invoke Bush’s name when discussing any “successes” the anti-abortion movement has is patently ridiculous.
Anyway, what is this about them “going after contraception too”? Well, according to Pollit:
Contraception has always been slightly suspect here: most women have paid for it themselves, because their private health insurance didn't cover it. By contrast, within a few months of its coming to market in 1998, about 60% of public and private health plans covered Viagra.I’m a bit at a loss as to how having to pay for contraception means that contraception has been “suspect”. My insurance has never covered the cost of my toothbrush and toothpaste. Does that mean that brushing one's teeth has always been "suspect"? Anyway, my immediate reaction to the above is that, well, it’s private insurance. It’s not the government telling women they have to pay for their birth control while telling impotent men they don’t have to pay for their Viagra. But then we read this parenthetical:
(The blatant unfairness of this disparity, in fact, forced many state legislatures to pass laws requiring private insurers to include contraception in their drug coverage.)I see. So this is the nefarious strategy by which the government plans to do away with contraception in America - force insurance companies to pay for it. How insidiously clever.
She finds it “truly frightening” when privately employed pharmacists exercise their personal religious beliefs by refusing to fill contraceptive prescriptions. Apparently it has never occurred to the far-too-easily-shaken Pollit to simply go to another pharmacist. It is a free country, after all. She finds it equally frightening that the FDA hasn’t granted over-the-counter status to Plan B. Apart from the fact that it being available through "prescription only" hardly makes it unavailable, perhaps she would not be so alarmed if she knew that the reasons she gives for the lack of OTC approval are not in fact the reasons given by the FDA itself.
But enough of this silliness. For hyperbole and breathlessness, Pollit probably cannot be matched. But if it’s an accurate portrayal of the abortion/contraceptive scene in America that you are after, ignoring Katha Pollit and The Guardian is a good starting point.