As we draw closer to the inauguration of our 45th president we also draw closer to the long overdue repeal of the ironically titled Affordable Care Act. Informally known as Obamacare, this abomination, much like its namesake, never should have become a reality. It’s fitting that as Obama leaves office congress will almost simultaneously rid our nation of this cancerous boil once and for all. It must, of course, be done with a replacement immediately on its heels – the last thing the Republican dominated congress should do is leave the American people hanging. If they do it right, the Grand Old Party stands a damn good chance of showing our progressive friends what progress really looks like.
Of all the liberal whining that will surely emerge from the excision of this tumor from the law of our land, one can be sure some of the loudest sobs will be directed at Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. This measure will more than likely be written into whatever budget they finalize and you can bet your bottom, top, and middle dollars the Democrats will fight them every step of the way.
Those of us on the Right need to brace ourselves for an inflamed litany of banal accusations: We have no heart! We don’t care about women’s health! We don’t want women to have control over their bodies! This is a public health issue, how can we be so selfish as to not care about the public health? How dare we deny women their rights?!?
The left has a long and ignoble history of leveling enraged and spurious slander at anyone who sees the world differently than they do, but perhaps their rabid, unthinking fervor can be no better demonstrated than when it comes to this one issue. And perhaps there can be no better example of their complete inability to see beyond the confines of their narrow-minded worldview. It never occurs to them to see the issue from the other side or to even admit the possibility that perhaps the conservative/libertarian perspective has some valid points to make too.
First, I’m libertarian and as such I am 100% pro-choice. I find abortion to be morally reprehensible, but I’m not about to tell anyone how to live their lives or what to do with their bodies. As far as I’m concerned, liberals can have as many abortions as they like; if they want to continue exterminating themselves, I invite them to. I also acknowledge that Planned Parenthood provides many helpful functions in the way of women’s healthcare. That’s all well and good and I have no problem with them doing that. But…
Don’t do it with my money. As someone who is libertarian, I am appalled by the idea of any group, bound to any ideology, advocating government theft of my hard earned tax dollars to pay for a service I find morally objectionable. And this is where our liberal friends will pipe up and say it’s against federal law for tax dollars to pay for abortions! It’s at this point they’ll pat themselves on the back for putting the argument to rest once and for all. But it’s not over, not by a long shot.
Once the tax dollars reach Planned Parenthood, they are fungible. No one can say for certain what they’re going toward, but even that is beside the point. I don’t want my money going to an organization that provides a service I find morally depraved, just as our liberal friends wouldn’t want their tax money going to the NRA. I don’t care if my tax dollars pay for donuts in the break room, keeping the lights on, or the water running. They provide a service I deplore, I don’t care what my money is used for, I care only that it goes to them. Period.
And perhaps it’s at this point our liberal friends will say a woman’s medical decisions are none of my business, how dare I interfere? What their indignation prevents them from realizing, however, is that by advocating government confiscation and redistribution of my money to Planned Parenthood they are actually forcing me to be party to a woman’s private medical decisions. I want no part of another person’s healthcare, but the moment one red cent of my tax money goes to the payment of someone else’s medical expenses, I have been forced into their business. The irony of the liberal misunderstanding of this issue is mind-boggling, if only because they don’t see its monumental enormity.
But it’s a public health issue! It’s for the greater good! How could I possibly be so ignorant, so selfish, and so callous as to spurn what’s best for the whole country? Once again, our confused liberal friends are missing the forest for the trees. Is this an issue of a woman’s private healthcare decision, or is it a public health issue? If it’s public health than I suppose I can see some rationale for my tax dollars going to Planned Parenthood though I’m not entirely sure breast cancer and pregnancy are contagious. Perhaps they could be referring to the spread of STDs, but condoms are widely available and cheap, certainly my tax dollars aren’t necessary for someone else to buy a box of Trojans.
(As a quick aside, I resent liberals forcing these crass conversations about sex and condoms into the national spotlight. I shouldn’t have to devote any of my time explaining why people should buy their own condoms and how easy it really is. This is absolutely ridiculous.)
Our liberal friends might insist that defunding Planned Parenthood is self-defeating for someone who is anti-abortion. Planned Parenthood provides birth control, they say, more birth control means fewer abortions! I’m such an ignorant hypocrite for not realizing such simple logic! But the fact is, conservatives and libertarians have for years been leading proponents of over-the-counter birth control, a policy change that would, according to the AMA and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, increase availability and access to contraception, as well as bring down prices. I imagine those on the left are opposed to such a measure for the same reasons why they scuttled universal healthcare in the 1970s: They like the idea, they just don’t want Republicans taking credit for it. Or maybe their motives are more insidious than I give them credit for. Maybe they don’t care about providing more choices, greater access, and lower prices to women, maybe all they care about is limiting choices to expand the state’s control over individuals. Maybe they’re secretly disgusted by any policy proposal that doesn’t involve the state putting a gun to people’s heads.
I hope I’m wrong about that suspicion.
Ultimately, the Left doesn’t understand the real moral issues of this debate. All they see are evil Republicans who want to rob women of their rights. But no one has a right to something that doesn’t belong to them, that includes the money in my wallet. By advocating for public funding of Planned Parenthood, it is the Left which advocates for theft. And they don’t even have the honest decency to rob us themselves, they turn to our thuggish government to do the dirty work for them, it’s as though they believe advocating state coercion is the same thing as charity.
Not only do they not understand the real morality of the debate, not only do they not understand what charity and compassion are, they also completely misunderstand what rights truly are. They seem to think they have a right to anything they want: Food, college, healthcare, housing, etc. But we don’t have positive rights in this country; our rights are not reliant upon external obligations. We have negative rights, e.g., my right to free speech is inherent to my personhood and humanity and imposes no obligation upon anyone, all my neighbors have to do is not prevent me from speaking, that is, all they have to do is nothing.
The liberal conception of rights is wholly incorrect. A woman does have a right to control her body and decisions, but it seems she doesn’t have much control if she needs someone else to subsidize her healthcare. To say anyone has a right to healthcare is to say they have the right to the money, time, labor, and expertise of separate individuals such as taxpayers, doctors, and nurses. It is a claim that one has the right to rob another under the specious auspices of compassion and the greater good. But no degree of good can or may be accomplished through the craven methods of shameless thuggery. It is only by taking responsibility for ourselves, as individuals, that the greater good may best be influenced. Advocating that government put a gun to my head to take my money and give it to an organization that provides evil, is itself evil, and no good will ever result from an evil means.
Original artwork by Jesse Comeau
I simply want to express my gratitude for this post.
I’ll address 4 points, 3 bad, and 1 good. The good one makes up for the 3 bad ones, so I appreciated this article. First, the idea that I can exercise fine-grained control over how the government spends my tax dollars is unrealistic. So an ordering of priorities occurs. I’d rather government bloat be involved in PP, which does other health stuff for women, than a host of kickbacks and pork barreling in a lot of government agencies. (Second, sex is a part of life. It produces it, in fact. If you’re old enough to pay taxes, you’re old enough to discuss sex, condoms, and birth control without squirming in public. Please let that be the last immature protest you type.) Third, you ARE wrong about the OTC debate. The reason liberal politicians oppose, specifically, the Republican proposals for OTC to replace PP is that it shifts the cost to the consumers who are least likely to be able to afford it. You’re not against condoms, so you’re not against birth control. If birth control were OTC (and not covered by insurance, which is what the OTC proposal would do), it would become very expensive. (About 400-600 dollars a month.) /snark warning As I read that paragraph in the article, I thought, “spoken like a true man, clueless that birth control extends beyond condoms and that the Pill is used to control health concerns for women that don’t involve pregnancy. /end snark And actually, your erroneous conclusion highlights the idea that this is a health issue and should really be decided by doctors, not politicans in the first place. But point 4, the point that redeemed everything else: I think you are correct that the dividing point tends to be: if your service is subsidized, you don’t have control over the options provided to you. I don’t think that this assumption is made explicit frequently enough in these debates from conservative/libertarian sides, so we tend to come across as lacking compassion. But this issue can be framed as an issue of fairness, which is hard to argue against. And here’s your free insight for 2017: fairness is the one principle that unites everyone. Frame an issue in terms of fairness, and people listen.
First of all, thanks for reading my article, I appreciate the time you took to do so. Secondly, thanks for your thoughtful response, that also took up time you could have spent on other things.
A few responses of my own:
I don’t recall having made a case for “fine-grained control” of government expenditures in this or any other area. The case I make is for my taxes to not be taken at all for PP, it’s perhaps the most unambiguous theme of the article. Not sure how you missed it, maybe you hadn’t consumed your morning coffee yet. Also, I’m not ready to surrender the fight against government bloat in the case of PP or any other specific realm of policy making, whether it be wasteful infrastructure spending, unsustainable entitlement spending, or the propagation of the military industrial complex.
It may be due to my upbringing, but I believe there are certain aspects of the human experience and condition that should be treated with a greater degree of modesty than others. Because of my respect for sex I’m not as desensitized to the crass handling of the subject as you or others are.
I will concede that the OTC discussion is more nuanced than my cursory presentation of it in this article. But I’m not entirely certain there’s any merit to the assertion that as supply and access increase prices will go up as a result.
Fairness is in the eye of the beholder. If you get ten people in a room together and ask what their conception of fairness is, it’s not unlikely you’ll receive upwards of ten different answers, each based on the poll participant’s unique experiences. From everything I’ve been able to observe about the tendencies of humanity I can conclude without a doubt that the strongest unifying principle is money. Appeal to the pocketbook and you’ll get people listening a lot faster than if you drone on and on about your individual and esoteric perspective on some nebulous notion of fairness.
Again, thanks for reading and responding. Some of your feedback was interesting.