Category Archives: contraception

When Legal and Moral Collide

Anti abortion rally in Washington, D.C. Decemb...

Anti abortion rally in Washington, D.C. December 2004. My own work. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have always disliked the “pro-choice”/ “pro-life” titles for the sides on the abortion debate. It simply would have been more truthful to say “pro-abortion”, or “anti-abortion”.  Abortion advocates would like us to believe that the moral determination as to whether or not the embryo or fetus inside is a living thing, is a personal decision that each woman must decide for herself.  This is scientifically incorrect.  Even from the earliest stages an embryo exhibits the basic criteria for being alive.  The real moral question that a woman considering abortion must decide, is at what stage and under what circumstances is the taking of that life justifiable?  When I ask myself that question it becomes obvious that an abortion should only, ever be considered as the last resort to a dire circumstance. A woman who has been raped is in a dire circumstance.  A woman who must choose between life saving cancer treatment that would kill her unborn child or leaving the children she already has motherless, is in a dire circumstance.  A woman who is carrying a child with birth defects so severe as to be incompatible with life is in a dire circumstance. Even as a Christian, I could not sit in judgement of a woman, who faced with such a gut wrenching decision, would terminate a pregnancy. Though I might not have made the same choice.  A woman who gets caught with her hand in the cookie jar? That’s a different story.  There is never a “perfect” time to have a baby. Pregnancies are always expensive, inconvenient and somewhat embarrassing.  Those are never good reasons to have an abortion.  If you feel that you are not mature enough to raise a child, or that now is not the “right” time for you be a mother, there are options available to you that do not require killing a baby.

I felt it was necessary to clarify my position on abortion, because now I am going to say something that many conservative, Christians will strongly disagree with.

It is time to take Abortion, as a political issue, off the table.

By making a willingness to overturn Roe vs. Wade the litmus test for Republican candidates, we have played right into the hands of our enemies  and given them a club to beat us over the head with.  This has never been more apparent than in the last election, with its fictitious “war on women”.  Even with no basis in fact, the liberal left was able to turn an erroneous perception into a political slogan that became a wave of misinformed women voters that turned the tide of the election. Moderate conservatives have shied away from candidates that they felt were too hard-core, while Evangelicals lambasted the same candidates for being too soft.  All the while, the left eagerly exploits the irony that a group that fights for less governmental control of our private lives, fights to give the government control of a very private women’s issue.  Our legal system allows many things that are immoral or at the very least bad for us.  We must acknowledge that in most cases where the federal government tries to legislate morality, it does a very poor job.  Prohibition, the “war on drugs”, “don’t ask don’t tell”, and affirmative action are just a few examples. Can we accept the difference between moral and legal without compromising our values? Absolutely. Unlike the contraception mandate in the affordable care act, that requires businesses run by religious organizations to provide birth control to their employees, even if it goes against their religious tenants, Roe vs. Wade does not compel us to have abortions.   The problem isn’t that abortions are legal, it’s that women choose to have abortions of convenience. The real battle isn’t about overturning a law, it’s about changing attitudes about the sanctity of life.  We can still continue to put up billboards, hand out literature, educate the public, and provide services and alternatives  for pregnant women. We can teach our daughters, granddaughters, and nieces that abortion is wrong in the eyes of God. The battle should continue to be fought on the street corners, our homes and from the pulpit. Just not in the halls of Congress.

The Real Life of Julia

Reflections of a Rational Republican has introduced me to “Julia” the cartoon solder of the fictitious Republican “War on Women”.  Both the Obama Campaign and the Heritage Foundation have differing versions about the “Life of Julia“. While the Obama Campaign’s version touts the benefits of living in a cradle to grave socialist utopia, the Heritage Foundation’s version extolls the virtues of freedom of choice. Neither version truly depicts the reality of Julia right here, right now. This is my version of the “Real Life of Julia” without the cutesy graphics. It depicts what her life would be like at each age, if she were that age today.

Age 3

Both of Julia’s parents work.  Their combined incomes put them in an income bracket too high to qualify for head start or other programs designed for underprivileged children.  After “doing the math” her parents decide that the high cost of quality day care makes it impractical for both of them to work. Julia’s mom’s income is less than her father’s so Julia’s mom decides to stay home with her.

Age 17

It was important to Julia’s parents to bring her up in as safe a neighborhood as possible. They purchased a modest home in a decent suburb.  Because she lives in a working class family her parents  cannot afford private school.  Therefore Julia has spent her youth in the public school system.  Her state uses standardized tests to measure  the performance of the teachers, schools, and students.  Because the teacher’s unions have made it difficult to weed out ineffective teachers, and because school administrators fear the loss of state and federal funding due to government programs such as race to the top, classroom time is consumed with teaching children how to pass the standardized tests instead of proficiency in basic skills.   Sports, music classes, and pay raises for competent teachers are cut due to a lack of funds, but administration costs remain high.  PE and recess are cut and replaced with programs to teach environmental awareness, anti-bullying, drug avoidance, and sexual abuse defence techniques that are of little value in real world situations.  Julia’s parents stressed the importance of doing her best and made sure she did her homework.  They communicated regularly with her teachers.  Because of this, Julia worked hard and made good grades.

Age 18

Because she has made good grades Julia has qualified for a modest state sponsored scholarship.  She barely qualifies for a Pell grant because her parent’s income is almost to high even though they do not make enough to pay any of her college expenses.  She chooses a community college because it is the most cost-effective option, allowing her to live at home and commute to class.  Her scholarship and grant still are not enough to completely cover her school and expenses so she works part-time to fill the gap.  Her public school education has left her unprepared for college level work, she takes advantage of the resources the college offers, but in spite of her efforts to study hard, she fails her math and english courses.  Because the state sponsored scholarship pays some of the costs of trade school, Julia decides to drop out of college and attend cosmetology school.

Age 22

Julia has to undergo emergency surgery for an appendicitis.  The recent passage of Obama care mandates that she is covered under her parents care until age 26, however, before the passage of Obama care, she still would have been covered under her parents’ policy until her 23rd birthday because she is a student.

Age 23-25

Julia finishes cosmetology school and begins her career as a hair stylist. At first she lives with her parents, but through hard work and dedication to her career she lands a job at a prestigious salon and moves into her own apartment.  Among the benefits provided are health insurance and the opportunity to participate in a 401K program.   This particular salon offered such benefits even before Obama care was passed. Her insurance pays for mammograms, pap smears, yearly exams, and maternity care. Her copay for prescription birth control is fifty percent of the cost, but because she is focusing on establishing herself in this business and building a clientele, she has little time for a relationship or casual sex.

Age 29-31

Julia meets Ethan a local electrician.  They begin a relationship.  Julia explains to Ethan that since he would assume half the responsibility for raising a child, he should share half the responsibility for the cost of birth control. Ethan agrees. (He’s a keeper).  Since her insurance pays for half of the fifty dollar cost of birth control pills* and Ethan pays half of her half, her cost for the pill is a manageable $12.50 a month.  Julia and Ethan marry and decide to have a child.  Her maternity and child-birth costs are covered minus the $25.00 office copays and a $500.00 deductable. Because she and Ethan planned ahead for this child, money was saved and these expenses prove to be little problem for them.  Even though money is tight, they still make too much for Zachary to qualify for head start or other daycare options for underprivileged children.  Because neither of them can afford to quit their jobs, Julia’s mother agrees to watch little Zachary.

Age 37

Zachary starts preschool.   His parents make too much money for Zachary to qualify for school vouchers designed to give underprivileged children a chance at a better education, but they do not make enough to place him in private school.  His parents depend on both incomes to get by, so having Julia quit her job to home school Zachary is out of the question.  Julia has no other option but to place Zachary into the inferior public school system.

Age 42

Julia is a well-known stylist around town and has built up a loyal clientele.  She decides to open her own salon.  She qualifies for a small business  administration loan and purchases equipment.  She rents chair space to beginning hair stylists and teaches them the latest techniques.  In spite of a loyal and growing customer base, she is barely breaking even. The regulatory costs of the required insurances and licenses are high and the time required to keep up with the paperwork keeps her from her customers.  When the ADA fines her $25,000.00 for failure to install a wheelchair accessible styling chair even though she has no disabled customers or employees, she realizes she can no longer keep up.  Julia sadly informs her stylists and customers she must close.  She sells her salon equipment to pay off the fine and the remainder of her SBA loan. She then takes a job as an instructor at the local beauty college.

Age 65

Julia enrolls in medicare.  She has difficulty finding a competent doctor that accepts the plan.  She must pay out-of-pocket for a medicare supplement insurance plan to cover the gaps.  Ethan dies suddenly of a heart attack leaving her without his income. Fortunately he had the foresight to purchase life insurance even though paying the premiums was sometimes a struggle.  This allows Julia to pay off the mortgage and Ethan’s funeral expenses.

Age 67

Julia applies for Social Security.  The amount is nowhere near enough to cover her monthly expenses.  She rolled over her 401K into an IRA but was not always able to contribute to it when her business was struggling.  She realizes that her available cash flow is not enough to live on so she continues to work part-time at the beauty school as a receptionist so she doesn’t have to spend hours on her feet.

The truth is, neither scenario, whether it is Obama’s or the Heritage Foundations’s is going to help working class Julia.  Making her dependent on the government for her cradle to grave care will eventually backfire like it did in Greece.  Once the producers have been bled dry and robbed of any incentive to create wealth, the money will run out and untold misery will ensue.  On the other hand, unbridled capitalism will not reduce the cost of healthcare and education to the point where they will be within reach of working class families.  While it will create more freedom of choice, those choices mean nothing if you can’t afford them.

* Information on the cost of birth control pills was obtained from the Planned Parenthood website.

Red State Blue State Nanny State

English: The Bill of Rights, the first ten ame...

Image via Wikipedia

I am not a Catholic. I have no problem with women choosing to use contraception to prevent a pregnancy. I think it’s great when an insurance company covers it.
But just who in the, heck, does the President and his Congressional supporters think they are? How did they come to the conclusion that they actually have the authority to force a religious institution to abandon its tenants of faith? This bill is not about women’s rights, health or contraception.
It’s about a government over reaching its authority and insinuating itself further and further into our private lives.

Who is to blame for this? We are. We have become dependent on the “nanny state”. To many of us are happy to trade away a few personal freedoms, for the government’s promise of a life without worry or want. We want the government to protect us from being offended, or inconvenienced by our neighbors. We want businesses to be regulated so that their profits are handed over to the government and redistributed, so that we can have free health care, a grocery allowance, and subsidized housing. Most dangerous of all, we want the government to be our conscience.

Both liberals and conservatives want the government to restrict behaviors that we find immoral or offensive. We want airwaves censored from sex, violence, and obscene language, yet we continue to tune into shows and buy tickets to movies that contain those very things. Some want women to be able to have an abortion any time, anywhere, for any reason, and some feel that there is never a justifiable reason to abort a baby. Many of us choose our elected officials on this issue alone. Meanwhile we fail to teach our children that a sexual relationship carries with it some heavy responsibilities, and requires a certain level of maturity. We want the government to prevent banks from charging penalty fees when we fail to handle our finances responsibly. We want the police to crack down on drunk drivers, speeders, and red-light runners, but we complain about rogue cops when we are the ones who get caught. We no longer have the ability to make very basic judgments for ourselves.

The Founding Fathers designed our Constitution to limit government. I’m sure they never intended for the Bill of Rights to be twisted and perverted into a device that allows the government to become our teacher, our parent, our God. We need to resurrect our common sense and good manners. We need to stop confusing legal with moral and take responsibility for our own clean living rather than imposing it on others. Most of all we need to use our patronage and our pocketbooks to effect social change rather than placing power that should belong to the people into the hands of the government.

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