“Sex is Not a Medical Emergency”

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Katrina for this righteously direct and clear blast of common sense at the contemptible forces trying to clobber the Church into submission over the contraception mandate. This is how you do righteous anger, people, so pay attention:

… Let me just put this out there for you right away. Sex is not a medical emergency. Sex is not a medical emergency. Sex is not a medical emergency. I’ll put your mind at ease; you are not going to die from not having sex.

However, you will die without blood pressure medications or insulin. So I ask – birth control of all things?! I mean of all the drugs out there that people actually need to survive, why something as selective as birth control. No one is going to go into heart failure, kidney failure or diabetic shock without their Yaz. So what the hell, people! I seriously don’t know how anyone can legitimately think free contraception is a dandy idea and a good use of tax payer and government funds.

I could have asked every single one of my patients what drug they would love to have for free and I can guarantee not a single one of them would’ve said, “Hook me up with some free condoms and pills, please.” Has anyone in our administration ever even met a sick person or someone suffering from a chronic disease and asked them what medications they would like Uncle Sam to foot the bill for? It’s like our government is letting drunk frat boys be our policy makers because those are the only people I can think of who would actually benefit from girls having free unlimited supplies of contraception.

Read it all.

Making sure you’re able to get yo’ freak on without cost or consequence is not only not the responsibility of the government, it is the exact opposite of the kind of responsible behavior the state traditionallywould encourage.

The chorus of voices raised against the HHS mandate has been loud and eloquent, so I won’t bore you by repeating arguments you know already. The Fluke sideshow has been nothing but a diversion. (And, gee, thank you for that, Rush Limbaugh! Now please get the hell off my side, because you’re not helping. I’m trying to remember the last time anything you did actually helped conservatism. Running your mouth 3 hours a day accomplishes nothing.)

The woman’s remarks throughout this entire affair have been almost incandescently stupid, making you wonder just what exactly are the standards for admission to Georgetown Law these days. Her arguments were easy enough to refute, but then a guy who’s about one step up from a morning zoo jock called her a slut and made her a martyr. Now we’re not debating her idiotic words. We’re debating things that a conservative man should already know: how to be a gentleman.

And if I hear one more guy say, “We can be nice after we’ve saved civilization,” I’m gonna plotz. We can do almost nothing whatsoever to “save civilization” on any vast scale, certainly not by debate with people who have fallen so far into ignorance and sin that they could actually debate the exist of “truth,” or deny the existence of “sin,” or claim the that the inviolability of the human conscience can be swept away by an ever-expanding list of wholly imaginary “reproductive rights”.

We can only show the better way to be. If you think it’s okay to act like a leftist* while trying to save conservatism (echos of Bush’s “I’ve abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system”), then you don’t understand even a little bit about conservatism. We will win not because we will play as dirty as them or debase ourselves in order to prove point. We will win because we’re right, and we’re better than them.

Back to Katrina’s main point, however, which is this: birth control is not health care. Let me tell you about health care. Among numerous other medications, I have to take two shots each month in order to be able to function. They cost about $800 each. Without them, within a couple of months, my condition (psoriatic arthritis) would return, and my joints would begin to fail, first in my legs, and then in my hands. My skin would start to slough off, and within about 6 months to a year, I would no longer be able to walk or use my hands.

So, basically, I’m this guy:


This is not hypothetical or abstract. I’ve already lived through it. It’s an actual illness, it’s not “Hey, it’s Friday night and that guy in the quad is cute. Let’s get funKAY!”

The idea that some cosseted, privileged demagogue thinks a free n’ easy swingin’ lifestyle is something the state should pay for is simply insane. That’s not health care. Putting aside the entire debate about government controlled health care for all (rather than for the extremely needy few), is it even minutely sane to spend vital health care dollars on contraception while people get nickle-and-dimed about life-saving drugs? Because I can guarantee you that the person on state insurance who goes to his provider with a request for expensive treatments like Enbrel or Humira is going to be put through the ringer to prove medical necessity, and probably denied. Meanwhile, the women who have a “right” of consequence-free sex are going to get their drugs passed out like M&Ms.

Haven’t the universal healthcare people talked all along about the need for rationing life-saving treatments? We’re going to ration chemo, but not Yaz? Are you friggin’ kidding me?

And remember: this whole sideshow almost exclusively is about oral contraceptives, not barrier protection, so there is no illusion that we are talking about controlling sexually transmitted diseases. STDs haven’t even been part of the debate, probably because condoms are cheap and easy to get, and thus don’t require new “rights” to be carved out of the religious protections guaranteed to others.

This was never about healthcare, or reproduction, or freedom, or even sex. This was always–always–about beating the Catholic Church into submission. It was a cold bit of calculus by a president who has shown a deft ability at manipulating Catholics. His calculations were off, and the “left/right” fractures in the Church were not as strong as he thought they were.

And so the Fluke circus rolls into town, trying to return us to the preplanned narrative: the Church is bad, and it hates sex, and it wants to tell you what to do.

Another’s sin is between that person and God. I don’t approve of their sin, but my disapproval is irrelevant to both the sinner and myself. When they want to make me subsidize their sin, however, I become a party to it.

And I will not be a party to it.


*I don’t refer to modern “progressives” or supporters of the Democratic party as “liberals.” They have long since passed beyond the noble roots of principled liberalism to embrace a suffocating statism that is indistinguishable from European socialism. Thus, they always will be regarded in these pages as “leftists.”

Likewise, I do not consider Republicans to be conservatives. (George Bush was not a conservative. Not even close. If you think he was, then either you weren’t paying attention, or you don’t know what conservatism is.) They are instead plutocrats in thrall to corporate interests, distracting people with endlessly multiplying wars.

No conservative or classical liberal would tolerate the platforms of either party, which seek to centralize power under an unholy combination of Big Government and Big Business.

Bigness is the enemy.

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About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.

  • AshtaraSilunar

    Okay, sidestepping the issue of trying to regulate morality: have you not heard of Endometriosis? Or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome? Or excruciating cramps? Or PMS? That makes four reasons to prescribe birth control pills to someone not sexually active. Two are serious, dangerous conditions. Congratulations! Birth control pills are in fact medical care now.

    As a side note: churches are already exempt from mandatory coverage of birth control. It’s only “church-based” organizations (universities and the like) that are the current issue.

  • Thomas L. McDonald

    This is another canard used to chum the waters of the debate, and it is entirely beside the point. It’s similar to the way the “rape and incest” exception always gets injected into the abortion conversation, when only about 1% of all abortions are related to rape or incest.

    Yes, I’m fully aware of all these things, and I’ve dealt with them in my own family. “Medically necessary” use of hormones is a small part of the massive prescribing of these drugs. Since many women simply want to contracept anyway, hormones are a simple “two birds with one stone” approach to treating problems like endometriosis. In any event, from a moral perspective, the purpose of these drugs is the treatment of the condition, with contraception a secondary effect, thus potentially mitigating the moral issues. (The principle of double effect, and its application to contraception, is a complex issue in Catholic theology, and I’m not wading into the entire thing in a combox comment.) That might be an interesting debate to have: is there an exemption for Catholic health care providers to supply hormones to treat legitimate medical conditions? Oddly enough, it doesn’t ever come up, because that’s not what this debate is about. It’s about, as with all of the left’s pet pelvic issues, unfettered access to cost-free, consequence-free sex.

    And by the way, there is no “sidestepping the issue of trying to regulate morality,” since it’s my morality you’re trying to regulate. You’re free to contracept your little brains out with no moral impact on me whatsoever. When you expect me to pay for it, however, you start using the force of law to make me bend to YOUR morality.

  • AshtaraSilunar

    The issue of legitimate medical issues did come up early in the debates. After a brief moment of pretending that this was about religious freedom, most of the debaters have fallen back on the idea that women shouldn’t ever have sex.

    How is private insurance health coverage infringing on your morality? I question the premise that Catholic employers should be able to pick and choose what health care benefits their insurance should cover, because the idea that a religion can dictate your health coverage is a very dangerous idea. If you had sickle cell anemia and worked for a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses, should they be allowed to deny you coverage for blood transfusions? Should Orthodox Jewish employers be able to deny treatment for tapeworms if you got them from eating pork? The possibilities are myriad and terrifying.

    As a side note: the majority of Catholic women have used birth control, regardless of church doctrine. That was the case even forty years ago.

  • http://moralmindfield.wordpress.com Brian Green

    Ashtara, your objection has been resolved Catholic medical ethics for decades.

    First, change your description from “birth control pills” to “hormones” because that is their neutral medical description. “Birth control” refers to one particular purpose of the pills, not what the pills actually are.

    Insofar as hormones are prescribed for medical purposes they are perfectly licit from a Catholic perspective and should be covered by medical insurance just like any other medicine.

    Insofar as hormones are prescribed for contraceptive purposes they are not a medical treatment and therefore should not be covered by medical insurance because they are not medicine.

    Very simple.

  • AshtaraSilunar

    So if it’s ethically okay to prescribe “estrogen/progesterone hormone pills” for medical conditions, why the fight to not cover them?

  • xombiehamster

    In practice, though, this is not how it works. Because these hormones are promoted as “birth control” and labled as “birth control” it has never mattered in my entire medical history that I was taking these hormones to control a legitimate medical problem. Insurance does not cover “birth control,” no matter what diagnosis the doctor gives or why they’re being prescribed. There is a clear disconnect between doctrine and practice.

  • http://moralmindfield.wordpress.com Brian Green

    As far as I know the fight is over covering the contraceptive purpose only. But see my response to xombiehamster below.

  • http://moralmindfield.wordpress.com Brian Green

    Is your insurance carrier a Catholic organization? If so, then they ought to be covering legitimate prescriptions of hormonal medications (assuming they cover prescriptions at all). If not, then I think they are just being crappy insurers. Sorry to hear it.

  • xombiehamster

    Yes, they’re Catholic, through my job at a Catholic college. (They’re also a lousy insurer.)