Companies’ rights v. Women’s rights

Here is a quote from a Republican senator:

Discussing health care outside the Supreme Court today, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) told ThinkProgress that there “shouldn’t” be a law requiring businesses to cover employees who have cancer because that would “create an obligation” for others. “When you create a right for somebody,” Johnson said, “you create an obligation for somebody else, and then you’re taking away that person’s right.”

And here is a very excellent point made in the comments section:

Funny how he says this about cancer patients, but probably would never say it about a pregnant teenager looking for an abortion…even though it’s the exact same thing.

In other words, giving people the right to have their cancer treatments covered by their insurance plans an undue burden on health insurance companies (or the businesses that purchase their plans) and thus removes some of the company’s rights and is therefore wrong. But given that this senator is also anti-abortion, giving a fetus rights is somehow okay even though it places an obligation on the woman carrying the fetus and thus removes her rights. I somehow doubt the senator quoted above has ever really thought that through. I mean, companies have rights. But women? Come on!

I am so glad I am no longer associated with the craziness that has become the Republican party.

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About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • smrnda

    If a company can provide insurance that simply leaves out whatever it feels like not paying for, you create a situation where businesses can just *decide* not to cover anything but which can still pretend to offer health insurance. Isn’t the business placing an undue burden on workers to not cover life-threatening health conditions in order to boost their bottom line? The truth is that Republicans really believe in feudalism, with rich, white property owning white men being everybody else’s unquestioned lords and masters, and it’s out God mandated duty to submit to whatever oppressive conditions the ruling class seeks to impose on us. Plus, if workers do WORK for you and help you make MONEY you damned well ought to have obligations towards them.

    I think the issue to me is rights of workers to decent and fair compensation versus the rights of their employers to screw them and treat them like disposable commodities. The law should regulate what is considered adequate health insurance and businesses should be forced to comply, the same way that we have minimum wage laws, workplace safety laws and sexual harassment laws that employers are bound to follow. If a person works for a company, the company owes them something in exchange for the workers fulfilling their obligations to their employers. Workers SHOULD have rights because they do WORK for a company, and so putting OBLIGATIONS on an employer is a no brainer, since they have a long history of trying to shirk any responsibility towards workers by any means possible. Because of the discrepancy in power there is no need to protect employers’ rights, but there is a need to protect workers. Republicans just see to want to bring back slavery…

  • H. Mallory Rosen

    “I somehow doubt the senator quoted above has ever really thought that through.”
    Not to be too flippant about the matter, but frankly that could be said about quite a number of things that have come out of the mouth of that man.
    I miss Feingold.

  • Scotlyn

    How did companies get stuck in the middle of their employees and their health cover anyway? It seems the whole system is ripe for abuse, and it must make it difficult to separate one’s worklife from one’s private concerns, including health.

    • Libby Anne

      During WWII, there were limits on how much companies could pay workers, but because of all the men called away to war and all the new stuff that needed making (bombs, etc), there was a labor shortage. But, like I said, companies couldn’t offer higher wages to attract workers to come to their company rather than some other company. So, they started offering health coverage as a perk. I wish I was joking, but this really is how it happened. It was a complete accident!

  • Paula G V aka Yukimi
  • smrnda

    Companies are also frequently dishonest to workers about why their health coverage is so shitty. Employers pretend that they go to an insurance company and the insurance company just offers them a plan that they could take or leave. The truth is that companies negotiate with insurance companies for what type of plan their workers get, so the employer is just as likely, if not more likely than the insurance company to be the reason for a plan that sucks.

    Overall, we need a national health care plan so that workers aren’t dependent on their employers for a plan, since employers are always going to offer the shittiest plan they can get away with.

  • JW

    I have to say that I am registered Republican but more and more I am disgusted with the whole party. I get mailers from Mitt Romney and even had a phone call for a poll about my opinion and about giving to help the campaign. I would rather give money to a charity than to a political party but I see them as a vacuum when it comes to money.

    I have asked myself, why am I Republican and not a Democrat. Here is the reason and this is not to say I am right in this but it is my own reasoning. I am Republican because I believe in less government in our lives but not “0″ government. Government is set up to keep society itself in check and help society when it needs a helping hand but not to keep holding that hand from birth until death. I also see the Republican party as the party upholding some sense of morality of what is right and what is wrong vs. the love, acceptance and toleration of all things. Taken the latter statement to its extreme will there come a time when child molesters fall under that banner? After all, I have heard it said that they cannot be reformed ( like homosexuals cannot be reform).

    Democrats – this is what I see of this party and why I am not registered this way. Though the party is progressive, which is a good thing, I don’t like the more government mentality in it. I don’t like the more taxes type of thing. ( I ever heard the new French President is taxing the amount of tv’s per household and soon computers). I also don’t care for the acceptance of immorality and the self centeredness of the party. I speak on issues such as abortion and the argue of ‘it’s my body’ vs. there is a babies body in there as well. Funny thing how if a pregnant woman is shot and killed how they shooter gets charged with 2 killings but the abortion crowd says it isn’t a person. This is an observation on my part. I also don’t accept the love, tolerance, acceptance philosophy because it is devoid of ‘right and wong’. Does love, tolerance, acceptance have an end and if so where does those ideas stop?

    Let me remind you now – these are what I see for myself and I may be wrong in my viewpoint on these and if I am please enlighten me because I find that my opinions so change. I am not deadset on anything but at this moment in time this is where my thinking is on the political parties. Now, if anyone replies to my post please don’t come with fire in your mouth. I would rather read a conversation then a finger pointing wild fire coming at me.


    • Libby Anne

      I’ll just respond to one part of your comment:

      Taken the latter statement to its extreme will there come a time when child molesters fall under that banner? After all, I have heard it said that they cannot be reformed ( like homosexuals cannot be reform).

      Another commenter here once pointed out that while conservatives see acceptable or non-acceptable sexual acts in terms of morality – premarital sex, gay sex, sex with children or animals, etc, are simply seen as wrong – while progressives see acceptable and non-acceptable sexual acts in terms of consent – premarital sex and gay sex are okay because they involve consenting adults, but sex with children or animals is wrong because children and animals cannot consent. So you may see sex acts like gay sex and adult-on-child sex as in the same category and wonder how progressives can allow one without the other, progressives see them in completely different categories and see nothing at all strange about accepting the one and condemning the other.

    • ScottInOH

      I’ll chime in to add that if you are really interested in how people who emphasize tolerance can also have limits (“understand right and wrong” as you put it), you could do worse than read what Libby Anne has written on humanist ethics (under the “My beliefs” tab). There are plenty of other places you could go, but you’re already here…

  • Tracey

    JW, I think you’re very confused about the whole issue. How does the French government considering extending the television licence fee to include computer screen owners to boost revenues for public-sector broadcasting operations have anything to do with the Democratic Party of the USA?

    Also, it has obviously never occurred to you in your zeal to protect potential life, you’re completely happy to deny the FREEDOM (a Republican ideal, since they’re always screaming about FREEDOM) of a woman to make decisions about what goes on in her own body? That’s the hypocrisy of the anti-choice party; the idea that a 64-cell hollow ball has more rights than the living, breathing, unquestionable human being its attached to, and that the woman has absolutely no right to welcome it or not because she’s a slave to your beliefs.

    • JW

      Tracey – The French thing was a tanget. I meant it to suggest that their new leader is a socialist or communist ( I forget which) and one of his plans is to impose more government which is a tv/computer tax was one small ridiculous example. I see the democratic party seeking similiar measures in other areas.

      The abortion deal is a very touchy subject. So many times it comes down to when does life begin , at conception? Or later on down the road when body parts appear? It would seem to me that if cells are constantly dividing after conception that there is a life going on there. If so isn’t there some kind of responsiblity? After all, when a child is born there is major responsiblity. When a woman is 6 months pregnant there is responsibility to take care of that unborn baby with food and exercise until that unborn is born. As a result where does freedom come in and where does responsiblity take over? Freedom is a buzz word to say we are at liberty to do what we want when that isn’t the case at all.

      Just like sex, we have the freedom to engage in sex but with that comes the responsbility to know that pregnancy can occur as well as std’s. Freedom comes with responsibility which I find is very lacking in society these days.

      Just my thoughts……


      • ScottInOH

        JW, you fall into the trap of beginning with the zygote and asking when it is OK to kill it. (Just because “cells are constantly dividing,” by the way, does not mean something can’t be killed. A plant? An animal? Your fingernail?) Try beginning with the woman and asking when it is OK to force her to give 9 months of life support. Or try beginning with any human and asking when s/he can be forced to donate bone marrow or blood.

  • Tracey

    JW:”Tracey – The French thing was a tanget. I meant it to suggest that their new leader is a socialist or communist ( I forget which) and one of his plans is to impose more government which is a tv/computer tax was one small ridiculous example. ”

    The fact that you can’t tell whether someone is a Socialist or a Communist but you’re *very very angry about it* means you’re getting all caught up in your Right-Wing Rage Points. The facts are that the gov’t, in order to raise money, is extending an *already-existing fee* in order to continue funding its broadcasting organizations. IIRC, the previous Republican administration of the USA was all about raising fees on this, that, and the other thing.

    As for abortion, the bottom line must remain that the actual person matters more than what may or may not become a person one day. Just as we can’t force someone to donate blood, bone marrow, or organs, it is equally wrong to force someone to be a coerced walking incubator for a potential person. Potentiality does not equal reality; speak with any number of women who have miscarried or given birth to stillborn babies; pregnancy does not guarantee a live birth. I find it disturbing that you would cancel out the humanity of a woman in favor of what-might-be.

    Women are well aware that sex can lead to pregnancy, and choosing to abort when conditions are not right for pregnancy is doing the responsible thing. Your camp is always railing about ‘irresponsible’ women (it’s never the men who are irresponsible–apparently Republicans believe these women are all conceiving immaculately) who have children they can’t possibly afford or take care of, and your camp is all in favor of cutting funds to support women with small children who need help.

    That is perhaps the most disturbing thing to me; that people who get teary-eyed and clenched-jawed about a 64-cell blastocyst have completely no regard for the orphaned 3-year-old; or the newborn of a 12-year-old rape victim; let them starve because what’s important is *smaller government*.

    • Azel

      The worse is that this extension of the television licence is needed because of our previous conservative government actions which had the magnificent idea to suppress the evening advertisements slots on the public TV channels without offsetting the public broadcast organisation losses subsequent to that decision. And an extension, this time to Internet connections, was already in said conservative government’s projects as early as November 2008.

  • A Reader

    I know this wasn’t the point of the post, but I’d just like to say that anybody who would suggest that cancer patients should just go die–completely without healthcare–is a douche. Seriously.

    Carry on!

  • Minnie

    What Republicans and Pro-lifers think of women and little girls. Of abused women and abused little girls.

    ~~ The GOP has refused to renew the Violence Against Women Act.

    ~~ Every GOP Senator voted AGAINST The Equal Pay for Women Act.

    ~~ Every GOP Senator voted AGAINST Al Franken’s Anti-Rape Amendment.

    ~~ Every GOP member voted FOR Anti-Safe Abortion Legislation.

    ~~ Every GOP member voted FOR the Blunt/Rubio Anti-Women’s Equal Health Coverage Amendment. While the Blunt/Rubio Amendment does not allow employers to deny male employees health coverage for a Vasectomy, the Blunt/Rubio Amendment allows an employer to deny female employees & female dependents: contraception, tubal ligations, and hysterectomies.

    ~~ GOP wants to Redefine Rape to “forceable” rape.

    ~~ GOP wrote legislation to probe metal prongs up a woman’s vagina.

    ~~ GOP changed the legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence to “accuser”.

    ~~ GOP wrote legislation that could make it legal to murder a doctor who provides abortion care. (South Dakota GOP)

    ~~ GOP wrote legislation to cut nearly a billion dollars of aid to low-income pregnant women, mothers, babies, and kids.

    ~~ GOP wrote legislation that would let hospitals allow a woman to die rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life.

    ~~ GOP wrote a law cutting ALL funding for low-income kids saying “Women should really be home with the kids, not out working (Maryland).

    ~~ GOP Cut Funding for Head Start, by $1 Billion.

    ~~ GOP wrote a Bill to CUT funding for employment services, meals, and housing for senior citizens. (Two-thirds of the elderly poor are women)

    ~~ GOP Candidates for President vow and pledge to Cut Funding for Planned Parenthood.

    ~~ GOP voted for an Amendment to cut all federal funding from Planned Parenthood health centers.

    ~~ GOP wrote a Bill to eliminate all funds for Federal Family Planning Program.

    ~~ GOP wrote a Bill to Provide Contraception for wild horses but ENDS all Federal Funding for Family Planning, including contraception coverage. (Dan Burton (R-Indiana).

    ~~ GOP has also written “Personhood” laws that force women and girls to bear their rapist’s progeny.

    ~~ GOP has passed laws that allow doctors to lie to a woman about the health of the fetus if the doctor thinks she might have an abortion.

    ~~ GOP Jan Brewer (R- AZ) recently signed one of the most controversial and restrictive abortion bans in the country, which experts say effectively bans abortions after 18 weeks and declares that a woman could be pregnant 2 weeks before she even had sex.

    I did not make this list, I got it from a woman named Sandy.

  • Tracey

    Thank you, Azel. I doubt your words will make an impact on the reality-impaired. It’s so much easier for them to be angry.

    • ArachneS

      As per the list given above by Minnie, I’d say being angry is not an invalid response. When has reform and movement forward ever happened without people as a whole getting angry? How did women win their rights to vote and hold property? How did the Civil rights movement gain momentum? Anger has a place, and it is put to good use when harnessed.

      However, it is often those who want to squash the movement forward that try to dismiss that anger. Can you not see what is wrong? Or is it just easier to dismiss the many other voices that are actually having conversation than it is to help solve it?

      • Azel

        True, but if you are to be angry, you should at least be angry about reality, and not about a figment of your imagination. Because if you can be stirred up without a link with reality, you risk to be used by people who would use your anger to their ends, often coinciding neither with your objectives nor with your interests.
        In this case, I gather Tracey was talking about JW’s statements, specifically the one about the new French president’s project of a television license’s extension, his misstatement of the reason and of the kind of project in discussion; and his error between socialists and communists, which either show a terrible blindness to France’s situation or that he can be stirred up without a regard to reality, just in pushing his hot buttons (taxes ! communism ! socialism ! the left !)

    • JW

      “Thank you, Azel. I doubt your words will make an impact on the reality-impaired. It’s so much easier for them to be angry.”

      I am guessing this quote is directed at me and if so, just saying, if so, then why am I being called ‘angry”. I am not angry at anyone. I find that amusing. ‘REALITY-IMPAIRED’ ? Really? Is this how you want the conversation to flow? Not a good conversation then if that is the case.

  • smrnda

    On taxes – our taxes are pretty low at present; the rate of taxes on the wealthy was far higher under Eisenhower (and Eisenhower was a Republican) and he didn’t get criticized for taking money away from “job creators.” Republican economic policy has been idiocy for well over a decade. We aren’t overtaxed, except in regressive taxes that hit poor people hardest.

    Government ought to provide things that the public needs. The private sector is doing a pretty uneven job of providing health care so the government ought to step in; governments in about every other industrialized nation have done that a long time ago. I see more government as neither good or bad in and of itself, it’s what it does. Sometimes you need more – we have less government where we need it and more government where we don’t in this country. And governments need to levy taxes to do anything – the pearl clutching horror over OMG TAXES! – how is a government supposed to RUN without money?

    And the party of ‘morality?’ Yeah, love, acceptance and tolerance are a terrible way to view morality – even JESUS in the BIBLE said “love God and love your neighbor” much to the chagrin of the rule-oriented pharisees who felt that he was abandoning all sense of morality and decency by not following the rules to the letter. The whole idea is that you can only tolerate what is tolerant. (Great Karl Popper quote on this: look it up.) You cannot and should not tolerate people who violate others sexually without their consent at any age, but I see no connection between ‘child molesters’ and ‘homosexuals.’ The thing that makes sex acts right or wrong or permissible or not is consent.

    And morality, seriously, the Republican party is the party of neo-feudalism. Poor people are human refuse and rich white property owners should govern us all. Freedom means your insurance company can drop you after years of paying your premiums because they want to take your money but not pay for health care. Freedom means tax breaks for the employers but increased taxes for the worker. The morality of the Republican party is a morality for people who enjoy brutality, oppression and like a world where the strong beat down the weak.

  • smrnda

    Sorry to double/post but seriously, if Republicans are so concerned about morality and think that liberal acceptance of homosexuality is some slippery-slope into legitimizing predatory sexual behavior, why are the Republicans clearly sending a message that rape is not a big issue? Why the lack of compassion for actual victims of sexual violence?

    Why aren’t conservatives, Republicans and Christians raising as much of a fuss over sexual harassment – something that goes on in public every single day – as they do over homosexuality? Why aren’t they concerned that women can’t walk around without some guy screaming “I wanna f*ck you b*tch” from a car window? And before they dismiss that behavior as harmless, it doesn’t take much for the guy to decide to get out of the car and rape you with a few of his buddies. On the Republican side, don’t forget Ron Paul who argues that women who are sexually harassed at work deserve some of the blame since they didn’t quit.

  • Tracey

    @Azel, yes, thank you for understanding. I was referring to JW being blindly angry about what he thought was happening (not what was actually happening) in France, and somehow then complaining about Democrats in the USA based on whatever-he-thought was happening in France.

    @smrnda: the reason Republicans can’t be bothered about actual abuse and harassment happening to women is that to them, women simply aren’t people…as is shown by the excessive concern-trolling for the fetus and complete disregard for the women carrying them.

  • mostlylurking

    Ah JW, why address the actual arguments when you can tone- troll. Classic.

  • Tragedy101

    Senator Ron Johnson is a conservative. What was the point of this? Of course he would say the same about conception. It is the right and responsibility of adults to conceive or avoid conception, not the company that hires them.

    • Azel

      You might have missed Libby Anne’s point. Her point is not that companies should have an hand in their employees’ choices regarding sex, conception and al. Her point is rather that there is a sexist double standard in saying that companies shouldn’t be forced to do something they don’t want to do, i.e. paying cancer insurance to their employees, and then turning around and saying that its perfectly fine to force women to do something they don’t want to do, i.e. serving as lifesupport for fetus and embryos. Note that senator Johnson’s argument might have some ground if the acts so vilified were immoral.

      • Tragedy101

        The reason I didn’t grasp the point was that the double standard only appears if one assumes that the actions of the company led to the cancer of the employee.