Their bluff has been called, will the bishops know when to fold ’em?

Well, I didn’t expect this.

The U.S. Catholic bishops have spent the week denying that they’re simply trying to prohibit health insurance from covering contraception. It’s not about that, they insisted, but about religious liberty.

Today, President Barack Obama called their bluff, carving out an “accomodation” that removes any grounds for a complaint about “freedom conscience” or “religious liberty,” while firmly insisting that the law is still the law, and that the law rightly prohibits discrimination against women in preventive health insurance.

Sr. Carol Keehan, president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association, says her group “is very pleased with today’s White House resolution” and insists that it “protects religious liberty and conscience rights.”

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, praised the White House for “ensuring all women will have access to birth control coverage, with no costly co-pays, no additional hurdles, and no matter where they work.”

I’ll turn to Jodi Jacobson for a summary of the change, since following this news is what she does. “White House Amends Birth Control Mandate: Contraceptive Coverage to be Offered Directly from Insurers,” Jacobson writes:

Today, the White House did the right thing for women, public health and human rights. Despite deep concerns, including my own, based on what transpired in the past under health reform, the White House has decided on a plan to address the birth control mandate that will enable women to get contraceptive coverage directly through their insurance plans without having to buy a rider or a second plan, and without having to negotiate with or through religious entities or administrations that are hostile to primary reproductive health care, including but not limited to contraception.

Under this plan, every insurance company will be obligated to provide contraceptive coverage. Administration officials stated that a woman’s insurance company “will be required to reach out directly and offer her contraceptive care free of charge. The religious institutions will not have to pay for it.”

Moreover, women will not have to opt in or out; contraceptive care will be part of the basic package of benefits offered to everyone. Contraceptive care will simply be “part of the bundle of services that all insurance companies are required to offer,” said a White House official.

“We are actually more comfortable having the insurance industry offer and market this to women than religious institutions,” said the White House official because they “understand how contraception works” to prevent unintended pregnancy and reduce health care costs. “This makes sense financially.”

The way it works is this: Insurers will create policy not including contraceptive coverage in the contract for religious organizations that object. Second, the same insurance company must simultaneously offer contraceptive coverage to all employees, and can not charge an additional premium. This provides free contraceptive coverage to women. The reason this works for insurance companies is because offering contraception is cost-neutral and cost-effective; companies realize the tremendous cost benefits of spacing pregnancies, and limiting unintended pregnancies, planned pregnancies and health benefits of contraception.

White House officials, speaking on background, said that the accommodation — which they stress is not a compromise — fulfills two principals. One is that all women will have access to the health care they need no matter where they work; their access to contraceptive services is guaranteed. “No longer will they have to struggle to pay for it,” said the White House official. At the same time, “we are able to respect the beliefs of religious institutions.” These are two principals, the official said, “that the White House holds dear.”

The rule will be applied to all but the original institutions that were exempted — those for which religious inculcation is their primary purpose — and will not be expanded to include other entities such as hospitals, clinics, or social service organizations.

This is a bit tricky since, as Ezra Klein notes, “there’s a difference between ‘revenue neutral’ and ‘free.’” That distinction leads Kevin Drum to say that “Angels Are Now Waltzing on the Edge of a Healthcare Plan.”

But still, the bottom line is this: Obama gave the bishops everything they claimed they wanted, but not what they really wanted. He gave them everything they asked for, but not the thing they adamantly denied they were seeking. The bishops’ bluff has been called.

Scott Lemieux thinks that’s pretty nifty. “Checkmate,” he writes. BooMan is blunter, saying this accommodation gives the bishops “About what they deserve.”

After all the week’s “Pills ‘n Thrills and Bellyaches,” TBogg sums it up in three words: “Who wins? Women.” He concludes:

It would be in the Catholic bishops’ best interests to claim victory and go home since this takes them out out of the equation, allowing them to do what they do best: pretending that they don’t know that their flock is already telling the Vatican to pound sand by using birth control. They’re not going to like it, but absent total surrender from the White House, they’ve lost whatever high ground they believed they had since the Obama administration has created a compelling illusion of having compromised. Besides, for the bishops, their own house is on fire again and they may want to see to that.

Charlie Pierce is less optimistic, noting that:

[Obama] has proposed a reasonable alternative: the institutions don’t have to provide contraception, but the insurance companies will be required to offer it with no co-pays. In other words, priests don’t kill sperm, insurance companies do.

The problem … is that he has proposed a reasonable alternative to two of the most unreasonable institutions on the planet — the insurance companies and the Roman Catholic Church. … The president has left himself dependent on the avaricious to bail him out against the arrogant. This is not a comfortable place to be.

Oh, and in case you skimmed past the link embedded in that excerpt from TBogg, it leads to this: “8,000 instances of abuse alleged in Archdiocese [of Milwaukee] bankruptcy hearing.”

Say what you will about Joe Paterno, but at least he didn’t spend his last few miserable weeks proclaiming himself to be the standard-bearer for morality or pretending that he was being unfairly persecuted.

 

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  • Tonio

    Overall I’m pleased with the outcome. I still would have preferred that the bishops admitted they had no business butting into the private lives of non-Catholics. 

    My main concern is that the employers affected might treat the roster of employees who get the free contraception coverage as a “slut lists,” targeting them for attempts at conversion.

  • Anonymous

    The employer shouldn’t have any access to that list at all – the insurance companies will be working directly with the employees, not through the employer’s HR department.  This actually reduces the chances of someone at the diocese (or wherever) finding out about their contraception use because they won’t even have access to the records.

    Honestly the whole thing is impressive to me – mostly because Obama just handed the insurance companies the ability to rack up charges on insurance for Catholic organizations while simultaneously making the bishops look like idiots if they try to say “no deal” on this.  He gave them exactly what they wanted, and now the insurance companies can (rightly) point out that pregnancies are expensive and if the diocese isn’t going to help the insurance company reduce their risk as far as paying out for pregnancies, then the insurance company has a duty to their investors to charge the diocese more for their insurance than a company of similar size who buys the contraception bundle.

    Meanwhile they can market the contraception to the employees anyway, reducing their risk and pocketing the profit.  The only losers here are the diocese, who get exactly what they want and get charged more for it.  Life doesn’t usually work out that nicely.

  • http://lost-erizo.livejournal.com/ LE

    I imagine (although who knows – this is all new) if this is a transaction between the employee and her insurance company, and the employer isn’t paying for the coverage, then the employer has no business knowing which of their employees took the coverage and which didn’t.  The whole point is they aren’t involved in the transaction.

  • Anonymous

     we all would have prefered the government butting out.

  • http://sashaundercover.blogspot.com Sasha

    No we wouldn’t.  When the government butts out basic coverage is either not available or has very expensive co-pays and lots of red tape.  

  • Emcee, cubed

    My main concern is that the employers affected might treat the roster of
    employees who get the free contraception coverage as a “slut lists,”
    targeting them for attempts at conversion.

    Since the insurance companies will be contacting the women directly to offer them the coverage, the employers shouldn’t have any knowledge of it. In fact, it would violate confidentiality laws if the insurance companies notified them.

  • http://sashaundercover.blogspot.com Sasha

    Exactly so.  I have learned from this that women don’t appreciate the HIPAA privacy laws.

  • MaryKaye

    The best response to that, Tonio, would be for every single employee, male or female, to apply for the free contraception coverage.  If I worked at such an institution I’d lobby my co-workers to do this.  After all, while prescription male contraceptives don’t currently exist, they might in the future, and one would want one’s insurance to cover them:  also there’s female dependents of male employees.

  • MaryKaye

    I am not sure I buy the revenue neutrality argument.  It can reasonably be argued that providing contraception to a covered employee is cheaper than not providing it.  But it can’t be argued that insuring an employee of a Catholic organization is as profitable as insuring an employee of a secular organization–you have to pay for contraception in both cases, but in the secular case the employer pays part of the cost, and in the Catholic case they don’t.  So there is a disincentive to insure such employees.  Would an insurance company be permitted to refuse their business?  What happens if all of them do?

  • Anonymous


    Would an insurance company be permitted to refuse their business?  What happens if all of them do?

    I don’t think an insurer would have grounds for refusing the business of a Catholic organization, but there’s no rule saying that they must offer plans that nominally lack contraceptive care.  Based on the summary, an insurer could satisfy this rule by only offering plans with contraceptive care and none without.

    Alternately, an insurer could offer a non-contraceptive plan… for the same price as one with contraceptive coverage.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2RAPF5V3YPOUWAZGAJ2VCQM76Q Alicia

    Overall I’m pleased with the outcome. I still would have
    preferred that the bishops admitted they had no business butting into
    the private lives of non-Catholics.

    Ha ha, well, that fight is not only beyond the scope of this debate but well beyond the power of the federal government.

    Am I the only one who thinks that this compromise actually sounds a lot better than the original rule? This partly decouples employment from insurance company (not completely, but partly). It’s even good for the insurance companies; the cost of providing contraception is about 1/40th the cost of prenatal and delivery care, even if you don’t add in the possibility of post-pregnancy complications.

    My main concern is that the employers affected might treat the roster of
    employees who get the free contraception coverage as a “slut lists,”
    targeting them for attempts at conversion.

    Wouldn’t that be easier to do under the original rule?

  • http://www.anamardoll.com Ana Mardoll

    Wouldn’t that be easier to do under the original rule?

    No, because access to BC in the past has always been prescribed by general practitioner doctors or OBGYNs under the basic well-woman coverage. You take two women at the same company, going to the same OBGYN, you have no idea which one is on BC and which is not. Under this new policy, not so much.

    There are also huge issues of consent — under the previous policy, daughters and wives could get BC without their father/husband (in many cases the primary insured party) being aware of it. Now, if the primary insured party opts out of the special coverage, there is no way for the women in his family to get the BC, or at least that is the concern.

    This is — imho — a terrible decision by Obama. Conversation and extrapolation here:

    http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2012/02/obama-blinks-on-birth-control.html

  • Daughter

    I’m not sure that’s the case. My husband works as a contractor, so I have usually been the primary insured for our family. He’s a diabetic, so he gets a lot more medical care than I do. The insurance company always corresponds directly with him, and they won’t tell me anything about his care due to patient confidentality laws unless he gives them his expressed permission to do so–even though I was the primary insuree.

  • Daughter

    As I think about it, this may be an issue for a minor girl looking to obtain birth control, since parents still have access to their children’s health records (but it was an issue before; this doesn’t change–hence the need for more support for school-based health centers). But I don’t think it will be an issue for a wife covered under her husband’s policy–the insurer will see her as a separate patient, covered by patient confidentiality laws, and will contact her directly.

  • http://sashaundercover.blogspot.com Sasha

    I agree.  We haven’t read the final rule yet.  That may be solved or may be a problem for another day.  

  • http://www.anamardoll.com Ana Mardoll

    Yes, because your husband’s care is *covered* by your insurance. If your insurance was split up into Regular Insurance and Special Insurance and you didn’t deliberately opt-in to the Special Insurance that he needed, then he’d be unable to get that care without asking you for it. 

  • Daughter

    I still don’t think so. If woman X is covered under her husband’s policy, she is still a patient of insurance company Y, one whose pregnancy could potentially cost them a lot more than offering her a special BC policy. And again, the special rider I think would be covered under patient confidentiality laws–there’s no reason to go through her husband to offer it, and doing so may be in fact a violation of the law.

  • http://www.anamardoll.com Ana Mardoll

    one whose pregnancy could potentially cost them a lot more than offering her a special BC policy.

    And insurance companies always do the cheaper, sensible thing rather than the short-sighted costly thing!

    there’s no reason to go through her husband to offer it

    There is *already* precedent for insured individuals to opt-out of special insurance plans to save money on their basic plan — *my* company does this. It’s great that your company apparently doesn’t, but please don’t tell me that this isn’t possible/legal in my area.

  • Anonymous

    “under the previous policy, daughters and wives could get BC without their father/husband (in many cases the primary insured party) being aware of it. Now, if the primary insured party opts out of the special coverage, there is no way for the women in his family to get the BC, or at least that is the concern.”

    That would be very troubling, but if I’m understanding this right (which I certainly may not be), it might not be the case:

    “women will not have to opt in or out; contraceptive care will be part of the basic package of benefits offered to everyone”

    If there’s no opting in or out, if insurance carriers must cover contraceptives at no extra cost, then wouldn’t any woman with insurance who gets a presciption from her doctor be automatically covered? I guess it comes down to whether “reach out directly and offer her contraceptive care free of charge” means “reach out” only to policy holders or “reach out” to all individuals on a policy.

  • http://www.anamardoll.com Ana Mardoll

    It’s my understanding that it’s “reach out to policy HOLDERS”. If it works the way my current company handles special insurances, there’s an opt-in page on a website that my husband accesses through a employee name + password.

    We’ll see how it works out in actual effect, but I am not pleased at the White House’s willingness to continue to use women’s health as a “special interest” bargaining chip to be played with. I do not think the new policy has been thought through well at all — and there’s a reason why they keep insisting that NO REALLY IT’S BETTER THAN THE HAWAII PLAN: the Hawaii plan has resulted in massive problems, a lot of undue burden on women, and workplace harassment, or so I’ve been reading today.

    But I’m totes sure that the demonstration worked out all those bugs and that this “separate yet equal!” special insurance thing will go smoothly and no one will ever have her BC denied or her coverage interrupted as a result. /frustration

  • Daughter

    Again, I’m only speaking from my own experience, so I don’t know how it works nation-wide. Under our previous policy, each insuree (which meant my husband as well as me) could go to their web site, create a user name and password, and access information, search for medical providers, receive emails on topics relevant to their care, etc. That’s not that hard a system to create.

  • http://www.anamardoll.com Ana Mardoll

    No, it’s not a HARD system to create and I’ve not argued that. It’s a system that is not, however, legally mandated, and I see no reason to ASSUME that the employers *fighting to keep their employees and their employee’s families off birth control* (which is — I remind you — a costly decision for the company because if a woman leaves because of pregnancy, they have to replace her) will AUTOMATICALLY set up such a system just because they totes care about women. 

  • Daughter

    Well, that’s the beauty of this: the employers have no say. You’re right that insurers aren’t necessarily trustworthy, but they at least care about their bottom line, and pregnancy is a hell of a lot more expensive than BC.

    Yes, we can’t assume the right thing will happen, but we can’t assume it won’t, either. One thing we can do, however, is contact the White House/HHS and advocate that protections be put in place so that potential downsides don’t occur.

  • http://www.anamardoll.com Ana Mardoll

     You’re right that insurers aren’t necessarily trustworthy, but they at
    least care about their bottom line, and pregnancy is a hell of a lot
    more expensive than BC.

    My health insurance is provided through a national company that denies
    EVERYTHING — E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. — the first time it’s submitted on
    the hopes that the customer will give up and go away. There is ZERO NO
    NONE ZILCH consideration that this tactic could result in costly
    problems developing down the line.

    90% of my preventative care
    is NOT free (even though it’s supposed to be) because I don’t meet a
    minimum age limit, despite having tested positive for certain things in
    the past that are now in remission and need to be monitored carefully
    lest they flare up again and cost lots of money.

    Insurance companies are not all bastions of forward thinking
    and logic and libertarianism and perfect cost analysis and Ron Paulism. I know this from harsh experience.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    That’s the same tactic my parents used to use. “Mom, dad, I’m sick.”  “No you’re not. Stop complaining”  “Mom, dad, I’m sick. FOR REALS.” “[sigh] Okay. I guess you’re sick. Get in bed, I’ll make some chicken soup and get a thermometer.”

    I’m not really sold that this was a good way for my parents to behave. but I am damned sure that a national insurance company should not treat its customers like they’re six.

  • http://sashaundercover.blogspot.com Sasha

    We won’t know which it is until the rule is written and published.

  • http://sashaundercover.blogspot.com Sasha

    Yes.   That’s how I read it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Cule/100001621659800 Michael Cule

    I don’t get it.

    The compromise makes no sense. The Church and Church-based organisations are still going to be paying insurance companies for a package that will give their female employees access to contraception. I don’t believe there will be any difference in the rates offered to Catholic and non-Catholic organisations: why should there be?

    So from the strict ‘I-don’t-want-to-get-sullied-by-this-evil-practice’ point of view, the Church and Catholic businessmen are still doing EEEEEEEVIILLLLL THINGS!

    I mean, if the Bishops accept it as a face saver, fine and good. But the theological difference between what was on offer yesterday and what’s on offer now is a little too fine for this agnostic to fathom.

  • Tonio

     Since the benefit plans do include some degree of employer contributions, apparently the bishops interpreted this as the employers financially supporting contraception. I agree that this seems petty at best. It’s the same thing that happened with the Komen controversy, where the group was more concerned about its image of itself than with any harm that it would cause to women.

  • Anonymous

    If the Bishops accept this, I expect that they will issue some kind of sulky statement where they oh-so-sadly, regretfully, and with heavy hearts accept this compromise of their deeply felt most sacred religious tenets, but only because the decadent liberal bullies were being so mean to them, and then they’ll put the issue on the back burner to simmer nice and slow until the next time they need to pour on the frothy outrage.

  • Mkd

    I love it.  +10 for problem solving, +10 for style.

  • Lizzy L

    Michael, you’re right. But there was no way for the bishops to win this fight: the administration was not going to give the US Council of Catholic Bishops a line item veto over American women’s healthcare. I don’t believe that even the current Republican House is crazy enough to pass a law saying that taxpayer money cannot be used for contraceptives. (Well, yes, Santorum is just that crazy. There’s a reason he’s no longer a legislator.) This allows Obama to look reasonable & caring, while the bishops & Boehner look stubborn and foolish.

    At least, that the best case way to look at it. Worst case says that by compromising at all Obama has given the “religious liberty” claim some respect that it should never have been allowed to get. Which is a shame.

  • Anonymous

    It’s worth noting that the Catholic Church has fought against secular government and religious freedom for pretty much its entire history right up the point they become a minority in a given country, at which point they love themselves some secular government and religious freedom.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Cule/100001621659800 Michael Cule

    I note that according to one source Rick Santorum is seeing the same objection I am.

    This is disturbing to me: I seem to be agreeing with Rick Santorum…..

  • Daughter

    But they’ve backed themselves into a corner.  A lot of apologists for the bishops said the problem wasn’t access to BC (see: anursa), but that Catholic institutions shouldn’t have to pay for something they consider sinful. Now they don’t have to pay for it, so what’s the issue?

  • Anonymous

    A lot of apologists for the bishops said the problem wasn’t access to BC (see: anursa), but that Catholic institutions shouldn’t have to pay for something they consider sinful. Now they don’t have to pay for it, so what’s the issue?

    It wasn’t, I’m not, they shouldn’t, and it’s resolved.

  • Lori

    I firmly disagree that the Catholic church had any legal or moral standing to even the illusion of being  “accommodated” on this issue. I also don’t place a great deal of faith in insurance companies. I’ve seen them turn what sounded like a perfectly reasonable policy into a total nightmare more than once. I’m perfectly willing to own that those 2 factors make it difficult for me to assess this plan objectively. I’m going to work on letting go of my desire to see the Bishops called on their obvious lie about the Church’s delicate conscience and wait to see how this actually plays out. It’s an obvious kluge, but those have been known to work out fine. 

    The one thing I am unreservedly glad about is that will now be much more difficult for the GOP to continue to use this issue as a distraction from the economy and for the Church to use it to take attention off the fact that they’re still engaged in an active cover-up of child abuse. 

  • Tricksterson

    I’m betting that the bishops and their supporters will see this as weakness and push harder now.

  • Lori

    Oh look, the same Catholics who started this BS in the first place aren’t pleased with Obama’s plan. 

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/under-god/post/conservative-catholics-not-happy-with-health-care-compromise/2012/02/10/gIQApJyH4Q_blog.html

    Knock me over with a feather. 

    The fact that the Conference of Bishops is calling it “a first step in the right direction” pretty much points out the problem with trying to be remotely reasonable with them. They are not going to just take this as a face-saver and go deal with the fact that their house is still on fire. They got everyone to play along with their (false) claims about conscience and I think there’s very little chance that they won’t try to play that card again and again in the future. 

  • http://wp.wiccanweb.ca/ Makarios

    Agreed. Unhappily, Obama has given the bishops a big win by validating their “religious liberty” rhetoric, which is patent nonsense. I keep hoping that this administration will eventually learn that it doesn’t pay to negotiate with terrorists, because they just keep upping their demands.

  • Tricksterson

    Told you.  (Does the Troll Dance oof Self Validation)

  • Lori

    Huh? 

  • Anonymous

    I like this “compromise” plan – the first step on the road to getting rid of employer-provided health care, thanks to the nebulous “revenue neutral” rationale.

  • Ian

    The problem … is that he has proposed a reasonable alternative to two of the most unreasonable institutions on the planet

    I think putting unjust institutions in a position where they have to do the right thing is a triumph of statesmanship.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

    Well, if the link below is correct, you don’t have to opt-in at all.  All plans will automatically include coverage for contraception.  It’s just that the employer can ask for a religious exemption so they don’t have to PAY for the contraception coverage.  So their money wouldn’t be going to pay for people’s contraceptive, it would be the insurance companies’ money.  (Not that it it ever was their money, any more than the employee’s wages were, since the insurance is part of the employee’s compensation.  But this means it’s even less their money than it ever was.)

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/10/obama-birth-control_n_1267677.html

    Of course, you could argue that this is splitting moral hairs, but of course the RCC is happy to split moral hairs… when the splitting serves their purposes, of course.

    Still, this means they now have to admit that their basic objection isn’t that they don’t want to pay for contraceptives, it’s that they don’t want their employees to use contraception at all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    Yeah, I don’t really understand the “opt out” criticism at all. It doesn’t seem as if the actual structure of the plan from the patient’s perspective changes at all, only the way the money flows “behind the scenes” from an accounting perspective. The comparison to the Hawaii plan doesn’t make any sense since the whole point of this whole thing was that it wouldn’t involve women having to pay out of pocket at all — in both versions of this plan, there aren’t any co-pays.

    (And I still don’t get how people can already know for sure that insurance companies are incapable of complying with this cheaper rule if they’re able to comply with the significantly more expensive ‘coverage for pre-existing conditons’ rule. This was announced just a few hours ago and it already seems as if people already know that it won’t work somehow.)

    I agree that there are concerns, and that we should definitely keep the administration’s feet to the fire, but it feels like some of the other blogs I’ve read are already painting this as a defeat already.

  • Lori

     
    And I still don’t get how people can already know for sure that insurance companies are incapable of complying with this cheaper rule if they’re able to comply with the significantly more expensive ‘coverage for pre-existing conditons’ rule.  

     

    I don’t think that anyone is questioning the insurance companies’ ability to comply. 

  • Anonymous

    Can any mathy Slacktivites help out with a quick question? I’m fighting with crazed junk science peddlers on the National Catholic Reporter website, and someone just claimed:

    A woman on contraception for 3 years or more is 1000 times more likely to get breast cancer.

    Which sounds like a completely fictional Bizarro World statistic, but my utter math idiocy is preventing me from quantifying just how Bizarro World. I know, from having looked all this up over and over again in the last couple of weeks, that the ACS current lifetime risk estimate for the average USian woman is 1 in 8; and the Guttmacher Institute says that the US has approximately 43 million reproductive age, sexually active women, of whom about 10.7 million are on the Pill, most for at least 3 years over their lifetimes, if not a whole lot longer. I’m pretty sure all those numbers add up to “You are just a world of wrong” (also, my God, it’d make the most toxically explosive word problem in the history of the SAT), but I’m not sure why, and I’m getting a math-anxiety stomachache just thinking about it. Help a sister out, anyone?

  • Anonymous

    It’s what is called, in the vernacular, “a lie” or more colloquially, “complete and utter bullshit.”

    And if it was true, which it isn’t, so what? The Catholic Church’s opposition to birth control has nothing to do with cancer risk and everything to do with the belief that birth control violates the natural law of the universe as created by God.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, yeah, I get that it’s a lie, but the person I’m butting heads with obviously sincerely believes the lie; I’d like to be able not just to say, “Oh, you’re lying,” but “Possibly you haven’t thought through the math on this thing; if you run the numbers, you can see that whoever told you this had to be exaggerating because X, Y, Z.”

    So far, this technique has gotten me cautious and courteous retreats with lots of “Thank you”s and “Now I have to go ponder a while because you’ve given me a lot of food for thought”s from two formerly shrill and hostile trolls, both of whom have since backed off on trolling their pet subjects, so I kind of want to keep nudging away like this. Plus, a much more experienced troll-smiter elsewhere reminded me that for every one troll you don’t convince about a given subject, there are probably at least ten fence-sitting lurkers hanging back in silence who can be convinced. IIRC, a couple of Slacktivites started out as fence-sitting lurkers.

  • Anonymous

    You’re a better person than I, but then again, I admit that most of the time I’m a troll who trolls other trolls; while they’re under your bridge, I’m under their water. I don’t what that’s called, but I’m sure it’s in the Monster Manual.

  • Anonymous

    My husband calls me “the Conservative Whisperer.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

     

    I admit that most of the time I’m just a troll who trolls other trolls;
    while they’re under your bridge, I’m under their water. I don’t what
    that’s called, but I’m sure it’s in the Monster Manual.

    According to my second edition MM, they don’t have a separate name. The freshwater ones are diurnal, while the saltwater ones are nocturnal. The third edition MM calls them “scrags,” and while they can breathe underwater, they can only regenerate while mostly immersed in water.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     THANK YOU!  I’ve been trying to find R.A.Wilson’s “Natural Law” for quite a while now, for linkage in just such a situation.

  • Anonymous

     For that to be true, birth control pills would have to be made out of radium.

  • Anonymous

    Heh. That’s what I thought — I tried to work out the numbers, came up with a risk level of 10 women out of 8, and thought, “Either this person has severely misunderstood the numbers or I’m worse at math than I thought.”

  • Lori

     
    For that to be true, birth control pills would have to be made out of radium. 

    Well, that would have a near 100% rate at preventing pregnancy. 

  • Katie

    Are you saying that ingesting radium regularly would not prevent pregnancy?

  • FangsFirst

     

    Are you saying that ingesting radium regularly would not prevent pregnancy?

    I imagine death would generally promote not getting pregnant, myself.

  • Anonymous

    Complete edit:

    I should have finished reading the thread before I posted. I see others have addressed the breast cancer risk better than I did. My main point is that I really want to emphasize the reduction in ovarian cancer risk, so just like anything else it has some risks and some benefits.

  • FangsFirst

     

    My main point is that I really want to emphasize the reduction in ovarian cancer risk,

    Endometrial, too.

  • Anonymous

    Well, I don’t think you’ve got enough information in those data, because it doesn’t give you the relative risk for people who took BCP versus those who didn’t. However, it looks like some studies show no increased risk and others show a small increase, though nowhere close to 1000% (which would be equivalent to relative risk 100:1, unless I misunderstand the metric):
    http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa013202 (relative risk 1:1)
    http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/11/11/1375.short (relative risk 1.6:1)
    And this study suggests that it might be possible to create hormonal BC regimens that actually decrease the risk compared to normal:
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0277537988901733 

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    A woman on contraception for 3 years or more is 1000 times more likely to get breast cancer.

    Even if this were true, the risk would obviously be going from really infinitesimal to slightly less infinitesimal.  Otherwise nearly every woman in the country would be coming down with breast cancer.

    Meanwhile, birth control pills reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by a really large margin (a 10% reduction after a year, and a 50% reduction after five years).  And I would rather take my chances with a highly curable cancer like breast cancer than a cancer with such a low chance of cure.

    I can put my proverbial money where my mouth is on this one.  I just passed my 10-year post-breast-cancer anniversary this past November.  And if my breast cancer was a tradeoff for ovarian cancer, I’ll take it.

  • Dan Audy

    I definitely think that Obama’s administration could have come up with a better solution – no religious exemptions in a secular society.  However, I understand the political cost in doing so is higher than they are willing to pay since this would threaten evangelical churches too and they are much more willing and capable of throwing up a fuss than the Catholic Church (sorry RCC you guys are PR incompetents).  However given that they aren’t going to say ‘This is a secular society and everyone is obliged to follow the law even if they don’t like it’ this is about the best possible solution that could be crafted.  It ensures the coverage that is mandated is still provided and it removes the fig leaf that the RCC is using to disguise their true motives forcing them to either come into the light revealing their disgusting misogyny or back down having gotten their wrist smacked like a misbehaving child. 

    I certainly think that the blogs complaining about the comprimise are as clear an example of why the left consistently fails as any I’ve seen.  Even when we have a clear victory we let that sap our spirit and create internal dissension rather than being energized and moving to our next task.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    I certainly think that the blogs complaining about the comprimise are as
    clear an example of why the left consistently fails as any I’ve seen. Even when we have a clear victory we let that sap our spirit and create
    internal dissension rather than being energized and moving to our next
    task

    No, the Left fails because even attempting to stand up for a law that clearly follows existing and long established constitutional principles is seen as “too costly”. There was just no way that Obama could just say “This already applies in 28 states – why all the fuss now?”? Really?

    That’s what saps my spirit – not debate amongst the Left, but this permanent insistence that the Right can do whatever the frack it likes whenever they have power, but the Left must always compromise, even to obvious misogynists like this.

  • Matri

    I recall typing somewhere how the definition of compromise has changed.

    When a Republican says “compromise”, it means giving the Republicans whatever it wants.
    When a Democrat says “compromise”, it means giving the Republicans whatever they want.

  • P J Evans

    ‘The left’ does not include Mr O or about half the Democrats in Congress: they’re really the saner half of the Republican party, who ran away rather than deal with their own problems.

    I’d like to see an actual Democrat running for president before I die, instead of more of what we had last time, and what we’re getting this time: a mislabeled Republican running against a wingnut Republican.

  • P J Evans

     Possibly it’s because the (non-monolithic) left doesn’t all see it as a victory.

    The compromise shouldn’t have been necessary, as the bishops are not part of government, don’t get any more votes than any other group of that size, and have no control over anyone off church property. And they certainly want to be exempt from laws covering criminal activities that they should have been reporting….

  • Matri

    the bishops are not part of government

    A very vital piece of information.

    Why are they and their churches tax-exempt again?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2RAPF5V3YPOUWAZGAJ2VCQM76Q Alicia

    I think part of the reason is to encourage the social justice mission of churches (no taxes means more money to spend on food pantries and shelters and things like that) and another part is to prevent the government from using taxes to go after minority religions (ie you can’t come up with a weird property tax carefully tailored to nail Santerians, for example). Of course, some churches engage in electioneering with gusto and legally they should lose their tax-exempt status when they do, but whatever.

  • Lori

    I think part of the reason is to encourage the social justice mission of
    churches (no taxes means more money to spend on food pantries and
    shelters and things like that) and another part is to prevent the
    government from using taxes to go after minority religions (ie you can’t
    come up with a weird property tax carefully tailored to nail
    Santerians, for example).

    The second one is legit, but the first is not. I highly doubt that it ever was, but it certainly isn’t now. The bulk of the money that goes to most churches is spent on some aspect of maintaining or growing the church (buildings, salaries, mission work, etc) and society receives no benefit from that. For years churches have tried to say that it does, but there is no evidence to back that up.

    Society would virtually certainly reap more benefit from taxing churches and spending the money on social programs than from allowing them to be tax free and hoping they use the money for a food pantry instead of say, building a $130 million monument to the pastor’s ego. I also tend to think that the Catholic church might have taken its pedophile problem a bit more seriously if its pockets weren’t quite so cavernous.

    All that said, people have been pushing to tax the churches for as long as I can remember. It has never gone anywhere and I have no expectation that it will. Certainly not in my lifetime.

  • http://www.blogger.com/home?pli=1 Coleslaw

    From the link Lori provided:

    Speaking on “Morning Joe” as news of a potential deal broke, Washington Archbishop Cardinal Donald Wuerl said: “It’s the administration who has redefined health care. It is the presumption that pregnancy is some sort of health care anomoly that to have, to be pregnant is some sort of illness. [That approach says] we must prevent that illness and so we’ve redefined health care. . . A pregnancy becomes the problem.”

    This puts me in mind of a joke I read many years ago. Two priests were riding in a train in Ireland, and they fell into a conversation about how the pains of labor were a woman’s crowning glory. An old woman near them finally spoke up. “I only wish I knew as little about it as you two gentlemen do.”

    I find it hard to believe that Archbishop Wuerl has not noticed that pregnancy has health consequences for women and that it is totally unremarkable for health insurance to cover pregnancy costs, such as prenatal doctor visits. Yes, pregnancy is “some sort of health care anomaly” – an anomaly in the sense that the pregnant woman is not sick, but she does require medical care. The only way Archbishop Wuerl can not be aware that pregnancy is a stressor that can have serious health consequences for women is if he is sitting in a corner with his hands over his ears chanting, “Nah, nah, nah, I can’t hear you.”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

    Hmm.  Well, if your lifetime risk of breast cancer is 1 in 8, then that’s 12.5%.  1000 times that is 125%.  So yeah, unless I also suck at math worse than I think — and at this time on a Friday evening, that’s entirely possible — that’s not just wrong, it’s nonsensical.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

     12,500%.  :headdesk:  I’m always telling my students to watch the decimal places, clearly I need to do the same!

  • MaryKaye

    There are three major meta-studies of breast cancer and oral contraceptives.  The one that showed increased risk (the other two did not) had a relative risk of 1.24.  In other words, OC users were seen to have a 24% greater risk during their OC use. It fell off subsequently and past 10 years there was no difference.

    There is a very nice graphic
    here showing what that implies in terms of numbers of cancers.

    These studies are difficult because women on OC may get more medical care leading to earlier diagnosis, or may self-examine more leading to earlier diagnosis.  It is very challenging to separate this type of effect from an actual effect of OC.  So the difference seen, while certainly statistically real, may be a difference in age of diagnosis rather than in rate of cancer. We need a prospective rather than retrospective study, but those are frightfully expensive.

    From the numbers you give, if we are allowed to assume that most women on OC take it for at least 3 years, I could work out the following:

    About 1/4 of women use OC.  If their risk of cancer were 1000 times that of women who do not use OC, it seems to me that implies 333 OC-using women with breast cancer for every 1 non-OC-using woman with breast cancer.  Let me tell you, I work peripherally in cancer research, and we would NOT miss an effect like that.  We would not have needed a meta-study of over 150,000 women to see it.  I don’t think I have ever seen a relative risk as high as 1000.  For comparison, the well-known link between smoking and lung cancer is a relative risk of 23.

    Here’s another way to look at it.  If these numbers were true, the adoption of OC by 25% of US women would have resulted in a 333 fold increase in breast cancer cases.  Unfortunately I could not find breast cancer incidence numbers going back before 1975, but I am pretty sure there has not been a rise like that!

    Here’s another.  33% of British women and 1% of Japanese women use OC.  Japan has an incidence of 8.6 new breast cancer diagnoses per 100,000 women per year.  If the risk were 1000 times higher for British women, they should have a spectacularly higher incidence.  Let’s assume that the Japanese cancers were mostly non-OC as OC users are pretty rare there; so we’ll assume 67% of British women have the same risk as Japanese ones, and 33% have 1000 times higher.  That would predict that 2800 per every 100,000 British women would get breast cancer per year.  The actual number is 26 per 100,000.  That is a rather large difference from predictions.

    Finally, 15% of breast cancers are blatantly genetic, tied to two genes that are quite well understood.  That doesn’t leave room for an effect of the size cited here.

    I hope some of this helps.  Caveat: I work in cancer research but not on the kinds of statistics shown here, and I can’t guarantee I did them right.

  • Anonymous

    From Cancer Research UK*:

    it is estimated that if 100,000 women use the pill for ten years or more there will be 50 more breast cancers than would have otherwise occurred, but 12 fewer ovarian cancers

    http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/news/archive/pressrelease/2011-10-26-ovarian-cancer-risk-and-pill-and-pregnancy 

    As B stated, lifetime risk for breast cancer is 1 in 8, or 12,500 out of 100,000. I’m not exactly sure how to do the math as “1 in 8” presumably already factors in short-term and long-term oral contraception users, but 50 more cases is a lot less than 1000% more likely.

    *Not that one study should be taken as gospel. http://www.cancer.gov runs down some of the conflicting data on the so-called “link”:

    http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/oral-contraceptives 

  • MaryKaye

     B asks whether a lifetime risk of 12.5% would imply that 1000x greater risk would be a lifetime risk well over 1000.  It wouldn’t, though, because that lifetime risk is calculated on a pool of people many of whom use OC.  It would be theoretically possible that all the breast cancers were in the OC-using fraction, so that 50% of the 25% of women who use OC got breast cancer, and no one else.  That would give an absolute risk of 12.5% overall and of 50% in the OC subset.

    If out of every 2 women who took OC one got breast cancer…we’d know it by now.  RR of 1000 is huge.  I’ve never seen one.  Smoking and lung cancer is 23.  In most studies we get excited if we get into the 2 or 3 range.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

    [blockquote] B asks whether a lifetime risk of 12.5% would imply that 1000x greater
    risk would be a lifetime risk well over 1000.  It wouldn’t, though,
    because that lifetime risk is calculated on a pool of people many of
    whom use OC.[/blockquote]

    Good point.

    Of course, the whole statistic is absurd to begin with.

    From your earlier post it sounds like based on actual reality (radical thought!) this increased risk vanishes after a decade of no BC use.  Since that 1 in 8 is LIFETIME risk, and the risk of breast cancer increases quite a bit with age, I shouldn’t think that the additional risk from using BC — whatever that is — would apply to the entire 12.5%.

  • Murfyn

    If abstinence is equal to or better than conventional birth control, then aren’t all abstinent people practicing birth control?  Rick Santorum says that’s NOT all right . . .
    And BTW, if you have never read about the historical origins of the Catholic abstinence for priests thing, it is interesting.  Had to do with property and church power.

  • Ursula L

    If abstinence is equal to or better than conventional birth control, then aren’t all abstinent people practicing birth control?  

    Sort of.

    Abstinence can be considered a form of birth control.  

    But all birth control methods have two levels of effectiveness, perfect use and actual use.  So, say, the pill is 99% effective with perfect use, but sometimes in real life people take their pills late or miss a day, so the actual effectiveness is something less. 

    Abstinence is quite effective with perfect use.  But the problem is, it is quite ineffective with actual use.  Of the people who say they are using abstinence as their birth control method, there is a lot of non-abstinence that actually happens, and by failing to plan appropriately, they wind up with a high pregnancy rate.

    And of course, it gets even less effective when you have someone else deciding on abstinence as a birth control method.  A parent deciding their child will be abstinent and only have access to abstinence as a form of birth control is a really good way to increase the chance of pregnancy.  

    The pro-abstinence folks tend to ignore the difference between perfect use and actual use.  They only count perfect use towards the effectiveness of abstinence.  So they ignore all the times when people are told to be abstinent, but aren’t, and wind up pregnant, or when people plan to be abstinent, but change their minds,  and wind up pregnant, and all the times when people who said they would be abstinent are having too much fun and forget, and wind up pregnant, or otherwise are less than perfect in the use of their chosen birth control method.  

    So Santorum says that abstinence is an effective way to prevent pregnancy.  But he ignores all of the differences between perfect abstinence and the ways in which people who claim to use abstinence as birth control actually behave.  

    This difference in thinking, between focusing on perfect use and actual use, comes up frequently when you see how progressives think about policy versus conservatives.  Progressives tend to think about policy by looking at how people actually behave.  So you need to consider people who can’t find jobs, or people who enjoy sex and don’t want to be abstinent even if they aren’t married, or kids whose parents can’t afford food so they come to school too hungry to think, and then plan policies to deal with that.  Conservatives tend to plan policy around how they think people should behave.  So they want policies that assume everyone is working who is willing to work and unemployment means you’re a slacker, and no one is having sex unless they’re in a financially stable heterosexual marriage, and parents always can afford to feed and clothe their kids appropriately, etc.  

  • http://unwarr.blogspot.com/ Redmond Jennings

    At least the Church, while using bankruptcy proceedings to cheat the victims of pedophile priests and co-conspirator bishops, still has millions of dollars in cash on hand to wage war against gay Americans.

  • Nathaniel

    That’s what was so brilliant about this “comprise” though. Obama kept what he wanted and gave the priests what they ostensibly wanted. So now their choices are to take their ball and go home or continue the fight and not be able to even pretend its about anything other than a naked anti-woman, anti-sex power grab.

  • Emcee, cubed

    So here’s my understanding of the compromise. Say you buy an insurance policy that costs X dollars. This insurance policy covers contraceptives. You go to the insurance company and say you want a policy that doesn’t cover contraceptives, for whatever reason. The insurance company says, “Okay, we can do that. It will cost X dollars.” Because adding the cost of that coverage to a policy is so negligible, that it doesn’t lower the cost any. Like ordering a hamburger without pickle. Yes, it costs the restaurant something to add that pickle, so technically their cost is less, but as part of the package, it isn’t enough to lower the price. This is what makes it cost-neutral (which, as was mentioned, doesn’t mean free, but still).

    With the accommodation, the insurance company is required to contact anyone with coverage that doesn’t include contraception, and ask them if they want it. I assume that each participant would have to be contacted individually, regardless of the primary policyholder, because of HIPPA regs, but that does remain to be seen. (and is a legitimate concern, one I hope will be taken into consideration.) So, to continue the metaphor, it would be like the Church buying the employee a hamburger without pickles, and the restaurant has to come to you, and say, “Do you want pickles? They’re free.”

    The one part I’m not quite sure of is when they saying there is no opt-in. Does that mean that they would have to sign you up for the coverage unless you specifically opt-out of it? Which would likely be the best option, though odd. (Your employer didn’t get you pickles, but we’re going to send them to you unless you tell us you don’t want them.)

    I’m not sure if I got that all right, but this is my understanding of it. The Catholic Church won’t pay any less, the insurance company gets the same amount of money, the women get the same amount of coverage. If it works as planned (and that is a VERY big if), it could have been a lot worse. Also, it only applies to church-run institutions, so Mr. Catholic-Taco-Bell gets to go pound sand. Yes, I hate giving even an inch to these idiots. Yes, I hate the implications of their “this is a good first step” BS when it was made clear this is as close as they are going to get, and hope that’s the truth. But considering some of the massive cave-ins we’ve been subjected to, I’m okay with this for now. If it turns out not to work as planned, I’ll want it fixed, even if that means going back and saying to the churches “We tried it your way, and it didn’t work, so suck it up.”

  • LifeinTraffic

    I could be wrong, but I suspect it will work more like this: you get your prescription card, and in the packet that tells you what it covers, it simply includes prescription contraception in the list of what is covered. This really makes the most sense, is the easiest for everyone, and probably constitutes “reaching out.” It’s also not an opt-in, no need to talk to anyone, it’s just covered and that is that. Use it or not, your discretion.

  • Emcee, cubed

    It was, you are, they weren’t (or even by your ridiculous definitions, they had been for years), and apparently not, since the bishops seem to want to keep fighting (proving the first part).

  • Ursula L

    You’re right that insurers aren’t necessarily trustworthy, but they at 
    least care about their bottom line, and pregnancy is a hell of a lot 
    more expensive than BC.  

    The problem is, however expensive pregnancy may be for an insurance company, it is much more expensive for the person who is pregnant.  

    So insurance companies can and do make the calculation that if they turn down coverage for birth control, the insured person will pick up the slack, because it is in their own interest to not be pregnant.  

    And if the insurance company can get you to pay for coverage for six months without actually providing coverage, but you pay for the medicine anyways, that’s profit.  And if they can hold off paying for coverage for six months, and then reimburse you what it would have cost them at the discount they negotiated with the drug company, while you’ve been paying the full price for the medicine, that’s profit, because they’ve been collecting interest on your premiums.  And if you seek out discounted treatment via a place like Planned Parenthood, that’s profit as well.  

    The insurance company isn’t making the calculation “birth control is cheaper than covering prenatal care and a hospital birth.”  They’re making the calculation “having the customer pay for birth control out-of-pocket is cheaper than paying for it ourselves.” 

    And the Catholic Church is making the same calculation.  They aren’t expecting to pay more to provide health insurance for their employees because they don’t provide birth control and therefore will be paying for more prenatal care, miscarriages, premature births, healthy hospital births, etc.  They’re thinking they’ll pay less because they don’t cover birth control, but relying on their employees actually using birth control to keep the cost of insurance down.  

    If the proposed compromise works as it should, the coverage “without” birth control should cost considerably more than the coverage “with” birth control, because it assumes many more pregnancies.  

    So, if this policy is honestly applied, the Catholic Church should be paying more for the same coverage – the insurance company is required to throw in birth control coverage anyways, but the price the Catholic Church pays assumes that everyone who would be using birth control isn’t, and winds up pregnant, and the price reflects the increased cost.

  • The Lodger

    Ursula L,

    Thanks. Your comment made the same point mine would have, and was also more knowledgeable (and on time!)

    I’m humbled.

  • Lori

    As expected, Conservatives are not giving up on getting birth control coverage out of the healthcare coverage law. The problem is birth control is popular, common and largely uncontroversial for the average voter. What to do? What to do? I know, fall back on that old favorite, lie like a cheap rug:

     Stop talking about birth control. That was the key message from some of the most prominent leaders of America’s anti-abortion movement, speaking Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference. During a talk on how to advance the movement through messaging, an all-female panel discussed the Obama administration’s birth-control-coverage mandate and suggested that the best way to defeat it is by calling it an “abortion mandate.”  

    http://www.americanindependent.com/211450/at-cpac-leaders-urge-steering-birth-control-conversation-toward-abortion

    I’ve been catching up on my bog reading this afternoon and fortunately found a nice antidote to the CPAC liars. The recent Koman flap earned a rant from Helen, of Margaret & Helen*. It is a thing of beauty, starting right from the opening paragraphs:

     Margaret, do you remember how angry we were the day we finally
    realized that women’s legs are not harder to shave than men’s faces, but rather razors made for women can’t hold a candle to those made for men? And the women’s razors are more expensive to boot. I’d like to meet the asshats at Gillette and give them a piece of my mind. Did they really think we wouldn’t mind just because they made the razors pink?

    And speaking of pink, this whole mess with Komen should be a wake-up call to women everywhere. Komen knew damn well that this had nothing to do with mammograms and everything to do with politics. They just thought we wouldn’t notice because the ribbons were pink. They knew what they were getting when they hired Karen Handel. She ran for office in Georgia with a campaign promise to close down Planned Parenthood. Exactly what women’s health clinics did they think we women were using for years before we started racing for a cure? Did they think that the millions of us who had gone to Planned Parenthood before we had health insurance (and even after) weren’t aware of the services we were provided? Trust
    me. When you go to a place and have a doctor poke around your hoo-ha, you pay attention. 

    http://margaretandhelen.com/2012/02/06/pink-razors/

    *If you don’t know Margaret & Helen you should really check them out. They’re 80-something ladies who have been friends for most of their lives. Their blog takes the form of notes they write to each other. I want to be Helen when I’m 80-something. Her rant about 1 million moms picking on “that sweet Ellen” is also classic Helen. 

    Which reminds me, dear, did you check on that cake recipe I sent you? I am not sure about the ingredients and Betty’s daughter is kind of mad at me about that Komen stuff so I can’t ask her right now.

    And speaking of being mad, I watched that sweet Ellen – like I do every day – and discovered that one million mothers are mad at JCPenney and they are trying to get Ellen fired because she is one of those lesbians.  That sweet little girl never did anything but make people laugh and dance a little.  Every time she comes on the TV I have to get up and do a little step doodle-ditty step with her.  I just love her.  Who are these million moms anyway?  Mothers should know better.  Statistically speaking a hundred thousand of those moms are raising a child who secretly watches Ellen and would one day make a fine spokesperson for JCPenney.  

    http://margaretandhelen.com/2012/02/10/100000-gay-kids-secretly-watch-ellen/

  • P J Evans

    razors made for women can’t hold a candle to those made for men

    Because pastel colors and softly curved handles make them so wonderful for women to use marketers to sell.
    (I’ve always bought men’s razors. They work fine, even if they aren’t pretty.)

  • FangsFirst

    (I’ve always bought men’s razors. They work fine, even if they aren’t pretty.)

    Now, admittedly, I’m male, but I think men’s razors are often the pretty ones. Then again…I haven’t shaved in seven months. And never used anything but electrics anyway.

    And have a weird aesthetic (…see: me in restlessly changed disqus avatar.)

    But, you know. If I had one as…a conversation piece of a sculpture or something. All those gel green globs and weird curves and stuff…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2RAPF5V3YPOUWAZGAJ2VCQM76Q Alicia

    Helen defending Ellen. There’s a surprise. No conflict of interest there, I hope? :D

    I doubt that organization represents a million moms. It’s not even really an organization; it’s just a website that Donald Wildmon’s American Family Association uses to lobby against “indecent” television programming by targeting their advertisers. I’d peg it at 6, maybe 7 moms, tops.

  • Lori

     
    Helen defending Ellen. There’s a surprise. No conflict of interest there, I hope? :D  

     

    My sister has one of those names and hates it when people call her by the other one. Like, hates it enough that’s she has developed a general dislike of the other name. So my guess would be no, but my family is a little odd and I may be over-generalizing :)

  • Matri

    razors made for women

    In all honesty, this has never crossed my mind at all. I’ve always thought razors were general-purpose items that nobody made specifically gender-specific.

    Like spoons and binder files and D-Link wireless routers…

    *facepalms* Please tell me there aren’t any pink wireless routers…

  • Lori

    I know that there are purple ones and blue ones, but to the best of my knowledge there are no pink wireless routers. There is pink ethernet cable though:

    http://www.amazon.com/Ethernet-Network-Patch-Molded-Snagless/dp/tech-data/B002JCN0YA

  • Anonymous

     

    I’ve been catching up on my bog reading this afternoon…

    *rimshot*

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    A woman on contraception for 3 years or more is 1000 times more likely to get breast cancer.

    Not a stats whiz (I know some, but not to the extent of having it in my brain like some people :P ) but I will say that on the face of it this sort of thing sounds completely alarmistly absurd to me.

  • P J Evans

     It makes me think of one of my math teachers: you can multiply zeros from here to the Moon, and the answer is still going to be zero. Or, a thousand times a very-small-fraction is still not much, even if they weren’t lying from here to the Moon.

  • P J Evans

     It makes me think of one of my math teachers: you can multiply zeros from here to the Moon, and the answer is still going to be zero. Or, a thousand times a very-small-fraction is still not much, even if they weren’t lying from here to the Moon.

  • Lyra

    Next up: the Catholic Church demands that employees of the Catholic Church be legally barred from buying contraceptives with the money that they earn from the Catholic Church.

  • Wednesday

    Horrifyingly, that seems like a possibility now, with the Bishops rejecting Obama’s accommodations because it doesn’t do enough to let them use the power of the State to enforce their doctrine on a non-compliant congregation and non-Catholics protect their religious liberty. Apparently the Latin Vulgate version of the famous “render unto Caesar” quote ends with “…except in the case of reproductive health care, where you shall do all you can to get Caesar to stick it to the wimmins, yea, even if you own a Taco Bell.”

    To continue Fred’s metaphor… it seems the Bishops are playing chicken (first person to back down loses), not poker, so they didn’t care that Obama called their bluff.

  • http://reshapingreality.wordpress.com/ Aidan Bird

    Over the weekend, family members of mine have been frothing at the mouth, trying to think of a way to demonize this. (Most of them are Catholic.) 

    My mother speculated that the focus on birth control and getting coverage for lower income people was to make sure they were weeded out due to eugenics.  And that this mandate might be a way to just have it so lower income people are forced to abort their children, making them die out…

    *headdesk*  I was shocked by her speculation.  Where on earth did that even come from? Abortion isn’t even in the mandate, and from what I understood, pregnancy tests and pregnancy care and giving birth care was also covered under the mandate?  Along with well-woman tests, mammograms, cancer screenings, and a plethora of other awesome health saving stuff? 

    She then tried to make a claim that insurance companies are evil bastards (which they kinda are), and that the premiums will be so high, that they will ruin the lives of the poor. But doesn’t the Affordable Care Act (not the mandate itself but the Act it stems from) put in regulations to curb premiums and make health insurance more affordable, and to help everyone access health care?  From what I understood, the act would help subsidize people who couldn’t afford health care on their own. 

    So it looks to me like the Catholics I know are desperately grasping at straws to try to demonize the mandate and prove to themselves it must be stopped at all costs.

    I feel like this issue will never go away even after President Obama ‘called their bluff.’  Because, I don’t think the bishops were bluffing. I think they want to impose their beliefs on everyone else.  Theocracy is what they want it seems. :/  Gah.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    The bishops _were_ bluffing: they were claiming that it was about Teh Moneyz — a thing which they might give them a scant legitimate legal basis for their complaint, since being legally compelled to spend money on something they morally object to could be framed as a violation of the establishment clause.

    By “calling their bluff”, Obama has put them in the position of having to either fold, or to admit that it was never about the money, but about forcing their beliefs on people — which would put them unambiguously on the wrong side of freedom of religion.

    Not that I think it’ll work either, since the electorate is uncannily willing to say that freedom of religion only applies when it protects *their* religion.

    Besides, the whole contraceptive thing is really being drummed up by the conservatives because as it becomes increasingly inevitable that Romney will be the closest thing to palatable they can find in a candidate, they need some way to keep the evangelicals from staying home. They’re literally courting people who will say “It’s not worth going out to vote for a mormon. But I guess if you throw in bans on birth control…”

    Incidentally, Santorum has promised that as president, he will overturn any supreme court decision allowing same-sex marriage. Since he’s just promised to violate the constitution, can we have police standing by to arrest him for treason when he takes the oath of office?

  • http://reshapingreality.wordpress.com/ Aidan Bird

    I’m kinda hoping the Bishops will go nuts and show how it was about forcing their beliefs on everyone else.  Making their intent clear and public would be nice, instead of them trying to hide behind the farce of “religious liberty.”

    Though I suppose it would be too much to hope that it would shame them (and stop people from listening to them) if they were exposed as seeking to destroy religious liberty for other religions?

    “Since he’s just promised to violate the constitution, can we have police
    standing by to arrest him for treason when he takes the oath of office?”

    YES. This would be awesome.  However, I hope he never takes oath of office.  I find the man despicable in every sense of the word.

  • Tricksterson

    Thing is their beliefs are enough in line with the other religious loons that they won’t mind the bishops beliefs being forced on others.  There’ll be opportunities to stab the papists in the back after the secular heathen has been dealt with.

  • Michael Ikeda

    establishment clause

    Not so much the establishment clause as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. 

    (The legal expert that talkingpointsmemo consulted here seems to think that the new regulation is less vulnerable to challenge under the RFRA.)

  • Rikalous

     

    Incidentally, Santorum has promised that as president, he will overturn
    any supreme court decision allowing same-sex marriage. Since he’s just
    promised to violate the constitution, can we have police standing by to
    arrest him for treason when he takes the oath of office?

    Not when he takes the oath of office, no. We have more stringent standards for proof of wrongdoing than “A politician made a campaign promise to do wrong.”

  • Tricksterson

    This is a disturbing trend because Gingrich lready said the same thing.

  • Matri

    She then tried to make a claim that insurance companies are evil
    bastards (which they kinda are), and that the premiums will be so high,
    that they will ruin the lives of the poor.

    Did you ask her if she opposes socialized medicine?

  • http://reshapingreality.wordpress.com/ Aidan Bird

    Socialism is evil and will destroy families, didn’t you know?  /sarcasm

    I think she doesn’t understand what it is.  For what she seems to describe in her angry rants against Obama is socialized medicine, but if someone points that out, she vehemently denies it.  

    In fact, I know a lot of people who seem to want socialized medicine and health care, but then when actually faced with the idea of it becoming a reality, they freak and call it evil, and how it will destroy America.  Why is this?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I expect it’s a special case of “People are dumb”.  People want the thing that socialized medicine actually *is*, but are convinced that the *words* “socialized medicine” refer to something utterly different. Something that involves “death panels’ and “not being able to choose your own doctor” and “waiting in lines” and “rationing”.

    It’s a lot like the way people will say “I’m not a feminist, I just believe that women are full people and deserve total equality.” — they actually *are* feminists, but they’ve been convinced that the word actually describes some kind of radical man-hating, family-destroying lesbian agenda.

  • Anonymous

    While I’m still really put out by the fact that contraception somehow became controversial (I mean, really? In the dawn of the 21st century? How did we end up here?), I’m trying to be glass half-full about it.  Of course this “accommodation” won’t satisfy the bishops, but maybe it will satisfy the MSM.  It has been maddening in the past few days to read the various pundits who were pearl-clutching about Catholics being forced to violate their “creed”.  You could write letter after letter to the editor of the paper and point out that CHURCHES WERE EXEMPT and this law applied to church AFFILIATES  that did secular work and hired people of all faith backgrounds and that this policy had been in place for years in several states but it just didn’t seem to get any traction with the pundits and the talking heads.
     
    One problem with the MSM and a lot of the electorate right now is that they have this notion that COMPROMISE IS ALWAYS GOOD regardless of the subject.  If Obama had told the bishops to go pound sand, no matter how sound his reasons were for doing so,  I know the headline would have said “OBAMA REFUSES TO COMPRMISE” and then the conventional wisdom would have people saying “Obama refused to compromise? Oh noes! Is very bad!”.  Now that this pointless “accommodation”  has been proffered, I hope against hope that the MSM will declare “THE BISHOPS REFUSE TO COMPROMISE”  and finally put an end to all the pearl-clutching. 


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