Dumbass Quote of the Day

Dumbass Quote of the Day December 15, 2012

Jennifer Roback Morse is the president of the Ruth Foundation, an anti-gay think tank attached to the National Organization for Marriage. And she’s offended — terribly offended — at the Obama administration’s healthcare mandate. Wait till you hear her reason why:

The Department of Health and Human Services’ recent birth control mandate, requiring employers to provide birth control in their health plans, for instance, referred to birth control as “preventative care.” The implication, Morse said, is that pregnancy is a disease or illness.

“I deeply resent the implication that the normal healthy functioning of my body is considered an illness,” Morse implored. “The mandate itself is offensive and is evidence of a war against women’s fertility.”

Birth control is preventative care. It prevents pregnancy, as most women want to do at some times of their life (and some at all times of their life). Notice what’s missing entirely from this analysis: a woman’s right to choose — not to have an abortion, just to use contraception. For Morse, birth control interferes with the “normal functioning” of a woman’s body, as though the brain is not part of the body and should have no decisions to make about what happens to that body. Because, she says, fertility is a “gift from God.” So shut up, women and just take it. No doesn’t mean no when God is the one making the decisions.

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  • jaxkayaker

    “Notice what’s missing entirely from this analysis: a woman’s right to choose —not to have an abortion, just to use contraception.”

    That’s a bit simplistic, nothing would stop people from paying for their own contraceptives.

  • BinJabreel

    @Jaxkayaker: Except, of course, not being able to.

  • had3

    I guess my vasectomy is the nuclear option in the war against my wife’s fertility. (Well, technically, she could shift alliances and win the war I guess, dammit!)

  • steve84

    They are paying for it. Learn how insurance works.

  • John Hinkle

    I know most birth control has the sole function of preventing pregnancy, but doesn’t the pill have other functions and is sometimes prescribed outside of its birth control function? In which case it would be preventative care?

  • hunter

    John Hinckle: You’re correct, but you have to understand that Morse, like her fellow travelers on the anti-gay right, are fixated on sex — specifically, the kinds of sex they disapprove of.

  • jaxkayaker

    Steve84: the insurance companies exclude certain services as part of their policies. Learn how legally binding contracts work.

    Also, learn to read. I was disagreeing with Ed’s criticism and framing.

    John Hinkle: true in certain cases, but not true for every woman.

    BinJabreel: Possibly, but can people who can’t afford contraceptives frequently afford insurance? In any case, my point was that the issue isn’t one of choice, as Ed framed it.

  • dingojack

    The insurance company I use, let’s say, pays for people to use homeopathy or reversion therapy or some other treatment I consider complete woo. Should I be afforded a discount (or perhaps decide how and when the insurance company makes payments) if I object to people choosing to use therapies I think are nonsense? Or should people have the freedom to choose the kind of therapy that would most benefit them?


  • MikeMa

    Cancer, while often devastating, is a natural body process. No chemo for Morse should she ever need it.

  • Amphiox

    Would she object to funding for calcium supplements to curtain osteoporosis? Because loss of bone mineral density is just a normal function of aging.

    Would she object to an immortality serum? Because dying of old age is the normal function of a healthy human body.

  • steve84

    @John Hinkle

    Not just just sometimes, but about 15-20% of women take birth control for medical reasons. Usually to control issues with their reproductive organs.

    Take for example Sandra Fluke. What none of the Teataliban understood was that that the example she used of her friend was precisely that. Her friend had ovary cysts and taking birth control pills kept their growth in check. She used BC to preserve her fertility so that she could have children later.

  • Damn, I guess falling off a bike and banging your head is a disease. Helmets are preventative, therefore what they prevent is a disease.

    Same with getting your shins blasted with a hockey puck. That is a disease because one wears shin guards to prevent the disease of bruising and swearing(lol).

    I’ve heard some bad analogies before(mine excepted), but calling something a disease because you take precautions takes the cake.

    Don’t even get me going on wearing oven mitts when baking a cake, it’s sick.

  • Sastra

    I’ve heard arguments like this against birth control in general. If you try to prevent pregnancy using artificial methods, then you will start to think of human reproduction as a bad thing akin to a disease. When you DO want a child, you won’t be able to feel very affectionate towards it. You became too used to thinking of pregnancy and children as problems that need to be prevented. Your heart — your ability to love — will be damaged by your repeated actions. How you behaved changed the way you think.

    This line of reasoning came from a Catholic friend of mine on IRC. He was trying to make his best secular case against birth control. It didn’t work. For one thing, it assumes a mindset which is extraordinarily influenced by the power of words and ritual. Like a Catholic mindset, I guess.

  • Reduced to semantic objections because she knows, on the substance, most people think she’s full of shit.

  • Would it be in bad taste to refer to her as Jennifer Bareback Morse?

  • billydee

    I had the misfortune of seeing Jennie in person last July. What she really wants is to enforce 1950s-style Roman Catholic sexual morality on everyone by force of law. She wants to end divorce and criminalize sex outside of marriage.

    I was raised Roman Catholic in a very Catholic neighborhood in Chicago and I remember being taught that Catholic rules applied only to Catholics. We would never think of establishing laws that made everyone eat fish on Friday and we believed our teachings about adultery, divorce, and sex outside of marriage were only for us.

    I knew dozens of failed marriages that should have been ended but the partners stayed together because the church said they had to. Many of the wonen and children in those marriages were abused, often by alcoholic husbands and fathers. My own parents should have stopped having kids after the first two but my mother kept pumping out babies (three more) until her uterus gave out. She also should have divorced my father after the first two kids. I once jokingly said to my mother and my older sister that my mother should have stopped after two. My sister laughed. My mother started crying. So sad.

  • dan4

    @7: “John Hinkle: true in certain cases, but not true for every woman.”

    Uh, John wasn’t suggesting that it was “true for every woman.” He was just disagreeing with the implication put out by Morse that “birth control” and “preventative care” were automatically mutually exclusive categories (Yes, I’m sure that John can defend his argument, but I wanted to write this just in case he doesn’t come back to the thread).

  • dingojack

    Sastra – just riffing on your post.

    Clearly trying to prevent a DC-10 having a catastrophic failure of their cargo doors means such a failure must be a disease, clearly trying to prevent deaths in cars by using airbags and/or seat-belts means that automotive collisions are a disease, clearly preventing the disastrous release of oil from an oil-head means oil drilling is a disease…

    Yep logic fail at all possible levels.


  • Rodney Nelson

    Some women take birth control to regulate their periods. So according to Morse menstruation is a disease.

  • I am pretty sure that their non-interference with god’s will ends when a bus is bearing down on them. Or do they just stand there and say “it’s god’s will!”?

    The last time I got into the “it’s god’s will” discussion with a religiot I asked them if it was god’s will that I not give them a black eye. Because if it was, and they resisted, they were clearly going against god. And right then, god was telling me mighty powerfully that they needed a black eye and a split lip for talking some really stupid shit.

  • Sastra

    @Dingo —

    Your examples wouldn’t count against the main point of the argument, though. Disease or catastrophe, same thing.

    Using artificial birth control to prevent pregnancy is treating pregnancy, birth, and babies like they’re a problem to be avoided. This is supposed to change your whole attitude towards childbearing and children. If and when you DO want kids … you’re not really going to want them. At least, you won’t feel the warmth and love you would have felt towards your child had you simply refrained from sex when fertile instead of using the pill or condom. You made yourself think less of your baby.

    It has the virtue of being unfalsifiable. It also allows the religious to feel smugly superior to those who were more arrogant and therefore not as religious. More humble AND more loving. And they did it using a secular analogy and slippery slope which the non-religious OUGHT to understand and only say they don’t because they don’t like the implications!

  • pough

    I think she’s right and she’s hit on the exact reason I refuse to wait to get to the bathroom before I urinate or defecate. Preventing normal healthy functioning of my body? Here, I just happen to be able to show you what I think of that at this exact moment! Ahhhhh…..

  • naturalcynic

    Of course. birth control is preventative care. It prevents insurance companies from paying out more money in obstetrical care if a woman becomes pregnant.


  • zmidponk

    pough #22:

    I think she’s right and she’s hit on the exact reason I refuse to wait to get to the bathroom before I urinate or defecate.

    That’s actually a much better analogy because, as Sastra pointed out, the other examples are still things to be avoided, if at all possible. Not pissing or shitting yourself isn’t avoiding the relevant event entirely – it’s merely postponing it until a more appropriate moment. In a similar manner, using birth control simply postpones pregnancy until a more appropriate time. The only difference is that, with birth control, that appropriate time is entirely under your control (barring accidents like forgetting to take the pill or a leaking/burst condom), and may never actually arrive.

  • ema

    “I deeply resent the implication that the normal healthy functioning of my body is considered an illness….

    Yes, because when it comes to a body function that’s indistinguishable from a neoplastic process (implantation) and exposes you to a significant morbidity and mortality risk, preventive meds are the devil’s work.

    Also, @ jaxkayaker

    The non-contraceptive benefits of, say, the OCP apply in all cases.

  • dingojack

    zmidponk – “In a similar manner, using birth control simply postpones pregnancy until a more appropriate time.”

    So the conjuction of the sets: ‘people who enjoy having (hetro) sex’ AND ‘people who never want to have children’ is empty?

    🙂 Dingo

  • zmidponk


    So the conjuction of the sets: ‘people who enjoy having (hetro) sex’ AND ‘people who never want to have children’ is empty?

    They’re the people for whom the appropriate time never actually arrives.

  • fastlane

    I have had a vasectomy. The reason I mention this is because my wife doesn’t need to take bc for that reason.

    She is, however, still on bc pills for medical reasons. So fuck everyone of those right wing dipshits that wants to endanger my wife’s life because they have a stick up their ass.