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Posted by on Jan 23, 2014 in Current Events, Feminism | 13 comments

Uncle Sugar’s Birth Control Bonanza

Sometimes I really wonder if our top-level Republican politicians can actually hear themselves talking. From earlier today, we have Mike Huckabee’s candid thoughts on the so-called Republican War on Women:

Republicans don’t have a war on women. We’re having a war for women. To empower them to be something other than victims of their gender. If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control, because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it. Let us take that discussion all across America, because women are far more than the Democrats have played them to be.

Somehow, Pastor Huckabee doesn’t seem to get that coining the phrase “victims of their gender” and promoting the idea that liberal-leaning women are too libidinous and irresponsible to control themselves might just possibly reinforce rather than repair the public image of the GOP with respect to women.

I’m not clear on what the problem is with government-funded (or mandated) healthcare, especially in the area of family planning. It is an uncontroversial fact of life in all the other OECD nations that the government will help out citizens who need to control their fertility, and I’m not seeing a good argument against treating this as a public good which we ought to pursue collectively, not unlike national defense or widespread herd immunity. As a freethinker and an evidentialist, and neither a Democrat nor a Republican, I’m more than happy to have the argument, but it doesn’t sound like Huckabee is about to present it.

Back when I was still active duty, my wife and I were just starting out, and Uncle Sam actually did pick up the tab for her birth control. As it turns out, that worked out pretty well for all concerned, we didn’t find it remotely insulting or infantilizing, and she eventually managed to get her raging libido under control despite my near-constant sexual availability. Maybe our experience is somewhat unique, but I’d like to think that it is generalizable. Give people the means to manage their fertility, and they will be much more likely to have children exactly when they are ready to do so.

p.s. There can be only one Uncle Sugar, you guys…

Uncle Sugar promotional poster

  • f_galton

    Canada doesn’t have free birth control.

    • http://skepticink.com/backgroundprobability/ Damion Reinhardt

      Unless you count tubal ligation and vasectomy, this is true. At any rate, I didn’t say it was free, I said it is uncontroversial that the government offers some help.

    • f_galton

      Interesting. The Obamacare birth control mandate excludes vasectomies, it only applies to women.

  • f_galton

    There is no sound policy reason to subsidize birth control for all women.

    • http://skepticink.com/backgroundprobability/ Damion Reinhardt

      How about for the ones who are least likely to afford it and most likely to need it?

    • f_galton

      Medicaid already paid for birth control.

    • http://skepticink.com/backgroundprobability/ Damion Reinhardt

      And Huckabee isn’t bitching about that?

    • f_galton

      I think he’s talking about the Obamacare mandate.

    • http://skepticink.com/backgroundprobability/ Damion Reinhardt

      Why would a conscientious conservative limit himself to that? Surely direct payments from “Uncle Sugar” to health providers via Medicaid are more of a socialist menace.

    • f_galton

      You should ask him.

    • NoCrossNoCrescent

      Unless you count the society valuing women having equal choices to men when it comes to education and career “sound policy”.

    • f_galton

      I can’t tell what that is supposed to mean.

  • http://skepticink.com/backgroundprobability/ Damion Reinhardt

    I looked up quite a few forms of birth control for Canadian women, and they generally cost a fair bit less than equivalent forms for American women, even in private markets.. Why is that happening?