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Monday, February 13, 2012

Laughing At Adversity

Rick Santorum told the crowd at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) that insurance companies shouldn’t cover birth control and that women should buy their own birth control because it "just costs a few dollars".

He also said that Romney won CPAC's straw poll by a few votes, implying that Romney had bought some tickets for those in the audience who then voted for him.

Romney's camp responded with this quote: “Rick Santorum has a history of making statements that aren't grounded in the truth."

Gee, ya think?

I can't say anything about the CPAC straw poll, but I do know that birth control doesn't cost "just a few dollars". According to Planned Parenthood:
Oral contraceptives or “The Pill” range between $35 and $250 for the initial provider visit and the cost of a monthly supply of pills ranges between $15 and $50 a month, which amounts to between $180 and $600 a year depending on woman’s medical coverage. This means some women without insurance coverage for contraception may pay over $850 the first year of their prescription. Other forms of birth control are far more expensive. For instance, the cost for a monthly supply of birth control patches ranges from $15 to $80 dollars, or between $180 and $960 a year. Combined with the doctors visit, uninsured women could spend over $1,200 dollars in the first year.”
Men, on the other hand, can pick up a twelve pack of condoms at Walmart for under ten dollars or buy one condom for 75 cents at a gas station vending machine. There is no prescription or doctor visit required. It’s much easier and less expensive for men to practice safe sex than it is for women.

By comparison, even a vasectomy costs less than a years worth of birth control patches. Planned Parenthood can do the procedure for $1,000 or less and, if done properly, it should last forever. The patches can cost $1,200 with a doctor visit and women have to pay that cost every single year.

See also: Santorum's history of "making statements that aren't grounded in the truth".

But, Santorum isn't the only one. There's lots of statements - many of them about women - that simply aren't grounded in the truth. There is no paucity of anti-women candidates running for office - and running Congress.

Men who think women can’t make their own decisions about their bodies. Men who think women should be told who to have sex with (no lesbians) and when (only when married). Men who think women are just baby carriers who should serve the demands of men.

It's all so hideous as to be unbelievable. Except, it's true: all these men who are either running Congress or running for election to be President of the United States are telling these lies about women.

So, what's to be done?

Well, some women have decided to use the best tool against this sort of deceit and licentiousness.


Case in point: Janet Howell, Democratic Senator from Virginia, had had just about enough when the Virginia senate proposed a bill requiring women to undergo an ultrasound before having an abortion.

So, Howell attached an amendment to the bill that would require men to have a rectal exam and cardiac stress test before being prescribed Viagra for erectile dysfunction. "We need some gender equality here," she said.

Well, it didn't work. No gender equality. Not in Virginia. Not that day, anyway. The amendment failed but the bill passed.

But, so did the sense of humor - it passed from one senator to another.

Republican Senator Brian Crain of Tulsa, Oklahoma, introduced the "Personhood" bill, which sought to legally define human life as beginning at conception - even before implantation in the womb - and offered more legal protection to a one-celled zygote than its fully grown adult mother.

Democratic Senator Constance Johnson introduced an amendment which stated: "Any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman’s vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child."

Can't you just hear Monty Python singing, "Every Sperm Is Sacred"?

And, it's just as hilarious.

The State Senator later willingly withdrew the amendment, telling her colleagues that she had introduced it to highlight the ridiculous sexism inherent in a Personhood Law that would force women to be pregnant.

Another pro-choice legislator, Democrat Jim Wilson, attempted to add an amendment to the bill that would require the father of the child to be financially responsible for the woman's health care, housing, transportation, and nourishment while she was pregnant.

The amendment also failed, but it didn't fail to make the rather sharp point of very reason women make the difficult choice not to carry a pregnancy to term.

There's a wonderful scene in "The Witches of Eastwick" where one of the women is thrown over the banister and is falling to certain death.

"Laugh!" say the other two. "Laugh!"

She begins to laugh and then floats to the floor, unharmed.

Laughter may not win the War on Women, but it certainly helps to win some of the battles.

Laughter can be like that other wonderful scene in that movie, where Jack Nicholson, (aka Satan), is driven into a church and asks the congregation,
"So, what do you think? Women? A mistake (like tidal waves and earthquakes)? Or, did He do it to us on purpose? Because I really wanna know! Because, if it's a mistake, maybe we can do something about it! Find a cure! Invent a vaccine! Build up our immune systems. Get a little exercise. You know, twenty pushups a day and you never have to be afflicted with women, ever again."
I think Rick Santorum and a few other Republicans could have given that little speech - and done it just as effectively so we could all laugh and laugh and laugh them right out of the running - and, please God - right out of office.

It may not be the best way to rid ourselves of these sexist, misogynist imbeciles, but it would at least make having to deal with them a bit less stressful.

I still remember when Senator Ann Richards (D-TX), gave the 1988 keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. She said of George Bush, Sr. "He was born on third base and thought he hit a triple."

During that same speech, she also said, "Poor George, he can't help it — he was born with a silver foot in his mouth."

As I recall, "Old #41" didn't win re-election. Bill Clinton did.

So, there's hope, I think, in laughing at adversity. Especially when some of these guys hand us humor on a silver platter.

Like, what old Rick Santorum's famously said about congressional efforts to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. He said, and I quote: "Isn't that the ultimate homeland security, standing up and defending marriage?".

Yup, that'll sure scare the beejesus out of any terrorist and we'll all sleep better at night knowing we're safe from 'Teh Gay'.

This guy is almost as good as former Vice President, Dan Quale who said, "What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is."

So, what do you think? The current crop of Republican politicians? A mistake? Or, did God do it to us on purpose? Because I really want to know. Because, if it's a mistake, maybe we can do something about it! Find a cure! Invent a vaccine! Build up our immune systems. Get a little exercise. You know, twenty pushups a day and you never have to be afflicted with these imbeciles, ever again.

And now you're going to remind me that President #41 may have been followed by #42, but he was followed by #43 who was none other than "Shrub" - aka "Bush the younger" - a perfect example of a a waste of a sperm and ovum if ever there was one - who once said, "I'll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office."

Until then, I suspect laughter is the best medicine we have.

As that great Texan political commenter and feminist, Molly Ivins, once said, "Good thing we've still got politics in Texas - finest form of free entertainment ever invented."

It's universal, Ms. Ivins. It's absolutely universal.

And, that's a statement which is, unfortunately, well-grounded in the truth.


Unknown said...

Actually those birth control cost numbers are WAY low. My COPAY for my monthly prescription is as much as the numbers you list for the total cost.

That's with pretty dang good insurance too. I'd really hate to see how much it costs without insurance. Heck, mine come with a discount card from the manufacturer.

Frankly I'm sorry Obama backed down. Decisions about birth control need to be up to the individual, and shockingly, not everyone who works for a religious institution agrees with their stance on birth control. Our employers should NOT have any say over what kind of medical care we receive.

Health insurance should be health insurance, period. Part of the POINT of HIPA was to ensure our employers weren't allowed to find out from our doctors or insurance providers what we were using our coverage for... Shouldn't that include birth control???

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Josephine - I got those numbers from Planned Parenthood, so they are probably a national average. As for HIPA - I wondered about that, too. Anyone got an answer for that?

auntie dasch said...

I can't believe it's 2012 and ... wuhl, firstly, I can't believe it's 2012 ... I can't believe it's 2012 AND WE ARE STILL TALKING about this. Do my sisters have to go back to the streets with hangers on their heads? Let's make this a watchcry: "If you cannot gestate, stay out of the debate." Then we can catalogue women-on-women crimes (which makes me cry anyway) and more easily shame the detractors in a reasonable discourse.

I keep forgetting to tell you, about five years ago a bunch of law firms in the city had health care providers who tweeked little changes into their lowest coverage plans? and pap smears were no longer covered because they were considered unnecessary. Only if there was a documented SUSPICION of any cancers were they covered. I still can't wrap my simple brain around that one.

Lately, over and over again, I'm reminded of something Daddy used to say all the time: "You know, boy, I don't know why they call it 'common' sense, 'cause I sure don't see it around much anymore."

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Hi, Auntie Dasch - I keep hearing Forrest Gump say, "Stupid is as stupid does."

I Can.Not.Believe we are STILL talking about contraception in 2012. I'm sure the sterile old men in purple shirts under their long black dresses are clapping their hands with glee - meanwhile, 92% of RC women are quietly practicing birth control. I honestly don't know which is worse.

Come out, come out, whatever you are and start telling the truth about yourself.

And, if you can't do that, then just laugh at the old fools.

Muthah+ said...

How long, O Lord?...

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

As long a it takes to laugh them out the door.

Dom said...

Awesome post! Love it.

As a straight male, I apologize for all the hatred and idiocy directed at women and LGBT.

Bex said...

Re the current crop of Republican candidates: God gave them to us as a gift. As in, now most people can recognize how crazy all of these guys really are.

RENZ said...

Good post, Elizabeth. As I was reading I kept thinking about politics as performance. Do you think these men are truly imbeciles? I worry that their abhorrent positions are meant to attract votes. In other words, these guys are mere reflections of something much more frightening than some idiot politicians...namely that an insanely large body of voters out there belief this crap and the performers (empty suits in search of the right combo of positions to get the most votes) are simply serving up promises in exchange.

I'm reminded of Maria's comment on Facebook about the local media web site using FB for comments. Now she is seeing names she recognizes attached to the scary rhetoric.

I fear - laughter aside - that there is a terrible under current in this land just waiting to burst forth...thank God, this lot are buffoons...but what happens when these folks finally find their charismatic leader?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

RENZ - I think Rick Santorum is an imbecile. Ron Paul is just flat out crazy. The Newt is far from stupid but his ego is bigger than his intellect. Now, Romney is an example of politics as performance which is why he's seen as a flip-flopper.

All of them scare the beejeesus out of me.

I don't want to think about your last question much less venture to answer it.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Dom - as long as you're not going to vote for any of these bozos, you have nothing to apologize for.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Bex - you might be right. God help us.

Bateau Master said...

Perhaps Wal*Mart could be part of the solution. Sprintec and Tri-Sprintec, generic versions of Ortho Cyclen and Ortho Tricyclen are offered by the hated Big Box for $9/month.

Remove the employer from the equation (gets rid of their prejudices), publish cost menu's for all healthcare providers & their services, move to HSAs and let people make their own choices in the marketplace. When your employer has the choice - they often do not choose in your favor.

Note to Mother Keaton - condoms = maybe safe sex, Pill/IUD/other = unsafer sex.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Not every birth control pill is for every woman. That's why you need a prescription. If I were a young, heterosexual woman, I would definitely NOT buy my birth control pills at WalMart. I don't buy anything else there. Why would I buy my birth control pills there?

And, I would use either a pill or IUD WITH a condom. Because you're right. Nothing but abstinence is 100% effective.

Thanks for reminding me, Bateau, that I'm so blessed to be a woman of a certain age - and, a lesbian.

Turtle AX said...

When I think of all the things not covered in my or my partner's health care plan... well I say, let's hear some hetero women yell about us not having accupuncture covered, or alternative health care treatment. As lesbians, it seems like we are paying a fortune to subsidize the entire hetero reproduction machine... their kids, their gradeschools, their birth control... I'm sick of funding hetero sex!!!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Turtle AX - Well, we can always call on you for an accountability for the minority.

Bex said...

@Bateau Master: Talk to my sister about Health Savings Accounts. On second thought, don't. Your ears would be in shreds after about two minutes of listening to her experiences with them.

Anonymous said...

Just a correction (because I love her so). Ann Richards was never a Senator from Texas. She was State Treasurer before becoming Governor.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Bex- Thank you.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thank, Anonymous. Next time, please leave your name.