Rockwall Rep. Ralph Hall Would Really Rather That No One Pays For Your Contraception

Categories: Politics

rush-limbaugh2.jpg
Hey, women, can't afford birth control? Just print out this picture and pin it to the ceiling above your bed. Trust us, you won't want to have sex.
If you've been hiding under an especially sturdy and soundproof rock for the past month, perhaps you missed out on the increasingly bitter national debate over contraception coverage. Lucky for you, U.S. Representative Ralph Hall has taken a break from doubting global warming and talking about how incredibly safe fracking is to put it all in perspective for us. Because no one, you see, is more passionately invested in the issue of contraception than 89-year-old men.

Quick review: In August, the Obama administration mandated that some "preventative services" be included in all health insurance plans, including contraception and sterilization. Religiously affiliated institutions like hospitals and universities would still be required to include free birth control coverage in their own health plans, although churches who objected to hormonal birth control could opt out. But the inclusion of those other religious institutions caused an outcry from some religious groups (and this fun, all-male panel on Capitol Hill talking about contraception and religious freedom).

A Georgetown law student named Sandra Fluke was barred from testifying about the necessity of contraception coverage by Representative Darrell Issa. Then Rush Limbaugh called her a slut and suggested he, and everybody else, really deserved to see some videos of her having sex. Limbaugh being dumb and offensive inexplicably shocked everybody, and we haven't stopped talking about it since. Last Thursday, an effort by GOP senators to block the requirement narrowly failed, in a 51-48 vote.

Back in mid-February, President Obama attempted to present a compromise. Those religiously affiliated nonprofits could opt out of the contraception mandate too, and their female employees would instead get their contraception free directly from their health insurance provider. According to the Washington Post, "The arrangement would not add any cost to the employee's premium, the argument being that prevention of childbirth is cheaper than childbirth."

But this, Hall now says, is not good enough.

In a statement posted to his website, Hall said the mandate still violates religious freedom, writing, in part:

Despite the President's claims that insurance companies will have to provide contraception for "free," we all know nothing in this lifetime is free, and these costs will be passed right back to everyone, including religious institutions, in the form of higher premiums. In short, religious institutions would still be required to provide funding for services they morally oppose.

The President and his administration have drastically overstepped their bounds by creating this rule. The Constitution protects religious freedom, and government meddling in the affairs of religious communities by forcing them to comply with policies that violate their beliefs is unacceptable.

If the President does not reverse this attack on religious freedom, Congress will take action on behalf of the American people. I am prepared to work on legislation to repeal this portion of the President's health care law.

In addition, I have taken numerous actions against not only this rule, but against the entirety of the President's over-reaching and expensive health care law, which I voted against.

To sum up: The State of Texas does not want to pay for your birth control (or your cancer screenings) if you're poor. Conservative politicians nationwide don't want your employer even your insurance company, to pay for them either. And if you're unwise enough to testify publicly about how expensive birth control is when you pay for it out-of-pocket, a pale, bloated, ghastly, vitriolic moon of a radio host will gripe for weeks about what an entitled slut you are.

Is that clear enough? Because we'd like to retreat back underneath our soundproof rock now, if you don't mind.


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113 comments
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Abby
Abby

Anna, this article is a huge waste of time.  Just like this issue.  Way to get snowed into the distraction cooked up by the establishment to keep us all divided.

The last time I checked - the availability/affordability of contraception wasn't an issue in this country.  It's cheap and available to all.  You can even get it for free if you don't have the $10 to pay for it.

Employers are not required to provide ANY healthcare...it's a benefit and you can consider it when you decide to take a job.  The people who work for companies that do not offer birth control, free or otherwise, in their healthcare plan are free to NOT work there.  They are free to make that a huge issue and factor in their decision to accept a job.

I personally have never asked an employer, upon receiving a job offer, if they will give me FREE birth control, but clearly this is a HUGE issue to idiots like you.  So by all means, make that your personal issue and make decisions in your life based on that.  That's your right and your choice.  Now get out of everyone else's business, and stop wasting our time with rediculous nonsense like this.  THERE ARE SERIOUS ISSUES THAT WE NEED TO CONCENTRATE ON RIGHT NOW...LIKE THE COMMPLETE AND TOTAL DESTRUCTION OF OUR LIBERTIES, ENDLESS WARS, AND THE FACT THAT OUR COUNTRY IS BROKE!

digbert
digbert

Birth control expensive? You can get it at Walmart or Target for $9 a month. Aint nobody that po'

 

Brian
Brian

 Ralph Hall is looking good for a 90 year old. Did he get plastic surgery?

Montemalone
Montemalone

Religious freedom is the freedom to be religious and not have a government enforced religion shoved down your throat (or up your ass if you're a young Catholic boy).I'm morally opposed to subsidizing churches on every corner with my tax dollars.The government didn't force religion to become a big business that has to hire thousands of employees to toil in tax free offices all over the country.If religionists feel they're being persecuted, the have the freedom to close down all these offices. I'm surprised churches have insurance anyway, doesn't that basically refute their whole premise in the first place?

Albert
Albert

Maybe that will be the final answer to the problem, Catholics have to get out of all hospital business and charitable organizations - the government than then move in and use our tax dollars to keep these entities going.

The government would assumably keep existing employees, who would be emancipated from the oppression of the church, not to mention those who utilize the hospitals and charities who will no longer be required to live under the heavy boot of the Vatican.

Win-win for all, especially considering the Government likely offers better pay and benefits, and a sweet retirement plan if these workers join public employee unions. 

People utilizing the Catholic charities and hospitals will no longer have to suffer all that goes with these charitable services.

One problem though, what will the church do with the monies they were spending on these institutions? Build larger churches? Longer vacations for clergy?

In that light, the government should confiscate those monies and direct them to the former Catholic institutions.

Posvoy
Posvoy

Mandating that birth control be accessible and affordable should a woman choose to make use of it and forcing a woman to take birth control are two very different things. Having the right to something does not make it unavoidable or inevitable. So, no, the government is not suggesting they have any say over a woman's uterus.

Albert
Albert

The government is suggesting they have a say over a woman's conscience, if she's Catholic.

It will stop there though, government won;t attempt to do this to anyone else, thank goodness.

Sa
Sa

Ok, straight women of America.  I think it's time we pulled a Lysistrata!  That's right, we're gonna have a collective headache until politicians at all levels stop this s***!

John2247
John2247

This is about Freedom and Liberty!

So an employer who believes the Family & Medical Leave Act is un-Constitutional has the right to not cover pregnancy and pre-natal care in their insurance, right?

Or better yet, the employer has the freedom to not hire little ladies in the first place, as they should be home instead, preferably barefoot...

Guest
Guest

So much bluster, so little of consequence. 

Most women will use contraception whether or not their insurance provides it for free.  It is relatively inexpensive.  It can be had for a grand total of $108 per year.  The entire policy dispute is whether everyone who owns insurance pays for women to have "free" contraception, or just the women who want the contraception.  Reasonable minds can differ on this point for any number of reasons.  It really isn't that big of a deal.

1:  To the right wing zealots:  Stop being dumb.  And hateful.  So you think contraception is wrong and you don't want to pay for something you think is wrong.  Big freaking deal.  The Catholic church also opposes the death penalty, but I don't see anyone complaining about all of our tax dollars being put to that "immoral" use.  And stop bitching about this being about politics.  Of course it's about politics.  That doesn't mean you have to throw yourself into the buzz-saw. 

2:  To the left wing zealots:  This isn't a women's rights issue.  I have a first amendment right to free speech, but not to a free computer to post random shit on the internet.  The right to access contraception is protected by the Constitution, but that doesn't mean you get it for free.  And let's not pretend that that this whole thing isn't theater intended to piss off women voters.  I'm tiered of theater.  Get some shit done that matters.         

Montemalone
Montemalone

 For some, $108 is unaffordable. Better to fork that over now than the big bucks later in welfare benefits, housing vouchers, and food stamps, as well as education costs for the kids that will pop out on schedule every year.

Guest
Guest

But the dispute isn't about the relatively small number of women who can't afford it.  It only affects people who already have jobs that provide insurance. 

MattL1
MattL1

Let's keep this simple. Congress decided that increasing preventative care was a worthwhile policy goal. Through the legislative process, it gave the Executive Branch the power to determine exactly which types of preventative care ought to be covered. Since it's so much cheaper to prevent an unwanted pregnancy than it is to not prevent it, the Executive Branch decided to include certain types of contraception. Were there political considerations? Absolutely, but there's no rule that says good policy can't also be good politics. 

Should they NOT have included birth control because a religion has a moral objection? Wouldn't letting religious doctrine directly guide policy making threaten 1st Amendment protections as well? 

Albert
Albert

"Wouldn't letting religious doctrine directly guide policy making threaten 1st Amendment protections as well? "

When that policy is in contradiction to the 1st Amendment, yes.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Matt makes a good point Albert.  You, and myself, for full disclosure, scoffed at Occupy Dallas' claim that camping in the park was within their First Amendment rights.  The point of contention we had was, and is, valid.  You cannot just pick any objectionable activity and give it blanket protection of the First Amendment.

If the Churches (meaning the organizations themselves) truly wish to be free of government influence, they need to stop taking government welfare, in the form of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax exemptions, from the government.  If they take the tax breaks, and the government legally passes a law they disagree with on religious grounds, tough shit, says I.

Albert
Albert

The first amendment doesn't really cover camping out on public land, as we've found.

However, the 1st does cover religious freedom, which was further protected by the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Keep in mind that the government's actions do not meet any actual pressing need, the materials in question are widely available in all price ranges, including free.

But we should get used to a government run not by the three branches, but by agencies and unaccountable "Czars".

Case in point, apparently the Secret Service is now charged with deciding what constitutes free speech rights in regards to protesting, that's a Great Leap Forward, don't you think?

Sa
Sa

OMG!  i agree with RTGolden!  Calling doctor tomorrow for appt to check my meds...

MattL1
MattL1

So every time a law is passed that imposes a legal obligation on people or groups who find it morally objectionable, they can just claim 1st Amendment and break the law? Sounds like a bad idea to me. 

MattL1
MattL1

Good. Take your ball and go home rather than help people. Fucking papists.

Albert
Albert

The person or group has legal recourse to defend their rights when the government seeks to take them away.

If the government wins, fine. No more Catholic Hospitals or charities.

A Great Leap Forward.

MattL1
MattL1

That second part isn't in there. I refer you to my previous question. Does a person or group have an absolute right to do things prohibited, or not do things mandated, by law simply by claiming some religious belief? 

(the answer is no)

Mavdog
Mavdog

Albert, in spite of the desire to place a connotation of the discussion being about "free birth control", that is a red herring. Individuals purchase insurance coverage, that coverage provides the access to prescriptions such as birth control.

The issue is requiring the insurance coverage to include access to contraception for whatever medical need the individual has.

The vast majority of insurance plans are offered thru one's employer or in the case of Fluke the student health plan. That provides no choice of who to obtain that coverage from based on cost effectiveness.

The proposal by the current administration allows for these organizations (such as the Catholic Church) who have a philosophical prohibition on such items to not directly fund the provision of those items. That is the same manner other prohibited items are treated.

As for your inane analogy to pork, one can get food at countless places. Insurance coverage not so much. surely you can come up with an analogy that isn't insulting to our intelligence or demonstrating your lack of the same...

Albert
Albert

It is very short, and the part that's relevant is even shorter:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

"Free exercise meaning stuff like not eating pork, Saturday sabbaths, Fat Tuesday and the like...

MattL1
MattL1

First Amendment doesn't address preventative care or birth control. It's actually pretty short.

Albert
Albert

Are you unable to get free birth control pills, jfpo? That makes me sad.

You can get them from the government and numerous organizations, for free, but you can't get them from Catholics.

You know what really makes me sad?

I can't get a good pork roast at any Halal or Kosher market. What right do these people have to run roughshod lover MY right of choice????

Albert
Albert

Only if the First Amendment actually addresses the issue.

jfpo
jfpo

These guys think that anytthing that doesn't let Christofascism run roughshod over the rest us violates the Constitution and therefore makes them persecuted. Good God, this is putting me in a bad mood.

Chernicole
Chernicole

I really wish more people would being a more "productive member of society" instead of just being productive members...

Prioritize needs & wants people... Contraception is a "need" for those that "want" to have sex... Sex is not a need. Please practice self responsibility, but not on my dime...

Mary Hasan
Mary Hasan

Will you also admit that Viagra is a need for those who want sex?

T. Erickson
T. Erickson

So what about those who are prescribed them for "needs" other than sex, like controlling periods or migraine headaches?

Albert
Albert

Covered at many Catholic institutions.

Or, you can get them for free from the government of=r charitable institution, or they are about 10 bucks for a month's supply at target.

brett
brett

"Don't you know, birth control pills are the woman's version of viagra.  You only take it when you're going to have sex. There's absolutely no other legitimate reason" -- The religious nut jobs of society.

Albert
Albert

Actually, Brett, at georgetown and many other Catholic institutions, you can get BC pills if they are for a legitimate medical issue other than the prevention of pregnancy.

It's not like the church is restricting anyone's rights or choices, no matter how eager the anti-church left wants to frame it that way.

In the technical term, this is a lot of pure bulllshit, but at least the populace isn't unhealthily focused on minor issues like debt, war, unemployment, inflation and distractions that can cause problems in an election year.

pak152
pak152

"A Georgetown law student named Sandra Fluke was barred from testifying about the necessity of contraception coverage by Representative Darrell Issa"

sorry but her name was submitted too late and the topic under discussion was not contraception but rather first amendment rights

"Last Thursday, an effort by GOP senators to block the requirement narrowly failed, in a 51-48 vote." and all that the Republican amendment would have done is put it back to what it was in Jan 2012.

"Those religiously affiliated nonprofits could opt out of the contraception mandate too, and their female employees would instead get their contraception free directly from their health insurance provider"

except that many of those religiously affiliated nonprofits are self-insured. the insurance companies serve only as gate keepers.

but what you fail to report on is that Ms. Fluke purposefully selected to attend Georgetown because they didn't provide birth control coverage.

maybe you could also discuss the cost issue Ms. Fluke raised and point out that WalMart and others sell birth control prescriptions for under $9.

I guess we'll see more of this one-sided type blogging now that the Flying Fingers of Fury have left

jfpo
jfpo

Walmart and churches...problem solved!

pak152
pak152

 yeah kind of tough that the free market provides things at a low cost"But Fluke's testimony was very misleading. Birth control pills can be purchased for as low as $9 per month at a pharmacy near Georgetown's campus. According to an employee at the pharmacy in Washington, D.C.'s Target store, the pharmacy sells birth control pills—the generic versions of Ortho Tri-Cyclen and Ortho-Cyclen—for $9 per month. "That's the price without insurance," the Target employee said. Nine dollars is less than the price of two beers at a Georgetown bar."http://www.npr.org/2012/03/02/...

Albert
Albert

That's the rub.

The Catholics would force these students to enter a Target or Walmart, which can adversely affect not only the self-esteem of a student at a costly law school, but damage their later careers should it be discovered they have at times entered these rather low-brow markets.

RTGolden
RTGolden

I'm not arguing against your points, as this is a story I have very little interest in.  I do have a question for you though.  

"but what you fail to report on is that Ms. Fluke purposefully selected to attend Georgetown because they didn't provide birth control coverage."

Can you provide a link to the irrefutable proof of this?  If you can't, you are as guilty of gilding the facts as you claim Anna is.

pak152
pak152

glad to, but realize that many of the following links contain numerous links that you'll need to followhttp://weaselzippers.us/2012/0...

http://thecollegepolitico.com/...

I'm sure you can trust the WaPo"Fluke came to Georgetown University interested in contraceptive coverage: She researched the Jesuit college’s health plans for students before enrolling, and found that birth control was not included. “I decided I was absolutely not willing to compromise the quality of my education in exchange for my health care,” says Fluke, who has spent the past three years lobbying the administration to change its policy on the issue. The issue got the university president’s office last spring, where Georgetown declined to change its policy. "http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

"Then they sandbagged the Republicans. They asked, too late, for Fluke to be subbed in for Lynn, then told Lynn not to bother showing up. When the hearing took place, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (this columnist's congressman, but don't blame us) demanded: "Where are the women?" Although it was the Dems who chose Lynn over Fluke and the second panel of witnesses included two female members, liberal media dutifully propagated the "Republican sexism" charge. A week later, House Democrats held a mock hearing where Fluke testified."http://online.wsj.com/article/...

http://dailycaller.com/2012/03...

"Neither the preventive services coverage regulations [including the HHS contraception mandate] nor any other federal law requires [a university] to provide health insurance to its students — much less health insurance that covers contraceptive services."http://www.getreligion.org/201...

 

Mavdog
Mavdog

my gosh, where to start....

Ok, first, by attacking Fluke rather than focusing on the issue itself proves the right has embraced the adage "when your arguments fail, attack the messenger".

Fluke enrolled at Georgetown IN SPITE OF the lack of contraception coverage, not as the right wants to state in order to attack the institution.

The Affordable Care Act and HHS do regulate student health plans. Colleges are not required to offer a student health plan, however the Affordable Care Act requires coverage to the age of 26, so if the child is a student at a college without a student health plan that student would continue to be covered under the family's plan.

brett
brett

I'm going to answer it for pak152: his/her source is faux news.

Albert
Albert

It's funny you would mention faux.

Did you actually listen to Flukes "expert testimony"?

Not a single verifiable fact, just anecdotal evidence. "Facts" that re easily debunked.

"One told us how..."

"A married female student told me..."

"A friend of mine, for example..."

"One woman told us..."

Etc, etc.

Of course, such unimpeachable testimony shouldn't be questioned, she's a woman, you know.

She's not a cunt or a miserable twat or a bag of meat with lipstick, like Sarah Palin or Michelle Malkin, and those other FOX types, she's a established activist.

And a woman!!

Guest
Guest

Also, it's completely unrelated to the topic at hand or, really, any other topic that ever comes up on this blog, but everybody go buy my damn book already.

Nunya
Nunya

um...yeah. another name for government welfare is theft. some of us who have read the constitution are opposed to it. it does not, as so many of you ignorant government worshipers assume, mean that we are opposed to helping the poor or being charitable to causes we believe in. we are opposed, in principal, to the government forcing it upon everyone.

Ket354
Ket354

I have to ask how far you read into the constitution?

Welfare comes up right after defense: 

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Mort_Nordel
Mort_Nordel

Sadly, that big ol' evil gubmint of ours has to stick its nose into big bizness because SOMETIMES the "inherently good and just practices of big business" shockingly choose the bottom line over the common good of our citizens.  Not only do these businesses not "help the poor or charitable causes" but they ALSO don't deliver on services to folks who paid for but had the audacity to expect or ask for those said services.

Pray tell, in this "tax-free, gubmint free, regulation free" Shangri-La that you and your kind want so desperately to live in.... are there laws? how are they enforced?

Huh
Huh

Argue against government overreach by stating zero government alternative won't work. Nobody said anything about zero government.

Kind of like Power grid argument in the succeeding article stating universally that market competition does not work.

If the best argument you libtards can make is an absolute one then you might want to do a recheck on your credibility.

I knew this rag was gonna go to shit once the adult (Wilonsky) left.

Mort_Nordel
Mort_Nordel

"Nobody said anything about zero government."

You're right, I used hyperbole to oversimplify the original poster's rant against the government to one of its many logical argumentative ends.  The govt. he likely defended to death from 2000-2008 when his man was in charge. But I can only infer that based on sweeping generalizations of people who use terms like "ignorant government worshippers" and "libtards", the hallmarks of sound and thoughtful public discourse.  Thank the Lord that all this will be fixed in November, right?

As for Wilonsky, surely its only a matter of time before DMN will start churning out links to Terveen photos and 70's concert ephemera to satisfy your whimsy. After all nature abhors a vacuum.

jfpo
jfpo

The biggest thing I've noticed in the two days since Wilonsky left is increased jackassery in the comments. I've enjoyed this blog partly because of the "friends of Unfair Park" and the relatively low level of trolling.

the post-wilonsky era
the post-wilonsky era

There were articles like this one before Wilonsky left, but now that he's gone, they need to keep the pageviews from dropping off, and so they're probably leaning on Anna and Schutze to crank out more than usual of these fauxtrage-based flamebait pieces that generate tons of comments. After all, you can't run an online blog empire solely on posts about "They Put Too Much Cheese on my Brisket Sammich" and "LBJ is a Vampire in a Novel."

Guest
Guest

Well, you're not really being forced to pay for it. Even if you're an employer who offers insurance coverage to your employees, it's unknown whether the marginal cost of providing this care will increase premiums on that coverage significantly. And, at present, business owners are not required to offer any kind of insurance coverage to their employees (that is scheduled to change for employers over a certain size, of course, but I assume you're also opposed to that). Plus, it's entirely possible that, if there is any increased cost directly attributable to this coverage, you can pass it on to employees as part of their premium payments.

So, if you don't want to be forced to provide contraceptive coverage in the insurance you buy for your employees, then you can just cancel their insurance altogether.

Albert
Albert

"So, if you don't want to be forced to provide contraceptive coverage in the insurance you buy for your employees, then you can just cancel their insurance altogether."

And pay a fine instead, which is not a fine, but a tax, except it's not a tax, unless you're arguing before the Supreme Court, in  which case it is.

This administration is pretty sleazy.

Guest
Guest

Pay a fine later when that goes into effect, but not right now.

The whole mandatory coverage thing is something I'm iffy on. I see the point of it if you're going to mandate that insurance companies accept people with preexisting conditions, and I like the idea of eliminating free riders from the system as much as possible.

But there is the whole "don't tell me what to do" aspect of it that's sometimes troubling.

Honestly, though, I think Obama went with this plan because he thought it would appeal to Republicans given that they used to be for it, and he wanted to get an insurance plan passed without making the same mistakes that Clinton made when he tried.

The specifics of anything are always going to be open to argument. But sometimes solving a problem (and there are many problems with our health care system) or just taking steps to try and make it better results in having to choose among options that all have something to dislike about them.

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

Nunya, I too have read the Constitution, and I fail to recall the Article or Amendment that deals with contraception.  But since you are now a Constitutional expert, I'm sure you will enlighten me.

Oh, and I suppose you are not now nor will ever be a recipient of health care services paid for by Medicare or Medicaid.

Guest
Guest

 Here's the relevant portion: 

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Since, as you note, contraception is not specifically delegated to the US or prohibited to the states, it's reserved to the states or the people.  The federal government should stay out of it. 

T. Erickson
T. Erickson

Hey, let's all just form militias and fight this out on the streets!

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Quite a few things relevant to the country in 2012 weren't specifically delegated or prohibited in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Let's find the one that the founding fathers and other amendment authors couldn't comprehend at the time that you'd really like the federal government to maintain control over and see you sing a different tune.

T. Erickson
T. Erickson

So you'll be giving up your Social Security benefits when you retire? Thanks!

Guest
Guest

 How could he have had a job to generate Social Security benefits if he is opposed to receiving any benefits from the government? Those roads that run all over town weren't built there by some rich guy's charity. They were entirely built through the government stealing money, and if they benefit you in any way, you're a thief, too.

Albert
Albert

Some people actually believe SS and unemployment are welfare.

Kinda makes you wonder what else they believe.

Albert
Albert

That's hate speech.

pak152
pak152

 nope it is Ponzi scheme always has been

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