"Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government." Thomas Jefferson

The War on Women -- Just a Fluke?

Melanie Sturm | @ThinkAgainUSA Read Comments - 7
Publish Date: 
Thu, 08/16/2012


Comedian Steve Martin once quipped, “I believe that sex is one of the most beautiful, natural, wholesome things that money can buy.”  Sadly, combatants in the “War on Women” seem to agree with Martin, except they want others to pay for their sex – at least the contraception.


Last week, Georgetown law student and contraception activist Sandra Fluke led the battle cry at a presidential campaign rally in Denver. She argued that without the controversial government mandate requiring employers to provide free contraceptive services, women would lose control over their healthcare choices. In post-rally interviews videotaped by Caleb Bonham of RevealingPolitics.com, Fluke’s warriors insisted government stay out of their bedrooms.  When asked why government should pay for what goes on in their bedrooms, the flummoxed women had to Think Again.


On the warpath to secure women’s healthcare rights, Fluke should recall what most women already know.  Contraceptive services are as cheap ($9 per month at Target) and ubiquitous as routine oil changes are for cars.  Nevertheless, Medicaid and most insurance companies already cover contraception, and for the uninsured, Planned Parenthood and the government spend $700 million annually.


If women-warriors are battling to control their own healthcare decisions, why aren’t they concerned that unelected and unaccountable governmental bureaucrats – not their doctors – are empowered by the Affordable Care Act to determine which health services are (or aren’t) medically necessary, cost-effective and insurable? The Affordable Care Act gives the Health and Human Services Secretary (currently Katherine Sebilius) sole discretion to determine standards for both government and private health insurance coverage.


As a women’s health advocate, Fluke likes Sebilius’ acceptance of the government’s US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation to provide free contraceptive services. But why isn’t she rallying to block acceptance of changes the task force made recently to mammogram guidelines -- from annually after 40 (as endorsed by the American Cancer Society) to biennially after 50? Will Fluke’s compassion compel her to protest task force guidelines that no longer recommend PSA prostate cancer screening for healthy men?


Being insured doesn’t necessarily guarantee quality and timely care, as the New York Times reported recently. The Association of American Medical Colleges anticipates a 90,000-doctor shortage this decade, a crisis exacerbated by the Affordable Care Act. Where is Fluke’s outrage at the two-tier system expected to emerge as doctors increasingly allocate their limited time away from the insured whose plans pay less?



Thomas Jefferson warned, “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” As a woman of conscience and opponent of government interference in her bedroom, it’s vexing that Fluke would tolerate the Affordable Care Act’s imposition of government between Americans and their faith, in violation of constitutionally protected religious liberties. After a German Judge banned circumcision in newborn Jewish and Muslim boys in June, what’s to prevent an American ban, if not the First Amendment?


Faith-based social service agencies have been a bedrock of American civil society since our founding, serving the vulnerable as they serve God.  Requiring them to pay for contraceptive, sterilization and abortion-inducing services unjustly forces them to choose between moral beliefs and government dictates, while undermining their good works. As religious institutions prepare to drop insurance coverage for employees and students to avert the dilemma posed by the Affordable Care Act mandate, does Fluke care?


Americans care, favoring the Affordable Care Acts’s repeal by an average of 56 to 38 percent in 100 consecutive Rasmussen Reports polls conducted since its March 2010 passage. Because only three percent of Americans dislike their current insurance plans, we fear being among the 20 million the Congressional Budget Office estimates will be dumped by employers into government plans, contrary to pledges that we could keep our plans and doctors if you like them. Additionally, 81 percent of voters expect the Affordable Care Act will cost more than projected (consistent with Budget Office’s recent $1.2 trillion cost over-run estimate), with majorities anticipating increasing insurance premiums and federal deficits.


The primary reason for which Americans oppose the Affordable Care Act, according to pollster Scott Rasmussen, is it runs contrary to deeply held American values.  Preferring free-market solutions and competition, Rasmussen writes, “Americans want to be empowered as health care consumers …not rely on mandates and trusting the government.”  Three-quarters of Americans want the right to choose between expensive insurance plans with greater coverage or low deductibles, and low-cost plans with less coverage or higher deductibles. “If the plan they select costs less than the company plan,” he continues, “most believe the worker should get to keep the change.”


As Fluke and her army storm a hill with no enemy, their friendly fire risks harming the cause they purport to serve, and the national interest.  Think Again Sandra Fluke. Real women’s liberation and healthcare security depend on free-market choices and competition -- not on getting others to pay for your birth control.

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Melanie, Well done. The focus

Well done.
The focus in the "free contraception" issue was faith-based institutions. But that obscured the bigger issue. A contract of insurance is a private agreement between 2 parties - the consumer (buyer) and insurance company (seller). Who the hell is the government to tell anyone what specific goods and services (and their price) must be included in a voluntary contract between 2 private parties? Whether the buyer is a faith-based institution or not is irrelevant. If the government can do this, can't it mandate that all cars have iPod docks? Or that selling sodas in cups bigger than 16oz be illegal? Whoops - it's done that.

Even though I'm not a "faith-based institution", I was appalled that the government mandated "free conception". All Americans should be appalled at the usurpation of our right to contract with whom we want and how we want, without government interference. What's happened to America that this was thought of only as a "faith-based institution" issue?

Just finished reading your

Just finished reading your article and wanted to say what a great job! I keep hearing about this Republican “war on women” but I am still stymied as to how anyone can claim this when most Republican men follow conservative values that are based solely on the utmost respect and care for women.

I personally feel that Sandra Fluke has done more damage to her reputation and the Democratic party for her flawed reproductive rights logic which was pointed out so well by RevealingPolitics.com.

Thanks again for getting your readers to “Think Again” about the mandated Affordable Care Act!

Dear Ms. Sturm, It’s,

Dear Ms. Sturm,

It’s, media-wise, extremely noisy out here. So when a rational, perceptive and articulate voice clears the gauntlet of chatter, I am both refreshed and informed. Your piece on Fluke’s (ignorance, hypocrisy – you choose) morally obtuse stance vis-à-vis healthcare and religious freedom was clarifying. I thank you for your heart and mind.

Hi Melanie! How about the

Hi Melanie! How about the Ryan pick?! Things are looking up, yes? I am happy. I truly believe we have a chance at real, positive, meaningful reform if they [Romney/Ryan] win, and the American people will then have a clear comparison of policies, and their results on record. That could have staggering implications for the country's future.

"Faith-based social-services

"Faith-based social-services agencies have been a bedrock of American civil society since our founding, serving the vulnerable as they serve God. Requiring them to pay for contraceptive, sterilization and abortion-inducing services unjustly forces them to choose between moral beliefs and government dictates while undermining their good works. As religious institutions prepare to drop insurance coverage for employees and students to avert the dilemma posed by the Affordable Care Act mandate, does Fluke care?"

I would venture a guess that Fluke, as a good progressive far leftist, does care. She is very much in favor of this outcome so that the only source of health care will be ultimately be the government.

Great article but I don't

Great article but I don't think women are interested in your analysis---most women will vote for Obama regardless of the facts.

This isn't about freely

This isn't about freely chosen practices, it's about mandated payments.

Anyone who wants to freely choose a personal contraceptive, or a personal assault rifle, or personal access to pornography: go ahead and choose it. That’s your choice.

I don't believe in any of that ...stuff..., and I shouldn't have to pay for it. That’s my choice.

If you have the money to buy something, you have choices. If the government wanted to guarantee women more choices, they could just give every woman, every year, the average cost of a year’s worth of brand-name top-of-the-line hormonal contraceptives. That's approx. $390 a year she can spend on anything: Snickers bars, hormonal patches, implants or injectables, stylish maternity fashions, cute baby clothes, a one-way airfare to Hollywood, or anything else.

She gets maximum choices, she is not constrained by costs, and nobody else is forced by the government to be an accomplice and provider whether she chooses 1170 very fine condoms or a good used 10-speed Schwinn.

It’s obvious that mandated payments are not about freedom to choose. They’re about aggressively promoting a divisive and controversial program by making everyone pay --- yes, grandma or Father, or Sister or Reverend or Pastor or Rabbi, or Catholic Charities or Little Sisters of the Poor, YOU pay, ---- and no, you don’t have a choice.

Rubbish. I choose not to pay.

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