Monday, March 31, 2014

When every sperm is sacred

    Regularly I drive past individuals praying out in front of Planned Parenthood.

    Supplication being a private thing, one can only imagine what appeals they direct skyward, out there in the cold and wind.

    I like to imagine that they are praying that all women, regardless of income, have access to safe and affordable contraception.

   I imagine that is not likely.

   Most likely, they not only oppose the abortion that their signs and placards decry. They also oppose birth control that would avert unwanted pregnancies — and abortions.

   In many cases, this even includes opposition to the condom, with all those sperm laid to waste. Oh, the humanity.

    I admit grudging admiration for this form of studied absolutism, even if it is so far removed from America’s cultural realities as our highways are from hay wagons.

   I am reminded of a 2012 Gallup poll in which 82 percent of Americans said birth control was morally acceptable.

   Check that. That was 82 percent of Catholics saying as much.

   Yes, Catholics.

    This may explain why two key Colorado Republicans have had changes of heart recently on the issue of “personhood.”

     U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner and U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman both have dropped their support for a personhood amendment that abortion foes perennially place before the state’s voters, who each time shoot it down by large margins.

     Gardner is seeking the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Mark Udall. Coffman is in a tight race in a newly redrawn swing district. 

    Both acknowledge that the amendment they once supported in lockfstep with social conservatives is poison for the masses. It would prohibit contraception that might cause a fertilized egg not to implant.

    Once again, points for absolutism to those who want to give zygotes Fourth Amendment rights, but most Americans understand this to be folly. Truth be known, most people who say they oppose abortion would acknowledge they can’t pretend to be so rigid.

   Any candidate who claims to be “pro-life” should have to explain the extent to which he or she would go in getting government into the gestation process. What exceptions would be permissible under a law of his or her design?

    Rape? Incest? Life-threatening medical or psychological circumstances? In each case, which “life” takes precedence?

    Those who say “no exceptions” haven’t practiced obstetrics, and haven’t been raped.

     Speaking of practice, that’s all it is, shadow boxing, when politicians mouth “pro-life” nothings, though they have no personal investment into the matter, or no womb, as it were.

    Considering how broadly the public accepts contraception, it’s amazing that we continue to have discussions like the one before the Supreme Court about Hobby Lobby’s right, as a corporation, to refuse to carry health insurance that covers contraception.

    Birth control aside, this is one more extension of the spurious “corporations as people” spiel used to undermine campaign finance laws.

    Rights are reserved for people. If corporations  have religious rights, the workplace can be their temple. They can require morning and afternoon prayers, restricted diets. To do otherwise would violate their faith. But, of course, Hobby Lobby doesn’t do that. It hires people of all faiths. What gives it the prerogative to cherry pick and reject components of basic, broadly accepted health coverage?

      Some Republicans have made fools of themselves for playing the Limbaugh Bully Game about contraception coverage. The birth-control pill isn’t a license for, as Mike Huckabee sneers, women who “can’t control their libido.” The pill is basic health maintenance, providing for a smooth regulation of a menstrual cycle, for one thing.  

      As the change-of-heart Colorado Republicans are acknowledging, this is a losing game for political absolutists. Hooray for the Obama administration for not shrinking from this court challenge.

     The issue in the Hobby Lobby case is the “personhood” of employees and the 21st Century definition of health care.

      Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email:

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