The Penis Subcommittee

How to even out the field

On August 1, 2012, a law went into effect that mandated private insurance companies cover birth control and preventative care for women. Controversy ensues as the populous fervently debates the topic of covering medical care for millions of women.

I’m for the mandate. My birth control costs $60 a month. I can’t use the cheap stuff, or the generic stuff. My girl parts aren’t all in working order, and the specific pill I’ve been using for the past four years keeps them ship-shape and on schedule. We won’t go into the years of copious pain, heavy bleeding (imagine the scene from The Shining when the elevator doors open) cysts, irregularity or other “nasty, gross things” because of one part of this audience who doesn’t want to hear it: the men. Not all men, but from the conversations I’ve read the men in general have no idea what they’re talking about.

The chief complaint is that “it’s a handout” and suddenly the government is “just giving it to whores.” I also keep reading that “it’s stomping on religious freedom.” Well, maybe we should stop giving men the handouts they get too? That’ll even it out. No more Viagra. No more prostate exams or physicals. No more vasectomies. Family planning is anti-religious, but shoving a finger up a man’s rectum to screen for cancer is completely acceptable.

Maybe the solution to this is writing to the congresswomen forming The Penis Subcommittee. I If men can defund Planned Parenthood, women should defund all preventative and reproductive care for men as well. Maybe we should also mandate that men cannot ejaculate more than once in a 20 week period because it would hurt their sperm count. Then we can send the Penis Police to each and every doctor’s visit to inform them of options other than beating their meat, and that, have they thought of not doing it at all? After that, we can mandate that the doctor has to shove a steel rod up their urethra so they can see an ultra sound image of their testes and know what damage they’re causing by wasting sperm through masturbation or sex that doesn’t cause pregnancy.

I have a personal feeling that the reason this debate exists at all is fear. The people against this want women to get knocked up so they’ll shut up. Women won their independence and freedoms through years of chauvinist and sexist ideals. We’re still fighting. We have the higher grades, the bigger presence in the workforce, and yet the Lily Ledbetter law was only passed just last year. I’m not a feminist; I’m an equal-ist. I believe I can do anything a man can do, and sometimes better. I believe I have the right to have the same access to healthcare that he does. I think the people that are fighting against these mandates, against birth control and women’s rights are afraid they’ll be the ones sent to the kitchen to make me a sammich.

If the women of today don’t stand up for what our Mothers and Grandmothers fought for we will lose it all. Write to congress, and call them too. Vote. Make a difference, not a detriment. I have a vagina. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My vagina is my best friend, it creates life. I must respect it, as I respect life. Without me, my vagina is powerless, without my rights, I am powerless. I must swear before my faith and my sex that I will do everything in my power to defend my vagina and defend my rights.


I agree that birth control is great and that women should have access to it. And I think that the Catholic insurance plans should at least cover birth control pills when they are needed for medical reasons. But there are some fallacies in this article that I feel I must point out.

First, I find it strange that you’re blaming “the men” for this. Scientific polls have found opposition to the mandate among men and women to be virtually identical.

“The chief com­plaint is that ‘it’s a hand­out’ and sud­denly the gov­ern­ment is ‘just giv­ing it to whores.'”
This is not the chief complaint. Googling the terms reveals that almost none of the mandate’s opposers call it a hand-out. In fact, most instances of the term “hand-out” occur in pro-mandate articles like this one, mischaracterizing the opposition. Clowns like Rush Limbaugh sometimes venture in to “whore” territory to illicit controversy, but no serious person is claiming anything like this.

The actual chief complaint is that the mandate is an affront to liberty. Private individuals who have (idiotic, but genuine) moral objections to birth control have the right to create private insurance plans that do not cover birth control, and other private individuals should be allowed to freely choose whether or not they want that insurance plan, or if they’d rather have one that does cover birth control. This mandate does not “give” anyone anything; it merely takes away the right of the individual to choose a plan that doesn’t cover birth control if they wish.

“Well, maybe we should stop giv­ing men the hand­outs they get too? That’ll even it out. No more Viagra. No more prostate exams or phys­i­cals.”
These things are completely irrelevant because they have nothing to do with birth control. Catholic insurance plans do cover female analogs, such as gynecological exams, breast cancer treatment, etc..

“No more vasec­tomies.”
The insurance plans you’re complaining about do not cover vasectomies. And the guidelines in the mandate only apply to women, so vasectomies still aren’t covered.

“The peo­ple against this want women to get knocked up so they’ll shut up.”
This is offensive as it is incorrect. Again, men and women oppose this equally. People against this believe that birth control is morally abhorrent and don’t want to be forced to pay for it, whether it is for men or women.

This issue boils down to the fact that Obama’s health care law doesn’t go far enough. We’re still dealing with insurance companies and the debate about what they should have to cover, instead of actual getting to the health care part. This conversation wouldn’t be necessary if we had a truly universal system.

To Kevin’s point, let’s not pretend that allowing insurance companies to deny women birth control is an enhancement of liberty. I find this line of thought worrisome. It’s eerily reminiscent of the idea that everyone should have freedom and rights including the right over someone else’s actions if the opportunity exists. We need to move beyond this type of thinking. You can’t allow insurance companies to be free to act how they want and also expect individuals to have freedom of access to healthcare, the two are competing ideas.

To be clear, you’re saying that NOT forcing people in insurance companies to pay for things that conflict with their religious beliefs is an reminiscent of the idea that people have rights over other peoples’ actions?

Insurance companies were never capable of denying birth control to women. They could offer plans that didn’t cover it birth control, and women were allowed to freely choose whether to buy those plans or to buy plans that did cover birth control.

The only thing stopping these women from switching to a plan that did cover birth control was the tax code, which penalizes people for purchasing health insurance privately, rather than through an employer. So if their employer only sponsored anti-birth control insurance plans, and they switched to a private plan that did cover birth control, the IRS would penalize them for it. But that’s not really the insurance company’s fault.

No, you’re referring to the relationship between the government and the insurance company. I’m referring to the relationship between the insurance company and the individual. The two are related, but different.

I am referring to the relationship between the insurance company and the individual as well.

I am saying that insurance companies design policies that cover certain things and don’t cover other things, just as electronics companies design TVs that offer some features and not others. If a consumer wants an insurance policy that covers birth control, but Company A doesn’t offer birth control coverage, the consumer is free to go get it from Company B. Just as a TV consumer who wants picture-in-picture but finds that Company A doesn’t offer models with that feature is welcome to buy it from Company B. No company was ever able to “deny” consumers birth control coverage or PIP simply by not selling it.

And this new regulation doesn’t give women “free” birth control. It just forces them to buy an insurance plan that covers it or to have no coverage at all (which were both choices that they already had), and it makes it illegal to provide them with the option to buy an insurance plan that doesn’t cover birth control, even if that’s what they’d prefer..

You can’t afford it, therefore someone else should pay for it—what happens when you can’t afford the light fixture in your house, should someone else pay for it? I don’t think that forcing others to pay for your bedroom needs is the role our government should take.

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