There’s a fairly humorous contraceptive satire making its way around social media. You don’t have to have seen Princess Bride to understand it, but the main female character (the Princess Bride) is captioned as saying “I can’t control my reproductive health because of my boss’ religious freedom.”
One of the villains is then shown saying, “Of course, that’s called ‘Freedom of Religion.'”
A third character, Inigo Montoya is then shown saying (and paraphrasing from a scene in the movie) “You keep saying that. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
It’s funny if you’ve seen the movie and know the characters, but only for that reason.
The politics behind it couldn’t be more flawed.
In this case, Buttercup (the Princess Bride) is speaking for the liberal feminist movement. This idea that birth control pills are about “reproductive health” is laughable.
Birth control pills serve one purpose, to prevent pregnancy. There’s nothing unhealthy about pregnancy, nor is there anything inherently healthy about not being pregnant.
Certainly, birth control pills are used for women with painful menstrual cramps or even, in some cases, acne.
Liberals aren’t mad about these uses however, only this idea of “reproductive rights.”
Let me explain why this logic is pathetically incoherent by using an example.
When I got my first job out of school it was at a small television station out West. In the contract was a provision that allowed the company to fire me if I didn’t maintain certain standards of decorum outside of my work duties.
My attorney, with whom I reviewed the contract, told me the story of a news anchor who once got drunk at a charity function and was fired for acting like a fool.
That provision in my contract was non-negotiable. If I didn’t want to abide by it, I didn’t have to take the job.
To be frank, that provision shaped a lot of my behavior: how much alcohol I consumed in public, how I talked to people, how I dated.
I knew that when I became an employee.
This idea, as portrayed by the Princess Bride in this satire, that an employer has no right to shape your behavior is simply untrue. They do it all the time and so long as they do it legally, there’s no problem.
If you don’t like it, find a different job.
The second important issue here is the idea that an employer ought to be legally obligated to pay for these things. This idea that an employer’s insistence on not covering contraception is somehow an infringement of the employee’s rights to “reproductive health.”
This is even more incoherent.
You have a right to buy and use contraception. You don’t have a right to force your employer to cover it. The same way you can’t force an employer to cover certain pre-existing conditions, plastic surgery, viagra and a myriad of other legitimate medical concerns you may have.
You don’t have an inalienable right to subsidized birth control. Period.
Furthermore, religious institutions, the main opponents to the contraception mandates, have a moral obligation to follow.
A government official can, as many do, say “I believe something is morally wrong, but that the government has no right to regulate it.”
We saw this just last week with Rick Santorum and this very issue of contraception.
A church or temple or any religious institution would be hypocritical to say, “We think this is wrong, but the people who work for us can do it anyway.”
A religious entity has a different moral standard to uphold.
Just like if you work for a Muslim or Orthodox Jew, you shouldn’t expect pork to be served in the cafeteria. They’re not infringing on your ability to eat pork, they’re just not going to provide it for you. They’re ability to exercise their religion freely doesn’t hinder your freedom.
This is part and parcel of liberal mythology: if I don’t get what I want, you’re infringing on my liberty. There’s a reason liberals in this country see no reason trampling some of our most basic freedoms in this country: they have idea what real liberty and freedom are all about.