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L. Neil Smith's
Number 681, July 29, 2012

"UN Small Arms Treaty Dead!"

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Missing the Point
by Sean Gangol

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Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

Unless you have been under a rock for the last few months, you probably know about the controversy surrounding the issue on whether the government can force religious organizations to provide services that violate the tenets of their beliefs. This issue was brought about when the Catholic Church protested about a section in Obamacare that would force their hospitals and universities to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives. Many commentators have weighed in on the issue and the most notable of course was Rush Limbaugh. He became interested when a law student named Sandra Fluke, testified before congress in favor of the prevision. She claimed that both her and her friends were suffering from the financial burden of birth control, since their university didn't provide it in their insurance plans. Fluke claimed that she spent in some cases up to $3,000 dollars on birth control while attending college.

Not only did Limbaugh scoff at this ridiculously high number, but he implied that Fluke was a whore for wanting to get paid to have sex. This gave Limbaugh critics the opportunity to attempt to oust him off the air by creating a massive boycott that forced many of his sponsors to abandon him.

Before I weigh in on this issue, I would like to point out that I have never been a fan of Rush Limbaugh or the Catholic Church's stance on birth control. I am actually one of the biggest advocates for birth control. I have always rolled my eyes at those who have said that abstinence should be the only sex education to be taught to teenagers and have openly disagreed with the Catholic Church's archaic stance on many issues, including birth control.

One may ask why I would defend the archaic views of a two-thousand-year-old church. Well, for once I happen to agree with the Catholics. According to this little thing called the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights the government is prohibited from interfering with religious organizations. The only exception would be if their beliefs interfered with somebody else's rights (free birth control is not a right).

Unfortunately people on both sides of the spectrum seem to have missed the point of this issue. I have heard so much hysteria on the left about how the right wants to eliminate birth control, along with whatever control that women have over their own bodies. This hysteria has been known as the "War on Women." In this case, the issue has nothing to do with a woman's reproductive rights. The whole "War on Women" hoopla is nothing more then a pathetic strawman argument that actually distracts from the real issue at hand.

The issue has nothing to do with birth control, but whether we can force religious institutions into providing it. Personally, I don't think anybody should be forced to pay for somebody else's birth control whether it is a religious institution or the tax payers. That doesn't mean I'm against birth control. If nobody wants to pay my bar tab, would it make sense for me to assume that everybody wants to take my liquor away?

Here is a question that nobody has bothered to ask: When did birth control become so hard to come by? People on the left act like America somehow reverted back to the 1920's when birth control wasn't nearly as accessible. We are living in an age where birth control is not only more accessible, but there are more varieties to choose from. Some of it may be expensive, but the whole beauty of having more variety is that you can choose the form that is the most suited for both your physical and financial needs. Sadly, the only commentator that brought it up was Lee Doren, a libertarian leaning conservative that creates videos on You/Tube that he calls "How the World Works."

In the case of Rush Limbaugh, even though I share the same views on this issue, I thought his commentary amounted to nothing more then mudslinging. Not that I have any sympathy for Sandra Fluke. She is a thirty-year-old activist who obviously lied through her teeth to further her agenda. The fact that she was studying to be a lawyer, pretty much says it all. Limbaugh's mistake was that by implying that Fluke was a whore, it allowed her to gain much undeserved sympathy, which made her opposition afraid to challenge her claims. Rush should have asked Fluke these three simple questions: How did you come up with the $3,000 dollar estimate? Do you or your friends live near a Wal-Mart, a Wal-Greens, a CVS, a Target, a grocery store with a pharmacy or any other pharmacy for that matter? Have you done any extensive cost comparisons at any of the major retail pharmacies that I just mentioned or any of the smaller independently owned pharmacies? Now, nobody has the nerve to ask these questions. Thanks Rush.

This issue is one of the many fundamental flaws with Obamacare. The Republicans could have used this opportunity to attack the very thing that they swore to oppose, by pointing out that this very law is a blatant violation of the First Amendment. As usual the Republicans dropped the ball. Instead they stood by while their opposition painted them as mosoginists who wanted to rob women of their birth control (possibly men's birth control as well).

I know there are some of you out there who would like to see the government stick it to the Catholic Church. You may not like the Catholic Church's position on birth control (I sure don't), but that doesn't give you the right to force them to provide a service that violates one of the tenets of their faith. Are we going to force Catholic hospitals to perform abortions next? How about forcing the Church to perform same-sex marriages? People shouldn't be forced to participate or fund items that violate the cores of their religious beliefs. That is why I am against the idea of forcing tax payers to fund art exhibits that showcase statues of the Virgin Mary standing in piles of animal excrement, while being surrounded by pictures of vaginas. People shouldn't be forced to pay for art work that is blatantly sacrilegious to their beliefs. It's amazing how left-wing activists demand the enforcement of the First Amendment's establishment clause whenever they see Christmas decorations on public property, but when it comes to government mandates on religious institutions or tax funded desecration, they wave pom-poms around and cheer. It seems as if the left likes to defend factious rights, such as free healthcare and free birth control, while pretending the legitimate rights of men and women don't exist.

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