Our Ridiculous Contraception Debate

It ought by now to have become rather obvious that there is no more a crisis in “access” to contraception in America than there is in access to Tylenol. But, for the sake of argument, let’s step outside of reality’s bounds for a moment and imagine that there were. In such circumstances, we might presume that it would not be of pressing concern to design an entitlement for the nation’s working and insured people while entirely ignoring the poor, the unemployed, and the uninsured. And yet those entertaining the “access” fantasy have done precisely that with their HHS mandate. In short, they have contrived the wrong answer to a problem that does not exist. That is some feat.

Let’s recap: The mandate forces employers to cover their employees’ contraception within their insurance plans, and it does this without allowing the employer to take higher premiums from their employees’ paychecks. Notice a trend? In other words, it addresses those who do not need addressing while cloaking its moral imperatives in the language of the needy. Whatever one’s view of the obligations of society and the state toward the genuinely poor — and, equally, of the wisdom and efficacy of government intervention — the debate that we have been having over the past month is actually about those in society well placed to look after themselves.

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