I’m too lazy and busy right now to update with promised posts. But I wanted — nay, needed — to post something. Find herein the original proof of my editorial in December’s re-inaugural issue of the right-of-center Terrapin Times. If people bother to read this on campus, I may receive death threats. At the very least, I’ll have some new enemies.
“Students who choose to be sexually active should also have the right to choose to use affordable forms of birth control. . . . The safer you are when it comes to sex, the more we charge you. Is this the policy lawmakers want to enforce?” So wrote the staff of the Diamondback in their 12 November editorial in support of The Prevention Through Affordable Access Act, the goal of which is to provide more affordable birth control on campuses, including at our own University Health Center, through additional subsidy.
This proposed act, and the indefensible opinion expressed, unsurprisingly, by the authors of the supremely ludicrous quotation wherewith I began this column, should incite outrage in every sensible American possessed of even an incipient comprehension of the Constitution and of the differences that separate rights from privileges. Most fundamentally, this should give pause sufficient for us again to contemplate the appropriateness of any species of subsidization, whether post-9/11 airline bail-outs, aid to cotton farmers, or cheaper birth control.
Unlike the ideologies of many of those involved with this publication, my political outlook holds market capitalism highly suspect. However, we will not find the remedies to our troubles in subsidy; contrarily, we often create the worst of our problems through such fiscal imprudence. (As a future planner, I think first of the undeniable role government has played in encouraging sprawl, much to the detriment of our downtowns. However, I digress!) Perhaps we occasionally require safety nets, but, as German economist Wilhelm Röpke, no friend to modern capitalism, warned, a “pocket money state” ultimately leads to submission. Put simply: We risk surrendering our liberties (not to mention our paychecks) to the paternalistic state.
Escaping the cycle of tax-payer-funded corporate support and succor to the poor remains highly unlikely, so much so that to carry on any longer serves no point but to lose the reader’s interest. Subsidization of sexual intercourse, however, we must address.
Before continuing I should clarify something. I am unabashedly pro-life: I oppose abortion at any stage, and capital punishment, too. Any support I have expressed for our current war in Iraq has been hesitant for this and other reasons. As such, I certainly prefer not to see unwanted pregnancies, for fear of both the birth of a child into unfortunate circumstances and of the abject consequential reaction to some of these pregnancies. Dictates of my faith aside, I willingly support the use of birth control as a means by which to lessen the likelihood of unintended pregnancy. However, I cannot in good conscience condone subsidizing of contraception. (Whether private insurance companies should cover Viagra and/or birth control or not is, here, irrelevant. I write only of taxpayer funding.)
Two critical points are of concern presently: Whether a right to birth control, affordable or not, exists, and whether the government has a responsibility to make contraception inexpensive.The ultimate sources of our understanding of rights in this country are our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. For reasons most obvious, the authors of these magnanimous documents never addressed the subject of contraception. However, the Supreme Court, in the 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut decision prohibited the state from preventing a married couple’s use of birth control. In 1972, Eisenstadt v. Baird extended this protection to unmarried couples (most university students who are sexually active). These decisions matter; however, they only protect the right to use artificial forms of contraception. Neither Griswold nor Eisenstadt, though, guarantees access to birth control.
Without pointless exegeses beyond what I have provided, we can reject the notion that a right to protected sex exists, regardless of the Diamondback’s staffers’ inclinations. Doubtless, we should encourage safe sex; however, we cannot translate that endorsement into anything more. To suggest that the government must be accountable for guaranteeing access to contraception is more than ludicrous. It is another means by which to expand the leviathan to a new, even more frightening dimension.
By this point, considering whether taxpayers have an obligation to subsidize something for which no right exists hardly seems to be necessary. However, for those unconvinced that no right to birth control exists, perhaps I should comment briefly on this issue.A fundamental, if not immoderately repeated, mantra of the pro-choice movement is the incredibly hollow “woman’s body, woman’s right” argument. The speciousness of this reasoning we can leave for another day. What matters is that inherent in it is that government has no voice in sexual and reproductive decisions (various laws regarding prostitution, incest, and sodomy perhaps notwithstanding). Here arises a double standard: the taxpaying American who opposes sexual promiscuity, any sort of extramarital sexual relations, or artificial birth control is not permitted to interfere in the private affairs of others; nevertheless, he is expected to contribute financial support for such actions that he deems immoral, even though no right to contraception exists.
The Prevention Through Affordable Access Act represents one more step in this nation’s unceasing path toward servility. Furthermore, it forces upon the general public the financial support of wholly private matters, matters that organizations such as our own Terps for Choice assert are none of the government’s business. Putting ideology before sense, The Diamondback fails to realize this; we cannot only hope that our elected officials possess clearer vision.
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