By now everyone knows that Sandra Fluke’s Congressional testimony was either dishonest or disingenuous or both. She distorted facts and pretended that anecdotes were probative.
Clearly, the number $3000 gives it away. According to Fluke this is how much a Georgetown Law School student has to pay out of pocket for contraception during the course of her legal education.
Everyone knows by now that this number is an outright lie.
If the contraception in question is a condom—we all remember when condoms were touted as the ultimate birth control and disease prevention device—why would enterprising young female law students not share the expense with their boyfriends.
Since when, Ira Stoll suggests, has it become customary for young women to pay for their own condoms?
In my somewhat retrograde view, if a man cannot pay for the condom a woman should refuse to have sex.
No condom; no sex… it can be the new feminist mantra.
But, even if women, as a matter of feminist principle, insist on paying for their own condoms, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to spend $1,000 a year on condoms. Besides, it is very, very easy to get them for free.
One Georgetown student group reportedly handed out 4,500 "free" condoms during one recent semester. Or the law students could buy condoms online at $40.25 for a package of 100. At about 40 cents a condom, the Georgetown students could have sex twice a day, 365 days a year, for all three years of law school, for just $881 dollars.
If, however, female law students prefer oral contraceptives… which are far less effective at preventing STDs-- the cost still does not approach Fluke's number.
In Stoll’s words:
Ms. Fluke and her friends could go to Walmart or Target, whose lists of inexpensive drugs include the oral contraceptive Tri-Sprintec priced at $4 for a 28-day supply. Total cost, assuming continuous use for three full years (including the summer after graduating law school or before starting): about $150.
When we hear Fluke telling the heart-wrenching story of the young woman who dissolves into tears at the pharmacy counters because she has just discovered that her health insurance does not cover oral contraceptives we are within our rights to doubt its veracity.
At best, it feels like a partial truth. At worst, it’s a gross distortion.
Since Fluke is an activist and a zealot, it is perfectly reasonable to assume that she would be, at the very least, shading the truth.
Since Fluke failed to offer any counter-argument to her claim that oral contraceptives should be handed out for free to anyone who wants them, allow me to report some of the unpleasant side-effects that come from taking the contraceptive pill.
Writing on the Nerve site, Rachel Friedman lists a few.
Taking the pill influences which men a woman chooses. It may cause women to have less sex. It changes the biochemical signals women send to men and changes the way they receive the biochemical signals that men send to them. A woman on the pill will not go into sexual heat. Also, the pill changes hormone levels and this might not be very good for a woman.
Do we still need to remind people that the contraceptive pill is not anodyne?
I mention these factors because Fluke has presented the nation with a false picture of the efficacy and risks of taking the contraceptive pill. If it happens, in an individual case, that an insurance company refuses to reimburse the pill—that would be around $9 a month—there might be other reasons. Without knowing the particulars of the case we cannot offer a judgment. We would certainly accept that insurance companies make mistakes, but, then again, so do government agencies.
As Stoll points out most of Fluke’s testimony focuses on the use of oral contraceptives as a medication used to treat medical conditions.
Fluke does admit that Georgetown’s health insurance covers oral contraceptives when they are used for such conditions. She complains that insurance companies sometimes refuse to reimburse the expense.
Beyond the fact, as Stoll points out, that there are other treatments for these conditions, if there is a problem with insurance companies we should want to see the details of the individual case and to have a representative of the insurance company explain what really happened.
It would be folly to take the word of a radical activist. Since the $3,000 number is obviously fabricated we have no reason to trust Fluke’s testimony on anecdotes she gleaned in class.
To my knowledge no news sources have checked the accuracy of Fluke’s anecdotes. It might be worth the trouble, since all scientists know that anecdotes, taken in isolation, have no probative value.
Feminist activists like Fluke want birth control to be free. Why?
Stoll asks the salient question: “Why should people past reproductive age who are paying copayments for their heart or arthritis medication be paying taxes to subsidize free prescription contraceptives for law students?”
Why should birth control pills be free while other medications have a copay?
The hidden message is simple. Radical feminists like Fluke believe that sexual activity is hygienic. They believe that women should have as much sex as possible because it promotes mental health. And, they believe that women will have more sex if they do not have to pay for it.
Disguising the sexual freedom issue as a health care issue is clever. Inducing women to have more sex, regardless of whether or not they really want to have it, feels largely irresponsible.
When it comes to sex the cost is not really about the price of condoms or even oral contraceptives. The real issue is the emotional cost, and especially the emotional cost for women.
As I have often had occasion to point out feminists believe that, for women, sex should be cost free in the sense that they should feel no shame and guilt.
In their own fantasyland feminists believe that since men do not feel shame or guilt women shouldn’t either. They believe that if men do not incur a pregnancy risk then women shouldn’t either.
Feminists believe that the patriarchy has created a world where women are judged ill for promiscuous sexual behavior. They believe that no women should ever be judged ill for expressing her sexuality, however she wishes. If no one ever looked askance at a woman for her sexual behavior, all women-- feminists maintain-- would magically be freed of shame and guilt.
In a time of hookups, and in a time when more than a few women feel less than proud of their sexual behavior, feminists are saying that if women feel guilty or ashamed of their behavior their emotions are really a product of cultural conditions.
They need not feel badly about what they have done; they need not change their behavior and be more judicious with their intimacy; they need not rebuild their self-respect. They need merely to join the feminist cause and, by the way, to vote Democratic.
Sandra Fluke may or may not be aware of it, but, as a priestess in the feminist cult she is trying to entice young women to join her by offering blanket absolution without confession or penance.
Since the Catholic Church also offers forgiveness and absolution, but only after confession and penance, Fluke is trying to outdo the Church by offering a free ticket to irresponsible behavior.