Either You Want Government Out of Your Bedroom or You Don’t

One way we libertarians often describe ourselves are individuals who don’t want the government in our bedroom or our boardrooms. Those on the Left typically agree with the former while disagreeing with the latter while those on the Right typically believe the reverse. Yet when it comes to the federal government mandating that all health insurance policies provide “free” contraception via Obamacare, suddenly the Left wants the government in the bedroom while the Right correctly wants no part of it.

President Obama seems to believe (or more likely, wants us to believe) that by decreeing that contraception be free that it will be. No, birth control devices cost no money to develop, test, produce, or distribute; somehow these products are immune from the notion that there is no such thing as a free lunch*. This is the kind of policy that causes health insurance to go up in price because now everyone pays just a little more on their premiums whether everyone wants or needs contraception or not.

Much of the debate on this mandate has centered around the idea that Catholic and other religious organizations should be forced to either directly or indirectly provide contraception in their healthcare plans. Like Brian Lehman writes at United Liberty, this is missing the point. As a pro-choice libertarian atheist, I too am offended by the notion that I must pay for coverage I don’t want or need**. Why don’t I have a right to choose the level of coverage that suits my family’s healthcare needs?

Some healthcare providers may determine that offering the coverage is more cost effective than covering unplanned pregnancies and all that entails. Others may come to a different conclusion. In a more perfect world, individuals would be able to shop around for the right coverage independent of employers or the government. This would take the politics out of the issue except for those who insist that contraception is a right. (Here’s a hint: it isn’t.)

Contraception is a good thing and we are very fortunate to live in a time when we can better plan if or when we want to have children but those who choose to be sexually active should take responsibility for providing it. Is it really too much to ask to buy your own condoms, pills, shots, or whatever? If for some reason you cannot afford contraception, there are organizations that offer these products and services at little or no cost. When did your orgasm become my responsibility?

I think it’s time for my friends particularly on the Left to make a decision: do you really want the government in your bedroom? I sure as hell don’t!

*There’s no such thing as a free orgasm. Think about it.

**Why don’t I need it? That’s really none of your business.

  • Crystal

    I think the distinction between “making” someone pay for birth control, even if it is mostly cost-neutral and is a small premium raise for the masses, and requiring all insurance be preventative in a common understanding, 21st century approach to health care, is that it is more than just an individual liberty issue. Unplanned and unwanted pregnancy is a societal issue that every person is affected by. Just like other social health issues, a macro approach is needed to assure a widespread rise in health quality for all individuals. As a woman, I take issue with the notion of easily accessible, cheap or free contraception. If you can find that place for every county in America, I would love to know where the one is in MY county, so please get on making that list, because this is an issue MANY of my female friends (who ultimately carry the burden to prevention)are struggling with in other areas of the country. You can start with my county, it is Douglas in WA, thanks.

  • mgd

    @Crystal– I am unsure how you expect this mandate to change the fact that you live in the sticks and there’s not much of anything close to you. I only found one pharmacy in the area, and it was about as close as the nearest Planned Parenthood, depending on exactly where in Douglas County you live. Making other people pay for your condoms isn’t magically going to make condom shops pop up on your street.

    Explain to me how your orgasm is something for which I should have to pay even a nominal amount, either in dollars or liberties. How about if you choose to have sex, you 1) choose to provide yourself with birth control, 2) insist your partner do so, or 3) deal with the consequences of your own actions like an adult?

    Failing that, please let me know how many other constitutionally guaranteed rights your fellow citizens can expect to have to forfeit so you can get more “free” sh*t.

  • Akston

    “Unplanned and unwanted pregnancy is a societal issue that every person is affected by.”

    I’m having trouble thinking of anything that isn’t a societal issue that every person is affected by. People choose all manner of things, many times a day. These choices often directly affect those around them, and always indirectly affect multitudes more.

    These decisions, swimming in a soup of human interaction, usually become “societal” when I’m calling for others to be forced to account for my decisions.

    Contraceptives, just like any other good or service (in health care or in any other human sphere) do not grow from trees. They are not free. They are the outputs of other people’s life’s effort. Claiming that those outputs should be “free” as one’s right is claiming to own the efforts of others. There’s a name for claiming to owning other people’s efforts. Think cotton, up until 150 years ago.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/ Stephen Littau

    I’ll put Crystal down as one who does want the federal government in her bedroom.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/ Stephen Littau

    @ Crystal:

    First things first: because Obamacare requires that every individual purchase an approved healthcare plan, by definition the government is “making” everyone buy an approved healthcare plan. Those who choose not to buy an approved plan are forced to pay a fine. What if s/he doesn’t pay the fine? Just as someone who refuses to pay taxes, s/he would be greeted by men with guns, prepared to use deadly force, and drag the noncompliant person to jail. Government = force. Never forget this.

    To your point about the “small” raise in premiums to cover contraception.

    If the only coverage required above and beyond what we normally think of as medically necessary to be healthy (probably too broad of a definition here) included contraceptives then you might be right that the additional costs would be negligible. The problem is that there are many other types of overages that if not explicitly spelled out in Obamacare already could be added via the HHS secretary. Should boner pills and “male enhancement” devices be included also? Some people think so. What about plastic surgery, gastric bypass, baldness cures, mental health, and treatment for drug addicts? I assure you that there are people who think these are all “rights” as well and they all no doubt have a constituency to try to add these things to require all health plans to include (again, if they haven’t been included in the bill already).

    These things all add up.

    In the plan I have now I had to pay extra for dental though some of these other things I mentioned were required. I tend to think that dental coverage ranks just a little higher on the hierarchy of needs than birth control or substance abuse counseling (neither of which my family needs). It seems to me that I ought to be able to pick and choose what I want covered.

    I’m sure there would be plenty of others who would be happy to willingly join you in coverage that includes birth control. Just don’t force others who don’t want or need it to purchase the coverage they don’t want.

  • Not Sure

    “I’ll put Crystal down as one who does want the federal government in her bedroom.”

    At least, until the government shows up there one day and insists that she do something she doesn’t want to do.

    At that point, she’ll see the light. Unfortunately, it will probably be too late by then.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/ Stephen Littau

    Speaking of that, Not Sure, have you heard about what Rick Santorum had to say about “the dangers of contraception,” as if he would ban it if he had his way?


    Obama and Santorum: talk about extremes!

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