Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed Bill H.4009 into law following a unanimous vote in the state legislature last month. The bill, which many see as a response to President Donald Trump’s attempt to roll back the federal Obamacare mandate, requires that all health insurance cover women’s contraceptive care free of direct charge to the recipient.
“Massachusetts is taking a very firm stand. We will protect reproductive rights access. We will protect access to contraception in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” State Senator Eric Lesser (D-Longmeadow) told WWLP, an NBC affiliate in the state.
Democrats and Republicans alike have praised the bill, citing its protection of “access” to contraceptives for women.
This phraseology — “access” — is incredibly disingenuous.
Free access does not mean access for free. Access is the ability to attain a good or service freely. This concept is not to be conflated with the ability to attain a good or service for free.
An American citizen who is unable to budget for a Camaro or the newest generation of iPhone does not have an accessibility problem. That person can buy those things. The cost associated with an item does not make it inaccessible.
Things like a legislated ban or shortage of the good would create genuine inaccessibility.
Do not be fooled. The verbiage is no mistake. On the left, employing the term “access” in this way is incredibly prevalent in political discussions surrounding such topics as abortion, contraceptive care and health insurance.
Perpetuation of the myth of “inaccessibility” is nothing if not a means by which people of a leftist bent seek to garner sympathy and political support for new social programs — typically at the expense of the taxpayer.
While even Planned Parenthood is willing to concede that the monthly price of birth control without a mandate through insurance can be as low as $20 to 50 per month, the term “inaccessible” is continuously floated around.
The fact that birth control pills are elective bears noting here also. No one takes birth control pills to improve health. The point is to mitigate the threat of an unwanted pregnancy; which can be done through a multitude of means with modern technology or with an ounce of restraint.
One might use other means of cheap contraception, some of which happen to be single-use rather than being in daily pill form. On the more conservative end, one might abstain from sexual relations altogether to avoid contraception (and such a decision would also aid in decreasing the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases).
The complaint that the price of birth control makes it inaccessible is made even less salient when compared to non-elective daily drugs. Pills like anti-depressants or cholesterol-lowering drugs can cost hundreds of dollars a month without insurance coverage.
Things are only made worse when any of these logistical or economic matters are introduced to the discussion. Strident feminists next imply — if not outright threaten — that if taxpayers do not pay for the birth control they swear they cannot afford, society as a whole will simply have to pay for the child they have as a result.
A bullet-proof argument! People are going to be irresponsible and promiscuous either way, so society at large should cover the damages, whether that be through paying for the mitigation plan or the resulting pregnancy.
Apparently, practicing personal responsibility is so incomprehensible a concept in the modern era that the government must legislate that others cover your irresponsible behavior financially.
What happened to women needing men like fish need a bicycle? It’s not exactly clear, but feminists expect the government to mandate that the men in the taxpaying population give a little something toward their birth control pills.
Those among us who still believe in fiscal and personal responsibility should take note of the subtle tactics with which our political opponents attempt to frame and carry out the dialogue. It is hypocrisy at best. It is dishonesty at worst.
Words carry meaning in a political forum.
We must be watchful in the myriad political methods through which the American left pushes for the increased size of social programs and subsidies.
As sure as the day is long, when the left advocates for “access” to a social good, a discussion of the taxpayer footing the bill for it will follow. If we cannot pick up on this in debate, the personal responsibility of others may soon be the burden of the American taxpayer alone.
Andrew J. Sciascia is an undergraduate student at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He is also an editor for the Connector student newspaper.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.