Sandra Fluke has more choices with regard to her sex life and reproduction than any woman in history.
For those unfamiliar with Ms. Fluke, she is the 30-year-old third-year Georgetown University law student and left-wing activist who sat before an unofficial congressional committee on February 16. She testified that women like her need access to birth control, a point that almost no one disputes.
More controversially, however, she argued that Georgetown, a 223-year-old Jesuit institution, should be forced by federal law to pay for her contraception of choice without regard to Georgetown’s religious beliefs — and that somehow Georgetown’s current policy is a medieval infringement on her rights as a human being.
Perhaps it is worth outlining a few of the choices Ms. Fluke already enjoys in America in 2012.
She has an incredible array of birth control devices and techniques to choose from — including birth control pills, patches, caps, rings, shots, diaphragms, implants, spermicides (foam, jelly, cream, film), male condoms, female condoms, morning-after pills, Depo-Provera, IUDs, pulling out, tubal ligation and, yes, abortion. Do they still make chastity belts?
She has the choice to have her boyfriend or husband pay for her preferred method of contraception. This seems like a reasonable accommodation assuming only he, and not all of society, is enjoying the pleasure of her company.
She has the choice to shop around for less expensive birth control. As John McCormack pointed out in The Weekly Standard, generic Ortho Tri-Cyclen costs $9 at the Washington, D.C. Target store, or $297 for the 33 months of law school. This is 90 percent less than the $3,000 three-year cost that Ms. Fluke cited in her testimony.
She has the choice of buying health insurance from somewhere other than Georgetown University. A quick search of options for a single 30-year-old woman in the District of Columbia or northern Virginia reveals dozens of plans that cost around $150 a month. (In almost all cases, though, her co-payment for any kind of birth control would be higher than just buying it directly from Target, giving the lie to the perception that health insurance necessarily makes low-end health care services less expensive for the consumer at the point of purchase.)
She has the choice to economize on her routine expenses and not have cable TV, that evening out with friends or that new pair of shoes — and thereby free up money for contraception. Surely she would not testify that her neighbors should subsidize those things.
She has the choice to not have sex at all, thereby completely eliminating the risk of an unwanted pregnancy. This is crazy talk, of course.
She had the choice of sitting in front of Congress and therefore the American people and talking about her lifestyle. By taking that public course of action, she invited public scrutiny, even if some of it has been harsh and hurtful.
She had the choice of suggesting to Congress that someone else should pay for her lifestyle choice. Again, few question her freedom to live her life as she sees fit. Asking for federal legislation that would compel people of faith to subsidize her sex life is the issue. Those who pay deserve some say.
As a woman who is obviously bright and accomplished enough to get into Georgetown’s law school, she had the choice of attending virtually all 200 accredited law schools in the United States, most of which are secular. But according to one report, she deliberately selected Georgetown so that she could fight this particular policy.
She had the choice of selecting a law school that costs $23,432.50 per semester in tuition alone. This begs the obvious question: How is $297 in birth control costs over three years overly burdensome in relation to $200,000 in overall law school debt? This is not to mention the fact that a Georgetown JD is a first-class, one-way ticket to the one percent.
And finally, she has the choice to call Rush Limbaugh an asshole or take the high road. To her credit, she has seemingly chosen to stay above petty name-calling, which is the bastion of those lacking coherent, logical arguments.
Sandra, your rights do not extend to anything that someone else has to pay for. The vast majority of us will gladly keep our hands out of your uterus if you keep your hands out of our wallets.
Ekulf Ardnas is the pseudonym of a freelance writer in the Washington, D.C. area.