The American Bear



"Seriously, if we believe a 14 year old is too immature to know how to take a pill, do we really think she’s adult enough to handle an unwanted pregnancy?

"The truth is that the age restriction is completely arbitrary, tied only to our puritanical comfort levels. And listen, I get it; I think it’s fair to say that most people are uncomfortable with the idea of a 14 year old having sex. But here’s the thing - access to Plan B isn’t about keeping a 14 year old from having sex - by the time she gets to the pharmacy, that ship has sailed - it’s about keeping a 14 year old who has already had sex from getting pregnant. And despite what urban legend (or past embarrassing FDA memos) may tell you, making emergency contraception more available is not more likely to make young teens have sex - it will just make them less likely to end up pregnant.

"We can’t let our discomfort with teen sex trump young people’s right to sexual and reproductive health and we can’t continue to let politics trump science. If we care about young women’s health and bodily autonomy and integrity, we’ll drop all age restrictions from emergency contraception. Anything less isn’t just illogical - it’s immoral."

“Hey, FDA: Drop the Plan B Age Restriction,” my latest at The Nation (via jessicavalenti)

(Source: jessicavalenti)

7th Circuit Enjoins Contraceptive Coverage Mandate | Jonathan Turley

Because Jesus:

In Grote v. Sebelius, (7th Cir., Jan. 30, 2013), a 2-1 decision by the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals granted an an injunction, pending appeal, where the defendants are enjoined from enforcing the contraception mandate against the Grote Family and Grote Industries. Grote Industries is a privately held, family‐run business headquartered in Madison, Indiana. Members of the Grote Family are Catholic and operate their business according to the “precepts of their faith, including the Catholic Church’s teachings regarding the moral wrongfulness of abortifacient drugs, contraception, and sterilization.”

Judge Ilana Rovner’s dissenting opinion is interesting, read on

Contraception and the New Crusades | Scott Charney

[Besides] the larger debate over abortion, concerns about contraception have been germinating in some quarters for several years. In 2003, on the 30th anniversary of Roe V. Wade, Cristina Page, of the National Abortion Rights Action League, and Amanda Peterman, from Right to Life Michigan, co-wrote an op-ed in The New York Times, titled “The Right to Agree.” In this op-ed, Page and Peterman wrote of finding common ground on such issues as support for single mothers, affordable child care, an end to violent rhetoric and actions, and supporting legislation that would require that health insurance plans cover contraceptives. While there was reportedly little strong response from pro-choice organizations, Peterman found herself ostracized from her fellow activists.  Page has subsequently written about how this chain of events helped her to realize that much of the purported anti-abortion activity actually is not focused on abortion per se, but on larger anxieties about families and sexuality.

So what does this have to do with the world outside? Despite the very low rates of abortion (and sexually-transmitted diseases) in the Netherlands, that country’s policies of sex education, along with subsidizing and promoting contraception, do not endear themselves to American conservatives. The exact opposite is true. While the Times, in a 2006 article titled “Contra-Contraception” highlighted the ethical reasons for such seeming cognitive dissonance, it also seems likely that there is a subconscious (and sometimes very conscious!) strategic explanation. In other words, if the Netherlands, and many other countries in Europe and around the world, manage to prevent abortions by preventing pregnancy, that is not considered an acceptable strategy, partially because the resulting low fertility rates allegedly leave such countries open to conquest by Muslim immigrants.

This hypothesis, sometimes awkwardly referred to as “Eurabia” (most Muslim immigrants, like most Muslims in general, are not Arab), has become a staple of right-wing rhetoric in the past decade. Pat Buchanan has mentioned this trope repeatedly, beginning with his book Death of the West in 2001.  Mark Steyn has largely built a career on this sort of thing; he made a considerable impact with America Alone in 2006, and was continually invoking concerns of low fertility, though without explicitly mentioning an Islamic takeover, in recent months. Numerous other authors have added their voices to this chorus of fear, and opponents of the idea also responded in kind. Indeed, such fears are not only misplaced, they are comprehensively wrong across the board. The numbers regarding fertility and immigration patterns, as well as the social and political beliefs of many Muslims in Europe, do not even remotely support the hypothesis of people like Steyn, and yet their ideas have stuck in the minds of many. Anders Behring Breivik and the English Defence League share these concerns. Perhaps more importantly, so does the American Christian Right, the most bellicose demographic in America, and the same one responsible for the wave of legislation targeting contraception and abortion. […]

American conservatives seem to want “more babies” more than they want fewer abortions, partially due to fear that the wrong people are reproducing too often. This is one reason, though not the largest, why Cristina Page and Amanda Peterman had such a brief opportunity to agree.

Birth Control McCarthyism | Corey Robin

It’s often forgotten that one of the main catalysts for the rise of the Christian Right was not school prayer or abortion but the defense of Southern private schools that were created in response to desegregation. By 1970, 400,000 white children were attending these “segregation academies.” States like Mississippi gave students tuition grants, and until the Nixon administration overturned the practice, the IRS gave the donors to these schools tax exemptions. And it was none other than Richard Viguerie, founder of the New Right and pioneer of its use of direct-mail tactics, who said that the attack on these public subsidies by the Civil Rights Movement and liberal courts “was the spark that ignited the religious right’s involvement in real politics.”

According to historian Joseph Crespino […] the rise of segregation academies “was often timed exactly with the desegregation of formerly all-white public schools.” Even so, their advocates claimed to be defending religious minorities—and religious beliefs—rather than white supremacy. (Initially nonsectarian, most of these schools became evangelical over time.) Their cause, in other words, was freedom, not inequality—not the freedom of whites to associate with other whites (and thereby lord their status and power over blacks), as the previous generation of massive resisters had foolishly and openly admitted, but the freedom of believers to practice their own embattled religion. It was a shrewd transposition. In one fell swoop, the heirs of slaveholders became the descendants of persecuted Baptists, and Jim Crow a heresy the First Amendment was meant to protect.

So it is today. Rather than openly pursue their agenda of restricting the rights of women, the GOP claims to be defending the rights of religious dissenters. Instead of powerful employers—for that is what many of these Catholic hospitals and universities are—we have persecuted sects.

Knowing the history of the rise of the Christian Right doesn’t resolve this debate, but it certainly does make you look twice, doesn’t it?

Read all of this

The government doesn’t pay student medical insurance premiums; the students do. Nor does the government pay the medical insurance premiums of employees at any of the other employers who will be obligated under the ACA to provide minimum healthcare benefits; the employer and the employee together do. That, of course, is what’s caused all the controversy about whether it violates freedom-of-religion guarantees of the government to require that the healthcare insurance that Catholic universities hospitals and charities provide their employees include contraception. If the government were paying these premiums, this controversy wouldn’t exist. Beverly Mann, on the totally false talking point that’s being missed in Rush Limbaugh’s slut-shaming scandal — i.e., “we” won’t be paying for anyone’s contraception coverage. (via quickhits)

(via quickhits)

Things the Catholic Church is and is not concerned about for $100, Alex?


VERY IS: Your lady parts and your pregnancy choices. 

Catholic bishops reject Obama’s ‘accommodation’ on birth control - Faced with a religious-based outcry over his birth-control mandate, President Obama on Friday unveiled an “accommodation” he said “protects” the religious freedom of churches opposed to contraception. Just hours later, the Catholic Church rejected the plan. Obama’s compromise, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) said Friday, “continues to involve needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions, and to threaten government coercion of religious people and groups to violate their most deeply held convictions.”

IS NOT: Sexual abuse of children by priests. 

8,000 instances of abuse alleged in Archdiocese bankruptcy hearing - Sealed documents filed in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee bankruptcy identify at least 8,000 instances of child sexual abuse and 100 alleged offenders – 75 of them priests – who have not previously been named by the archdiocese, a victims’ attorney said Thursday. Archdiocese spokeswoman Julie Wolf said she did not have enough information to respond to the assertion, made by attorney Jeffrey Anderson during a pivotal hearing before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelley. Anderson represents about 350 of the 570 victim-survivors who have filed claims in the case.


”This is not a contraception issue. This is not a social issue. This is a constitutional issue.” So they say, so they may sincerely believe. But politics is not only about what you say. It is also about what your intended audience will hear. If the audience is paying attention, for example, it will notice that Republicans are not proposing to allow employers and plans to refuse to cover blood transfusions if they conscientiously object to them (although there are religious groups that do). Or vaccinations (although there are individuals who conscientiously object to those as well). Or medicines derived from animal experimentation. (Ditto.) No, Marco Rubio’s Religious Freedom Restoration bill provides for one conscientious exemption only: contraception and sterilization. The Contraception Fight—David Frum (via underthemountainbunker)

(Source:, via underthemountainbunker)

Until the good bishops of the Catholic church can figure out how to keep their priests from molesting young boys, I have no use for their histrionics over the Obama administration’s decision to mandate coverage of the cost of contraceptives in healthcare plans.

Kris Broughton (via azspot)


(via azspot)

If you want to take your paycheck and buy big ol’ honkin’ piles of contraceptives, that’s your business and there’s nothing your employer can do about it. The same reasoning — in a saner world — should apply to your health coverage. quickhits, winning.

Today, in a huge victory for women’s health, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that most employers will be required to cover contraception in their health plans, along with other preventive services, with no cost-sharing such as co-pays or deductibles. This means that after years of trying to get birth control covered to the same extent that health plans cover Viagra, our country will finally have nearly universal coverage of contraception. Obama Administration Approves Rule That Guarantees Near-Universal Contraceptive Coverage | ThinkProgress