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As your Five Dollar Feminist, I have a personal confession to make: I have had sex. Like, even when I wasn't trying to make babies. JUST FOR FUN!


We're All Sluts!

Well, you could probably tell from the avatar what a wanton slut I am. But it seems that the entire country is full of sluts, since the percentage of American adults who never engage in JUST FOR FUN sex is somewhere approaching zero. Even the Catholic Church is all in on the pull-out method so that hetero-married people can have sex without drowning in babies. Because you know what happens to marriages when people stop having sex after the kids are born: DIVORCE. (Citing to a very small non-peer-reviewed study of everyone I know.) I myself haven't had a baby in 12 years, and yet I remain married! So...

You're doin' it. I'm doin' it. We are literally ALL DOIN' IT.

And it's a mighty good thing we are all screwing like rabbits! People who have sex regularly are happier overall, and their relationships are stronger. Sexuality is a fundamental right, which is why it's unconstitutional to ban gay and premarital sex or to punish criminals with sterilization. If virtually 100% of the adult American population has done it, having sex without wanting to get pregnant can hardly be characterized as a "lifestyle choice." It's not scuba diving!

Republicans Are Bad at Science. And Sex. PROBABLY.

And yet Republicans still jump up and down shouting that medical coverage for birth control is some gross imposition by perverts on the majority of upright citizens who only bump their bits for babymaking. Missionary style, in the dark of course.

Just ask Mike Huckabee:

If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it. Let's take that discussion all across America.

Or that beacon of enlightenment, Bill "Loofah" O'Reilly:

OK, listen up. Viagra is used to help a medical condition. That’s why it’s covered. Birth control is not a medical condition. It is a choice. Why should I or anybody else have to pay for other people’s choices? Do I have to buy you dinner before you use the birth control?

(And no, we will not be revisiting Rush Limbaugh here. Because even linking to it makes us throw up in our own mouths.)

The point is, Republicans have convinced themselves that reproductive care is somehow optional, and it's SO UNFAIR to lump it in with "regular" healthcare. Because birth control pills are just like Botox, and IUDs are exactly the same as nose jobs. Also, too we will not be arguing that some women require birth control pills for menstrual regulation, which is okay because NOT SEX. Sex is normal and healthy, and medical care related to sex is not a choice.

Serial Philanderer Will Screw All The Poor Women

Yesterday, Donald Trump's plan to allow private employers to immediately drop contraceptive coverage for female employees leaked on Vox. Since corporations are people now, they are entitled to religious freedom and can't be forced to buy insurance that makes their Sky God sad. Obamacare exempted religious organizations, but now any employer will be entitled to weigh in on how female employees use their vaginas. Hooray!

If your priest tells you that IUDs and birth control pills cause a tiny abortion every month, and you believe it, who is the government to burden your religious freedom with pesky medical science? Cherish your woo!

Besides the fake science, the HHS Memo has the unmitigated gall to cite the plethora of family planning services available through Medicaid and Title X as proof that no woman will go without birth control if her insurer decides not to provide it (p. 37).

There are multiple Federal, state and local programs that provide free or subsidized contraceptives for low-income women, including Medicaid (with a 90% federal match for family planning services), Title X, health center grants, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

Wait, but isn't Donald Trump's budget going to cut $800 billion from Medicaid?

For example, the Title X program, administered by the HHS Office of Population Affairs (OPA), which provides voluntary family planning and services for clients based on their ability to pay through a network that includes 4,200 family planning centers.

Interesting! Because six weeks ago Donald Trump told states that they could withhold Title X funding from Planned Parenthood, which provides a good chunk of that care for poor women. And HHS has stated it aims to allow states to refuse Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood, which serves 32% of the women who receive subsidized reproductive care. But dumping women who are currently receiving birth control through employer-sponsored plans into this market while cutting service providers will be FINE, JUST FINE!

You will also be FOR SHOCKED to learn that HHS's assumptions about the real cost of birth control are wildly off.

Most forms of birth control are available for around $50 per month, including long-acting methods such as the birth control shot and the IUD.

IUDs cost around $1,000 out of pocket. Girls will just have to hold off on a new iPhone for another month!

Other more permanent forms of contraception like implantables bear a higher one-time cost, but when calculated over the duration of use, the cost is similar to other forms of contraception.

Sure, Norplant costs $800. But if you put aside $50 a month to save up for it, it will only take you 16 months of abstinence to earn it! So keep those knees together, little lady!

There is also a heaping dose of Wingnut Moralizing masquerading as science.

With respect to teens, which comprise a significant portion of women IOM [Institute of Medicine, now National Academy of Medicine] identifies as at risk, the Santelli and Melnikas study [using data which ended in 2007] observes the longterm trend that, between 1960 and 1990, as contraception became available and its use increased, teen sexual activity outside of marriage likewise increased. Another study focused on teens[DONE BY ECONOMISTS, NOT DOCTORS] has stated that "[p]rograms that increase access to contraception are found to decrease teen pregnancies in the short run, but increase teen pregnancies in the long run." ... Imposing coverage Mandate on objecting entities -- whose plans cover many enrollee families who may share objections to contraception -- could, among some populations exacerbate the long run negative effects of changing sexual behavior by, for example, providing contraceptive access to teenagers and young adults who are not necessarily in the sexually active at-risk population of women.

Translation: Don't give birth control to our good, religious girls, because that will turn them into sluts like you.

Here on Planet Earth, increased access to birth control has coincided with the lowest teen birth rate ever.

And the age of first sexual encounter has actually risen in the past twenty years as contraception has become more readily available.

But Mazal Tov on finding a study that predicted a plague of whores based on the temporary bump in the teen birth rate in 2007! Surely no one will use this bogus data as the basis for a lawsuit challenging the new regulation!

Pay More, Get Less!

The leaked HHS plan also allows insurers to assert their own religious objections to birth control and opt out of coverage. Presumably any insurance company taking Trumpland up on this offer would also be taking a vow of poverty. Even the most expensive birth control method is a fraction of the cost of a hospital birth and prenatal care. According to Time Magazine,

The average doctor charges for a vaginal delivery with no complications in the U.S. is $3,035, according to data from FAIR Health, a health care nonprofit that keeps a national database of insurance claims. That includes the cost of routine care before and after the birth (but not tests like ultra sounds or amnio). If you want an epidural (which, let's be real, many women do), that's another $2,132 on average. Prices vary considerably depending on where you live. The average cost of a C-Section nationwide is $3,382, plus $1,646 for an epidural, FAIR Health found.

But that's just for your doctors—not the hospital. In a separate study published in the journal Health Affairs last year, researchers found that the cost of a hospital stay to give birth ranged from $1,189 to $11,986, and that was for what were considered low-risk deliveries.

Which HHS could have figured out by reading its own damn memos if they hadn't put this illiterate lunatic in charge of their family planning policy.

Evidence from well-documented prior expansions of contraceptive coverage indicates that the cost to issuers of including coverage for all FDA-approved contraceptive methods in insurance offered to an employed population is zero...

When medical costs associated with unintended pregnancies are taken into account, including costs of prenatal care, pregnancy complications, and deliveries, the net effect on premiums is close to zero...

When indirect costs such as time away from work and productivity loss are considered, they further reduce the total cost to an employer. Global Health Outcomes developed a model that incorporates costs of contraception, costs of unintended pregnancy, and indirect costs. They find that it saves employers $97 per year per employee to offer a comprehensive contraceptive benefit.

SO...

Pretending Sex is Weird: CHECK

Slut Shaming: CHECK

Bad Medicine: CHECK

Distorted Data: CHECK

Costs More: CHECK

THIS PLAN HAS EVERYTHING! WELL PLAYED, AMERICA!

[Memo / Vox / NYTimes / Rewire / Time / HHS]

We at Wonkette would never slutshame you with pesky ads! We are such a cheap date!

Five Dollar Feminist

Your FDF lives in Baltimore under an assumed identity as an upstanding member of the PTA. Shhh, don't tell anyone she makes swears on the internet!

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