The war-on-women narrative for the 2014 and 2016 elections is already taking shape
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) appeared on MSNBC this week to discuss her objections to the challenge Hobby Lobby has leveled against the United States government’s contraception mandate in Obamacare.
Boxer made several baseless claims during the interview, which deserve to be put into a broader political context.
Before discussing Boxer’s claims, due credit must be given to the MSNBC anchor, Chris Jansing, who drew attention to the fact that Hobby Lobby provides its employees with all sorts of contraceptives through its health plan (16 to be exact), but that the store’s ownership objects to 4 drugs in particular. Among them, Hobby Lobby objects to pills like Plan B — also known as the Morning After pill— and Intrauterine Devices (IUDs), because they have the potential to be “abortion-inducing.” In other words, they can terminate a pregnancy after the egg has been fertilized.
In response to this very legitimate distinction, Boxer proclaims, “that’s a distinction without a difference.”
Perhaps Boxer knows better than the companies who offer these drugs, but I doubt it. Indeed, while Plan B claims to have no effect on a woman who is already pregnant, it qualifies this by saying “there is no medical evidence that Plan B One-Step would harm a developing baby.”
It is important to note that “no medical evidence” does not mean there is no possibility. Moreover, Plan-B does not assert that their position is medically conclusive. Thus, Hobby Lobby’s position that it is an abortifacient (an abortion causing drug) is a reasonable one.
Beyond Plan B, however, Hobby Lobby also objects to providing IUDs. Unlike Plan B, there is medical evidence IUDs cause abortion after an egg has been fertilized. Indeed, that’s the exact language used to describe how they function.
[A Hormonal IUD] also keeps the lining of the uterus (endometrium) from growing very thick. This makes the lining a poor place for a fertilized egg to implant and grow. [Emphasis Added].
Contrary to what Senator Boxer claims, this is a distinction with a difference. There are a great many people in this nation that harbor the entirely reasonable belief that life begins at conception (i.e. fertilization). Since neither science nor law has determined the exact moment life begins, the question becomes one more of philosophy than anything else.
(Video clip h/t Twitchy)
Following this first miscue, Senator Boxer doubled down by drawing the improper but persistent analogy between abortifacients and Viagra.
I have never heard Hobby Lobby… complain that Viagra is covered by many insurances plans — or practically all of them — or other kinds of, you know, things for men, which I won’t go into.
Again, to the credit of Jansen, she properly noted Hobby Lobby and supporters of their position would argue, “this is a life issue for them.”
Boxer seemed moderately indignant at the anchor’s response. Instead of addressing the valid point raised by Jansing, Boxer continued,
Excuse me, I have never heard them put any type of moral objection — remember this is a moral objection — to men getting viagra, but they have a moral objection to women getting certain types of birth control. So I view this as very much an anti-woman position to take.”
Again, Boxer — either willfully or due to a lack of understanding — fails to draw the crucial distinction.
Viagra is closer to a pregnancy inducing drug than it is a pregnancy terminating drug, and of course, it is the termination of pregnancy that is the crux of Hobby Lobby’s claim. Recognizing this reality, however, is antithetical to the continuing goal of the left to frame what are popularly considered “conservative issues,” as issues that are “anti-women.”
In truth, comparing Viagra and abortifacients is like comparing KY Jelly and condoms. You’d have to be hopelessly naive — or perhaps more likely, have a side agenda — to seriously contend they have the same effect. Indeed, their only legitimate similarity is that they are all used in the bedroom (or, you know, wherever).
I don’t think Senator Boxer is naive, I think she has a side agenda. That agenda is perpetuation of the myth that conservatives take an anti-woman position on just about everything.
Whether Hobby Lobby wins or loses this case, be prepared to have the side agenda march on into 2014 and 2016, regardless of its scientific accuracy.
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