When Ideology Takes A Back Seat to Party Politics

The brief time I led the Equal Marriage Arizona efforts to amend the Constitution to allow gay marriage was a real eye-opener for me.  I expected that since I was not a member of the largest gay activist groups, I might have to work to build up trust.  But it turned out, trust was not an issue.  I seldom had anyone question my sincerity.  However, I quickly found all the major gay rights groups (excepting the ACLU, bless their hearts) not just neutral or skeptical but actively opposing our effort.  Several people in these organizations dragged me in the figurative back room and explained that the leadership of their group would never accept a non-Democrat getting credit for such a success.  And one member of prominent organization (hint:  has same initials as Hillary Rodham Clinton) told me that their internal position was that they did not want gay marriage to come to Arizona until after 2016 because they wanted Hillary to be able to run on the issue and hoped to flip AZ blue in 2016.

So, a couple of years ago I would never have believed this story, but now it seems all too familiar

Just this week, legislators introduced a bill that would encourage drug companies to apply to sell contraceptives without a prescription.

But if Republican Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, along with four other GOP senators, were expecting flowers from Planned Parenthood and others for their bill, the Allowing Greater Access to Safe and Effective Contraception Act, they should brace for disappointment. Suddenly, the idea doesn’t sound so great, and the former supporters aren’t mincing words.

Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards said the bill is a “sham and an insult to women.”

Karen Middleton of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado even got personal, saying, “Cory Gardner can’t be trusted when it comes to Colorado women and their health care.”...

Beneath the fear-mongering lies the more likely reason for the change of heart on the left. The bill was simply introduced by the wrong party.

  • CobraPilot

    Beneath the fear-mongering lies the more likely reason for the change of heart on the left. The bill was simply introduced by the wrong party.

    Actually, at least on Planned Parenthood's end, it probably has something to do with their three million "customers" receiving subsidized contraceptives via PP doctors and clinics. Can't get funding when the people who depend on you for "reproductive health" can just go to the pharmacy and pick it up themselves.

    http://issuu.com/actionfund/docs/annual_report_final_proof_12.16.14_/0

    As for NARAL, well, useful idiots and all that.

  • FelineCannonball

    Encourage companies to apply? It's an aspirational bill that puts coverage at risk?

    Don't they have the power to demand the FDA review the topic and amend the ACA to require insurance coverage for the OTC version to be the same as today's coverage? If that's their understanding and goal, why not? I'll bet liberals would support that.

  • CapitalistRoader

    NARAL's commercial against Cory Gardner last election was a hoot.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    Coke v Pepsi tribalism will trump alleged ideology every day of the week, and twice on Sunday.

  • Chris Brooks

    cobra pilot brings up a valid point. I think it's important for poor people to be able to access subsidized contraceptives, but not because it helps PP (although that may be a side effect) but because it helps poor people. If it were available otc it would just be another choice poor people have to make with limited resources. Granted, some forms of contraception could only be provided by a nurse/physician such as implants or IUDs. But the point behind this effort is to justify no public funding for any contraception, because there would be sufficient options available otc. More poor people having to pay for their own contraception means more poor women with unintended pregnancies means more poor people remaining poor. Reproductive choice is a necessary precursor to economic opportunity.

  • joe

    "Beneath the fear-mongering lies the more likely reason for the change of heart on the left. The bill was simply introduced by the wrong party.

    Actually, at least on Planned Parenthood's end, it probably has something to do with their three million "customers" receiving subsidized contraceptives via PP doctors and clinics."

    PP long ago ceased being a non-profit. PP major profit center (of their non-profit enterprise) is their abortion services. That partially explains PP's opposition to abortion regulations - they have a vested interest in continuation of abortion services.

  • TM

    My understanding is PP already provides free (or subsidized) condoms. Those are OTC and certainly not covered by any insurance. I fail to see why making these things OTC would suddenly make it more difficult for the poor to access them rather than less. After all, since it's not OTC, you need a doctors appointment and prescription (just another cost) to get them. That seems like a larger barrier to access to me.

  • chembot

    Keeping a medicine or medical device prescription only simply to milk a subsidy seems to me to be an abuse of the system. Prescription medications get that designation because they have additional risks associated with them that are generally not present in OTC drugs (or are greatly mitigated through lower dosing). If we turn the prescription designation into a poverty alleviation program we begin to lose the safety and control aspect of what that designation was originally intended to be.

    If you wish to have yet another subsidy program, there are better ways to do it. I hear insurance mandates are all the rage these days. Perhaps we can force everybody who doesn't wish/need to use those products to pay for everyone else's lifestyle drugs...[/sarc] (Preemptive note: I am not against access of contraception to the poor and I do think that preventing unwanted pregnancies before they become abortions is a desirable thing. However, abstaining from sex, while not the fun option, is always a possibility. Use of hormonal contraceptives in the vast majority of cases is a lifestyle type drug and so I do not put it on the same level of criticality as treating actual disease states like asthma or ulcerative colitis.)

  • Jim Collins

    "Several people in these organizations dragged me in the figurative back room and explained that the leadership of their group would never accept a non-Democrat getting credit for such a success. And one member of prominent organization (hint: has same initials as Hillary Rodham Clinton) told me that their internal position was that they did not want gay marriage to come to Arizona until after 2016 because they wanted Hillary to be able to run on the issue and hoped to flip AZ blue in 2016."

    To me this says that they don't give a damn about "gay marriage" except to use it as a vehicle to push the Liberal political agenda.
    I have a simple question. Why are the people who are pushing the gay marriage agenda the hardest not gay?

  • chembot

    One more quick note: Prescription drugs being what they are, you have a higher barrier of entry to manufacturing and marketing compared to OTC drugs which generally raises the price of them. I imagine that if we had Uterus-lock(TM) brand contraceptives duking it out with Ovary Blasters(R) on TV and in the vastly wider OTC market you would find that the prices of these contraceptives would likely be significantly lower than what the unsubsidized prescription rates would be as the price rapidly approaches the marginal cost of producing the hormones (pretty old synthetic tech at this point). They would be more expensive than aspirin, but perhaps not much more so than long lasting OTC products like nicotine patches.

  • SamWah

    They just can't cope, can they?

  • HenryBowman419

    Both the gay marriage issue and the OTC birth control issue seem to reflect the simple fact that the Democrat party is just a criminal organization that masquerades as a political party.

  • FelineCannonball

    Presumably insurance companies price prescription contraceptive drugs into the price of insurance. I guess you could say eunuchs subsidize those who have sex and those that require contraceptive drugs for other medical reasons, but I don't think it's globally a subsidy. Most people pay for it through insurance and most people don't have subsidized insurance. Subsidizing insurance seems like a separate question.

    Besides, the FDA would have to approve any application and weigh the benefits of increased access over the risks of medicating without a doctor's advice or clear access to a doctor. Birth control pills are not quite the simple easy-to-use risk-free drug many think. If they approve such applications it's because they think it might decrease the risk of unplanned pregnancies and associated complications.

  • Chris Brooks

    I don't think you can equate unwanted pregnancy with asthma or colitis in terms of the potential impact on a woman's economic prospects. And I don't believe you have successfully challenged my justification for keeping contraceptives as prescription drugs in order to maintain access for poor people. In most cases Medicaid can provide these prescriptions with no copay, which makes it affordable to someone who has to juggle between paying rent, providing food, transportation, and other necessities each month. It would be great if there was a separate program to subsidize their availability if they were otc, but that's the whole point - many conservatives share your view that contraceptives are a lifestyle accessory rather than a necessary component of providing all people with equal economic opportunity and will never provide a subsidy for contraception in any form.

  • obloodyhell

    }}} I don't think you can equate unwanted pregnancy with asthma or colitis in terms of the potential impact on a woman's economic prospects.

    The obvious difference lost on you here is that the former is the result of a predictable, avoidable behavior, and the latter is something you just HAVE.

    So you're right, you can't equate them. But that's not because one is more common or more significant than the other, it's because you can CHOOSE not to find yourself in the former, while there's unlikely to be much choice in regards to the latter.

  • chembot

    Eunuchs are admittedly a small percentage of the population, however, men and post reproductive women are not. (I note that the banners are not raised for subsidized condoms or that condom coverage should be mandated through government fiat, or how economically empowering that would be for men. I would argue that they have just as much at stake as women as far as unwanted pregnancy goes. It is more so in that legally men have no choice whatsoever about the situation and get conscripted into parenthood for 18 years should the woman in question choose to do so...) I suppose it is fair to say that we all wind up subsidizing each other for everything anyway, whether it is through variances in the tax code or through insurance pools.

    I absolutely agree with you that birth control pills require more finesse than a lot of other types of drugs and it is for the safety reasons that I would rather see those remain prescription only. My original objection was to the idea that prescription drugs should remain prescription purely for the access to government subsidy as some sort of warped anti-poverty program. If that is the social goal that people wish to pursue, I have no problem with it. Create a separate program, mandate coverage through insurance, or use some other means that doesn't hijack safety regulations for an unrelated social purpose.

  • chembot

    The pithy reply about whether or not contraceptives are a lifestyle drug: No one has ever died from a vow of chastity. Can you say the same for asthma?

    I really would rather not bring conservative or liberal into the discussion as I find those shorthand labels as more hindrances than anything else to reasoned discussion, but I do wish to note a curiosity. Liberals for the most part make a lot of appeals to morality and how people should rise above their base instincts of selfishness to help their fellow man. It is rather utopian, but all in all, it is a laudable sentiment. However, on this one issue alone, that being the realm of sexual urges and proclivities liiberals preach a very different tune. In this arena we are nothing but animals unable to resist the unending riptide of hormonal wrath that afflicts us from the start of puberty to the end of our lives. We are unable to conceive of the notion that people may forego the risky behaviors which are likely to send their lives into the ditch and ask that each person take responsibility for themselves. Instead they say that the only solution for liberation is free contraceptives forever. Pardon me if I don't believe that.

    (And since I no doubt have already been labeled the stuffy conservative I will also point out that there are plenty of ways to have sexual contact that do not generally lead to pregnancy. If a sex free life is too horrible to think of, perhaps one filled with fellatio for all is better? At least that one requires no subsidy on the part of society.)

  • Ailyn

    I have a simple question. Why are the people who are pushing the gay marriage agenda the hardest not gay?

    Because gay marriage has nothing to do with rights for homosexuals and everything to do with dismantling social structures that compete with the state, more specifically the "progressive" "liberal", one-stop-shop, it-takes-a-village nanny state.

    Recall civil unions, that provided an identical structure to marriage while reserving the latter for the institutions who developed it. It was a distinction in name only and yet it was unequivocally shot down by the left. Why? Because it left marriage intact.

    The motive at this point should be perfectly clear. If the growing LGBT beatification doesn't do it for you, try welfare policies that support single motherhood, a public education behemoth that increasingly encroaches on parental duties, the SWATification of the "children's services" bureaus, and persecution of benign groups such as free-range and homeschooling parents. Healthy families put their own before the needs of the state, and that's simply unacceptable to the left.

  • Me too

    Hit the nail on the head

  • Daublin

    The same happened with Bush and Iraq. Before Bush got involved, women's groups were constantly complaining about the state of things in Iraq: legalized honor killings, women barred from holding many jobs, and a total lack of women in the government.

    Say what you will about the Iraq invasion, all of those things have changed for the better now. I never hear an acknowledgment of that. It's as if Iraqi women don't actually matter, but that the whole thing is just a playing card in the big debates about who should be in power in Washington. It's disgusting and it dirties us all.

  • Daublin

    I'm having a really hard time treating it seriously the idea that being prescription will make something *more* available.

    What is the mechanism by which you think that would happen? Do you think doctors will push contracteptives on people more aggressively if they are prescription? Why can't they push them just as hard if they aren't? And why do you believe women are at the doctor's all the time, anyway?

    This seems like an incedible stretch. Barring extraordinary assumptions, the way to improve access to something is to remove the barriers to it. A prescription requirement is one heck of a barrier.