GorT has been hesitant to post about the whole Limbaugh-Fluke tempest. There are many layers to this onion. I’m not a fan of name-calling and ad hominem attacks when it comes to political debates it doesn’t advance the discussion or debate and only side tracks the issue. Let’s first look at Ms. Fluke’s own testimony:
“Just as we students have faced financial, emotional, and medical burdens as a result [of attending a Jesuit law school that adheres to the Catholic exemption of covering birth control from its health care plans], employees at religiously affiliated hospitals and universities across the country have suffered similar burdens….Simultaneously, the recently announcement adjustment addresses any potential conflict with the religious identity of Catholic and Jesuit institutions.”
Ok, let’s start at the end of that. Clearly the Catholic Church doesn’t agree. The recent “adjustment” does not address any potential conflict. The conflict remains. If this is Ms. Fluke’s best job – and one would hope a prepared testimony in front of Congress would be her best – I worry about her future career in law. The evidence indicates that her conclusion is wrong. Second, these people have options to alleviate themselves of these “financial, emotional and medical burdens” – Ms. Fluke could have attended another non-Catholic law school. There are plenty that are on par with a top tier school like Georgetown. The employees could look to be employed at non-Catholic institutions where such “burdens” would not exist. She describes an “emotional burden” as that of a fellow student who found out at the pharmacy counter that birth control pills weren’t covered. That is something easily determined by someone who reads their health plan coverage that all insurers are required to provide and are easily available on the internet. Again, I worry about that student’s future legal career if she didn’t properly research her insurance before pursuing that course of action.
Ms. Fluke attempts to respond to that argument saying that she expected Georgetown University to live by its Jesuit creed of cura personalis, to care for the whole person, by “meeting all of our medical needs.” Here is where I partially agree and partially strongly disagree with her. The crucial word there is “medical” – for the cases where hormonal treatments such as a birth control pill would be the recommended medical course of action as determined by a doctor and their patient, it should be covered in some degree. The nuance there is that insurance companies need to balance the breadth of coverage against the cost to those covered. But covering contraception for contraceptive purposes alone is clearly not a medical issue but rather a contraceptive issue.
Finally, as pointed out in Dr. J’s post below, there is the financial aspect of this. Ms. Fluke repeatedly points out the financial burden. Limbaugh’s characterization of Ms. Fluke’s testimony as going broke because of all the sex she wants to have is seriously off-base as is apparent once you read her testimony. But Ms. Fluke’s numbers are questionable. She seemingly aggregates numbers for dramatic purposes: “$3,000 during law school”. Well, ok, law school is three years, so that’s $1,000 per year. However there are local pharmacies that sell – without insurance coverage – generic Orthotricyclen and Orthocyclen (birth control pills) for around $10 per month or $360 “during law school”. Even if the Georgetown insurance covered birth control pills, Planned Parenthood reports that the pill can cost from $15 to $50 per month with insurance. So the financial burden clearly cannot be the drive behind Ms. Fluke’s testimony. However, it would be a different story if the insurance covered contraception for free.
Finally, two people are involved in this act so why not ask the male involved to contribute to the contraception? If they split it evenly – assuming that this is a monogamous relationship – then that halves her cost of contraception. Using the generics cost above, that’s $180 per year each – less than 50 cents per day or about 3 days of work at minimum wage (which I suspect first tier law school students are earning more than).
Instead of pushing for legislation that might result in Georgetown University dropping all insurance or only admitting Catholic students and employing only Catholic faculty and staff, maybe the Georgetown LSRJ could focus on solving some of these issues. Communicate what the school’s health plan covers and doesn’t cover, especially with regards to criminal and abhorrent things like rape. Communicate where one could go for more affordable contraception. Fight for coverage of true medical concerns and not contraceptive ones.
So no, I don’t buy all this “pay [Fluke] to have tons of sex” crap that spinning out there…but Ms. Fluke and those that support her should really think about it and examine how much spinning she did in her testimony.
GorT is an eight-foot-tall robot from the 51ˢᵗ Century who routinely time-travels to steal expensive technology from the future and return it to the past for retroinvention. The profits from this pay all the Gormogons’ bills, including subsidizing this website. Some of the products he has introduced from the future include oven mitts, the Guinness widget, Oxy-Clean, and Dr. Pepper. Due to his immense cybernetic brain, GorT is able to produce a post in 0.023 seconds and research it in even less time. Only ’Puter spends less time on research. GorT speaks entirely in zeros and ones, but occasionally throws in a ڭ to annoy the Volgi. He is a massive proponent of science, technology, and energy development, and enjoys nothing more than taking the Czar’s more interesting scientific theories, going into the past, publishing them as his own, and then returning to take credit for them. He is the only Gormogon who is capable of doing math. Possessed of incredible strength, he understands the awesome responsibility that follows and only uses it to hurt people.