You may have seen Planned Parenthood’s new ad with John McCain staring uncomfortably and helplessly for 8 full seconds when asked about whether or not health insurance should have to cover birth control if it covers Viagra. And of course, they would have been inexcusably negligent to not produce such an ad — McCain handed us gold there.
Well Bill O’Reilly is very displeased that someone is trying to take away the male right to have sex when clearly it was something only ever intended to apply to women. (Bill O’Reilly only supports straight sex, but this contradiction has been overlooked for centuries now.) See the video, with key transcript below:
“Viagra is used to control a medical condition; that’s why it’s covered. Birth control is not a medical condition. It’s a choice. Why should I, or anyone else, have to pay for other people’s choices? [very irrately] Do I have to buy you dinner before you use the birth control? Give me and every other taxpayer a break, Planned Parenthood.”
Oh my. Check that shit out. Bill O’Reilly not only managed to argue that penises have inalienable rights but vaginas don’t, he also managed to call women gold-digging whores. The clear anger and frustration he was expressing as he made the “dinner” remark, though, makes me think that he might have a personal axe to grind.
Now, let us examine this argument very carefully. Using birth control is a choice. What kind of choice might that be? Could it possibly be the choice to have a normal (heterosexual) sex life without ending up with a dozen children? The kind sex that the vast majority of Americans have at some point in their lives? And would that be the same “choice” to have sex that is inherent in taking Viagra? It really strikes me that they are the same choice, but that women and men simply have different medical needs at times in order to make that same choice.
But, as we know, men have sexual rights (urges that they can’t control and all), and women do not. And after all, isn’t it the normal state of things, manly men walking around with massive boners and the (married) women all knocked up? Viagra saved the natural order (ignoring the fact that most men using Viagra aren’t having sex with women using birth control), and now you hairy feminists want to screw it all up!!! *pouts*
Here’s the thing, Bill: men like sex. And also, women like sex. There are people who are asexual, but by and large, people like sex. No, really, it’s true. When men cannot have sex due to erectile dysfunction, it’s very understandable that they would want to do anything they can to correct this problem. And when women cannot have sex because they will otherwise become pregnant when they don’t want to, it’s very understandable that they would want solve that problem, too. Fertility is not a medical condition, but pregancy is — birth control is therefore preventative care. And, of course, it theoretically helps to lower the number of “welfare queens” and slutty women running around having abortions that O’Reilly so commonly complains about. Erectile dysfunction is a medical condition, but hardly a life-threatening one. It is a condition that threatens a person’s quality of life — just like unplanned pregnancy (though of course having another child to feed is in the end a bigger impact than not getting laid).
So, if having sex is a choice, and taxpayers or insurance companies shouldn’t have to pay for other people’s choices, Viagra needs to get scratched off that list of covered drugs as well.
Or, we could just do the right thing and accept that consensual sexual contact with other people is a right for all humans. And since women are still going to fuck — let’s just face it, birth control or no birth control — we could also recognize that if not an issue of rights and equality, accessible birth control certainly is a public health imperative.
But back to that “dinner” line. There’s so much sexism crammed in there that it’s hard to know where to begin. First of all, there’s the old insinuation that women “trade” dinner and other such fancy things for sex — and along with it the understanding that if the man makes his “payment” the woman needs to put out that “service.” Of course, a straight man would never just take a woman out to dinner because he enjoys that woman’s company, and men and women never split the dinner bill, and there’s no way that *gasp* a woman might buy a man dinner while on a date. And as should be clear, when the “buy you dinner” concept comes up, O’Reilly isn’t talking about McDonald’s — he’s talking about greedy bitches ordering the most expensive thing on the menu at a very nice restaurant and acting ungrateful all the way.
The idea is that birth control is comparable to an extravagance, and that women ought to be grateful for being allowed to take it. Of course, if dinner buys you sex, and birth control is comparable to dinner, one really does have to wonder where O’Reilly is going with this. *blinks* In any case, the way wingnuts seem to be growing more and more rabid with each day appears to me to be a good sign for how they’re feeling about their prospects in November.