How far off the rails we’ve gone:
The Bush administration again has appointed a chief of family planning programs at the Department of Health and Human Services who has been critical of contraception.
Susan Orr, most recently an associate commissioner in the Administration for Children and Families, was appointed Monday to be acting deputy assistant secretary for population affairs. She will oversee $283 million in annual grants to provide low-income families and others with contraceptive services, counseling and preventive screenings.
Why do we need an Office of Population Affairs? Since when is it a right to have everyone else pay for you to have (mostly) consequence-free sex? I don’t recall seeing that in the Constitution as a federal power.
The furor, of course, will be about Orr’s presumed position on birth control versus abstinence, as she seems to be an ideal political bone to toss to the social conservative base, as if this will suddenly improve our nation’s morals.
Update: I do not want to remove this because it was here when I first posted the entry. But I can’t find a link to this alleged statement from Orr, via Think Progress. Until I can verify, the quote shouldn’t be here. See comments for more explanation.
See this rundown at Think Progress, via John Cole. Particularly this (emphasis in original):
In a 2000 Weekly Standard article, Orr railed against requiring health insurance plans to cover contraceptives. “It’s not about choice,” said Orr. “It’s not about health care. It’s about making everyone collaborators with the culture of death.”
Wonderfully intellectual, no?
Something in Orr’s past intrigues, similar to her position above.
From the Washington Post article:
In a 2001 article in The Washington Post, Orr applauded a Bush proposal to stop requiring all health insurance plans for federal employees to cover a broad range of birth control. “We’re quite pleased, because fertility is not a disease,” said Orr, then an official with the Family Research Council.
I support the goal to stop requiring insurance to cover it, although I would aim for a full reversal rather than just for federal employees. Government should not mandate coverage for any particular service or product. Still, within her limited scope here, Orr gets a temporary pass.
However, she’s an intellectual joke if she wants to pander that fertility is not a disease, by which I think she means “it’s not worth covering under insurance”. There are more ways than just heterosexual, missionary-position intercourse to create a family, and none of them are any less moral or Godly. There are many people who need fertility services and want that coverage. The market should decide whether or not it’s covered.
Even if it’s just normal, boring contraceptive services, government has no justification for interference. Since people need and want these services, there is inevitably a market for it, at some price. Maybe that price isn’t conducive to a deal for some services, but that’s economics, not theology. Covering it shouldn’t be mandated, but it shouldn’t be prohibited, either, which is what I think social conservatives want.
This is the problem with the Bush administration specifically, and politics in general. It can’t ever do the right thing for no other reason than it’s the principled action. It can’t control itself from using its own subjective, selfish reasons. Occasionally it’ll hit the correct bullseye, but usually there are intended consequences that are incorrect. Shameful.
P.S. Think Progress bolds Orr’s “fertility is not a disease” comment without reflecting on the validity of such a mandate for insurance. That’s probably an indirect comment on what Think Progress believes about that validity, but I’m not familiar enough with the site to draw a definitive conclusion.