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Red Hood State

March 14, 2012

Last week I was talking to a friend about the problem with letting an employer decide what their insurance  covers for their employees, I told her that the most reasonable out to come from this direction of lawmaking would be employees basically having to get a permission slip from their employer to use basic contraception pills.

Little did I know just how quickly this prediction would come to pass.

I find it a little shocking just how quickly we have come to this point. If you had asked people last year about employers being allowed to demand a permission slip from an employee who was taking a perfectly legal prescription medications, I truly believe that most people would have responded in disgust. But now we have people who truly believe the flat out lie that someone else’s birth control is being paid for 100 percent by tax payers, religious affiliated institutions deciding to impose their beliefs on their employees, states deciding that an employee of the state can’t use their own medical insurance to pay for any procedure that might be considered an abortion, and now the next logical step of non religiously affiliated businesses being allowed to get in between a woman and her doctor.

It was bad enough having politicians get between me and my doctor. It is bad enough having to deal with my insurance and some of the kind of wacky new policies they have instituted. It was bad enough worrying that some pharmacist might decide that I didn’t look like I needed birth control. Add my employer to the mix, and the examination room is getting kind of crowded.

There are those who have declared that women who want to get their birth control free should just go to a Planned Parenthood. Except that the attacks on women’s health centers affiliated with Planned Parenthood means that this service may not be available for very long. Besides, Planned Parenthood is for women who don’t have insurance. Why should I have to go to a completely different company, just to get medications that my insurance should cover just the same as if they were for my asthma or my insomnia.

This is at the heart of it all that women’s are asking for. That our health insurance treat women’s health just as they would if it were any other health issue.  Insurance which we paid for, which our employer promised us as a part of our employment, which our employer contributes to because having a healthy workforce is to the benefit of the organization at large.

There are those who dismissed the slippery slope argument that employers could use these sorts of laws to deny any treatment which they see as against their religious belief. Proponents of this argument have rightly pointed out that it could be used to deny blood transfusions, treatment for AIDS patients, and people who need psychological counseling. But this is where the slippery slope ends.

Years ago I never would have imagined that a pharmacist would be granted the right to in his religious beliefs on a woman when determining whether or not she was worthy of having her prescription filled. Last year I never would have believed that people would honestly think that birth control being paid for by health insurance was being funded by taxpayer dollars.

Last week I thought that my joke about employer’s requiring permission slips for birth control was simply hyperbole.

This is the path that we are on. The path where a women’s health choices are no longer left to just her and her doctor. The one where her morals and religious background are secondary in consideration of the religious affiliation of her employer. Even if that employer isn’t a religious institution of any kind.

Down that path, are women in red hoods with no name of their own. We have come so far so fast. These are woods that I personally do not want to explore any deeper. And in those woods is a wolf that would gladly consume anyone on that path, whether they are wearing a red hood or not.

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