“Women, men and families are fed up with legislators coming into our bedrooms, coming into our homes, and telling us what we can and can’t do,” said a Planned Parenthood representative announcing the formation of a new coalition in Tennessee. If that’s what our state legislators were doing, I’d probably feel the same way. But a closer look tells us what they are really fed up with.
The coalition named Healthy and Free Tennessee held a press conference announcing the new group at the state Capitol. In its press release, Healthy and Free Tennessee referenced some of the laws it thought substantiated its “bedroom” claim.
Here is what the press release said, “They are doing everything they can to restrict access to sex education, access to birth control and access to reproductive health care.” The last example is a reference to the proposed amendment to our state constitution that would reverse the state Supreme Court’s de facto ban on enacting common sense abortion regulations like an informed consent law or a law requiring a “waiting period” between the information being given and the abortion.
But let’s think a bit about what those issues have to do with what we do in the privacy of our own homes.
Common sense restrictions on abortion do not dictate what you “can and can’t do” in your bedroom. Abortions are performed in hospitals and clinics, not anyone’s bedroom, and the regulation of those commercial medical procedures relate to maternal health and the state’s interest in life, interests that every court in America has acknowledged exist.
Perhaps this coalition really wants to be free of any regulation of health matters, but I doubt it. The coalition isn’t objecting to other common sense laws regarding other medical procedures and the safe and sanitary operation of other types of medical clinics or hospitals.
Those laws also “restrict” access to health care. You can’t just go to anyone for surgery at some location most convenient to you. It can only be performed by a person with a certain type of education who has proved their knowledge of the material through a state examination and then only in certain regulated settings.
Ironically, abortion advocates refer to abortion as reproductive “health care,” but they don’t want this one type of health care to be regulated to ensure that health is indeed the object of the procedure at issue.
But what about their other examples of intrusion into our bedrooms?
One was an alleged restriction on access to sex education. No one has limited the sex education materials you can pick up in a bookstore or order online. This is a reference to a bill passed last year that spells out how sex education will be taught in public schools. The real problem is not an invasion of the bedroom, but a restriction on Planned Parenthood telling our public school students things the vast majority of parents in Tennessee would find objectionable, like “anal sex play” being a suggested form of “birth control” (click on “How do I have outercourse?”). Yes, you did read that correctly.
As to birth control, let’s be clear what the real objection is. It is not that only certain people can get birth control pills. You can go to the local Health Department and get birth control pills, even if one is a minor. And the minor’s parents don’t even have to know about it.
The real objection is that our state legislators object to the federal government dictating that a private employer has to provide birth control pills and even abortifacients as part of their employee health insurance policy. Healthy and Free Tennessee doesn’t want the government intruding into the bedroom, but intruding into the boardroom is okay. If the coalition wants freedom, why don’t they want a private business owner to have the freedom to decide what they want to pay for?
The bottom line is that the coalition isn’t really worried about the government coming into our bedrooms, and they really aren’t interested in health or real freedom. They are only interested in the right to be promiscuous and promote promiscuity among our school children, and to avoid the consequences of and responsibilities that come with their promiscuity.