By Julia Morriss
After hearing Sandra Fluke speak on campus this week, students should keep a few things in mind that she gets horribly wrong.
Fluke presents an appealing position: someone else paying for contraception. For a college student on a limited insurance plan, this sounds pretty good. It’s easy to work up self-righteous anger about it. Lots of insurance plans cover Viagra and vasectomies, so why not my birth control? Isn’t this just another example of sexism in our society? It’s not my fault I was born a woman, so why should I have to pay extra for my contraception?
Once worked into a frazzle, we demand our “equal” treatment and push the government to ensure we get it. The result is Obamacare’s Contraceptive Mandate. While there are numerous problems with the mandate, some are especially poignant. It seriously infringes on religious liberty, and it denies any concept of responsibility for one’s actions and choices.
Though Catholics have been among the most vocal opponents to the mandate, it goes against the religious practices of many others, including some Jewish and Muslim groups. To them, contraception is considered immoral for a variety of reasons that they’ve explained on numerous occasions.
But they shouldn’t even have to explain. The First Amendment guarantees anyone the right to their religious practices, and no branch of government is authorized to take away constitutional rights. Religious groups are private institutions whose mission is not only their product or service but their desire to foster an environment where they can practice and share their faith. As a country that prides itself on religious tolerance, why are we punishing some for their beliefs and forcing them into practices they find immoral?
If you don’t agree with a religious group’s practices, you have two choices: don’t work for that company, or accept that as part of your employment you need to respect their beliefs. Giving up someone else’s liberty so that you can have a product you want is a dangerous and oppressive slippery slope.
Another problem with Fluke’s demands is that she refuses to accept responsibility for her choices, a problem our generation seems to struggle with on a continuous basis. We are constantly told that a woman has a right to her privacy and her own body and that her choices are her own. No one else gets to make them and the government should stay out of her bedroom. But then the government should pay for her decisions? If my choices are my own and only I get to make them, why does someone else have to shoulder the responsibility?
The choices we make come with consequences and responsibilities. That is no one else’s fault and no one else’s burden to bear. Live your life how you want. Just don’t ask me to pay for it.
Fluke embodies our generation’s sense of entitlement. As a woman, I understand her appeal, but I also recognize that in an economy already crushed with debt, we should not try to expand government spending for something that both hurts religious liberty and removes our responsibility for our actions.
We are the future decision makers and policy writers, and we need to learn that other people’s money is not the answer to our problems. If we’re so disgusted with our limited choice of insurance policies, isn’t that a problem with how insurance is run and regulated?
We won’t fix the problem by spending each other’s money for ourselves, but by asking for real change in the insurance industry.
Julia Morriss is a sophomore in the School of Public Affairs.