Thinking about all this business about contraceptives and health care and the righty-tighties not wanting their tax money going to helping people screw more, an old essay popped into my head-- John Donne's Meditation XVII. It's a famous work, which I'm sure you have all heard of, inasmuch as you have read the following lines:
No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee. Neither can we call this a begging of misery, or a borrowing of misery, as though we were not miserable enough of ourselves, but must fetch in more from the next house, in taking upon us the misery of our neighbours.
Donne was talking about hearing the death tolls from a church ringing out over the land, while he lay sick with his own serious illness. Certainly he wasn't talking about socialism. But then, aren't we all equally sick with the illnesses and ailments of our society? How we deplore abortion, yet refuse to do anything about it besides try to ban the procedures, or try and guilt women into not doing it, calling them sinners, whores, sluts, hellbound. Clearly contraceptives are the first and best way to prevent abortions. No fertilization, no problem.
We have to accept, of course, that people ARE going to have sex. It's what humans do: we walk upright, speak symbolic languages, make tools, and have a lot of sex. No amount of moral finger wagging is going to stop it. So, with that out of the way, we can move on to other points, like how family planning gives more benefits and a brighter future to the children you do have, children you want and are prepared for (such as you can be prepared for parenthood). There are issues of women's health as well, which I am not qualified or informed enough to speak for; I understand, however, that the Pill has uses beyond contraception, such as preventing ovarain cysts.
In the wider context of what this debate is really about-- that being, are we or are we not willing to use public money towards curing certain social problems-- Donne makes his point quite explicit. We are all connected; what harms one harms all. We aren't begging or borrowing misery from elswehere, because there is no elsewhere; the misery is already ours. And it can be flipped: what helps one helps all. Help a family have only as many children as it wants and can afford (financially, emotionally, etc), and you will reduce welfare costs, crime goes down, the populace sees an uptick in educational levels, and so on. Or health care, for gods sake! Provide universal, public option health care, and you automatically improve your entire country's future, because people aren't floundering in debt to hospitals, people can get preventative or early care for ailments before they explode into major problems requiring surgery, radiation, all the invasive care that costs so much. Prices would probably fall, at that, and over time fewer people would be on disability, instead being productive (tax-paying) workers.
Look, if it seemed like the Invisible Hand were ever going to reach down to help the little guy (who makes up a huge chunk of the country, mind you), I'd be the biggest cheerleader for free market capitalism you ever saw. But I see millions falling through the cracks out of this selfish and false idea of individuals existing somehow apart from the community, who demand they get what's theirs and not be forced to help others. That might have worked as a pioneer, living alone on the harsh and empty prairie, but that shit don't fly no more. We already socialize roads, police, fire departments and education because we can see the obvious social good. But with a little thought, the social good of things like socialized health care, contraception and more is just as apparent.