HHS Mandate as a War on Women

The topic of this post is relevant to my book Confronting Sexual Nihilism. In the book, I argue that a practice of birth control subverts the foundations for traditional sexual morality. In the book, I adapt a Kantian morality that people are never to causually manipulate their humanity as means for some other ends. A woman’s femininity is an aspect of her humanity.

In August 2013, the AMA declared a war on obesity by classifying obesity as a disease. The enemy is the physical condition of obesity. The weapons of the war are medical care. Similarly provision of birth control medications and treatments, especially as mandated by HHS to implement the Affordable Care Act, is deployment of weapons in a war on a physical condition. The condition under attack is the capability of becoming pregnant through sexual intercourse: fertility. One significant difference between fertility and obesity is the impossibility of separating fertility from the people who have this condition, namely women. Another significant difference is that fertility is not an unhealthy condition So, a war on fertility is de facto a war on being a healthy young woman.

Unfortunately economic conditions and current permissive sexual morality outlooks recruit the majority of the soldiers in the war on women from women. This is a civil war amongst women; not primarily a war by middle aged Republican white men on women. Women are tempted to separate themselves from the condition of being a woman and to choose to manipulate their being a woman as a means for ends set by the economy and a permissive sexual morality. That is a more tempting choice than accepting being a woman as an end in itself which is controlled by free choice and is not manipulated by pharmecutical or surgical means for other ends.

Of course, pregnancy management is important.However, there are at least two ways of managing pregnancy. One way is to respect women by respecting their fertility which is crucial to being a woman and leaving them the choice to have sexual intercourse when appropriate. A second way is to regard their fertility as a medical condition needing preventive treatment and ignoring their capability of choosing when to have sexual intercourse. The second way offers women the opportunity to choose when to be a woman and leaves her in the meantime less than a woman. From the erspective of the second way,being a woman is a condition which for the most part is an unhealthy condition but on occasion can be put on and used. The first way does not try to impede the condition of being a woman but expects women to use their moral capabilities of when to have sexual intercourse.

Ultimately opposition to mechanical and chemical birth control is not based on the Bible or Catholic doctrine. It is based on respect for the dignity of women. They are not to be made “boy toys” by themselves or anyone else.


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