Quit Ignoring Health Care Reform And Quit Demonizing Divorce

Speaking with a directory of a documentary on first sexual experiences. Plus, what does divorce have to do with abstinence and why are mainstream media health care stories ignoring reform?


Subscribe to RealityCast:
RealityCast iTunes subscription
RealityCast RSS feed

Links in this episode:

Rachel Maddow interviews Dr. Leroy Carhart

Ohio abstinence-only

Operation Keepsake


On this episode of Reality Cast, I’ll have an interview with
the director of a documentary on women and first sexual experiences.  Also, why are abstinence-only programs
out there slamming divorce?  And
why are news segments about the health care crisis ignoring the health care


If you’re not following Rachel Maddow’s hard work making
sure anti-choice violence doesn’t slip off the mainstream media radar, well you
should start now.  Maddow covered
the anti-choice protests slash targeting of Dr. Carhart, and she had him on to
talk about it.   


  • carhart


Operation Rescue obviously thinks that they can target
doctors for violence, and egg on people who are threatening violent action
against health care reform, and no one will do anything about it.  I sure hope the FBI is doing more about
this problem than they appear to be doing.


Thanks to Joe Sonka for his dogged willingness to dig into
the depths of the abstinence-only world to point out the ongoing depravity
funded by your tax dollars.  Well,
hopefully not anymore, with the new budgets, but there’s always the fear that
even in the absence of federal money for abstinence-only, states will still
hand these charlatans cash they don’t deserve to promote unhealthy ideas.  (His blog post about a well-funded Ohio
abstinence-only group called Operation Keepsake caught my eye, because he
reprinted hilarious excerpts from a quiz called "Are you a treasure or a
target?", which is just more evidence that abstinence-only proponents are happy
to threaten non-compliant girls with rape.  I rooted around their website and found that Operation
Keepsake, like most abstinence-only programs, doesn’t even try to hide that
they’re not about health so much as pushing a very patriarchal view of
marriage. The very first video I looked at took a view I’d imagine is pretty
controversial in mainstream America.


  • divorce
    1 *


Now, if you’re out there peddling a message about how
teenagers shouldn’t be having sex, that’s an easy sell, because the only people
who tend to strongly disagree are powerless teenagers.  But this whole thing about how you’re
supposed to stay married no matter what? 
Look, Americans may say they don’t like divorce, but Americans actually
like getting divorced.  Or keeping
that option available.  Much harder


What I want to know is how on earth does this fit into a
public health campaign?  I was
always led to believe the official reason for abstinence-only nonsense was not
that they were using government money to push religious dogma about marrying
young and not divorcing ever. 
After all, that would be illegal. 
Oh no, it’s supposed to be about health, except that it’s obviously not. 


  • divorce
    2 *


If they’re so against divorce, why do they oppose the best
prevention?  If you never get
married, you can’t get divorced, and no one can make a mournful video about how
selfish you are because you decided that divorcing your spouse might be more
merciful than smothering them in their sleep.


  • divorce
    3 *


Well, that means that all those kids basically don’t have to
go through a divorce.  Anyway, I’d
like to know who this supposed demographer is.  Interesting how he doesn’t have a name or any information to
verify that he’s real and he’s not some crank writing right wing screeds out of
his basement.  Probably because
following up would verify one of those two things.  The imperial Rome thing is the kicker.  Wingnuts are obsessed with the idea
that we’re going down like Rome because we, like the Romans, have discovered
that sex feels good.  They rarely
note that Rome’s decline occurred not as the orgasm rate went up, but as the
rate of Christian conversions went up.


But I really like the idea that we can just tell that the
old way of doing marriage, where you get married young and it’s hard to escape,
was just automatically better, because it was older.  People who think like this probably wouldn’t want to roll
back the clock as much as they’d think they would.  They’d miss the air conditioning, for one thing, and they’d
probably not love the high polio rates or the outrageous levels of car
fatalities because they didn’t use seat belts in the good old days.  When they claim that all of human
history is better than what we’ve got now, you have to remember they’re talking
about slavery, feudalism, and torturing people for religious heresy.  Also, they’re talking about an entire
human history that had lower hygiene standards than we enjoy now.  Smelly!



insert interview



I know this is going to be hard to believe right now,
because it seems like it’s covered in every news hour on TV, but right now, the
disaster of a health care system that we’ve got right now is just not getting
enough coverage.  Part of the
reason is that most of the coverage of the health care reform debate is horse
race stuff—will the Republicans be able to block it, will blue dogs get
concessions, will the crazies with guns showing up at town halls scare the
Democrats into giving up, that sort of thing.  You’re not getting much in the way of coverage about what is
actually in the potential bills, and what that would do for you.  And nor is the mainstream media doing
the work of showing why health care reform is so critically necessary.


They aren’t even doing that story when they do that
story.  For instance, MSNBC had a
short segment on the growing trend of women who treat their ob-gyns as their
general practioners, and somehow the question of whether or not their health
care coverage might have something to do with this was mostly dodged.


  • ob gyn
    1 *


You know, I don’t doubt that has something to do with
it.  But from experience, I can
tell you that it’s more the result of the insurance industry.  I even had a gynecologist once joke to
me that they use the pill as bait to get women in for cancer screenings.  Well, he wasn’t really kidding.  He was just telling the truth, but in a
twinkly way.  But basically, you
have to go to an ob-gyn to get birth control and cancer screening that is the
most regular health care young women get. 
And you really don’t want to have to go through the hell of combing
through the insurance paperwork to start up a relationship with another doctor,
so when you get the sniffles, it’s tempting just to call your ob-gyn.


Which isn’t to say that they ignore the issue of insurance
all together.  They dedicate one
entire sentence to it.


  • ob gyn
    2 *


Of course, what goes unmentioned is how many women don’t
even have the luxury of a co-pay, because they’re uninsured and have to pay for
all this out of pocket.  But either
way, the co-pays are too high or you have to pay out of pocket completely, and
at this point the temptation is high to stick with the doctor you know, or to
have him check out that persistent cough while getting a Pap smear. 


  • ob gyn
    3 *


Another consideration, when it comes to insurance, is
concerns about whether or not they’ll even pay or if they’ll find some small
print somewhere that says they don’t have to.  Most of us have no way of guessing what the insurance company
is going to do in the future, so we try to manage the risk by sticking with
what’s worked in the past.  If the
insurance company has paid your ob gyn without much fuss in the past, then it
seems like the easiest thing to do is stick with him.  You know that he takes your insurance, too.


The real story here that’s not really being explicitly
addressed is that this trend points to a new for health care reform.  In fact, they not only didn’t
explicitly address it, they basically glided right past that.  I wonder if the doctor and patient they
interviewed were more explicit. 
I’d think so, because when they mentioned the doctor talking about
co-pays, they didn’t quote him directly, but just paraphrased him.



And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, you utter and total
sleaze edition.  This is more from
Rachel Maddow’s show.  She read the
Operation Rescue statement on their protests targeting Dr. Carhart in an effort
to shut him down.


  • carhart
    2 *


Except that Dr. Tiller’s clinic was closed down when he was
murdered, which is illegal, whether Operation Rescue believes that or not. They
do take advantage of the government’s allergy to pursuing domestic terrorists
as they should, but I wouldn’t call it legal and I certainly wouldn’t call it
peaceful to single out individuals who provide health care, call them
murderers, and then play innocent when someone cracks and shoots them.  Taking credit for shutting down a
doctor who was shut down by murder certainly demonstrates that there’s nothing
peaceful about it. 



Follow Amanda Marcotte on twitter: @amandamarcotte