Slate’s Marcotte Finds Free Birth Control Bill ‘Condescending’

Apparently, free contraceptives should also come with a pat on the head.

Government-funded contraception is a fine mantra, say liberals – but you’d better be careful to offer it in a way that shows you “respect women’s intelligence.”

In response to an Arkansas lawmaker’s proposition that Medicaid offer free surgically implanted contraception to single mothers of one child, Slate’s Amanda Marcotte said the program to cover intrauterine devices disrespects women in a piece headlined “Arkansas Legislator Says Single Mothers Should Get Free IUDs for the Sake of ‘Taxpayers.’”

(Yes, that’s the same Amanda Marcotte who earlier this month argued in favor of publicly funded birth control by pointing out that “Unintended Pregnancy Is Expensive. For Taxpayers.”)

“Women will make choices about using free IUDs for their own reasons, regardless of politicians’ motives. But they shouldn’t have to be insulted in the process,” Marcotte wrote of the Arkansas house bill.

Filed by Rep. Kim Hammer, the bill would reimburse unwed mothers who are covered by Medicaid after they undergo a procedure for surgically implanted contraception devices that are effective for around five years.

“Often young people make decisions and they get a sense that they don’t want to make that decision again for a while. We need to give them a little bit of a breather to think about their life decisions that are affecting us as taxpayers,” Hammer said.

Marcotte took offense at the Republican lawmaker’s logic that free IUDs would result in fewer taxpayer-funded births.

“Reproductive choice isn’t just about material well-being, though that is a huge part of it; it’s also about honoring women’s agency and dignity,” she wrote. “Free contraception is a good thing, but it’s better when it's offered with respect, not condescension.”

So offering free contraception to a particular group of women is oppressive, but providing every kind of birth control to all women would pass muster. Got it.

Earlier this week, liberal feminist blog Jezebel praised the effects of IUDs among teenage girls who are “overwhelmed by homework, hormones, and the demands of being almost old enough to be in charge of yourself.” Teenagers can’t even keep up with their homework, so let’s put surgically implanted birth control in them, stat!

Slate was even more blunt with a Marcotte piece from last September titled “Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD.” Marcotte tries to sell the IUD as the perfect gift for high school graduation or earlier, of course posing it as the young woman’s choice.

“Respecting her sexual health needs now might help her stay responsible and assured down the line, such as when a partner is trying to weasel out of a condom and she needs to stand up for herself,” Marcotte told parents of teenage girls. Another fine gift might be teaching her not to put herself in that position by waiting until she’s married or at least in a stable, long-term relationship.

But that would mean her taking personal responsibility, and that’s at odds with the left’s peculiar brand of misogyny: Women are delicate flowers who must be carefully catered to and guided.

Marcotte is half-right. HB 1868 is condescending – but so is the mindset that women are dependent on free birth control because they can’t possibly be expected to take charge of their own sexual and reproductive decisions.