A few weeks back I posted about how I think entertainers have a right to say what they want, however unfortunate or crass their choice of words. I pointed out that I think it's silly for someone to call up advertisers on those programs and protest, even though the callers don't normally listen to said program and don't patronize said advertisers BECAUSE of their patronage of said programs. Behind that I stand.
From the tone of what I said, I think (to my chagrin) that someone may have concluded that I felt there should be no consequences to people for what they say, and that was not my intention. I certainly think it is within the rights of everyone to say what they think about content of a program, and to tell the advertisers of that program their views accordingly. Yes. Freedom of speech should go all ways, and yet people have to be responsible for what they say.
To recap, though, what was at issue (my own mind's shorthand version here) was that a woman had assumed role of activist at a Catholic university in protest of its denial of birth control meds to employees who needed them for birth control methods, rather than for needs not related to reproduction prevention. The waters were much-muddied by the ensuing hullabaloo surrounding Rush Limbaugh having leveled rude personal slurs against the protesting female in this instance, for which he later apologized. My feeling was that Rush Limbaugh is someone who- like Howard Stern or Opie & Anthony- makes a habit of saying outrageous things to illustrate a point and should be taken with an according degree of salt.
Little did I realize that the protests of the woman might be of more wide-sweeping validity. On the Nerds' blog, I saw a post Saturday that filled me with dismay. Apparently, the Arizona Senate Judiciary Committee has proposed a bill that would allow employers to demand the medical records of female employees who are prescribed birth control, so the employers may determine if they approve of the reason for the use of these medications.
In other words if this is passed in Arizona or any other state, the federal mandates there regarding HIPAA which are all about a spectacular degree of admonition on behalf of your privacy on everyone from the receptionist at your doctor's office to any of the random folks who will handle your claims at your insurance company's office mean exactly jack shit when it comes to your employer wanting to access your medical records if you happen to be female and prescribed birth control medicines.
Pardon me if I balk at this, but I balk at this. When I was bitching at people bitching about Rush Limbaugh, I sort of did not envision the whole argument as possibly bloating out accordion-style into this invasive style of bizarre invasion of privacy and assorted other bullshitlery. I am reeling, to say the least. Yes, I still think anyone can say what they want to say about it, but why should privacy fly out the window for one specific class of citizens?
What upsets me is that the fact that anyone with ovaries is part of a class of people who are equal, but less equal than some other animals on the farm. HIPAA decrees that personal information is not for use for any reason other than medical, and yet it seems not to apply in this case.
The logical conclusion from all this is that to individuals doomed to be fertile adult females, the rules of privacy don't exist.
I am outraged. Maybe you don't get it. Let me put it to you this way: if you are female or if you have a wife, a sister or a mother, she, too, is denied exactly those rights. Your daughters, too. No privacy to their medical information wherein their employers are concerned.
Wow. Just wow.
I am reeling. This feels like a spreading stain to me. What seemed like more of an intellectual exercise and harmless lark a few weeks ago seems now to me to be much more sinister. Please tell me how I am wrong in concluding this, because from this vantage, things seem rather bleak, indeed.
Could life ever be sane again?
What the hell is this place and how does it relate to the place where I was born? I thought (or hoped) we could never get here from there. :(