I should just stop reading him and lump him with MoDo.
But alas. I have not.
In this installment, Saletan takes on pharmacists who refuse to dispense oral contraception (nevermind emergency contraception — this is just about basic birth control). And guess what? He thinks those feminist legal arguments are just plain silly and that it’s not a big deal if a woman has to go to several different pharmacies just to get her birth control. Verbatim Saletan (note: not shorter):
First: “Walling off” women’s health care? Beware dramatic metaphors from lawyers. There is no wall. You bring your scrip to the pharmacy, and the guy at the counter says, “Sorry, we don’t stock contraceptives.” That’s annoying and, in my view, stupid. But nobody’s walling you in. Your burden consists of finding another pharmacy.
Second: Why Viagra and not contraception? Because some pro-lifers view hormonal contraception as potentially lethal. I don’t share their anxiety about this theoretical risk to an early embryo, particularly when the alternative, in the event of pregnancy, is a high likelihood of fetal killing. But you can’t blow off the argument by assuming that contraception should be covered because it’s more important than Viagra. The whole point of the argument is that you’re looking at it backward: The fact that contraception is more consequential than Viagra is a reason to be more wary, not less, of distributing it.
And it goes on. And on.
But here’s the part that I find most head-scratch-inducing:
But I wouldn’t force pharmacies to sell birth control if they don’t want to. In particular, I dread Charo’s suggestion that providers should be compelled to offer “legal” drugs. One of this country’s greatest achievements is its separation of legality from morality, so that individuals can hold themselves to a higher standard, as they see it, without forcing it on everyone else. This is the principle many pro-lifers have rejected as they press for abortion bans to “teach” the immorality of killing fetuses. Happily, some have shifted their energy from attacking abortion clinics to setting up “alternative” pregnancy centers. It’s a shift from violence and harassment to exhortation and, at worst, deceit.
Right. So apparently separating the moral from the governmental means – to Saletan – that we should allow our laws to give in to morality rather than saying that people’s morality must be subjugated to individual liberty where the exercise of their morality affects the rights of another person. Saletan totally misses the point. The pharmacists ARE forcing their morality on other people. Not everyone, but women. I guess to Saletan that constituency is just not important enough.