The Seventh Post in the “Oh My Achin’ Head” Series: Alaska State Senator Claims That Birth Control Is So Cheap That Citizens Shouldn’t Be Required to Pay for Other People’s “Recreation”

FredDysonAlaskaBY ELAINE MAGLIARO

Fred Dyson is a Republican State Senator from Alaska. Dyson feels that access to affordable contraception isn’t a problem in his state. During a floor speech this past Wednesday, Dyson claimed that he had “researched the issue after a colleague suggested the number of abortions could be reduced by improving access to contraception.” Dyson said that condoms cost about a dollar apiece—and added that a woman could purchase a month’s supply of birth control pills for the “price of four or five lattes…” Dyson claims that birth control is not only affordable—but also easily accessible for women in his state—“given that they can get it delivered via Alaska Airlines’ express delivery program.”

(Just a thought: I wonder what Alaska Airlines would charge for delivery of contraceptives?????)

The Associated Press reported that the “issue of the state [Alaska] providing expanded family planning services” arose during discussion about a bill “that would further define when the state would pay for abortions under Medicaid.” Dyson said, “I don’t think there’s an overwhelming or compelling reason for the state or the people — i.e. other people’s money — to be required to finance other people’s recreation. That’s my own personal view.” I should note that Dyson calls having sex without the goal of procreating “recreation.”

Dyson believes “that no one is prohibited from having birth control because of economic reasons.” After conducting his “research,” he concluded “that access, as in being able to get the product, is not a real problem.” He continued, “I’m told by people for whom sexual activity has a commercial aspect that the fee for service easily covers the cost of the supplies.” Then he added, “I think even the most active folks don’t need to spend more than $2 or $3 a day for covering their activity.”

Dana Liebelson (Mother Jones), wrote that Dyson’s “‘latte’ estimate is correct for the cheapest brands of the generic birth control pill—but it doesn’t take into account the cost of doctor’s visits to get a prescription, and alternative methods, such as IUDs.” She continued, “Additionally, according to our own birth control calculator, small co-pays on birth control add up to big expenses for women who don’t have insurance, not including the costs of a doctors’ visit associated with getting birth control.” Liebelson provided an example of what the cost of contraception can add up to for a twenty-five-year-old woman without insurance who takes birth control pills until she reaches menopause. Liebelson estimates that woman would “end up spending about $150 a month, or $46,650 over her child-bearing years (about $8,290 a year with insurance.)”

Senator Dyson told Mother Jones, “My guess is that most of those women, if they weren’t able to pay, their partner would be able to. I don’t see the costs being that big of an issue, in reality.”

Jeanne Devon of The Mudflats weighed in on Dyson’s comments, “Alas, the senator’s pronouncements are of course the latest variation on the banal why should I pay for you to have sex talking point, which ignores the obvious, readily demonstrable fact that people have sex regardless of whether or not they have access to contraception. It’s not the having sex part for which we’re paying, cognitively challenged legislators fail to grasp, but for reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies resulting from it.”

SOURCES

Seventh Post in the “Oh My Achin’” Head Series—State Senator: Sex Is ‘Recreation’ And Birth Control Is Cheap, So I Shouldn’t Have To Pay (Huffington Post)

State senator says access to birth control not a problem (Anchorage Daily News/AP)

Contraception’s Bang for the Buck (The Mudflats)

Inside Alaska’s New “War on Women”: “No one is prohibited from having birth control because of economic reasons,” says an Alaska state senator. (Mother Jones)

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26 Responses to The Seventh Post in the “Oh My Achin’ Head” Series: Alaska State Senator Claims That Birth Control Is So Cheap That Citizens Shouldn’t Be Required to Pay for Other People’s “Recreation”

  1. Blouise says:

    From what I understand this particular Republican intends to retire … “he has started to have serious health problems including the need to remove his thymus. He’s beginning to suffer memory loss as well as old age.”

    https://eyeonthenation.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/state-senator-fred-dyson-retire-from-state-senate/

    I have no idea where the woman he is resigning in favor of, Anna Fairclough, stands on the issue as I can’t find anything regarding birth control that is specifically hers but she does seem to spend a great deal of her time defending the ridiculous statements made by some of these old republican men. (The following link leads to an article that is absolutely hilarious!)

    http://www.adn.com/2012/04/06/2411109/girl-scouts-deny-any-involvement.html

  2. pete says:

    I wonder what Alaska Airlines would charge for delivery of contraceptives?
    ================================================================

    assuming the owners of Alaska Airlines have no religious beliefs against womens contraceptives.

  3. Mike Spindell says:

    If as so many Conservative legislators claim our society has become immoral and degraded by women having children out of wedlock, then one would think that funding birth control would be in their interests, especially those who are anti-abortion. This is not the case and it never has been because the real issue is women’s sexuality and the need for certain “Christians” to punish them for their lack of chastity with unwanted children. This was always the basis of the anti-abortion movement and as we have seen in Virginia for instance, there have been moves to make all birth control illegal. In the end it is a negative reaction to women’s striving for equal status under the law and personal autonomy. Many men are sadly threatened by women being their equals and think of the movie “The Stepford Wives” as a joyous fantasy of what the good life for men would be. My guess has always been that this is because these men are insecure in their own sexuality and are terrible sex partners. 🙂

  4. Tony C. says:

    Mike: My guess has always been simple autocracy, they don’t want to negotiate or meet anybody else’s needs, they want command and control without question. This is why they admire the military (imagining themselves generals, not foot soldiers), the military-like large corporations (as CEOs, not janitors), and the same kind of Biblically-endorsed command and control over their kids, wife and her duty to submit on demand.

    As Mel Brooks wrote, it is good to be the king.

  5. Elaine M. says:

    Mike,

    I sometimes wonder if these anti-woman fellas are still angry at females because they couldn’t get dates for their high school proms.

    🙂

  6. I did a quick Google search and could find no similar statement from Senator Fred Dyson regarding insurance covering Viagra and other “male enhancement” medications until this current statement regarding birth control. That was a kind of footnote which I read as a CYA statement.

    Anyone know just when he had his epiphany about ED meds? He is 75 and retiring from the Alaska Senate. Wonder when he last had any?

  7. Byron says:

    Dr. Stanley:

    here is his email address: Senator.Fred.Dyson@akleg.gov

    I asked him your question about ED meds but not about gettin some.

  8. Byron says:

    Mike Spindell:

    Most non-religious conservatives I know are all for sex and women making as much as they can.

    Did you know that most women who stay in a career and dont stop for children and family make the same or more than men? If an engineer stops working at 30 to have children and goes to back to work at 36, she is going to be worth much less than a man who kept working. If she was a software engineer, she would most likely have to go back to school.

    There are economic reasons why women dont make as much as men and in my mind are legitimate. One is mentioned above, another is that women dont typically do dangerous work such as mining and oil exploration and do not go into science and engineering at the same rate as males. We had 3 women in my graduating class. According to ASCE 13% of the civil engineering workforce is comprised of women. It also stated that women make up 13% of all engineers.

    Why is that? My daughter is really good at math but doesnt like science, she studied finance instead which pays less at graduation than a position as an engineer. Should we be upset by that fact?

  9. Tony C. says:

    Byron: What in the world is illegitimate about making the same pay for the same job duties? Isn’t the pay FOR executing the job? If you believe that because of experience men work faster and therefore do more, why can’t the pay be scaled explicitly to years of experience?

    Even the reasons you mention are not legitimate reasons; you are saying a woman has responsibilities to raising a family that a man does not, and that isn’t true in the modern world, or certainly is not a guarantee.

    And do not conflate equal pay for equal work with job choice, the 30% figure in less pay for women is for the same job with the same experience within their local job market (we aren’t comparing women lawyers in Louisiana to male lawyers in NYC or LA).

  10. Elaine M. says:

    GM’s First Female CEO Will Make Half Of What Her Predecessor Made
    By Bryce Covert
    February 4, 2014
    http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/02/04/3243951/mary-barra-pay-gap/

    Excerpt:
    In December, General Motors (GM) made headlines for picking Mary Barra to replace Dan Akerson as its new CEO. That meant she would not only be the first woman at the helm of the carmaker, but any global carmaker.

    But while she may have shattered that glass ceiling, her pay is another story. Looking at the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Elizabeth MacDonald notes that Barra will be paid $4.4 million in total compensation, which includes a base salary of $1.6 million. Akerson, on the other hand, made an estimated $9 million, with a $1.7 million base salary and $7.3 million in stock. That means Barra will make less than half of what he made. In fact, Akerson will continue to make more as her, as GM will pay him $4.68 million as an outside senior adviser.

    Worse, Barra comes to the job with an outsized amount of previous experience. She’s been with the company since 1980 and was most recently serving as senior vice president of global product development. Akerson, on the other hand, came into the role without a background running a car company, previously serving as a managing director of private equity firm The Carlyle Group, although he has been on GM’s board since 2009.

  11. Byron says:

    Tony C:

    Should women always make the same as men for the same job? That isnt even realistic. Some jobs need the strength of a man to do, granted some women are quite strong, so even if a woman happens to ge a great welder, she may not be as productive as a man.

    What about jobs which women are better at than men? Should men make the same amount even though they are less productive?

  12. Byron says:

    Tony:

    Men and women have a responsibility in raising a family but it typically falls on the woman to take care of young children.

  13. Byron says:

    Elaine:

    She made the deal didnt she. Why blame the company? If I could hire a good engineer for half the price of a good engineer, I am going to do it. She could have held out or not taken the job.

    The tone of the article is insulting to women. “Women are too clueless to make a good employment deal which is why they need help in setting their salaries.”

  14. Elaine M. says:

    Byron,

    “Women are too clueless to make a good employment deal which is why they need help in setting their salaries.”

    *****

    Is that what the article said?

    Being a woman of a certain generation, I dealt with sexism and being made to feel inferior to men. I remember back in the day when people suggested men get paid more for doing the same jobs as women because they were the breadwinners in their families.

  15. Blouise says:

    “breadwinners in their families” (Elaine)

    Good lord, I remember that argument.

    My granddaughter is in her second year as a Tool & Diemaker Apprentice and her rate is exactly the same as the men. It will be interesting to see what happens when the 4 year apprenticeship is completed (right now the apprenticeship rate is set by the State) and she has to negotiate a rate on her own. Who knows? She might even have to hire a lawyer. 😉 Federal tax credits anyone … chuckle.

  16. Tony C. says:

    Byron says: Should women always make the same as men for the same job? That isnt even realistic.
    Yes they should, and yes it is realistic.

    Byron says: Some jobs need the strength of a man to do, granted some women are quite strong, so even if a woman happens to ge a great welder, she may not be as productive as a man.
    Then the job should specify strength requirements and productivity requirements. By your logic, men that are weaker than other men should be paid differently, too, but they are not. And the vast majority of jobs done by both men and women do not require any physical strength at all. It doesn’t take physical strength to be a CEO, or HR manager, or salesperson, or store manager, or accountant, or lawyer.

    Byron says: What about jobs which women are better at than men? Should men make the same amount even though they are less productive?

    Again you apparently assume ALL jobs are either better suited to men or better suited to women, and only a small fraction of jobs fit that description. The stats are across ALL jobs. For the same job description and job requirements and productivity requirements, if a woman can meet that or a man can meet that they should be paid identically. If you want to put a requirement on the job (as some do) that candidates must be able to lift 50 pounds and carry it twenty yards; then that requirement should exclude both women AND men that cannot pass that test. What is it you fail to understand about getting the “same pay for the same work?”

  17. Blouise says:

    Elaine … OT

    Here’s an update eniobob sent me on Christie. I’ll also find the Christie thread and post it

    http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/03/in_bridge_scandal_state_prosecutors_rankled_as_feds_take_lead.html

  18. Byron says:

    Tony:

    I dont have a problem with same pay for same work I just dont think it is up to the state to regulate wages.

    As is Elaine’s example, why would the woman work for half of what a man is paid? Set your own wage rate for whatever you can get.

    A good economy cures a multitude of these kinds of sins.

    And yes their are some jobs which women do better than men.

  19. Byron says:

    Elaine:

    Personally, I think women are every bit as capable as men for most things [I am not a fan of women in combat] and am glad things have changed in respect to your experience. That type of thinking makes me cringe, my grandmother raised my mother and uncle during the great depression by herself. She was every bit as capable as any man, had she been born in 1960 I dont doubt that she could be running GM and doing it well.

    Some ideas die harder than others. My personal belief about discrimination of any form is that it stems from fear of competition for money. Men against women, black against white, young against old, etc. Many make the mistake of thinking the pie is static and that one person’s piece takes from another.

  20. Tony C. says:

    Byron says: As [in] Elaine’s example, why would the woman work for half of what a man is paid? Set your own wage rate for whatever you can get.

    Because that is the best she can get under a discriminatory regime? For the same reason a black man in the Jim Crow south couldn’t get a job unless he’d accept half what a white man got paid, because he had to pay a “black tax” of 50%, to make it worth the irritation he would cause a racist employer, when there were not enough non-racist employers to employ all the blacks?

    When bigotry, gender-bias or racism is systemic, it is impossible for a business to compete without joining the crowd, even if they find the bigotry, gender-bias or racism personally repellent. Because if the State allows such bias, they can be undercut by their competition with lower costs. You can pontificate all you want that blacks under Jim Crow should have stood up and demanded wages equivalent to blacks — But they couldn’t, the business owners can hold out longer than people living paycheck to paycheck. Desperation comes to the poor faster than it does to the rich, and to the poorest fastest of all, and those poorest will break ranks with their brothers-in-discrimination and take the low paying job to feed their children and pay their rent.

    The woman takes less because for the position she wants, it is the ONLY employer open-minded enough to employ her, and perhaps the lower pay is one of the reasons they are willing to consider her, and if she refuses the pay cut her irrationally biased bosses might just say, “Oh well, if we have to pay that much, we can get a man.”

    The Free Market fails when irrational bias is systemic. That is why the State has to step in and use force to prevent unfair systemic bias. It is the job of the government to prevent such things, to protect the weak from the strong and ensure people are not irrationally denied equality, both under the law and by their society in general. Systemic and irrational discrimination on inherent traits like race, gender, physical disability or sexual orientation is not correctable by the Free Market.

  21. Byron says:

    Tony C:

    Correct me if I am wrong but the state was the one making laws against blacks.

    As far as disability goes, I know a little about this, the many laws and regulations keep disabled people out of the market because employers are afraid to hire them. I also know, from personal experience, that some diabled people [depencing on type and severity of disability] are not as productive as an able bodied person.

    The only job of a legitimate government is to protect against force and fraud. It isnt to set wage rates or control non-criminal behavior it disapproves.

  22. Byron says:

    Since markets are only made up of individuals then individuals are irrational? If that is case how come a few individuals can decide/control behavior? Seems to me you want it both ways.

  23. Tony C. says:

    Byron says: t isnt to set wage rates or control non-criminal behavior it disapproves.

    Of course it is, if the majority of the people deem low wage rates criminal, it is the government’s job to enforce that law. There is no fundamental right of man to pay low wages, or exploit the desperation of others for profit. To claim such a Right is ludicrous, it is like claiming a fundamental right to cheat people.

    Byron says: Since markets are only made up of individuals then individuals are irrational?

    Markets are not made up of individuals making rational decisions. There is a vast body of brain research showing people rely extremely heavily upon their emotions to make decisions, even life-changing decisions, and not rationality. Heck, decisions we do not know why we made are often justified by made up “reasons,” rationality only serves to concoct some half reasonable story for why we did something when it was really a sub-conscious, emotional decision.

    Byron says: If that is case how come a few individuals can decide/control behavior?

    Well they shouldn’t be able to alone, but a few people hired to rationally represent the people, study something and come to a rational regulatory framework can do that job. If I am trying to construct a house and just keep slapping supports in wherever I feel some are needed, I am going to build a piece of crap. If I hire an architect trained to approach such things rationally, as a job and profession, I am much less likely to end up with a piece of crap. People are not always irrational or always rational, and if somebody is being paid to BE deliberately rational and logical then they can do that. That is why.

  24. Byron says:

    there is little understanding of economics among our elected officials.

    it is not the function of government to set wage and price rates.

  25. bron98 says:

    tony c:

    “People are not always irrational or always rational, and if somebody is being paid to BE deliberately rational and logical then they can do that. That is why.”

    So pay them to be rational, how does that work? Can you get into a little more detail about what you mean?

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