Alaska Republican state Sen. Fred Dyson is a real charmer with some Rush Limbaugh-style views on contraceptive coverage. See, Dyson is very against abortion, but was not happy when a colleague suggested that one way to reduce abortion is to improve access to birth control (crazy thought). "So I did some research," Dyson explained, and his conclusion was that birth control is cheap and sex is just recreation anyway, so the state shouldn't fund contraception.
Seriously, the man did research:
I found that there's a dozen places here in town at least that you can buy condoms. They're a dollar apiece. Now there are some exotic ones that are more than that, amazing variety, but, dollar apiece. And I talked with the pharmacist and birth control pills are $18 to $30 a month. Now by comparison, the vending machines down here, the pop is $1.75 to $2.50 a bottle, or can, and you know, four or five lattes will pay the $18 a month. So it's my position that no one is prohibited from having birth control because of economic reasons.Also, he suggested, they can go to Planned Parenthood, so why should the state fund anything? Planned Parenthood funding grows on trees, right?
This is where I point out that birth control pills can cost well over $30 a month, and that, in any case, $30 is nearly half a day of work at the state minimum wage, before taxes, and around six days of the average food stamp allocation in Alaska (where food costs and benefits are higher than in most states), which is to say it's a significant part of some women's budgets. But Dyson didn't stop there:
So I come to the conclusion that access, as in being able to get the product, is not a real problem. By the way, you can go on the internet, you can order these things by mail [...] So I don't think access is a problem, I don't think that finances, economics is, and my own view is that by and large sexual activity is recreation. Now, if you're doing the activity for procreation obviously birth control is counter-indicated, and 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.Oh, well, let's not finance "recreation" for women who can't afford contraceptives. Instead, let's finance "childbirth" and "vaccinations" and everything else that goes into the life of a child. That makes a lot more sense!
Bonus points to Dyson's colleague, state Sen. Berta Gardner who then rose and asked unanimous consent "to be allowed to speak on the subject of 'where to begin.'"