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With regard to the morning after pill, you have an exceptional circumstance. With medicine taken for chronic conditions, there's a possibility of shopping around and seeing who has it for what price after getting the prescription and before buying. A woman might not anticipate needing a morning after pill until the need arises and then the clock is ticking. And if the decision to dispense the pill is that of the pharmacist rather than company policy, there won't be any posted signs or any way for a woman to know before the time of need whether or not she will be able to buy the pill.

Leaving it up to the marketplace also supposes that there is more than one pharmacy in the area. In some rural areas and in inner cities (esp. where the woman doesn't own a car) this simply isn't true.

Then I guess women living in rural areas or inner cities, who don't have cars, aren't served by public transportation and have no friends or family members with transportation, need to take that fact into account when selecting their preferred method of birth control.

Or, to put it another way, perhaps the 'morning after pill' isn't the best choice for you if you can't, you know, get to the pharmacy the morning after. In such cases condoms, the pill, IUDs, diaphrams, sponges, spermacides, vasectomies, fellatio, cunnilingus, buggery and abstention have all been known to prevent pregnancy without requiring the government to pass laws of compulsion.

when "pro-life" slips into a conversation and is accepted by all parties, the parameters of a discussion have already been framed. anti-abortionists succeeded long ago in mainstreaming their political lingo.

Rare moment of lucidity Tom. I find this very encouraging! Perhaps it is the golf? How iron-ic (get it?!).

Tom, this is an exceptionally fine post. The only caveat I would make is that Christianity (which you did not mention here but did mention in the Dunkin' Donuts post, where you also touched on this topic) actually does have a special place, as it is one of the primary formative forces of our society and culture. Still, it seems to me that for now, this is an issue best left to the markets, individuals, and their consciences.

Conrad's comment is right on target, too. It is not society's responsibility to protect people from their poor choices.

On the other hand, oneken, still unfamiliar with the concept of the "shift" key, continues to dazzle us with his rhetorical brilliance.

I don't disagree wholesale with the responses to my comment. But - if we're talking about letting the market decide, we have to understand that it means that buyers get unfettered access to goods offered in the marketplace. Once the FDA claims that the morning after pill is safe and can be sold without a prescription, a free market assumes that it is available for sale. If a pharmacy or chain store makes it known that this pill won't be sold in its store(s), by press releases or even a sign in the store, then fine.

But in a situation where the store has the pill in stock, and the buyer, who we agree is looking for something legal, can't buy the pill because of the personal beliefs of the person behind the counter, the market itself can't provide a solution.

The US Supreme Court holds that Hustler magazine can be sold legally. But when I drop by my local Walmart, it's no where to be found. It's legal, yet they refuse to sell it. Let's pass a law.

I'm stunned. This is the kind of post I would write, and I'm basically a Christian Libertarian. Not the first post of its type, either.

I'd say it's time for you to switch parties, Tom, but the Libertarian Party is like a Harry Potter fan get-together: you might like the stuff but you don't want to be seen in the company of these people.

Libertarianism? Give it shot, Tom--it may lead you to Republicanism!

Seriously, Libertarianism is a moral vacuum. Then again, so are all other liberal and leftist movements.

I'm not sure how anyone can be both Christian (believing in the transcendence of God and the superiority of Christian dictates) and LIbertarian (believing that there is nothing higher than man and his wants) at the same time.

Squid, I'm not sure Libertarianism is best summed up as "believing that there is nothing higher than man and his wants." I believe that is the Libertinism, the underlying belief system of, for example, sexually promiscuous, ciger-smoking drug addict Rush Limbaugh.

Libertarianism is a belief system predicated on government being small and letting people make their own decisions about things. That ability to decide based on one's own conscience is essential to Christian faith, at least the Protestant version of it. In the Lutheran Church of which I am a member, going through the motions doesn't count. Only what's in your heart matters. If you're acting Christian without believing, you fall short of redemption. The only political system that can nurture that kind of Christianity is a system in which we tolerate the beliefs of other people so that our beliefs can be free as well.

Do you ever get tired of being completely wrong about stuff?

Libertine, Libertarian, Liberal, Lutheran, Limbaugh, those "L" words get confusing.

No, Tom, I never tire of pointing out how you are completely wrong about almost everything ;-) I guess I keep forgetting that we have such wildly different frames of reference that things I take for granted, you find absurdly wrong, and vice-versa.

I gotta give you credit for the "Libertinism" response. Very clever :-)

I agree with the small government/let people make their own decisions aspect of Libertarianism. However, I stand by my position that it is an egocentric moral vacuum, and hence doomed to failure. Gee, it already is a failure--look at how many Libertarians have been elected to office. How about that?

Ultimately, all modern liberal philosophy (and I include Libertarianism under that rubric) is based on the self, not the needs of that which is greater than the self: family, community, nation, God. This is why I disagree with, for example, the Libertarian position against mandatory seatbelt laws. They say that it should be the choice of adults. Society at large, seeing the horrific costs that could be prevented--costs that include not just medical expenses, but also injuries, up to and including death--says that it is in society's best interest that everyone wear seatbelts.

Having said that, we need to be on our guard against creeping nannyism, which is, as always, ascendant here in the People's Republic of Mexifornia.

But I digress (as though that were a surprise).

Yes, we need to tolerate the beliefs of others, but only on two conditions: they are willing to tolerate our beliefs, and their beliefs are not at odds with those of our culture and society. The liberals' current favorite Other, the Moslems, are not tolerant of our beliefs, nor are their beliefs compatible with our civilization. Hence they have no place in the West.

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