Del. Marshall Wants Birth Control Debate

Delegate Bob Marshall (R-Manassas), who recently pressured JMU to stop providing emergency contraceptives, has set his sights on UVa. Marshall intends to make all state schools stop providing the contraceptives, because Marshall does not accept the scientific premise that pregnancy occurs when a blastocyst implants in the wall of the uterus (about 12 days after the egg is fertilized), but believes that it occurs at the time that an egg is fertilized. He contends that making this contraceptive available encourages sex among students, which he believes is bad. UVa has refused to stop providing the pills, and so Marshall is asking that Larry Sabato set up a debate on the topic. 262 UVa students received the pills in question last year. Kate Andrews has the story in today’s Progress.

45 Responses to “Del. Marshall Wants Birth Control Debate”


  • "Hey, you kids! Stop that! Stop having sex right now! I’ll tell your parents! I’ll ban birth control! STOP IT!"

    (shakes fist)

  • I wonder what his childhood trauma is. Maybe when he was in high school he got humiliated in the locker room. I bet he doesn’t have sex with his own wife. Just his mistress. In any case let’s get all mothers giving birth illegitimately in the state of VA to name him as the father on the hospital paperwork?

  • I am 100% opposed to Marshall’s reproductive politics and do not think that it is the place of government to regulate the morality and private conduct of the people. Marshall seems to favor a much more liberal definition of government power in that regard. With that out of the way, I think that this debate is a great idea.

    This should happen more often. Too frequently, politicians and pundits tend to throw half-truths and misrepresentations out at the public from behind a curtain. There is rarely an opportunity to test their ideas and the depth of their knowledge in a meaningful way. Public debate, be it in an auditorium or on Cvillenews, is good for democracy and makes for great sport.

  • I am 100% opposed to Marshall’s reproductive politics and do not think that it is the place of government to regulate the morality and private conduct of the people.

    Just out of curiosity, is the state paying for student birth control?

    I believe that government should stay out of legislating morality. That being said, I also do not believe that the government should be paying for people’s irresponsibility with their own sexual practices.

    Why is it the responsibility of the state to bail out people who can’t keep it in their pants?

  • I agree government should stay out of our collective pants and panties.

    I am also weary of supporting the results of other folks` good times.

    Bring on the birth control, please, coincident with aggressive identification of sires and fix of responsibility.

  • Just out of curiosity, is the state paying for student birth control?

    Nope. The students pay for it at cost.

  • As being a JMU grad in here, I can know why the students need birth control pill the day after. JMU is known to have wild parties with endless hook ups with drunken strangers.

    My thoughts are that Marshall is wasting his time.

  • Waldo’s right- the students are paying for it.

    But even if the state was paying (and they aren’t), birth control costs chicken scratch compared to the expense of moving an unwanted child through orphanages and foster homes for 18 years. That’s got to be in the tens of thousands of dollars, if not more. Birth control is fiscal responsibility in action.

  • So the state is paying for the distribution, just not the product itself.

    It is still a drain on public funding, just less of one than I thought.

  • But even if the state was paying (and they aren’t), birth control costs chicken scratch compared to the expense of moving an unwanted child through orphanages and foster homes for 18 years.

    The orphanages and foster homes should be unnecessary if the parents of that child still be living when it’s born.

    Though I will readily admit that for a true solution, we need some reforms in the way responsibility is assigned for such children (as cornelious said).

    I just hate seeing anyone say that the guvmint should be shouldering the load of irresponsible citizens. Personal responsibility, apparently, is hard.

  • So the state is paying for the distribution, just not the product itself.

    It is still a drain on public funding, just less of one than I thought.

    Only in the most minimal of a sense. Presumably, the only cost shouldered by the state is the 2′x2′ of real estate in which the drug is stored, and the time that it takes to provide the drug to students. Even if it wasn’t available, I imagine that they would still be spending the time, except they would instead be telling the students to take four birth control pills all at once, because it’s the same thing.

  • The orphanages and foster homes should be unnecessary if the parents of that child still be living when it’s born.

    Now, that’s just silly. It’s bad enough to force a not-yet-pregnant woman to bear a child — do you also propose that they be forced to raise that child to adulthood? I can’t fathom what benefit that there would be to refuse to allow parents to put their infants up for adoption, particularly when compared to the horrible drawbacks that would result.

  • "Even if it wasn’t available, I imagine that they would still be spending the time, except they would instead be telling the students to take four birth control pills all at once, because it’s the same thing."

    Shh! Don’t tell Marshall!

  • You’ve got to be kidding me.

    There’s already a medical facility that has to be there to provide basic medical care fot the students. Any time you have tens of thousands of people converging on one place for 9 months out of the year you are going to have to provide medical facilities. Students at just about any college are required to have health insurance. If they don’t have it through their parents, it is rolled into their tuition bill. They are already paying for the medical facilities, nurses and doctors to be there.

    Pretending that this is an issue about "draining the public funding" is a load of crap and you should be embarrassed for even trying it. This is about the GOP trying, as usual, to limit and regulate the personal moral decisions of Virginians. Marshall and the rest of the Republican leadership believes that premarital sex is dirty and bad and that it is appropriate for the government to force the public away from that activity in subtle or not-so-subtle ways.

    So much for the party of ‘smaller, less intrusive government.’ The worst of it is when Republicans try to couch these issues as matters of ‘fiscal responsibility’ when the GOP can’t even balance a budget.

  • Gee. What school isn’t like that.

  • BYU. D’OH

  • "Now, that’s just silly. It’s bad enough to force a not-yet-pregnant woman to bear a child — do you also propose that they be forced to raise that child to adulthood?"

    Yeah, thats a good idea. Not only should we force not yet pregnant women to bear a child, but we should force them to have sex thanks to school-issued rophynol pills.

    Sweeeet!

  • His belief comes from his Roman Catholic religion. He apparently believes that biological life in any shape or form should be protected. Think of the Monty Python sketch: "every sperm is sacred…"

    As a fellow Catholic, I too am morally opposed to abortion. However, while I haven’t quite made up my mind as to when life begins, I do support abortion laws and I especially support the "morning after pill." The criminalization of abortion would raise several other moral issues (see South American mortality statistics). I can definitely see the difference between moral stances and political reality and think it may be better to spend energies on reducing the frequency of unwanted pregnancies.

    People are going to have sex, and they’re especially going to do it at college. Many do it responsibly, but there are some cases in which people are careless or, God forbid, sexual assault comes into play. I think to keep a pill from a pregnancy from happening in the first place is a great alternative to unwanted children and interrupted education, and I believe that making the morning after pill available to students is much more preferable to having those same women have abortions performed once they actually are pregnant.

    I also believe that the idea that withholding the morning after pill will decrease sex on campuses is ludicrous. I’m sure no one says "Well, we could have sex, but we can’t get the morning after pill so we better keep our pants on."

  • Let students live with those consequences (reputations, veneral disease), not some unwanted child.

  • If the student pays for the drug can’t the doctors write a script and the student gets it somewhere else. The university could pay for it with private funds. I wonder how much are money are we talking about. I pay $20 just to make the posturing and catwalling go away. I have a feeling that for $10k we can make this problem go away in all universities.

  • actually the budget in Virginia is always balanced. It’s the law!

  • I can’t fathom what benefit that there would be to refuse to allow parents to put their infants up for adoption, particularly when compared to the horrible drawbacks that would result.

    Maybe I’m not communicating well today, or something.

    I missed the part where I said a word about adoption? I was talking about orphanages and foster care. The refuge of wards of the state, when they were referred to as a larger cost than a morning after pill. I understand that children are sometimes adopted from state-run orphanages, but there’s a difference between an orphan who lands there by default because of some misfortune, and a young unprepared mother putting her newborn up for adoption. I firmly approve of adoption. There seems to be a number of organizations willing to place such babies into caring homes, without causing the state to pay for the little tyke’s care really at all.

  • No, I’m not kidding you. I believe I already explained the reason for my question, that of not wanting the government to be a safety net for people who engage in irresponsible behavior.

    Pretending that this is an issue about “draining the public funding” is a load of crap and you should be embarrassed for even trying it. This is about the GOP trying, as usual, to limit and regulate the personal moral decisions of Virginians. Marshall and the rest of the Republican leadership believes that premarital sex is dirty and bad and that it is appropriate for the government to force the public away from that activity in subtle or not-so-subtle ways.

    I never said a word about this fellow’s attempts to get the pill thrown out on moral/specious safety grounds. For the record, I think he’s silly. I voiced a different concern, one of funding. It turns out I don’t have much to grumble about there either, as long as “cost” includes all the costs of that pill showing up on the shelf.

    Either I’m not communicating well, or you and Waldo have had too much caffeine today.

  • Well said. I agree with everything you’ve stated.

  • "No, I’m not kidding you. I believe I already explained the reason for my question, that of not wanting the government to be a safety net for people who engage in irresponsible behavior."

    I wholeheartedly agree with you Lafe but you are many years too late. The Libs and Socialists are way out in front on reducing personal responsibility to zero.

  • No, I’m not kidding you. I believe I already explained the reason for my question, that of not wanting the government to be a safety net for people who engage in irresponsible behavior.

    your arguement is irrelevant. the gov’t isn’t supplying these drugs free-of-charge to college kids. it’s a prescription drug, just like any other prescription drug you can get at the student health pharmacy (which, btw, you DO have to pay for).

    delegate whatsisface’s only goal is to force his own morals on virginians who aren’t even his constituents (last time i checked, UVA wasn’t in manassas). it has nothing to do with people not taking responsibility for their actions. if anything, the morning-after pill allows people to do that.

    personally, i’m more pissed off about my tax dollars being spent to keep crackheads on welfare than i am about a little bottle of pills taking up shelf space in a state-run health facility.

  • A doctor can write a script without telling anyone. It’s doctor-patient privilege.

    Then again, all you need to miscarry is bad nutrition and a little alcohol. Bender anyone?

  • your arguement is irrelevant

    Yeah, I think I more or less acknowledged that when I admitted above that I didn’t have much to grumble about.

    delegate whatsisface’s only goal is to force his own morals on virginians who aren’t even his constituents (last time i checked, UVA wasn’t in manassas). it has nothing to do with people not taking responsibility for their actions. if anything, the morning-after pill allows people to do that.

    And yep, I agree with your assessment. Let me be real clear here, I did not, at any point, take this delegate’s position, I merely asked questions of my own. And the answer I received is one that I find emminently acceptable to live with. :)

    personally, i’m more pissed off about my tax dollars being spent to keep crackheads on welfare

    Which more or less aligns with my opinion that the government (state, federal, or whatever) shouldn’t be a safety net for the irresponsible. On that too, you and I agree.

  • I’m just curious (and not really hoping to start a big flame war)…if the state doesn’t bail out people who are (let’s just say, for the sake of argument) too clueless or stupid or selfish or whatever to make the kinds of decisions that lead to middle-class respectability, then what do you think should happen to those people?

    I mean, it seems to me that there are a LOT of people who, for a variety of reasons, just cannot keep it together in any way (and I’m really not talking about a JMU sophomore who gets drunk one night and sleeps with a guy and wants the morning-after pill).

    If there were no state-funded programs to try to (a) help people from getting into trouble (financial, moral, etc) in the first place or (b) clean up after people go ahead and DO get into trouble, what would happen to them? What should happen to them? Do you think private foundations are going to fall over themselves to get at this lucrative market of taking care of people who just can’t seem to take care of themselves? I think not. So is it okay if they just fall off the radar completely and rot to death somewhere? Is that better than spending a dime of taxpayer money on social programs?

  • I believe that government should stay out of legislating morality.

    That’s a nonsensical statement, no matter how often it is repeated. Outlawing rape or lynching is “legislating morality” – should those laws be repealed too?

    You and Marshall have a legitimate dispute as to whether an unimplanted but fertilized ovum is a human being deserving equal protection of law. Take him on head-on and resolve that debate, and leave off the simplistic bromides about “legislating morality”, because you believe in “legislating morality” within the bounds of your morality just as much as he believes in legislating it within the bounds of his, and claiming otherwise only makes you, Jack, and every other pro-choicer look like hypocrites.

  • Listen, if you think this doesn’t affect you, please consider that some people in the Right to Life movement believe that ALL birth control pills constitutes abortion because Marshall’s reasoning above. This is not something new; I remember reading (and dismissing it) back in the mid 70′s. Basically, it’s the belief that birth control pills (BCP) prevents a newly fertilized egg from being implanted. Hence, it is an abortifacient.

    Don’t be surprised if those in government (and I use that phrase exactly) want to try and get BCP banned because of their belief that a fertilized egg is a human life.

    http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2002/04/26/loc_right_to_life_adds.html

    http://www.cirtl.org/alcorn.htm

    Or, just type "Right to Life" birth control pill in Google and see what you get.

    This is just the beginning of a more broader plan by Representative Marshall. He sees himself in the role of saving children even if they are (to him) a six hour zygote.

  • If the government were to stop providing services for the disadvantaged, some of the slack would be picked up by private charitable organizations. However, in a capitalist society, I believe that there would not be enough resources devoted to helping these people, as the charities’ resources would not go nearly long enough and most firms in the business sector would not do nearly enough to help these people.

    Sure, one solution would be to let them rot. However, with no space available to house these people (except maybe in prisons which could become a profitable venture), they would be forced to live on the streets. That would not be good for anyone involved.

    With that in mind, the government must provide some programs to help those who need a hand to get ahead, help those who cannot live on their own due to a disability, or, yes, to help clean up after people’s mistakes. Sure, there will be some people, even capable people, who will continue to be a drain on the system, but the alternative would cause too many problems to even consider.

    I don’t mind paying taxes to help these people in the same way that I do not mind paying taxes to maintain the roads, water systems and emergency services I count on every day, for these programs would also serve to make my own life better, even if it is only because I know that everyone has (or at least the opportunity to have) the best situation possible.

  • Maybe it would be better stated that the government should not legislate morality as long as those specific moral decisions affect only those people making the decisions.

    For example, homicide, assault, larceny, etc., would obviously violate other people and should be legislated by the government in order to maintain order and promote a healthy society.

    On the other hand, the government should not legislate moral decisions that do not violate other people, such as medical decisions and private sexual acts between consenting adults.

  • That’s a nonsensical statement, no matter how often it is repeated. Outlawing rape or lynching is “legislating morality” – should those laws be repealed too?

    I think that you know what I really meant by that. But if not, let me try to restate it better.

    I believe that the government should not legislate morality beyond “don’t hurt other people, and don’t infringe on other people’s freedoms.” There’s a little more to it than that, mainly in the way of explanation of what “hurt” means. But that statement puts it pretty succinctly.

  • and claiming otherwise only makes you, Jack, and every other pro-choicer look like hypocrites.

    Whoops, missed this one the first time through. And it’s one of those subjects that causes me to rant. :)

    I am not a “pro-choicer.” I believe that after the point that that unborn child is a “human being”, that the mother has zero right to end its life.

  • Well, that’s getting better (and dkachur too, who said essentially the same thing). But legislating “morality” and legislating the private affairs of single individuals are distinct concepts that can be difficult to separate. Your private affair is someone else’s public health issue or act of murder.

    I think the issue needs to be drawn correctly. The issue is not “Should government legislate morality?”, because the answer is undoubtedly, “That depends on the degree to which it’s private or public.” The question is whether this issue is more a private affair or more an issue of public health or a violation of another’s rights. If you read the article, Marshall believes that any fertilized egg is a human with legal rights that are violated by the prevention of implantation; you do not, and this is what he wants to debate.

    I happen agree with you, and I think you have a strong argument with the public, so the best way to address this is IMO to reinforce that this is what the debate is about and that his position is one most people find absurd, and not to muddy the debate by shouting politicized cliches like ‘No legislating morality!” or “Choose life!” that just turn everything into a contest of slogan-screaming noisemaking. IF the issue is framed properly, the debate will be healthy for everyone; if his ideas are as bad as everyone here seems to think, let that fact be put on public display and let the superior argument win out in the forum of public opinion. Isn’t that the way Jefferson would want it?

  • Marshall believes that any fertilized egg is a human with legal rights that are violated by the prevention of implantation; you do not, and this is what he wants to debate.

    That’s what’s so bizarre. I mean, I could claim that my couch is a human with legal rights that are violated by its destruction, but people would laugh at me. It’s a complete mystery to me why anybody would humor Marshall in his belief that any fertilized egg is a human being. I just hope that this debate that Marshall wants ends up happening. I very much look forward to watching a first year philosophy student mop the floor with this dangerous fool.

  • By making it murder to not implant an egg, you’re making it murder to not implant sperm.

    This is some kind of preditory scary old religous guy. Don’t go home with this guy.

  • dammit, arguing is no fun if you agree with me… :)

    must find another foil for my pointless tauntings…

  • Isn’t that what the Pope says? Not that that makes it right, but a lot of people are going to listen based on that alone. Marshall’s rule has the virtue of simplicity, which won’t impress intellectuals or philosophers but is attractive to those in search of easy answers.

    I don’t agree with Marshall, but I don’t think his viewpoint is as easily dismissed as you think. I hope the debate happens too, not for the humor value but because I think his idea needs to be addressed and its opponents need to develop and agree on a clear and cogent alternative: exactly when does human life begin and why draw the arbitrary line at that point? Or is human life, like “adulthood”, a matter of degrees with varying levels of rights granted at each successive stage of development?

  • As a student at JMU, I can most certainly say, without a doubt, that this guy has pissed off the students more than I think he every could have imagined. I am enraged at the thought that some ignorant man from a town not even in the Harrisonburg area feels that he has the responsibility to impose misconceptions on the student body.

    I do know that the BOV at JMU is revisiting the issue, and that they may likely rescind their decision on the ban. There are too many students on the campus who are very angry about this. And somehow, I think that President Rose thought it would just slip by unnoticed. To date, the SGA has passed a bill calling for the repeal of the ban. Dozens of protests have taken place, and countless letters have been written by students and by people not attending JMU. Several letters written by UVa students have been printed in the Breeze. I am hoping that all of this pressure will open the eyes of the BOV. If not, then they are going to need some help. And it isn’t like next year will be any different b/c it has sparked such debate.

  • My thoughts excatly.

  • I’m not defending Marshall in who he is and what he represents, but I take exception to your mocking approach on the matter. We all need to have a extensive debate on the issue of when simple cells with human DNA becomes a human being with all associated rights. What do we really know? If you’re big on statistics, what the chance a fertilized egg will be born? If it’s a good probability, who’s to say you’re not eliminating a life? By defining terms and events, we’re then taking responsibility for our decisions and laws. If it remains murky, then people can just hide and say they’re doing nothing wrong by terminating a 3-month fetus, because we haven’t even defined when the fetus becomes a child in the womb. And how can we blame our youth for not taking it seriously if we can’t even say it straight?

  • This is just the beginning of a more broader plan by Representative Marshall. He sees himself in the role of saving children even if they are (to him) a six hour zygote.

    he should really think about trying to save himself from being such a douchetard, instead of worrying about a few college kids who manage to slip one past the goalie.

  • Why Del. Marshall wants this debate in the first place is to control the terms of debate. By framing it as a debate over whether the morning-after pill is the destruction of a human life, the debate is moved to the intricacies of extreme right-wing ideology, where discussion of traditional liberal ideas on reproductive politics like education, substance abuse programs, a woman’s right to choose, use after a rape, and so on are inappropriate and off-topic. This is strategically very clever. Mr. Marshall isn’t as insane and maroony as he appears.

    As for the wider issue of reproductive politics, writer Colman McCarthy argues that, human life or not, abortion is certainly an act of violence, which I agree with. Of course, so is a coat-hanger in the ghetto, so banning it certainly won’t solve anything. I’m a big believer in looking for alternatives, and I think the morning-after pill is a good one.

Comments are currently closed.

Sideblog