IT’s the Sex. It’s Always the Sex.
“…having children is more a choice than a random act of nature,” Greg Mankiw wrote, “People who drive a new Porsche pay more for car insurance than those who drive an old Chevy.” In other words, having children should be considered not just a luxury, but an elite luxury, on the level of owning a Porsche, a straight-up luxury of the 1%-ers. At least Mankiw, unlike his fellow conservatives, doesn’t go on about how it’s going to ruin our country if women have fewer kids.
The elitism is a big part of this, but so is the sex part. As Franke-Ruta notes, the only other coverage point that has created as much conservative ire is the contraception benefit. What do contraception and maternity coverage have in common? Both imply that the woman who is using the benefit willingly chose to have sex. It really isn’t much more complicated than that. Which is why Mankiw insists that having children is a “choice”, even though it’s not that simple. Half of pregnancies in this country are unintended. Of those, not an insignificant number result in childbirth because the woman felt that abortion was not really a choice, either because she’s been guilt-tripped by anti-choice propaganda, bullied by family members, or simply couldn’t afford to jump through the rapidly expanding number of hoops that Republicans are putting in place to keep women from abortion. When conservatives say it’s a “choice”, they are pretending that abstaining from sex is a realistic expectation to place on the majority of American women who are not members of the economic elite, full stop. That’s what this is about.