In 1965, polling indicated that 46 percent of Americans used tobacco products, however by 2011 that percentage had dropped to 19 percent. This remarkable decrease in the number of smokers was in part due to the surgeon general of the United States determining that the use of tobacco products was harmful to a person’s health, smokers and non-smokers alike.
Subsequently, taxes on tobacco products were raised substantially to discourage smoking, and laws were passed requiring labels warning of the dangers associated with tobacco and prohibiting smoking in the workplace and in public places.
Two take-aways here: One, there are completely unnecessary products on the market that cause us and those around us serious harm and it is wise to endeavor to reduce their impact; two, the actions of one segment of a population (smokers) has been proven to have a negative impact on the rest of the population (non-smokers).
Though by no means a fan of the Affordable Care Act (it will most likely prove to be unaffordable and deliver very poor care), the one mandate in it that I think makes very good sense is for the insurance to cover the cost of family planning and contraception.
Now attempts by the Catholic church and corporations such as Hobby Lobby to have their church or organization exempted from these provisions purely on religious grounds makes no sense at all. This is due to the fact that the majority of people who do not hold the same religious beliefs resent having to pay for, in one way or another, the care and feeding of tens of thousands of unplanned for and unwanted children that this male-dominated, bizarre cult and stone-age relic of times gone by causes to be dumped on unprepared girls, women and society at large every year.
By ordering a temporary stay to this provision, Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor, a woman of Hispanic descent, should be ashamed of herself for contributing to the ongoing shackling of girls and women by potentially denying them the basic right to be able to control their own fertility.
It will be very interesting to see how this all plays out.
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