Sunday, March 18, 2012

My mother is awesome!

I just have to say that.

Okay, there's a reason why I'm saying that.

I got into a debate today regarding why I believe that contraceptives should be sold over the counter. This includes the emergency pill, and this includes no age restrictions (i.e. no stupid laws that say that if a girl is younger than 18, she has to go through a physician to get the "day-after" pill because of some legislature's desire to dictate morality from the state house).

Simply put, I could not convince the other parties that they were suffering from status quo and authority bias. Because contraceptives have been sold on a prescription basis throughout their whole lives (status quo) and they were brought up to respect medical authority, if doctors are prescribing contraceptives today despite their long history, that must mean that contraceptives are dangerous to have without a prescription from a doctor based on your medical history.

Except, no.

If we are to appeal to authority bias, then one authority I like to appeal to is my mother, as she's an OB-GYN. If any doctor would have an opinion that could be trusted regarding contraceptives, it would be an OB-GYN. So, when I discussed my thoughts with her later in the day, she completely backed me up, even for cases where contraceptives are prescribed for non-contraceptive use (i.e. to help with bleeding).

I was at least willing to consider that there would be a simple diagnostic checklist that could be created to say what dosage a person should have based on medical history or a few simple questions, but apparently there's no need. For the cases where it is for non-contraceptive use, the simple dosage discovery is to start with the lowest, and test upwards if necessary; and switch if that still doesn't work. That honestly sounds simple, doesn't it?

In other words, there is no need for access to be controlled by the prescription script. Continuing to keep this barrier is an illogicality that invites patients to fall through the cracks because a doctor or employer has a morality that does not want to allow the prescription to be written (i.e. Catholic employers). Removing this barrier would give more control back to the patient, where the choice should be in the first place.

N.B. Obviously this is my opinion, and not medical advice. This is not a medical blog, and even if it was, the advice would be general enough to provide some information, but require confirmation with a doctor or pharmacist. Maybe if I interviewed 100 doctors I would get a wider spectrum of answers that could be researched. I am just putting this out there because sometimes assumptions about the status quo need to be challenged. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dealbreaking Online Dating Questions...

I was tempted not to go with the provocative title, since it gives a lot away about what I am doing at the moment. However, as you may know, when I feel strongly about a subject, I will deliberately be provocative

As I go over these questions, I am reminded of Max Planck, who stated that "Science advances one funeral at a time." Well, so may ethics, since answers to these questions that subjugate liberty to prejudice and bias are rightly viewed as barbaric by more people nowadays than a century ago

1.     Would the world be a better place if people with low IQs were not allowed to reproduce?

Anyone who answers this question with a "yes" automatically is tossed out of my list of prospects. It is as if they are fans of eugenics! Did they learn anything about respecting the liberty of other people? Did they learn about one of the most repulsive judicial decisions in Supreme Court history, Buck v. Bell? 

Perhaps they are fans of the line:  "Three generations of imbeciles are enough." Never mind that the women in this case were being considered imbeciles because of their promiscuity. This is such a barbaric position that whenever I see this juxtaposed with someone who is religious and conservative, I have to wonder if they truly have any morals. And when I see it juxtaposed with someone who is liberal, I have to wonder if they have learned anything from their ideological predecessors, the 19th and early 20th century Progressives, who were fans of eugenics, much to their later shame.

Maybe I am just too serious. Or maybe I truly have principles that I will not budge on, contrary to what some religious people believe about atheists and agnostics. That there are religious people on dating sites who consider eugenics acceptable when phrased as above suggests to be that they are the ones lacking a moral framework, not I. 

For a better write-up of why this is one of the most repulsive of Supreme Court decisions, see here.

2.     Is interracial marriage a bad idea?

Those who think interracial marriage is a bad idea either never heard of Loving v. Virginia, the case that stated that Virginia's ban on interracial marriages violated the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, or for some reason think that airing this sort of consumer preference is still a good idea in this day and age. 

And perhaps it is, if only to dissuade relatively liberal people, in the classical sense, from considering associating with someone who thinks little of the liberty of other people.

Perhaps a generation from now, not only will Chief Justice Earl Warren's opinion be more generally accepted for interracial marriages, but it will be applied to any marriage, with only certain pockets of the United States retaining bigoted consumer preferences.

After all, to quote the man:
The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men. Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival.
Those are two deal-breaking questions for me, which I hope also demonstrate how important I think the notion of liberty is. There are more, but given the hour I am writing this, I will save them for another time.

N.B. Are there views that I would consider barbaric that are not yet in the mainstream? Of course. Just read any of Bryan Caplan's writing on immigration to see why, empirically and morally, I feel anything other than unfettered immigration is to transgress upon the liberty of people who want to come here and improve their lives.