Ragan’s ‘Contra’ thinking on contraception


I read with shock and disbelief Rep. John Ragan’s comments on why he did not want Tennessee to fund contraceptives through Medicaid or other programs.

This was at an appearance sponsored by the Oak Ridge League of Women Voters. The question was put forward by Elaine Culbert, who was described as a health care professional.

The Oak Ridger quotes Ragan as saying, “The picture you’ve (Ms. Culbert) have painted is quite dire, but I would point out to you that with the exception of rape, pregnancy is the result of a voluntary act.

If one does not wish to become pregnant, again, outside of rape, one doesn’t engage in that voluntary act, period.”

This is the shallowest thinking imaginable.

Sure, if this were a perfect world, everybody would act with perfect responsibility at all times. So, in this perfect world all drivers would always obey all traffic rules, resulting a massive reduction in traffic fatalities.

In such a world, our state representatives would condemn and root out people like Rep. David Byrd, the credibly accused child molester.

But it’s not a perfect world, is it Mr. Ragan?

That’s why we fund multimillion dollar highway improvement projects, so we can reduce the traffic death toll, often brought about by people who drive recklessly.

We do it because we know from experience drivers don’t always follow the rules.

There is a boatload of data, studies, and real life experience that tells us the cheapest and most practical way to reduce unwanted pregnancy is to make contraception readily available. The small amount this would cost would be offset by fewer unwanted pregnancies, fewer abortions and less of a workload on the Department of Children’s Services when babies carried to term are given up for adoption.

Not to mention the many young women who would then not be derailed early in their lives from pursuit of education or other means of contributing to the public at large.

In other words, let’s not fantasize about perfect worlds. Rather, we should work with the world we actually live in. Period.

Jack Tuberville