Advancing a Free Society

Free to Choose Means Less Freedom: Obama on Birth Control

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Times The Freedom to Choose Birth Control convolutes common language and fails to comprehend fundamental economics. It says that “free access (to birth control for any woman), along with the ability to receive family planning and preventive health services, was at the foundation of health care reform.” I did not know that. As I recall, Obama did his best to dodge that issue during the non-debate over his health care reform.

Most of us interpret “free to choose” in Milton Friedman’s sense. In a market economy, we are free to choose among alternatives. As long as we are prepared to pay the market price, we can buy whatever car, food, movie ticket, laptop, or anything else we want. No one can dictate to us how to choose among alternatives. That is our business, and Friedman considered this the cornerstone of economic freedom.

Obama, apparently, understands “free to choose” differently. In his version, free to choose means getting goods and services without paying. Even though birth control is a regular non-catastrophic expense, probably not higher than feeding a daily coffee habit, women are not free unless they have it free.

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