Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News/Commentary, Blog posts and publications(...)IWF RSS Workweek Initiative Highlights Problem in ObamaCare<p> The White House has unilaterally delayed enforcement of employer mandates in ObamaCare. &nbsp;But eventually, these mandates are going to kick in. &nbsp;Unless the Administration issues another executive delays, businesses of more than 200 workers will be subject to the employer mandate on January 1, 2015, just about 11 weeks from now. Then, on January 1, 2016, businesses of 50 to 200 workers will face the same mandates.</p> <p> The mandate, and its related penalties, are&nbsp;<a href="">a little bit complicated</a>. But here&#39;s one key aspect of the mandate that is create big problems for American workers. &nbsp;ObamaCare defines &quot;full time work&quot; as 30 hours per week. Effectively this means that employers can reduce the number of hours that employees work (below 30 per week) and avoid the costs associated with having to offer full-time workers ObamaCare-compliant insurance coverage. For workers, this means working fewer hours -- for a smaller paycheck -- and losing employer-sponsored insurance. It&#39;s a lose-lose situation.&nbsp;</p> <p> Importantly, people on all sides of the aisle have criticized the employer mandate because of the way it will negatively impact workers and the broader economy. Left-leaning groups like the&nbsp;<a href="">Urban Institute</a>&nbsp;have said that on top of its economic consequences, the employer mandate doesn&#39;t offer much benefit in terms of expanded insurance coverage. The Mercatus Center recently released a report called &quot;<a href="">The ACA and the New Economics of Part-Time Work</a>,&quot; which Rachel blogged about&nbsp;<a href="">here</a>&nbsp;and which shows how the law will push more Americans--particularly more American women--reluctantly into a part-time status.</p> <p> Another effort to raise awareness about ObamaCare&#39;s impact on employment is called &quot;<a href="">More Time for Full Time</a>.&quot; It features this moving video:</p> <p> <iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//" width="560"></iframe></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> ObamaCare&#39;s perverse employment incentives are just one of the many ways that this law is backfiring on Americans. &nbsp;Eliminating or reforming the employer mandate may offset some of the negative consequences of the law, but it won&#39;t be enough. &nbsp;ObamaCare&#39;s entire approach is mandate-centric, and depends on a web of government requirements -- on individuals, on employers, and on insurers -- that limit choices. This leads to distorted incentives and real harm to our economy, our freedoms, and the quality of our health care.&nbsp;</p> <p> That&#39;s why we need to repeal ObamaCare and start over by focusing on developing the next, better health reform package, that focuses on market competition, price transparency, and individual consumer choice to reshape the health insurance marketplace without harmful disincentives for employment or the economy at large. This week, during <a href="">Health Care Solutions Week</a>, we are doing just that by highlighting what those patient-centered, free-market solutions might be.&nbsp;</p> <p> Health reform shouldn&#39;t result in slashed hours, reduced pay, or limited choices in plans, doctors, or care. Americans deserve better.</p> HeathWed, 15 Oct 2014 17:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumNew Development in ObamaCare Lawsuit<p> <em>This blog is cross-posted at <a href=""></a>, IWF&#39;s blog dedicated to cases filed against the Affordable Care Act.&nbsp;</em></p> <p> In a new and surprising development, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has ordered that the Federal Government respond to their&nbsp;<a href="">challengers&#39; petition for an&nbsp;<em>en banc</em>&nbsp;hearing</a>. This case,&nbsp;<em>Sissel v. Department of Health and Human Services</em>, centers on the Origination Clause and alleges that the Affordable Care Act was passed in an unconstitutional way. In short, according to Article 1, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution, any legislation that raises taxes must originate in the House of Representatives. The ACA, or ObamaCare, includes 20 new taxes or tax increases, but originated in the U.S. Senate.&nbsp;</p> <p> Although Matt Sissel did not initially succeed at the D.C. Circuit, he has filed now for an&nbsp;<em>en banc</em>&nbsp;hearing, in which more judges on the appellate bench would rehear the case. The Court has now ordered the Federal Government to respond, indicating that judges are taking this request for a rehearing seriously.&nbsp;</p> <p> The case is gaining attention and support:&nbsp;<a href="">Congressional leaders</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="">several states</a>&nbsp;have filed amicus briefs supporting Matt Sissel. The Pacific Legal Foundation is handling litigation for the case, and you can find out more at&nbsp;<a href="">their Website.</a></p> <p> Like other cases challenging ObamaCare, this is about limiting the government&#39;s power to the design put forth in the Constitution. The Founders understood that it was essential to limit the power to tax, to keep government from abusing the people. &nbsp;The people are best represented in the House, the larger of the two bodies in our bicameral legislature, and therefore the Founders put forth the requirement that tax-raising bills originate in the House. &nbsp;There is a reason why our government was designed this way, and today our judges should heed the ACA&#39;s challengers in Sissel, and uphold this important limitation.&nbsp;</p> <div> &nbsp;</div> HeathWed, 15 Oct 2014 16:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum Focusing On The Next, Better Health Care Reform Law<p> The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was supposed to cure our nation&#39;s healthcare ills. Yet today, we still see symptoms of dysfunction.</p> <p> We can -- we must -- do more to create a better healthcare system for all Americans. That&#39;s why this week, across the country, healthcare reformers are joining together for Healthcare Solutions Week. Together, we can finally find the right solutions to our nation&#39;s persistent problems in healthcare policy.</p> <p> Before the passage of the ACA, American health care had long suffered from several chronic problems: high and ever-rising costs, limited choices, and limited access, especially for those with health conditions. When uninsured or underinsured people received care but couldn&#39;t pay, their costs were often shifted onto those with private insurance.</p> <p> No doubt, these problems needed addressing.</p> <p> However, many misdiagnosed the root causes of these problems as excesses of the market and set out to fix them with more government control. But in reality, it was government intervention that was causing the problems in the first place: Onerous state coverage mandates, market-distorting tax incentives, and other regulations have thwarted meaningful market competition in health care and bloating the role of third-party payers, driving many of our system&#39;s inefficiencies.</p> <p> Not surprisingly, the new health law&#39;s additional layers of government intervention haven&#39;t yet solved these problems.</p> <p> We need a different direction for reform.</p> <p> During Healthcare Solutions Week, we&#39;ll examine some of the alternative methods for improving our healthcare system: We&#39;ll look for solutions that serve the principles of consumer choice, price transparency, market competition, fiscal responsibility, and patient-centered care.</p> <p> For instance, we should empower individual choice in insurance by equalizing the tax treatment of employer-based and individual plans. The current tax advantage for employer coverage isn&#39;t fair, and leads to a distorted health insurance market place.</p> <p> Individuals would have far better options&mdash;and we&#39;d have real competition among insurance providers&mdash;if we could shop for health insurance like we do other insurance products or other goods.</p> <p> And individuals and families should be free to customize their insurance coverage. Under the ACA, the federal government has set standards for what all insurance policies must cover. States have long had their own different standards of what is considered must-have coverage, and research has shown&mdash;unsurprisingly&mdash;that states with more mandated benefits also have higher average premiums.</p> <p> A better approach would be to remove such mandates so that people would have the power to choose insurance packages that make sense for them, at a price they can afford.</p> <p> Of course, everyone wants all individuals&mdash;regardless of their financial situation and health status&mdash;to be able to access quality health care.</p> <p> The ACA mandates that insurance companies take all comers. While this may sound like a compassionate regulation, it&#39;s in fact very costly and inefficient. And in spite of the ACA&#39;s labyrinth of rules and subsidies, analysts expect 30 million Americans to still lack insurance after full implementation.</p> <p> There are better ways to target assistance at those in need and make sure that everyone can access quality care. We should focus aid directly on populations that need it, rather than using costly and overly broad regulations to remake the entire healthcare payment system.</p> <p> These are the issues that will be highlighted during Healthcare Solutions Week. It isn&#39;t enough to criticize the 2010 health law. The fact is, our healthcare system had complex and serious issues that needed addressing before 2010, and it still has issues today. We need new and better solutions, and that starts with a sober look at where we&#39;ve gone wrong in the past, and a positive look at how we can improve our healthcare system for the future.</p> <p> <em>Hadley Heath Manning is the health policy director at Independent Women&#39;s Forum and contributing author to &quot;Lean Together: An Agenda for Smarter Government, Stronger Communities, And More Opportunity for Women.&quot;</em></p> HeathWed, 15 Oct 2014 11:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSafety Issues: Should the FAA do more to prevent Ebola in its tracks? • Cavuto HeathMon, 13 Oct 2014 09:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPolicy Focus: Doc Fix Problems and Solutions<p> Medicare&rsquo;s Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, put in place by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, was meant to control costs in Medicare by automatically reducing doctors&rsquo; pay. But without fail since 2003, Congress blocks SGR&rsquo;s implementation each year. This is called a &ldquo;doc fix.&rdquo;</p> <p> The annual &ldquo;doc fix&rdquo; undermines the original purpose of the formula: to control Medicare costs. But allowing the SGR formula to take effect would lead to other problems. More than 50 million seniors depend on Medicare for health insurance. If physician reimbursement becomes too low, more and more doctors will close their doors to Medicare patients in favor of patients with private insurance. The government needs realistic, market-rate reimbursement policies to ensure that Medicare patients have access to the care they need.</p> <p> The temporary &ldquo;doc fix&rdquo; process is also fraught with politics: Congress often uses the annual doc fix to strike other budgetary deals, and increase contributions from medical associations. Allowing the unrealistic cuts to remain on the books also allows Congress to mask the real, long- term costs of our government health care programs.</p> <p> Clearly, the current system is broken. We need a permanent doc fix to remove doctor pay from Congressional politicking, give certainty to Medicare doctors and patients, and enable realistic cost estimates for our government health care programs. Payment reform should both treat doctors fairly and put Medicare on a fiscally-sustainable path.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> HeathMon, 6 Oct 2014 14:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumEnrollment anniversary, ObamaCare creating more losers than winners • NewsmaxTV Midpoint HeathWed, 1 Oct 2014 12:10:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhy Does Planned Parenthood Oppose Over-The-Counter Birth Control? Because They'd Make Less Money<p> Planned Parenthood opposes making some forms of routine birth controls available&nbsp;over-the-counter. For an organization that claims to be dedicated to reproductive health and access to such services, this stance on the deregulation of common, safe, and effective contraceptives seems illogical.&nbsp; It is.</p> <p> Over-the-counter birth control would offer new options to women.&nbsp; Consumers would be able to see on the shelf the different products that are available, compare prices, and ultimately select the option that provides them with the best value, just as they choose products in other markets.&nbsp; Providers would truly have to compete for women&rsquo;s business, which would lead to lower prices, more innovation, and better products.&nbsp; What&rsquo;s not to like?</p> <p> One would expect Planned Parenthood and similar organizations to celebrate new calls for easier access, but instead these groups are accusing those calling for OTC birth control of trying to limit its availability by taking away insurance coverage for contraception.&nbsp; A controversial mandate pursuant to the Affordable Care Act requires that nonexempt insurance plans cover all FDA-approved forms of contraception from the first-dollar. This means insured women pay no copay when they pick up their prescription contraceptives.</p> <p> First, even if some birth controls were offered over-the-counter, this would not preclude insurance carriers from offering first-dollar insurance coverage for them. &nbsp;For example, &ldquo;Plan B&rdquo; emergency contraception is already available over the counter, yet the insurance coverage mandate still applies to this morning-after pill.&nbsp; Isn&rsquo;t it a little strange that &ldquo;Plan B&rdquo; is available without a prescription, and yet &ldquo;Plan A&rdquo; (or normal, before-the-fact birth control) is not?</p> <p> Even if more forms of birth control were made available OTC, the insurance coverage mandate could still apply to this class of drugs, and the government insurance program for low-income women, Medicaid, could continue to finance birth control coverage as it does today (from the first dollar), sparing participating women from the (very low) cost of contraception themselves.</p> <p> Yet Americans should ask if covering routine health care costs like contraception is really the best use of our insurance system.&nbsp; Insurance, by definition, is a contractual arrangement in which one party (the member or consumer) pays a premium for financial protection against an unforeseen loss. For example, car insurance is supposed to protect you from the costs of a major car accident, but we don&rsquo;t use it to pay for oil changes or regular maintenance to our cars. Similarly, health insurance isn&rsquo;t supposed to pay for every health care service, but to protect against the costs of a serious, costly disease or injury.</p> <p> From this perspective, it doesn&rsquo;t really make sense to cover safe, normal forms of birth control under insurance at all.&nbsp; And relying on a third party&mdash;our insurers&mdash;to pay for drugs like birth control pills doesn&rsquo;t make them free, but rather it shifts costs from individual consumers to the insured population generally.&nbsp; The cost doesn&rsquo;t disappear; it simply manifests in higher premiums. The HHS contraception mandate&nbsp;<em>could</em>&nbsp;stay in place even if birth control were available over-the-counter, but for the sake of efficiency (among other reasons), it shouldn&rsquo;t.</p> <p> Importantly, making contraceptives available OTC would give women greater access to these products since they would no longer have to see a doctor first.&nbsp; Doctors are on board with this: the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists supports making birth control available over-the-counter because they see the benefit of easier access and recognize that individual women are smart enough to be trusted with this safe, common drug.</p> <p> If this debate were as simple as the economics I&rsquo;ve laid out, nearly everyone would support over-the-counter options for birth control.&nbsp; But there are special interests that benefit from maintaining birth control&rsquo;s status as a controlled substance.</p> <p> Big drug companies benefit greatly from the Affordable Care Act&rsquo;s contraception mandate. The mandate means that nearly every woman in the U.S. currently uses first-dollar insurance coverage to buy birth control. This hides the cost of consumption for her, and allows pharmaceuticals to raise the prices that insurers must pay for these products.&nbsp; Those costs are built into our premiums and we all end up paying more as a result. &nbsp;This price-shielding process also encourages the consumption of the covered products (shifting consumers away from non-covered contraceptives, like condoms, or toward the more expensive products among those covered), which can mean big profits for these companies.</p> <p> Planned Parenthood&rsquo;s stance on expanding access to birth control may be illogical in light of their mission statement, but it is perfectly logical when you consider the group&rsquo;s financial interests. Planned Parenthood rakes in $1.2 billion annually; more than a third of their services involve providing contraception to women (and billing third parties for those costs).&nbsp; As a major provider of birth control and the nation&rsquo;s number one abortion provider, why would Planned Parenthood support other options for women?&nbsp; The group is simply serving its own self-interest, trying to hang on to the status quo that leads to big business and big dollars for them. Who&rsquo;s working against women now?</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> HeathMon, 29 Sep 2014 16:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAs NFL faces troubles, NBA is also addressing player conduct off the court HeathTue, 23 Sep 2014 08:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumInversion Dust Up: WH cracks down on companies trying to escape taxes HeathTue, 23 Sep 2014 08:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumISIS Forces Growing: Reports ISIS paying foreign fighters $1,000 a month HeathTue, 23 Sep 2014 08:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe Emma Watson UN Speech<p> British Actress Emma Watson, best known for her role as Hermione in the Harry Potter films, recently <a href="">gave a speech on feminism</a> before the United Nations. Her speech is making shockwaves around the Internet.</p> <p> Watson emphasized that feminism is not by definition a man-hating movement. She repeated the dictionary definition of feminism, and yep, no man-hating required.</p> <p> Sadly, <a href="">there</a> are <a href="">some</a> examples <a href="">of women</a> who hate men and are very forthcoming about it. The technical name for this would be misandry.&nbsp; But it&rsquo;s not too difficult to confuse with more radical camps of feminism that paint all men (or most men) as violent rapists, sexist oppressors, or at least complicit members of a patriarchal system designed to hurt women.</p> <p> I &ndash; and I imagine many of the women sharing and liking the video of her speech &ndash; appreciate Watson&rsquo;s attempt to separate the ideal of gender equality from this kind of male stereotyping that pits men and women against each other.</p> <p> At IWF, we have long emphasized that women&rsquo;s and men&rsquo;s interests are tied.&nbsp; Greater freedom for women &ndash; especially the freedom to access health care and education &ndash; boosts global economies and supports stabilized civilization. Economies grow better when we recognize that <a href="">economies are not like static pies</a> to be divided between women and men, but built and shared as men and women work together.</p> <p> Men and women can work together <a href="">in the home</a> too: Refreshingly, Watson underscored the importance of <a href="'s-Day">fatherhood</a>, subtly making the case for two-parent households. &ldquo;I needed him as much as I needed my mother,&rdquo; she said of her father. Watson discussed the hardships men face as well, pointing out that suicide has surpassed road accidents as the leading killer of young men in Britain.</p> <p> One of the criticisms of feminism that Watson did not mention was the criticism that too often progressive feminists see more and bigger government as the only solution to women&rsquo;s problems. They don&rsquo;t see non-government centric solutions (like the ones we&rsquo;ve laid out in<em> <a href="">Lean Together</a></em>, our new book).&nbsp; This is why groups like the National Organization for Women in the U.S. have gained the reputation of being more about the interests of the Democratic Party than about women.&nbsp; And this agenda is isolating to women who believe that government should be limited.</p> <p> But, in her defense, Watson did applaud &ldquo;inadvertent feminists&rdquo; or people who encourage women and girls to succeed in their individual attitudes and actions. This was another refreshing takeaway from the speech: We can all help the cause of gender equality by taking some individual responsibility in the matter. Hey, she even quoted Edmund Burke!</p> <p> One aspect of her speech that deserves greater discussion was her dismissal of gender differences. Watson basically accepts that gender is a social construct that should be viewed on a spectrum, rather than the binary male versus female.&nbsp; She believes that because of cultural expectations, men are not welcome to be sensitive, and women are not welcome to be strong. &nbsp;These cultural expectations will vary wildly from one part of the world to another, but in inviting women and men to just &ldquo;be ourselves,&rdquo; Watson should keep in mind that some characteristics of masculinity and femininity <em>may be innate and very much a part of who we are</em>.</p> <p> In terms of public policy, Watson mentioned a few specifics: wage equality, educational equality, and political representation among others. Again, we must keep in mind that she was addressing an international audience, and the advancement of women looks very different from country to country.&nbsp;</p> <p> But let&rsquo;s hope that Watson and others who emulate her well-intentioned efforts to restore feminism to its dictionary definition and to invite more people to its cause will aim for the right definition of women&rsquo;s advancement: more freedom and choice for women in all areas of their life. This includes keeping more of their tax dollars, choosing how and where to access their own health care and education, and having the economic freedom to build their own business or negotiate their own wages. &nbsp;</p> <p> Watson&rsquo;s speech touched a nerve with many people, and perhaps it will help foster an important discussion of gender equality, what it looks like at home and abroad, and how to ensure greater progress for men and women culturally, economically, and politically.</p> HeathMon, 22 Sep 2014 12:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumBurden: It's What's for Dinner<p> The Slate blog is featuring an article from Amanda Marcotte called, &ldquo;<a href="">The Tyranny of the Home-Cooked Family Dinner</a>.&rdquo;&nbsp; Yes, ISIS is terrorizing the world, but all Ms. Marcotte can find to write about is how oppressive are those pork chops!&nbsp; (And Jessica Valenti wonders, &ldquo;<a href="">Why aren&rsquo;t tampons free?</a>&rdquo;)</p> <p> Come on, feminists, can&rsquo;t spare any ink for <a href="">Rotherham</a>?</p> <p> Here&rsquo;s a sampling from Amanda Marcotte on home-cooked dinners:</p> <blockquote> <span style="font-size:14px;">Beyond just the time and money constraints, women find that their very own families present a major obstacle to their desire to provide diverse, home-cooked meals. The women interviewed faced not just children but grown adults who are whiny, picky, and ungrateful for their efforts. &ldquo;We rarely observed a meal in which at least one family member didn&rsquo;t complain about the food they were served,&rdquo; the researchers write. Mothers who could afford to do so often wanted to try new recipes and diverse ingredients, but they knew that it would cause their families to reject the meals. &ldquo;Instead, they continued to make what was tried and true, even if they didn&rsquo;t like the food themselves.&rdquo; The saddest part is that picky husbands and boyfriends were just as much, if not more, of a problem than fussy children.</span></blockquote> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Usually I don&rsquo;t respond when I think American feminists have gone too far. I agree with Napoleon that you should never interrupt your enemy when she&rsquo;s making a mistake. Surely rhetoric like this from Marcotte and others only serves to turn many mainstream American women off from the modern-day feminist movement. Plus, often I can just enjoy a response from someone wonderful like IWF&rsquo;s Charlotte Hays, IWF&rsquo;s Julie Gunlock, or the Federalist&rsquo;s Mollie Hemingway (<a href="">who did respond here</a>).</p> <p> To her credit, Marcotte pointed out some real hurdles to cooking dinner, like time and money constraints, which I&rsquo;m sure can affect some families more than others. But the thing I found particularly troubling about Marcotte&rsquo;s piece was in the final paragraph:</p> <blockquote> <span style="font-size:14px;">The researchers quote food writer Mark Bittman, who says that the goal should be &ldquo;to get people to see cooking as a joy rather than a burden.&rdquo; But while cooking &ldquo;is at times joyful,&rdquo; they argue, the main reason that people see cooking mostly as a burden is because it&nbsp;is&nbsp;a burden. It&#39;s expensive and time-consuming and often done for a bunch of ingrates who would rather just be eating fast food anyway. If we want women&mdash;or gosh, men, too&mdash;to see cooking as fun, then these obstacles need to be fixed first. And whatever burden is left needs to be shared.</span></blockquote> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> This isn&rsquo;t just about cooking anymore. This reflects an attitude too common in our culture today that, if something is a burden, run from it! Seek only your own pleasure at all costs. Never mind the consequences.</p> <p> Look, I love to watch &ldquo;Chopped,&rdquo; and yesterday I made some banging crab ragoons. Cooking (in my childless home) is more often a joy for me.&nbsp; But I understand that many people just don&rsquo;t like it. But we all make choices to do things we don&rsquo;t like doing: Cleaning my house is a burden. Paying my bills? Oh yeah, burden.&nbsp; Going to work sometimes feels like a burden too.&nbsp; Sometimes our friends and family members create all sorts of burdens for us.&nbsp; And there&rsquo;s no arguing that despite the immeasurable joy that parenthood brings, kids create a burden.&nbsp;</p> <p> But my goodness, my life is not all about me! I&rsquo;m afraid we&rsquo;ve lost sight of the fact that duties, responsibilities, burdens&hellip; all of these restrictions on our freedom and our personal pleasure&hellip; bring deep meaning and reward to our lives. &nbsp;</p> HeathThu, 4 Sep 2014 09:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumYes Means Yes, But...<p> The state of California is considering a &ldquo;yes means yes&rdquo; law that would require &ldquo;ongoing affirmative consent&rdquo; during sexual encounters. Otherwise, these encounters could be considered sexual assault.</p> <p> This is a misguided attempt to micromanage sex, and an insult to both men and women.&nbsp;The effort to expand the definition of sexual assault stems from the concern that there is a &ldquo;culture of rape&rdquo; on college campuses. Unfortunately, this problem needs more than a legal response. Naturally, if there is a &ldquo;rape culture,&rdquo; it needs a&nbsp;cultural&nbsp;response.</p> <p> Instances of rape are real and horrendous. If a man forces a woman to have sex with him, he is the vilest of criminals and should be sentenced to severe prison time. When a woman goes to law enforcement with an accusation of rape, this should&nbsp;alwaysbe treated with utmost sensitivity and seriousness. Our justice system should weigh the evidence, find a verdict, and follow through accordingly.</p> <p> But the activities in question in California &mdash; the ambiguous &ldquo;Was it assault?&rdquo; cases &mdash; are not so straightforward. Usually a young man and a young woman have put themselves in a compromising situation and have failed to communicate their desires, intents, and limitations to each another. Often, drugs or alcohol are involved. In such cases, a college man might find himself suspended, expelled, or otherwise punished by a college tribunal, even though his intent was never to rape or assault the woman involved.</p> <p> These circumstances suggest that the two parties may not have known each other very well when the sexual activity took place. Ideally, before people become physically involved, they should be having sober and serious conversations about what&rsquo;s okay and what&rsquo;s not okay.</p> <p> Problems, in other words, are much more likely to arise when strangers become sexual partners.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> Many would prefer not to acknowledge it, but really &ldquo;rape culture&rdquo; is strongly associated with hookup culture, or a culture that devalues sexual acts. If sex is just another activity people use to get high, by means other than (or in addition to) drugs or alcohol, then they&rsquo;re missing the truly intimate nature of sex. Yes, sex can be fun and can release into our brains and bodies hormones that make us feel good physically. But sex is meant to be so much more than that.</p> <p> Sex creates and maintains a bond between two people, sometimes in a way that transcends our human understanding. Perhaps that&rsquo;s why, in nature, the act can come with serious side effects such as the&nbsp;life-creating condition of pregnancy.</p> <p> If we want young people to avoid putting themselves in situations where they feel pressured into sex, we&rsquo;ve got to change the expectation that sex is ubiquitous on campus and just another way to blow off some steam on a Friday night.</p> <p> We&rsquo;ve got to make saying no an acceptable &mdash; and, yes, even&nbsp;respectable&nbsp;&mdash; position for both college women and college men to take. Especially if you are at a frat party with someone you barely know, it&rsquo;s not advisable to bare it all. This not only opens the door to miscommunication or unclear &ldquo;ongoing affirmative consent&rdquo; that might be misread in body language or nonverbal signals, but it degrades an act that&rsquo;s meant to be shared by mates whose intimacy goes far beyond the physical.</p> <p> Of course, many people do not share my view of sex.&nbsp; But we should all be able to agree that if people are adult enough to have sex, they should be adult enough to communicate without government-imposed, DMV-style rules about how one must say &ldquo;yes.&rdquo;</p> <p> It&rsquo;s important to teach our sons and daughters that engaging in sex means making sure &mdash; even if it&rsquo;s uncomfortable &mdash; that the other party is giving consent.&nbsp; The best way to ensure that this is a natural and comfortable conversation is to instill in the next generation a respect for the sexual act as part of a more serious relationship, not an activity to be shared between strangers.</p> <p> Yes means yes, but when it comes to casual &ldquo;hooking up,&rdquo; no is better.</p> HeathThu, 4 Sep 2014 08:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHacker leaks celebrity photos. Black cloud over the iCloud? • Cavuto HeathTue, 2 Sep 2014 14:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSeptember stock slump & another plane diverted after reclining seat argument • Cavuto HeathTue, 2 Sep 2014 14:09:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum