Sometimes, it sucks to be a man who just wants people to cooperate and work together on important issues instead of falling back on unimportant issues and sexism. I’m talking particularly about the contraception mandate and stories surrounding it.

First off, it’s not so much a mandate as it is a part of the overarching Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which the Obama administration signed into law in March 2010. Part of the act included contraception medication provided through health care packages.

Let’s also consider the recent concession to permit religiously-affiliated employers to disallow contraception coverage in their health plans because of their beliefs, but also mandates that insurance companies still have to provide affordable contraception coverage.

Additionally, there was the recently defeated bill proposed by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) that would have sidestepped the birth control component of the act and allowed employers to opt out of providing certain health care services for “moral reasons.” This would have meant that any employer could refuse things like contraception coverage for female employees because it is against his or her beliefs.

Equal opportunity should work both ways, right? Where does not covering things like birth control because of beliefs factor into this? Personally, I think that just because someone works for a company doesn’t mean that his or her boss can or should force his or her opinions or beliefs on that person.

Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke entered the national spotlight recently because of her comments about a Congressional hearing on religion and contraception control — where only a panel of older white men were called as witnesses to talk about birth control and religion.

Let me rephrase this: Older white men, some with more religious affiliations than others, were part of a hearing on contraception.

Fluke was originally called as a witness for Democrats, but was barred by Republicans. She posted her testimony, in video form, about a need for insurance companies and religious organizations to provide free contraceptive care — motivated by a friend who couldn’t afford birth control medication for her polycystic ovary syndrome.

About a week after her testimony, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh caught wind and went on a four-day tirade against Fluke, slandering her and stepping well over the line of what is considered acceptable. He clearly took her testimony the wrong way, claiming that women in her law program were “having so much sex that they were going broke.”

He tossed around words like “slut” and “prostitute” and suggested that if Fluke wanted to be “paid to have sex” that she should post videos of such acts online. Thankfully, however, he issued a somewhat half-assed apology over the weekend.

I can’t even begin to say how wrong all of this seems. You’ve got older white men on a panel about contraception and another old white man, who is on his fourth marriage without children, calling a law student a “slut” because contraceptive care, which he doesn’t seem to understand, is too expensive for law students. Maybe in his mind, contraceptive pills are like candy, or in his case, Viagra.

Look, I’m all for affordable health care of any and all kinds, but does it really need to be this big of an issue, especially during an election year? Focus on things like the economy. Rebuild infrastructure. And for the time being, just let women have affordable, if not free, contraceptive care and stop dicking around in their business.