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Thursday, October 27, 2016

On Birth Control, GOP Shoots Itself In The Foot

In their unflagging efforts to distance themselves from mainstream America, Republican leaders have gleefully seized upon a social issue that’s guaranteed to backfire in November:

Birth control.

If you’re mystified, you’re not alone. Ignoring years of public-opinion polls, the GOP is boldly marching backward into the 1960s to question whether contraception is a legitimate health-care benefit.

The target, as always, is President Obama. He issued an executive mandate requiring that free birth control be included in health plans provided to employees of schools, charities and hospitals connected to religiously affiliated institutions.

Although the mandate excludes churches, Roman Catholic bishops are in a huff, saying the contraception provision violates the First Amendment and “freedom of religion.”

Never mind that Obama softened the rule so that the insurance companies, not the employers, will pay for the coverage. Never mind that many employees served by these healthcare plans don’t share the same religion as the institute for whom they work.

Republican strategists see the controversy as another opportunity to bash Obama’s healthcare reforms, and also to rile up white Christian evangelicals who don’t like the president anyway.

As political miscalculations go, this one could be epic. If you’re looking for a sure way to galvanize female voters against your own party, attack birth control.

Whom does the administration’s mandate help? Teachers, secretaries, nurses, lab techs — working women who can’t afford, or don’t choose, to get pregnant.

Yet to hear the yowls of outrage, you’d think these hospitals and schools were being ordered to round up their workers and force-feed them birth-control pills against their will.

Leading the opposition are Catholic bishops, whose archaic dictums against contraception are widely disregarded by their own flock. According to most surveys, about 98 percent of sexually active Catholic women use some type of birth control.

  • pisces62

    Isn’t it amazing everything they are attacking pertains to women!! No insurance I ever had or my husband, I work for one, paid for my birth control. Before 1993, it was running over $40.00 a month, then. Now, one is attacking girl scouts. Passing bills for invasive ultra sounds using a scope. I wish they would use that scope on each of the men. The worse???? Congress talking about a woman’s subject but not allowing women in the meeting. What’s next? I know!! The Droit du seigneur.

  • PatrickHenry

    Everyone know that this is an erosion of our 1st. Amendment Right. Don’t try to spin it as an attack on women’s rights…

  • imabrummie

    And if those intellectually bankrupt enough vote Ayatollah Santorum into the White House, conditions for women will only become more repressive. What’s next? Maybe women will be banned from driving and have to wear a burka in public places. Perhaps this specimen should go try to become the top dog in Afghanistan where such repressive policies are already in effect.

  • smartcookie

    Exactly who is it that congress is representing? If a majority of Americans agree with the president, then maybe Congress should back off. Maybe it’s time to rethink our representation. Why do we need elected officials to speak for us? That system was developed before current day communications systems. Americans are much better informed than they were 200+ years ago (with the possible exception of those who watch Fox News). Why can’t the American people have a more direct way of making these decisions that affect our lives? Maybe it’s time for significant change….

  • Howz 1

    It’s amazing how similar the Republicans are becoming to the Taliban, since both want to restrict personal freedom in the name of religion. Makes you wonder why we are even fighting them if we spend our time adopting their polices. Republicans want submissive women but only the Southern Baptists had the courage to come out and just say it, Just like the Taliban do, and also want complete control over the reproductive rights. Both legislate who you can marry, or how many(women out number men 4-1) so if you don’t change the arcahic laws there will be more pressure for same sex marriages. The Catholic priests rape young boys just like the Taliban does. See how similar the Republican and Taliban really are.

  • PamelaT

    I think if congress and Sadam Santorum want to attack women and reproduction rights and decisions…in contrast men should not be allowed to have prostate exams/prostates removed/or coverage for prostate cancer as that promotes stopping the child birth process and is a form of birth control. I think mem should just die of prostate cancer as their treatment is birth control and health insurance companies especially the catholic ones should not cover prostate removal/cancer and any form of removal of prostate even if it saves the mans life as they do not believe in birth control. This measure should start at the vatican and next sadam santorum.

  • Dik

    Mr. Hiaasen;

    All this discussion of rights to health care ignores one basic question. “Where, either morally or constitutionally, am I given the right to have the government coerce others to pay my health care expenses?”

    Dik Thurston
    Colorado Springs

  • Sleipnir

    The republicans and religious zealots have no objection to insurance paying for Viagra for men. If they think birth control is a choice for women then men choosing to use Viagra to be able to get it up which is not a medical necessity should not be covered by insurance. Like PamelaT I agree prostate exams is preventative care and treatment for prostate cancer is a form of birth control. Having said that, unlike the republicans and religious zealots, I believe everyone should have access to preventative care and treatment be they men or women. To bad the so called christian conservatives don’t practice what the bible preaches….compassion.

  • gr8shoes

    I am tired of men talking about the war on women and reproductive rights as if it were about Healthcare and Obama. It’s not, this is the decades old right wing war on women. Since 1972 the GOP has tried to reverse ROE when that didn’t work on the national level they went to the states, and have slowly been chipping away at women’s reproductive rights. This is just the most recent attack, it’s not just about abortion anymore, tho it never really was. It is an institutional lack of respect for woman and our ability to make decisions for ourselves regarding our bodies. So my question is, “If I’m too stupid to make a decision about birth control, how can you trust me with a baby?” These guys are just NUTS and they really, really hate & fear women.

  • jcurtis595

    Who says there’s no time machine. The Republican party has found one. They have traveled back to the 13th Century. Watch out !! First an attack on condoms. Then take away women’s right to vote. The Spanish Inquisition is just around the corner with them. THROW OUT ALL REPUBLICANS — ALL

    Jay Curtis (author of THE CODE)

  • Michael Prosser

    In 1968, the Lambeth Conference of the Church of England was having a discussion about whether to name the Roman Catholic pope as “primus inter pares” (first among equals) for the world-wide Christian Church. At that time, Pope Paul VI’s Papal Commission deliberating the merits of natural versus medical (the pill, for example) birth control. It was widely expected that Paul VI would endorse their view that medical contraception and birth control methods were morally justified. However, in his indecision Pope Paul VI, continued Catholic teaching that such birth control was morally indefensible. Before the Lambeth Conference ended, the idea that the pope should be recognized as “First among Equals” was deleted from their agenda, and a statement was expressed at the sorrow they felt that Paul VI had caused for women everywhere, and particularly Catholic women. That year, the Catholic Church saw a major decline among active and practicing Catholics; a large number of Catholic priests and religious sisters asked to be relieved of their vows, or simply left their religious calling. Relatively speaking, it was a disaster for the Church, and seriously diminished papal authority to speak on moral questions of that sort. Much later, many African bishops called for the use of condoms to prevent the widespread increase in HIV/AIDS, but Pope John Paul II, strongly condemned their arguments. Most recently, Pope Benedict XVI has appeared to show some sympathy for the use of condoms to prevent HIV/AIDS or within the context of marriage, but only rather ambiguously. In any case, as is noted above, almost all Catholic women approve of the use of various birth control methods. Curiously enough also, the Church has consistently condemned government sponsored executions, but a large number of Catholics disagree with that Church teaching and support executions, while the US remains one of the few industralized nations that still supports (state by state, or not) such executions. So one thing is clear, the Catholic Church’s moral teachings, while important guidelines for believers, often face the reality of people’s individual consciences where Catholics often agree with one papal teaching, but disagree with another one. The Catholic bishops have the right to express their own faith beliefs, but individual believers must be able to follow their own consciences, which may in some cases mean agreement or diagreement with the moral prescriptions of the Church, whether Republican, Democrat, or Independent in the US presidential elections.

  • valszy

    The first phrase of the 1st amendment pertains to the right to be free FROM the influences of religion, the freedom of religion phrase comes after. “congress shall make no law RESPECTING (not establishing) an establishment of religion,” then on to religious freedom. Respecting is a very low threshold. I believe tax exempt status for any religion violates the first amendment.

  • Jim Groom

    If the Catholic Church bishops want to be taken seriously, instead of as the clowns they appear to be, they have to address the religious freedom problem within the church. Stop the whinning about birth control and start controlling the men in the church. They have stalled and lawyered up over and over to avoid the problem the priests have with little boys. If and when that travesty is taken care of perhaps then they will have moral authority to discuss women’s health issues…but we all know that is not going to happen. Disingenious if not just dishonesty coming from the bishops is just self-serving paplum.

  • stsintl

    As a secular civilized society, we must consider the Rights of women who freely choose to prevent or safely terminate their pregnancies earlier, under the guidance and care of clergy and health care professionals. Since parents have been given the Right, the Responsibility, and the authority for care and welfare of the children born to them until they reach puberty, it must be then concluded that their Rights, Responsibilities, and the authority for the unborn fetuses supersede those of the State or the self-proclaimed guardians of faith. The “Rule of Law” must then be established to protect these Rights and Responsibilities for the parents, and health care professionals who assist them, without fear of intimidation from others. While we all agree that a human life ends when the soul leaves the body, no one knows for sure as to when the soul enters the body and human life begins. Therefore, those who claim that: “The use of violence to protect human life from attack is not intrinsically immoral”, need to first establish as to what is human life and when does it begin. Life exists in all forms from cells, which can only be seen through power full microscopes to giant elephants that roam the earth. What distinguishes all forms of life from “human life” is existence of soul. While it is universally accepted that human life ends when the soul departs the body, there is no certainty as to when the soul enters the body to start the human life. Does the soul enter the body at birth when the newborn takes the first breath in the world outside the mother’s womb? Or, does it enter when the development of heart is complete and starts to beat? Or, does it enter the fertilized ovary as it makes its way to the wall of the mother’s uterus? However, we can say this much, beyond reasonable doubt, that the soul does not enter the fertilized embryo cells. The US Supreme Court needs to first establish, beyond reasonable doubt, the point at which the human soul enters the body during pregnancy to start a human life, before they can overturn the well-known “Roe-V-Wade” decision. Otherwise, the fetus is no more than a glob of living cells, just like other parts of the expectant mother’s body, giving women their full Rights to its care, development and/or disposition, within their own moral and ethical framework. In the hierarchy of Rights, the rights of an individual must be higher than the rights of the family, the community, the State government, the Federal government, and/or five judges of the Supreme Court. In a civilized society, an individual like Rick Santorum, or Catholic Bishops, and even the State and Federal governments, must then Respect this Right without any interference or violence in this matter.


    time to turn the ” party ” out on it’s ass. the nazi’s suposedly lost the war, NOT

  • jimmyags

    When EVERY child waiting to be adopted(not just the healthy ones under 2) has a loving,supportive home we can discuss limiting these things. Until then put up or shut up.

  • tutidiez

    I just can get it why this Religious Groups (Catholics, Evangelists) love to have their Noses inside Women Viginas, and now they have invited The Sick minded and Hypocrites Right Wing Conservatives Republicans to Join in, even against Women, to me that is Called Rape,I never heard that Jesus ever told Women not to use Anticonseptives, that comes from this Pedophiles and Child Abusers Religious Groups,the same that want to be inside Women Viginas,collect millions of Dollaras from the poor without paying taxes which they should specially when they want to keep their noses inside Government, instead of keeping their fat asses inside their Church i