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Mitt Romney And The GOP’s War On Birth Control

The  night of the Florida Republican primary, Hotline National editor Josh Kraushaar  (@HotlineJosh) Tweeted, “Romney line about religious  liberty CLEAR reference to Obama health law on contraceptives. Sleeper issue in  general.”

With  the Colorado Republican caucuses on Tuesday, I can only respond, “Oh please oh  please oh please.”

Here’s  the real question: How much will former Gov. Mitt Romney and the Republican Party’s  hostility to birth control cost them with voters, especially women voters, in the fall?

This  is not about religion. This is about a Republican party actively campaigning  against contraception, something that is  enormously popular with the electorate. I would love nothing more than  Mitt Romney going around the country telling voters he wants to take their birth control away, which he’s  pretty much doing already. Seriously dude, bring it.

According  to the Center for Disease Control, 99 percent of American women use birth control during their reproductive lifetime. According to a Reuters report on a Guttmacher Institute study, 98 percent of sexually active Catholic women use some form of birth control banned by the church. And a NPR/Thompson Reuters  poll found that 77 percent of Americans favor insurance coverage for the birth control  pill.

In  swing state Colorado, there are approximately 114,000 more women voters than men, and they vote in higher percentages than men do. Personhood measures that would ban birth control have failed repeatedly  by landslide margins, and the  2010 version probably cost Ken Buck a Senate seat. Personhood even failed in  Mississippi, the most religious-conservative state in the country.

Meanwhile  all the Republican candidates are actively  campaigning against Title X and family planning funding. A plank in the  Republican platform upholds the “life  begins at conception” foundation  of “personhood”, which would ban the most  commonly-used forms of contraception such as the Pill and IUDs. Mitt Romney has  repeatedly  embraced “personhood”, most notably in 2005 when he vetoed a bill  expanding access to emergency contraception for rape survivors “because  it  would terminate a living embryo after conception”.

For  those of you, like Mitt Romney, unsure how birth control works and why “personhood” would ban it Rachel Maddow goes into the Man Cave to explain it  all to you.

As  for the Obama administration’s decision that Catholic  institutions have a year to figure out how to include birth control in  their insurance coverage under  the Affordable Care Act, Rep. Xavier  Becerra, a Catholic, explained it beautifully on Meet the Press:  Religious employers,  like any other business that offers insurance, can’t discriminate against women by excluding reproductive healthcare.

Anyone  who doubts the power of contraception and women’s healthcare as an issue need  only see the blowback against the Komen foundation by  supporters of Planned  Parenthood. I’ve been in politics for 20 years, and I’ve never seen a public fusillade like this one. Komen badly  underestimated not only how many Americans  have used Planned  Parenthood’s services—1 in 5—but how many people support Planned Parenthood because they provide healthcare, including birth  control, without judgment.

The  pundit class piled on George Stephanopoulos for asking a  question about  contraception at the January ABC News debate. Apparently since it didn’t fit within the Cool Kids Acceptable Topics list, it wasn’t worth asking. And Romney fumbled the question badly, just as badly as he did the question on releasing  his taxes. It was the rhetorical equivalent of strapping the dog kennel to the top of his car.

But  it’s entirely worth asking for the millions of average American working families who get by on $50,000 a year and can’t afford to have another kid.  It’s entirely relevant to millions of American women whose  economic and  physical well-being is dictated by when and if they get  pregnant.  Self-determining the size of your family is a baseline economic issue.

Mitt  Romney and the Republicans are welcome to campaign against contraception all  they want, because they are on the wrong side of that issue with voters by a landslide.


By: Laura Chapin, U. S. News and World Report, February 6, 2012

February 7, 2012 - Posted by | Women's Health | , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] Mitt Romney And The GOP’s War On Birth Control ( […]


    Pingback by Mitt Romney, the front-runner who leaves the GOP cold – The Washington Post « Ye Olde Soapbox | February 7, 2012 | Reply

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