Conservatives are lashing out at the Obama administration’s decision to listen to the experts at the Institute of Medicine and approve their recommendation to require new health insurance plans to cover birth control with no co-pays. During a floor speech last night, Rep. Steve King added his voice to the conservative chorus denouncing the very idea of birth control. In apocalyptic tones, King warned that free birth control would “prevent a generation” from being born and make America a “dying civilization”:
KING: They’ve called it preventative medicine. Preventative medicine. Well if you applied that preventative medicine universally what you end up with is you’ve prevented a generation. Preventing babies from being born is not medicine. That’s not— that’s not constructive to our culture and our civilization. If we let our birth rate get down below replacement rate we’re a dying civilization.
As astonishing as it might seem that Republicans would object to something as widely accepted and used as birth control, King illustrates that many conservatives despise contraception altogether for “preventing babies from being born.” King goes so far as to say that birth control “is not medicine.” Some Republicans have decried birth control as tantamount to abortion and signed on to legislation that would effectively outlaw it. These so-called “personhood laws” would make criminals out of the 15.3 million women in the U.S. who use hormonal birth control.
King’s dire predictions are laughably uninformed. Contraception and other family planning services dramatically reduce the number of abortions and save states billions of dollars each year. In other words, facilitating women’s access to birth control benefits society at large and is the fiscally conservative position, which is why 78 percent of Americans support government-subsidized birth control.
Media Matters points out that there are three million unintended pregnancies in the U.S. each year, 20 percent of which end in abortion. “But, according King’s logic, all those accidental pregnancies are actually the desired outcome.” Apparently nothing upsets conservatives more than the idea of women being able to control their own reproductive health.
(HT: Political Correction)