MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin — A Tea Party senator had a curious piece of advice for the millions of women across the country who can’t afford contraception coverage: go online and Google how to get birth control.
ThinkProgress spoke with freshman Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) about the matter this weekend at the Americans For Prosperity’s Defending the American Dream Summit in Milwaukee. Johnson has been vociferous in his attacks on the new regulation that requires insurance companies to cover birth control.
Given his opposition, we asked the Wisconsin senator what advice he would have for women in the country who can’t afford the cost of contraception. (A recent survey found one in three American women voters have struggled with to afford birth control.) Johnson’s advice: go online and type in, “what if I can’t afford birth control?” “If you can’t afford it, you can get birth control in this country,” Johnson explained. When we asked for clarification, he said, “You can get it. Go online, type it in. It’s easy to get.”
KEYES: What do we say to the millions of women who can’t afford access to birth control?
JOHNSON: My wife actually went online here in Wisconsin and typed in, “what if I can’t afford birth control?” Came up, bam. If you can’t afford it, you can get birth control in this country. That’s a straw-dog argument. There’s no conservative who’s trying to deny women health care or contraceptives. We’re just saying this is an issue of religious freedom. [...]
KEYES: What do you mean, “if you can’t afford it you can get it?”
JOHNSON: You can get it. Go online, type it in. It’s easy to get.
ThinkProgress went online and Googled “what if I can’t afford birth control?” The very first link explained that the entire process, from the initial exam to a follow-up to the pills themselves, can cost upwards of $210 the first month. The rest of the first-page results included two sites informing women that if they can’t afford contraceptives, “don’t have sex,” four sites attacking Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke, and one site explaining how birth control is a lot more expensive than many believe.