Discussing Hillary Clinton’s reaction to the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on Hobby Lobby, Fox News host Jesse Watters suggested the presumptive presidential candidate is simply attempting to win over single female voters who want the government to pay for their birth control. He referred to that voting bloc as the “Beyoncé voters.”
Appearing as the male guest on Outnumbered, the new daytime talk show on Fox News that pits a group of female hosts against one man, Watters dismissed the concerns that Clinton raised about the low-wage workers at Hobby Lobby who will now have to foot the full cost of some types of contraception. “She’s acting like Hobby Lobby all of a sudden is telling these women that work for them to wear a burka or something like that,” he said.
“But I’m not surprised — this is her bread and butter, how she’ll try to win the White House,” Watters continued, in comments that were first reported by Buzzfeed. “She needs the single ladies vote. I call them ‘the Beyoncé voters’ — the single ladies. Obama won single ladies by 76 percent last time, and made up about a quarter of the electorate. They depend on government because they’re not depending on their husbands. They need contraception, health care, and they love to talk about equal pay.”
Watters is relying on the common conservative assumption that insurance coverage for contraception is a frivolous government handout for promiscuous women. At the beginning of this year, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R) made headlines for distilling this argument into a comparison between the government and a sugar daddy, saying Democrats want women to think they’re “helpless” without access to copay-free birth control.
Linking Beyoncé to sex is nothing new for right-wing pundits, either. In April, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly said that the singer’s “raunchy” new album is encouraging black girls to get pregnant out of wedlock. Of course, Beyoncé is responsible for the chart topper “Single Ladies,” and that may be why Watters used her name — but conservatives’ constant fixation on her sexual morals still doesn’t make much sense, considering the fact that she’s half of one of pop culture’s most famous marriages.
Although Watters suggests that women could simply get married and rely on their husbands to pay for birth control, one of the goals of the Affordable Care Act is to eliminate this gender imbalance in health costs altogether. By requiring employers to offer birth control coverage without charging an extra co-pay, the health law is trying to prevent women from paying substantially more for their preventative health care simply because of their gender. If birth control costs are no longer a burden on female employees, there will be no need for either them or their spouse to pick up that extra tab.