Birth control is quickly becoming the new frontier in the Republican war on women’s health as more and more anti-choice activists seek to make prevention of pregnancy impossible and possibly illegal. After the Obama administration accepted an expert panel’s recommendations that health insurance plans cover birth control with no co-pays, conservatives quickly slammed the decision as frivolous “feminist pork” and even a “conspiracy to eradicate the poor.” Rep. Steve King (R-IA) railed against the decision this summer, insisting that free birth control would “prevent a generation” from being born and make America a “dying civilization.”
Today, GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul jumped on the bandwagon. A staunch libertarian, Paul usually goes to extreme lengths to keep government out of people’s lives. But when it comes to women’s bodies, he’s all in. Blasting the birth control decision as a “rigid regulatory overstep,” Paul insisted that President Obama’s decision to ensure greater access to birth control without “careful consideration” of Christian conservatives as outright “mockery“:
“I am deeply troubled by the flippancy with which President Obama recently discussed regulations that are alarming and troublesome for many Americans,” said Rep. Paul (R-Texas). “Not all Americans are comfortable with the Obama administration’s decision to mandate coverage of birth control and morning-after pills, and the considerations of these people, many of them Christian conservatives, are worthy of careful consideration — not mockery.” [...]
“Many, like me, view this rigid regulatory overstep from which there is inadequate opportunity to self-exempt as payback to Planned Parenthood and big pharmaceutical companies for their support of Obamacare,” Paul said. “Many others oppose it out of strict moral conviction, and their voices should be heard at least to the extent that an authentic opportunity to exempt be provided.”
Of course, the fact that more young Christians are actually having pre-marital sex might make the administration’s decision more appealing to faithful women hoping to avoid pregnancy until marriage.
Deaf to reality, Paul went on and promised, as president, “to defund Obamacare and all federal programs that use tax money taken from the American people to promote abortion and provide abortion services domestically and globally.” “I pledge also to veto any bill with funding for Planned Parenthood or any other international family planning regimes,” he added.
The fact that Paul has wrapped an anti-birth control stance into his presidential platform is not surprising given the in-roads right-wing activists are making with extremely radical anti-abortion legislation. About 1,000 anti-choice bills are being pushed through legislatures across the country, including a number of “personhood” bills that, by redefining life at the moment of fertilization, “turn common forms of birth control into the legal equivalent of a homicide.” House Republicans’ new draft budget not only slashes the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, it eliminates Title X Family Planning funding altogether.
Defending her the panel’s recommendation Wednesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said, “We’ve come a long way in women’s health over the last few decades, but we are in a war” for health services. Republicans “don’t just want to go after the last 18 months,” she added. “They want to roll back the last 50 years in progress women have made in comprehensive healthcare in America.”