Thanks to Rush

It’s kind of unbelievable how stupid the right wing of the Republican Party is being lately. Between Santorum saying he’s against contraception and prenatal care, and Rush going off that women who want birth control are sluts, the profile of women’s issues and the unrelenting attacks made on them by Republicans has been elevated quite a bit. As a longtime feminist activist I can assure you this attention is solid gold to women’s groups desperately in need of funding and volunteers. It’s a gift for women who couldn’t get their Democratic representatives to take these issues seriously the past two years. It’s been a virtually unchecked onslaught against women’s rights at both the federal level and in state legislatures around the country since the 2010 midterm elections. I was worried too many women, disaffected with Obama’s wishy-washyness on women’s issues (with the gigantic exception of enacting the Affordable Care Act), would stay home in November. I’m not that worried at the moment.

Here’s an excerpt from the conservative media echo chamber trying to defend Rush (from a Media Matters blog post):

Hot Air’s Korbe: “Rush’s Comments Are Intentionally Provocative, But They Also Underscore The Point.” In a February 1 post on Hot Air, Tina Korbe wrote of the controversy surrounding Limbaugh’s comments:

Rush’s comments are intentionally provocative, but they also underscore the point that women and men who aren’t sexually active rarely have a need for contraception. Others have made the point he’s making — that if we’re gonna pay for birth control, we want something in return — in a less over-the-top way by pointing out that, if we’re going to pay for our neighbor’s birth control, then we should have a say in our neighbor’s sex life. How does that newly-coined saying go? “If you don’t want Uncle Sam in your bedroom, don’t ask Uncle Sam to pay for what goes down in your bedroom.” [Hot Air, 3/1/12, emphasis added]

What Rush and all his shrieking minions never grasp is that a. reproductive autonomy is the basis for a woman’s freedom (or maybe that’s what they actually object to?) and b. that women take birth control for both themselves and men, to protect themselves and their significant other and their existing family from unintended pregnancy. Unintended pregnancy is not the beautiful gift to all that the Republican Presidential nominees assert, although certainly many unintended pregnancies become wanted children – that is a common choice too. But forcing anyone to care for an unwanted child, whether the birth mother, a family member or the state doesn’t do anyone any good, especially the child, and there aren’t enough foster parents out there as it is. It is misery that can be greatly reduced by expanding, not contracting, access to contraception. By reducing, not multiplying unintended pregnancy.  I’ve written elsewhere about the role of abortion in contraception (not for the last time I’m sure), so I’ll skip it here.

Women bear the children for ourselves, our families, our communities and our societies. We manage our fertility ourselves, in consultation with our partner and doctor. It is not the state’s business what goes on in my bedroom or in my marriage, but the state certainly has an interest in reducing the amount of unwanted children, an interest on behalf of all the people.


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