Majority rejects GOP arguments on birth control.
Americans overwhelmingly regard the debate over President Barack Obama’s policy on employer-provided contraceptive coverage as a matter of women’s health, not religious freedom, rejecting Republicans’ rationale for opposing the rule. More than three-quarters say the topic shouldn’t even be a part of the U.S. political debate.
More than six in 10 respondents to a Bloomberg National Poll — including almost 70 percent of women — say the issue involves health care and access to birth control, according to the survey taken March 8-11.
It’s hard to see how Republicans expected thing to turn out any other way. The stereotype is that politicians’ positions are market-tested and focus-grouped to death. How could they not have done that here? This is a scandal of leadership incompetence, as much as it’s a policy disaster for the GOP.
More than half of those interviewed also say radio host Rush Limbaugh, who called a female law student testifying publicly in favor of birth-control coverage a “slut” and “prostitute,” should be fired based solely on those comments
I can go along with that.
Michael Ramirez you are shit and will always be shit.
Let’s run a little thought experiment here. Imagine you work for an employer who opposes contraception on “moral grounds.” Now, imagine that employer had the ability to bar you from buying contraception using money from your paycheck. “I don’t want my money paying for something I oppose as a matter of religious conviction,” he says.
Now, is it his money or is it yours? I don’t think anyone would argue that, once he hands you the paycheck, it’s still his money. Isn’t the “religious conscience” argument just an argument that your employer owns your health insurance, despite the fact that it’s part of your compensation?
Like the paycheck, the money stops being the employer’s money once it’s applied to you. It’s your money, it’s your insurance, and what you do with it is none of their business.
To call anything other than that “freedom” is an abuse of logic and the English language.
On contraception coverage, reality’s liberal bias strikes again.
In recent weeks, conservatives have complained about being forced to pay for other people’s birth control, but a recently released study indicates that increasing availability to contraception actually saves taxpayer money.
A report released by The Brookings Institution this week showed that a $235 million program to expand access to Medicaid family planning would actually result in a savings of $1.35 billion. That’s a return on investment of over 500 percent.
Mass media campaigns and teen pregnancy prevention programs also resulted in savings, but to a lesser degree.
“Unintended pregnancy is a widespread problem with far-reaching implications: almost half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended, and the women and children involved in these pregnancies are disproportionately likely to experience a range of negative outcomes,” Georgetown Public Policy Institute Adam Thomas, who authored the paper, explained.
“The research also shows that each dollar spent on these policies would produce taxpayer savings of between two and six dollars,” Adams concluded.
Obviously, this ties into the whole contraception coverage, Rush Limbaugh, Sandra Fluke, Republican nutjobs, etc.madness. While the taxpayers won’t be paying for Georgetown students’ contraception — as every shameless liar on the right has been saying — the principle is the same. And anyone who’s given it a moment’s thought should look at this study and say, “Duh!”
Look, it’s simple math. Which do you think costs more, contraceptives or nine months of prenatal care, followed by who knows how many months of post-natal care? And let’s not even throw in ongoing pediatrics. Contraceptive coverage would keep premiums lower for everyone, since the idea of insurance is shared risk and shared cost.
If you’re morally opposed to birth control, why should I care? What makes you so special? Ask a Quaker how he feels about funding the Pentagon or an Earth-loving Wiccan how she feels about funding oil, coal, and other polluters through subsidies. If you don’t care about their concerns (and, if you’re on the right, it’s eminently clear you don’t), then give me one good reason why I should care about yours.
If you want to keep taxes and insurance premiums low, you provide universal contraceptive coverage. That’s just math and math hates Republicans.
I think what Rush Limbaugh said about [Sandra Fluke] was not only vile and degrading to her, but to women across the country… The other thing about the Limbaugh story that I think is important is that it was predicated on a lie. The lie is that somehow she was asking that taxpayers pay for contraception. The policy is that in basic insurance policies, contraception, contraceptive services, birth control should be included… Even in his sort of quasi-apology last night, Mr. Limbaugh continued that falsehood.
Santorum Contracepts Logic
We start the day’s festivities off with a chorus of boos. At last night’s GOP debate in Arizona, moderator John King read a question, submitted online, to the candidates. “Since birth control is the latest hot topic, which candidate believes in birth control, and if not, why?” King asked, to a round of boos.
It seems like an obvious question. The GOP has been working overtime to make headlines with it, so why would the audience boo? Were they booing contraception? Or was it that someone would bring it up? John Aravosis has what’s the best explanation I’ve read so far:
So then why did the GOP debate audience last night boo CNN for asking a question about birth control? The reaction suggested the crowd felt it was a “gotcha” topic. But how could it be? It’s the GOP that made this a huge topic of debate the past few weeks. Or is the audience embarrassed by the issue, because they’re losing badly on it in recent polls (even Catholics agree with President Obama over their own bishops)?
Well, if you’re too embarrassed to be asked about social issues, then don’t put them at the top of your agenda. I’d have liked to have seen John King fight back a little on that one. He should have asked the candidates if they think it’s fair to ask about birth control, then tripped them up with their own statements over the past two weeks about President Obama’s contraceptive insurance plan.
I think he’s right — the whole thing has turned into a PR fiasco and Republican voters would rather forget it ever happened.
And if the audience wanted to put the BC fiasco behind them, so did most of the candidates. Gingrich dodged the question entirely. “If we’re going to have a debate about who the extremist is on these issues, it is President Obama who, as a state senator, voted to protect doctors who killed babies who survived the abortion,” Gingrich said. “It is not the Republicans.”
Leave it to Newt to dust off an old and debunked lie. Media Matters has reported that “Obama and other opponents said the bill posed a threat to abortion rights and was unnecessary because, they said, Illinois law already prohibited the conduct supposedly addressed by the bill.”
In other words, if a doctor kills a baby that’s murder. Shockingly, murder is illegal in Illinois. Gingrich is just plain wrong. No babies were harmed in the making of his little nutjob talking point.
For his part, Romney kind of waffled. He put the debate in terms of religious freedom — as if the ability to force employees to adhere to your religious beliefs amounted to some sort of towering beacon of liberty. This is the party line though and Mitt had it well-rehearsed. He did gloss over the fact that his “Romneycare” includes the same requirement.
Ron Paul, just as wrongly but perhaps less hypocritically, made it a “big government” issue. The more government becomes involved in things, the more these kind of issues will come up, he argued. That’s pretty much true, but it’s hardly an argument for restricting people’s access to birth control. It’s an argument for avoiding tough decisions.
But it was Rick Santorum who took the issue head on and, in doing so, exposed the cognitive dissonance he suffers on the issue. In the context of an earlier statement that he would talk about what “no president has talked about before — the dangers of contraception,” Rick had this to say:
What we’re seeing is a problem in our culture with respect to children being raised by children, children being raised out of wedlock, and the impact on society economically, the impact on society with respect to drug use and all — a host of other things when children have children.
Over 40 percent of children born in America are born out of wedlock. How can a country survive if children are being raised in homes where it’s so much harder to succeed economically? It’s five times the rate of poverty in single-parent households than it is in two-parent homes. We can have limited government, lower tax — we hear this all the time, cut spending, limit the government, everything will be fine. No, everything’s not going to be fine.
So, what Rick is saying is that kids are using contraception and that’s bad. They go out, have sex, and the contraception fails. But as I pointed out last night, the Guttmacher Institute released a study — just days ago — showing that teen pregnancy has fallen to its lowest level in thirty years. Further, Guttmacher credits contraception for those numbers. Kids aren’t have more babies because of contraception, the opposite is true. Just as any sane person should expect.
And that thing about kids being born out of wedlock? That means exactly what it means: people aren’t getting married. It doesn’t mean that kids are being raised in single-parent homes, it means that Mom and Dad never saw the need to tie the knot. This used to be called “common law marriage” and at one time it was the most common form of family in many states and territories. Now, it’s some sort of crisis. One that Rick needs to solve by warning America of “the dangers of contraception.” Because not using contraception will lower the birth rate and get people to start marrying again. Apparently, it’ll also reduce drug use among teens. Not sure why, but that’s Rick’s argument.
See, it’s right about here that I question Santorum’s ability to reason. This makes absolutely no sense at all. What little data he cites doesn’t back him up in any way. Is he lying or just stupid? It doesn’t really make much difference. Either way he’s wrong.
The problem with Darrell Issa and Martin Luther King.
In what universe does this comparison make sense? Issa invited a series of religious leaders to tell him what he wanted to hear about access to contraception, which the committee chairman realizes is at odds with mainstream public attitudes. But Issa feels better about his position because Dr. King’s civil rights struggle wasn’t always popular, either?
By that reasoning, anyone who takes an unpopular position on anything can feel justified drawing a parallel between themselves and MLK.
Dear Mr. Havliva,
Thank you for your letter and most appreciated contribution of recent date. This will greatly assist the work of the Freedom movement.
It is true that illegitimate birth rates are higher among Negroes than Whites as is born out by recent surveys and studies. Consequently, I have often, both publically and privately advocated the wider use of birth control methods in order to reduce the illegitimacy rates and the consequences.
It is my hope that federal and state governments will begin to appropriate large sums to educate people to the need for such devices.
My staff and I are grateful for the thought and insight in which you have expressed in your suggestions and the time which you took to present them to us.
Republican culture warring set to do them a lot of damage.
Some time around the end of February, the Senate will vote on the Blunt-Rubio amendment, which would allow insurers and employers to deny coverage for birth control or any other medical services simply on the grounds that they find them morally objectionable.
The vote was originally set for this week, but a Senate Dem leadership aide confirms to me that it will actually take place after next week’s recess, for various procedural reasons. The aide insists this will gives Dems more time to attack Republicans over the issue. “It gives us more time to build up the vote and draw more attention to the cliff Republicans are going out of their way to jump off of,” the aide says.
I’ve been speculating here that this could actually prove a good wedge issue against the GOP, in spite of the fact that much of the commentary has focused on how bad this could be for Democrats, because it could hurt them among Catholic swing voters.
I was actually going to write a longer post about exactly this before my morning went all haywire. Luckily, Sargent is likeminded enough to write most of it for me. He goes on to cite these numbers from a New York Times/CBS poll on support for the president’s compromise:
- Even Republicans support this policy, 50-44.
- Independents support it by 64-26.
- Moderates support it by 68-22.
- Women support it by 72-20.
- Catholics support it by 67-25.
- And even Catholics who attend church every week or almost every week support it by 48-43.
Further, Gallup shows that the contraception rule has had zero effect on Catholic voters’ approvals of Obama and the NYT/CBS poll Sargent cites puts Obama ahead of every GOP candidate — a poll taken after Obama detailed his compromise.
If the GOP wants to have this fight, bring it. It’s kind of suicidal.