Birth control is under attack by all of the candidates competing for the Republican presidential nomination.
By Adele M. Stan
February 7, 2012 |
Back in the good old days, a kinder, gentler Republican Party, seeking to punish women who dared to have sex for the pleasure of it, targeted only those who accidentally got pregnant — by forcing them to bring their fetuses to term. Today, it seems, that scheme doesn’t punish enough women for the perceived sexual sins committed by so many. In the GOP of the 21st century, the standard bearers aim to make sure you pay for your pleasure with a pregnancy and childbirth.
Everywhere you look, birth control is under attack, most notably by all of the candidates competing for the Republican presidential nomination. To advance the cause, the candidates are allied with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which has cleverly framed its war against women as an issue of religious freedom — a talking point that the candidates, especially frontrunner Mitt Romney and the second-place Newt Gingrich, have jumped on.
For the Republican base, with its antipathy to what it calls “Obamacare,” the controversy over birth control is quite perfect. That base, as it exists today, is largely composed of the religious right, which stands in opposition to women’s equality, and the Tea Party movement, which was organized by political operators in opposition to the healthcare reform legislation that became law in 2009 as the Affordable Care Act.
At a deeper level, though, the appropriation of the bishops’ position by the Republican candidates is the full-flower expression of what might be called the Romanizing of the Protestant right — a cross-pollination of convenience between historically opposed factions of Christendom, a phenomenon that has unfolded with little fanfare over the course of the last three decades.