Birth Control? Really?

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has become the darling of the Republican Party’s religious right as we head into the second quarter of the presidential primary season. Mr. Santorum’s views on many social and cultural issues are unabashed, although they are not particularly unique. He opposes gay marriage and the very idea that gay people deserve fair and equal treatment in civil society. He has attacked feminism as an assault on family values. And he opposes abortion rights.

Frankly, this critique is hardly new, as far as it goes. But Mr. Santorum actually goes further in his assaults on modern life. He has attacked the very idea of birth control, an issue that many Americans probably regard as having been settled 50 years ago.

Ordinarily, Mr. Santorum’s views could be dismissed as those of a crank. The problem is, it’s becoming clear that his growing numbers of supporters apparently agree with his implicit contention that contraception should be outlawed—in the name of Christianity.

Mr. Santorum, to his credit, hasn’t tried to hide this knuckle-dragging world view. “Many of the Christian faith have said … contraception is O.K.,” the former senator said last fall. “It’s not O.K. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.” With some pride, Mr. Santorum noted that “no president has talked about” the evils of birth control. Well, he’s right about that.

What started as a debate over abortion rights a generation ago—a debate in which principled people can and do have reasonable differences—has deteriorated into the spectacle confronting us now, when a major presidential candidate can argue not simply that abortion is wrong, but that birth control is “not O.K.”  If a candidate made such a declaration even a decade ago, he or she would have been dismissed as a laughing stock. But the intolerance of the religious right has become only more stringent in this, the second decade of the 21st century. It is fair to argue, as many liberals and Democrats should, that the religious right is determined to criminalize contraception. Yes, they’re coming after your birth control.

At long last, has it really come to this? It is one thing for a religious organization to demand an exemption to health-care insurance mandates regarding abortion services or access to contraception. But when a presidential contender argues that birth control is “not O.K.,” it’s time to check the calendar to make sure that it really is 2012.

This debate has no place in presidential politics. How horrifying that it is actually taking place.

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    We are
    closing schools, laying people off. Families are being foreclosed on and being
    put out in the streets. And all Santorum, running for President can talk about
    is who is Gay. We need to start looking at what is best for the country. We are
    not in high school any more.  Hello!!!  Yes it is a good way to raise money. But I
    think the Republicans have a “gay agenda”, more than the gay community
    has.  They have nothing to say, so they
    go for the gay! It will be a dark day for ALL of us if this man wins.  It is not just a Gay thing; Santorum has
    frequently stated that he does not believe a “right to privacy”
    exists under the Constitution, even within marriage.  The boy and girl kind!

    1. Anonymous says:

      Wrong! That’s all the media wants to talk about because they cant defend the failed record of their messiah Obama.. It will be a dark day for America if Obama is reelected!!

      1. Anonymous says:

        Get ready for it…if Santorum is nominated, it will be an easy win for Obama.

      2. Rhialto says:

        a dark day for America if Obama is reelected!!

        You need new material.

         they cant defend the failed record of their messiah Obama.

        Don’t you get it? The only reason we’re talking about this warmed over Culture War stuff is that the GOP candidate aren’t getting any traction talking about those “failed policies.” It’s all they got.

  2. Anonymous says:

    And pretty soon Obama will mandate abortions to keep the population down.   His science advisor, Holdren, actually wrote a book on compulsary abortions.

    1. Kalpal says:

      How nice of you to feel free to put words in others mouths and silly notions in their heads? Did you get a license to do this or o you just take license?

  3. guest says:

    How horrifying that you would call other people “knuckle draggers”.  I’m not Catholic, and I don’t necessarily share Mr. Santorum’s views on birth control, but he is entitled to his opinion, as well.  I don’t think he has said this personal belief would influence his public policy – perhaps you infer too much.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Certainly his personal belief would influence his public policy.  He went on O’Reilly and with all the difficulties that confront us, he talked the entire time about birth control and RCC dogma/doctrine.   I don’t want him as president…and I’m a conservative.  He would run every decision through his catholic filter…

  4. Jsclewell says:

    If  “Women’s Health” was the focal point of the contraception mandate, why was prenatal care not included?

    1. Rhialto says:

      Is there somewhere that prenatal care is being refused to women? I must have missed this.

  5. Anonymous says:

    “Implicit contention” ??????????

  6. Maybe to his feelings it is wrong; but with HIV spreading like wildfire it’s not just to control population-it’s a necessary evil. Why doesn’t he target sperm banks and fertility clinics? I thought the Church was against that too. It would be nice if nobody fornicated, but it’s not happening. What IS happening is in the 19134 zipcode the HIV infection rate is 4 out 10 right now and not going down. Perhaps he fornicates with little boys so he’s not worried about babies coming from that he can’t feed. Who died and made this mutha-shut-yo-mouth Allah in the first place?

    1. My2cents says:

      Yes, it would indeed “be nice if nobody fornicated, but it’s not happening” in the foreseeable future. In fact, it has especially NOT happened within the RCC where there has been a steady supply of priests and a supportive organization with a hush policy for any of its members who got caught fornicating with just about anyone, preferably NOT of legal age, they could get their hands on. We wouldn’t want their victims to have access to birth control, now would we?

      1. Kalpal says:

        No one seems to comment that the RCC set in place mechanisms to protect pedophile priests but has not to my knowledge ever developed any mechanism or agency to succor or counsel their victims. Priorities brand the church for what it truly is.

  7. kb7843 says:

    I want to know what their answer is to women who need birth control for a medical condition who may not even be sexually active. Are they to be denied? Are all women who could potentially be pregnant every month and just not having sex therefore “living in sin?” 

    1. Kalpal says:

      For Patriarchies all women are expendable for whatever cause is convenient at the moment.

  8. guest-comment says:

    Why aren’t the women – out in the street – screaming like banshees?
    Obviously, they don’t care?!

    1. Kalpal says:

      Banshees? Sheesh what an image you must have of women

  9. Kalpal says:

    Somehow Santorum must have gotten a vatican exemption from the 9th commandment, the one about bearing false witness. Romney got one too along with Gingrich. The vatican sure is liberal in this fashion.