Ken Cuccinelli, the wingnut attorney general of Virginia, continued the pattern of right wingers claiming the mantle of Martin Luther King by comparing his fight against the Obama administration’s contraception mandate to King’s battle for black civil rights.
Cuccinelli was asked Monday about the controversy on The John Fredericks Show, a conservative talk show in Virginia. He was shocked Democrats would raise the issue, casting the battle as a struggle for rights rather than an attack on contraception.
“Whenever I talk about religious liberty, you know they turn it around. All they talk about -they don’t talk about denying religious liberty. They talk about contraception. And I’m not talking about contraception. Government doesn’t have a role in contraception,” Cuccinelli told the radio show. “Government does have a role in protecting your civil rights especially today on MLK Day. The man who really came up with the American non-violent protest theory of civil disobedience. It’s pretty egregious that they can’t get any higher than contraception when we’re talking about protecting people’s religious liberty.”
Let’s count the many ways this is absurd.
1. There is no violation of religious liberty. Religious employers don’t have to do anything at all as a result of the contraception mandate. Their group policies remain exactly the same as they always were. The insurance companies merely have to provide a separate rider to cover contraception to the employees of those companies, ensuring that they have access to family planning services. And have you noticed that the insurance companies aren’t throwing a fit about this at all? You know why? Because contraception can dramatically reduce the cost of health care for the insured; it’s far cheaper for them to provide birth control coverage than to cover the cost of pre-natal and post-natal care and the cost of health care for the child for the next 26 years.2. Martin Luther King was a vocal advocate of wider access to birth control. In fact, he received an award from Planned Parenthood and in his acceptance he spoke eloquently of the need to guarantee access to contraception as a means of empowering women.
3. What about the right to access contraception? A woman has that right, of course, but by not allowing insurance coverage that allows another person to impose their religious views on them by making it more difficult for them to access that right.
4. Where was Cuccinelli’s alleged concern for liberty when he was pushing a bill to mandate invasive ultrasounds for women before they could have an abortion? It’s tyranny for the government to mandate contraception coverage in insurance policies but not for the government to order an instrument inserted into a woman’s vagina that isn’t medically necessary?