Birth control as a winning issue for Democrats?

Religious people are for the most part appalled at the Obamacare mandate that employers must provide health insurance that will provide free abortion pills and contraceptives.  This is seen as a profound assault on religious liberty, forcing people by law to do what their religion forbids.

The left, though, is framing the issue as being all about birth control, ignoring the religious liberty angle altogether.  And Democrats are elated, convinced that they have found their winning issue that will make voters forget all about the economy in order to drive out of public life once and for all those crazy religious people who are against sex and who want to keep all women pregnant.

Sample the rhetoric and the cynical political strategy from this:  It’s Democrats who are putting focus on birth control – She the People: – The Washington Post.

Which side do you think will be more effective in framing the issues?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • James Sarver

    “And Democrats are elated, convinced that they have found their winning issue that will make voters forget all about the economy in order to drive out of public life once and for all those crazy religious people who are against sex and who want to keep all women pregnant.”

    Well, if we are against sex how will we expect to keep women pregnant….?

    If this is how they frame the issue I can’t see it getting any traction outside of the leftist fringe that is generally foaming at the mouth with invective against Chrisitanity anyway. Chrisitian cannibalism will be brought up next. Where is Justin Martyr when you need him?

  • James Sarver

    “And Democrats are elated, convinced that they have found their winning issue that will make voters forget all about the economy in order to drive out of public life once and for all those crazy religious people who are against sex and who want to keep all women pregnant.”

    Well, if we are against sex how will we expect to keep women pregnant….?

    If this is how they frame the issue I can’t see it getting any traction outside of the leftist fringe that is generally foaming at the mouth with invective against Chrisitanity anyway. Chrisitian cannibalism will be brought up next. Where is Justin Martyr when you need him?

  • Tom Hering

    Democrats believe religious people are against sex AND want to keep all women pregnant? Democrats certainly recognize that religious people believe in miracles like virgin birth, but come on … :-D

  • Tom Hering

    Democrats believe religious people are against sex AND want to keep all women pregnant? Democrats certainly recognize that religious people believe in miracles like virgin birth, but come on … :-D

  • Tom Hering

    You beat me to it while I was typing, James @ 1. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    You beat me to it while I was typing, James @ 1. :-D

  • Mary

    We need only look at how the “media” framed the Planned Parenthood Komen debacle. Which side did they pick? Who won that issue? Now which side do you think will have the media in their back pocket, pushing the agenda?

  • Mary

    We need only look at how the “media” framed the Planned Parenthood Komen debacle. Which side did they pick? Who won that issue? Now which side do you think will have the media in their back pocket, pushing the agenda?

  • Michael B.

    Is it not the case that Santorum believes that if a woman gets pregnant, she has a legal obligation to carry the child to term? That is, it should not be her decision whether she wants to be pregnant or not at that point? How much Santorum wants to curb reproductive rights in general is debatable, but I think we can agree on that much.

  • Michael B.

    Is it not the case that Santorum believes that if a woman gets pregnant, she has a legal obligation to carry the child to term? That is, it should not be her decision whether she wants to be pregnant or not at that point? How much Santorum wants to curb reproductive rights in general is debatable, but I think we can agree on that much.

  • Booklover

    I’m with Mary @4. People are stupid. They don’t realize that the money to pay for these Pandora’s goodies will not come from Obama, it will not be a free gift from the insurance companies, but it will come straight out of the people’s pockets. Once again. If we could make the issue to be about money, people might latch onto that more easily than onto religious liberty; but still they think that the money comes from some fairy in the sky.

    This creeping of ugly intrusive tendrils into our religious liberty is the greatest assault on the religious liberty of the American people that we have witnessed in our lifetime. We need to wake up.

    Think about it. Birth control is cheap and easily accessible. What do you think Planned Parenthood has been doing with your money all these years? Yet Obama makes a rule that we must provide even more. It is not about birth control. It is about control. Period.

  • Booklover

    I’m with Mary @4. People are stupid. They don’t realize that the money to pay for these Pandora’s goodies will not come from Obama, it will not be a free gift from the insurance companies, but it will come straight out of the people’s pockets. Once again. If we could make the issue to be about money, people might latch onto that more easily than onto religious liberty; but still they think that the money comes from some fairy in the sky.

    This creeping of ugly intrusive tendrils into our religious liberty is the greatest assault on the religious liberty of the American people that we have witnessed in our lifetime. We need to wake up.

    Think about it. Birth control is cheap and easily accessible. What do you think Planned Parenthood has been doing with your money all these years? Yet Obama makes a rule that we must provide even more. It is not about birth control. It is about control. Period.

  • Joe

    When it comes to framing the issue – the Dems are simply better at it. I am not going to try to figure out why nor will I blame a complicit media. I don’t really know why this is true, but I see it all the time. My wife worked in the political campaign world for the better part of a decade. And, we have been privileged to know and work closely with some pretty big hitters in the Wisconsin GOP. My first hand experience and what I see on the national level continually confirms this.

  • Joe

    When it comes to framing the issue – the Dems are simply better at it. I am not going to try to figure out why nor will I blame a complicit media. I don’t really know why this is true, but I see it all the time. My wife worked in the political campaign world for the better part of a decade. And, we have been privileged to know and work closely with some pretty big hitters in the Wisconsin GOP. My first hand experience and what I see on the national level continually confirms this.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    The problem isn’t so much how the Democrats are framing the issue. The problem is the media is letting them do so. The articles concerning the Congressional Hearing in the Oversight Committee are a testament to this fact. The question is are we going to sit quietly by wringing our hands or are we going to be vocal and place the facts in front of the people. It is obvious we cannot rely on others to carry our message.

    It is time that they be reminded we will not sit idly by while they chip away at our rights. And simply refuse to bend our neck by ignoring the new health care laws.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    The problem isn’t so much how the Democrats are framing the issue. The problem is the media is letting them do so. The articles concerning the Congressional Hearing in the Oversight Committee are a testament to this fact. The question is are we going to sit quietly by wringing our hands or are we going to be vocal and place the facts in front of the people. It is obvious we cannot rely on others to carry our message.

    It is time that they be reminded we will not sit idly by while they chip away at our rights. And simply refuse to bend our neck by ignoring the new health care laws.

  • DonS

    The mindset on this issue that “Republicans are against birth control” is the same as it is for “Republicans are against gays”, or “Republicans are against Hispanics”, etc. Being opposed to a mandate that employer-paid health insurance must provide FREE birth control is hardly tantamount to being against birth control. Similarly, being opposed to gay marriage doesn’t mean one opposes gays, and being opposed to the effective sanctioning of illegal immigration doesn’t mean one is against Hispanics, or other immigrants. But, the issues get framed that way, Republicans are often inept at correcting the error, and the media, in the aggregate, certainly doesn’t seem to go out of its way to accurately report the issue.

    This issue is not resonating the way the Democrats and media think it is, however. The media doesn’t have the same market power it used to enjoy, and there are a lot of articulate non-politician conservatives who blog and explain things a lot better than the politicians seem to do. This CNN poll is typical: http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/02/16/cnn-poll-half-oppose-obama-birth-control-insurance-plan/ showing a substantial tilt against Obama’s mandate.

  • DonS

    The mindset on this issue that “Republicans are against birth control” is the same as it is for “Republicans are against gays”, or “Republicans are against Hispanics”, etc. Being opposed to a mandate that employer-paid health insurance must provide FREE birth control is hardly tantamount to being against birth control. Similarly, being opposed to gay marriage doesn’t mean one opposes gays, and being opposed to the effective sanctioning of illegal immigration doesn’t mean one is against Hispanics, or other immigrants. But, the issues get framed that way, Republicans are often inept at correcting the error, and the media, in the aggregate, certainly doesn’t seem to go out of its way to accurately report the issue.

    This issue is not resonating the way the Democrats and media think it is, however. The media doesn’t have the same market power it used to enjoy, and there are a lot of articulate non-politician conservatives who blog and explain things a lot better than the politicians seem to do. This CNN poll is typical: http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/02/16/cnn-poll-half-oppose-obama-birth-control-insurance-plan/ showing a substantial tilt against Obama’s mandate.

  • D’Arcy

    The nefarious thing is how the Democrats are attempting to shift the debate in the following way:

    1) Women have the right to use contraception (Griswold v. Connecticut)

    2) Women have the right to contraception coverage from their employers.

    3) Women have the right to >free< contraception coverage from their employers

    4) The right of women to free contraception coverage supersedes the free exercise rights of religious employers who have moral objections to contraceptive coverage.

    5) Government has the power to compel religious employers who have moral objections to contraceptive coverage to provide free contraceptive coverage to their employees.

  • D’Arcy

    The nefarious thing is how the Democrats are attempting to shift the debate in the following way:

    1) Women have the right to use contraception (Griswold v. Connecticut)

    2) Women have the right to contraception coverage from their employers.

    3) Women have the right to >free< contraception coverage from their employers

    4) The right of women to free contraception coverage supersedes the free exercise rights of religious employers who have moral objections to contraceptive coverage.

    5) Government has the power to compel religious employers who have moral objections to contraceptive coverage to provide free contraceptive coverage to their employees.

  • formerly just steve

    STOP TALKING ABOUT BIRTH CONTROL!!! It’s a losing issue. If half of the general population doesn’t mind killing unborn children, they certainly won’t buy any arguments about religious freedom. It’s the economy, stupid. Do what the Democrats do and promise more free stuff to the voting public. It’s the only thing people understand anymore.

  • formerly just steve

    STOP TALKING ABOUT BIRTH CONTROL!!! It’s a losing issue. If half of the general population doesn’t mind killing unborn children, they certainly won’t buy any arguments about religious freedom. It’s the economy, stupid. Do what the Democrats do and promise more free stuff to the voting public. It’s the only thing people understand anymore.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    This all our own fault. We, the people, are the ones who elected our congressmen and senators who have implemented this atrocity against basic liberty.

    The issue of “free” contraception is just one tendril of the monster. The monster is mandated health care coverage in general.

    Traditionally, our employers have provided health care coverage as part of the employees’ total compensation. So now we have come to expect — and demand — that our employers continue to do so. And now, the government is here to help us by telling our employers exactly what kind of health care products and services they must supply. And we LIKE our free stuff.

    …. and so this is how liberty dies… with thunderous applause…

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    This all our own fault. We, the people, are the ones who elected our congressmen and senators who have implemented this atrocity against basic liberty.

    The issue of “free” contraception is just one tendril of the monster. The monster is mandated health care coverage in general.

    Traditionally, our employers have provided health care coverage as part of the employees’ total compensation. So now we have come to expect — and demand — that our employers continue to do so. And now, the government is here to help us by telling our employers exactly what kind of health care products and services they must supply. And we LIKE our free stuff.

    …. and so this is how liberty dies… with thunderous applause…

  • Michael B.

    “it will not be a free gift from the insurance companies, but it will come straight out of the people’s pockets”

    I hear the financial argument used against free birth control a lot. If your interests are purely financial, advocating government-subsidized birth control should be a no-brainer. The cost of free birth control is dwarfed by the government cost of raising unwanted children. The pill costs at most $50 a month. If you think that’s a lot, look at the government cost of medicaid and other social services that will be provided.

  • Michael B.

    “it will not be a free gift from the insurance companies, but it will come straight out of the people’s pockets”

    I hear the financial argument used against free birth control a lot. If your interests are purely financial, advocating government-subsidized birth control should be a no-brainer. The cost of free birth control is dwarfed by the government cost of raising unwanted children. The pill costs at most $50 a month. If you think that’s a lot, look at the government cost of medicaid and other social services that will be provided.

  • Abby

    “…. and so this is how liberty dies… with thunderous applause…”

    Yes, but in the end the Death Star blows up!

  • Abby

    “…. and so this is how liberty dies… with thunderous applause…”

    Yes, but in the end the Death Star blows up!

  • moallen

    A new Gallup poll shows more taking the side of Religious liberty rather than the Obama administration. Although it is closely divided:
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/152963/Contraception-Debate-Divides-Americans-Including-Women.aspx
    The muddied water approach Obama is taking is having some effect, but many still understand the importance of religious liberty, whether they support/use birth control and abortion or not.

  • moallen

    A new Gallup poll shows more taking the side of Religious liberty rather than the Obama administration. Although it is closely divided:
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/152963/Contraception-Debate-Divides-Americans-Including-Women.aspx
    The muddied water approach Obama is taking is having some effect, but many still understand the importance of religious liberty, whether they support/use birth control and abortion or not.


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