What are the Republicans thinking on contraception?

So first, the religious right rallies to support Catholic employers who think their religious beliefs should exempt them from following the law. Then Rush Limbaugh called a woman a “slut” for thinking contraception should be covered by health insurance. Oh, and one of the current leading Republican Presidential candidates right now is Rick Santorum, one of the minority of Catholics who backs the Church’s position on contraception. It’s as if the entire GOP has made up its mind to be anti-contraception. Now what I want to know is: what the hell are they thinking?

I think Dan Savage summarized the issue pretty well:

I have been appalled and fascinated by the GOP’s efforts to commit suicide by attacking what even people on the right were saying settled issues around access to contraception. 98% of American women use contraception. And the thing that bothers me about that stat, everybody throws that out, 98% of American women use contraception, as if American men aren’t therefore using contraception too. 98% American women who use contraception are not using contraception with their lesbian lovers. They’re using contraception with their male partners. So the vast and overwhelming majority of American men use contraception, including, presumably, Rush Limbaugh, who’s been married four times, I don’t believe has any children, and has not been celibate, I believe, between his marriages…

Maureen Dowd in her column a couple weeks ago quoted a Republican (female) strategist, a vagina-haver, who said that she just couldn’t believe that the Republican party was going to run against sex, because sex is popular. Unlike Mitt Romney whose negatives are skyrocketing, sex is popular, and the GOP is running against sex. The GOP is running against American women. The GOP is running against your vagina…

Though you can ask similar questions about how anyone can ever be against premarital sex in 21st century America, given that an overwhelming majority of Americans have had premarital sex. One explanation I’ve heard is that what people do is have premarital sex before they’re married, and then get older and married and conveniently switch to thinking premarital sex is wrong then.

This can’t exactly be the reason for the GOP’s contraception-related hijinks, but maybe some older, reasonably well-off people manage to convince themselves that because it doesn’t matter much to them whether their contraception is covered by insurance or not, it must be that only a slut could care about that. Even though they themselves use contraception. So when issues come up like whether Catholic employers should be required to provide insurance coverage that includes birth control, they feel like they can side with the creepy old men against the sluts.

Is that it?

  • slc1

    Rush Limbaugh, who’s been married four times, I don’t believe has any children, and has not been celibate, I believe, between his marriages…

    It is my information that, according to one of his wives, limpdick Limbaugh is mostly impotent.

    • astro


  • StevoR

    What are the Republicans thinking on contraception?

    They’re not.

    Thinking that is.

  • unbound

    I’m thinking that the Republicans know that they can’t win the presidency this year. However, they can still make inroads in Congress. This shift against sex will likely work in their favor at that level for this year and has the advantage of shifting the arguments further right once again.

    Although many of the shifts to date of the rethuglican party into the deep arms of extreme rightism have been more subtle, I think they are simply running out room with the “reasonable” extremism and have no choice but to go down the path of “unreasonable” extremism. I have no doubt whatsoever that if Reagan were alive today, he wouldn’t qualify for the smallest position within the rethuglican party today, despite being one of the people that started the party down this path (Bush Sr was pro-abortion until Reagan told him he had to recant if he wanted to be VP).

    There aren’t enough rich to keep the rich elected, so rethuglicans need something for the uneducated masses to cling to. The more simplistic the message (e.g. sex outside of marriage is wrong and should be punished), the better the uneducated masses respond. Although the current message about sex is certainly obnoxious beyond belief, the prior messages of things like capitalism solving all and rich needing to be richer to provide jobs are not any less disingenuous or any less wrong…they just aren’t as obnoxious and are more acceptable to those that don’t have deep knowledge of those areas.

  • StevoR

    What the Republicans are doing – surely – is losing and setting themselves up to lose the presidential race very badly indeed.

    The Republicans must’ve alienated way over half – indeed more like two-thirds – the US population by now, right?

    It may be well over half a year away still but barring something very unexpected, very unlikely and very bad happening for Obama this Aussie observer cannot see him losing from here.

  • http://criticallyskeptic-dckitty.blogspot.com Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort

    Maybe they’re only in the matter of caring about contraception when people have to pay for it through insurance? A kind of “only people who deserve it should be able to afford it.”

    If the poor can’t afford contraception, the poor either has to a) forgo sex, or b) have a child if things go pear-shaped. Both of these options are good for the GOP because in the former you’re controlling peoples’ wills, and in the latter, you’re punishing people who go against your control.

    It’s pure plutocratic totalitarianism. The rich get what they deserve while the poor get controlled.

  • kenbo

    I think you assume the cognitive dissonance between justifying one’s own premarital sex and trying to control others’ premarital sex is too much for the religious mind to handle.

    I knew many believers that justified their own “sins” and vociferously condemned others doing the same things. (By the way, this is the same compartmentalization that the GOPers use to justify themselves getting money from the government in tax breaks and subsidies while condemning the “welfare queens”).

    The inability to reconcile two opposing data points poses no threat to their thought processes because, to them, you are comparing apples and oranges.


  • ‘Tis Himself, OM

    The Republicans have to satisfy their extreme right wing. In the 2008 election McCain didn’t really appeal to Pat Robertson, James Dobson, and the rest of the Religious Right. McCain got Palin as his running mate to appease Robertson, Dobson et al. Otherwise the Republican leadership was afraid the Religious Right would stay at home on election day.

    There’s two things going on now. The Teabaggers are a sizable group in Congress with an extremist social agenda. The presidential candidates are even more beholden to the Religious Right because a lot of people, including many non-Religious Right Republicans, are getting annoyed at the Teabaggers. So Republican candidates, at both the national level and the state level, are doing their best to suck up to the Religious Right because the “moderate” Republicans are the ones who look like they’re going to stay at home for the election.

    Santorum actually believes in the social agenda he’s pushing. Neither Romney nor Gingrich do, but they have to look like they do. About six years ago Gingrich was asked if he was a creationist and he laughingly replied “no, that’s silly.” Today he sounds like a follower of Brother Ken Ham (the peace of Ray Comfort be upon him).

  • iknklast

    I got older and married, and I still think premarital sex is great. It should be encouraged. If I had known anything about sex before my first marriage, I’d have known that there was something not right about our sex life, and I wouldn’t have been plunged into an abyss of despair when my husband decided to leaave me because he preferred sex with men. I would have known that we weren’t sexually compatible from the beginning (that might not have told me he was gay, but it would possibly have prepared me for things not working out).

    Virgins make lousy spouses, IMHO. And I apologize to my ex for being a virgin – if he’ll apologize to me for same! ;-)