Several years ago, a bunch of white men got together and limited women’s rights to abortion:
Today, a bunch of white men got together and talked about limiting women’s rights to birth control:
I am just saying.
There’s a lot of chortling in the Twitterverse and the Blogosphere over how the Republicans are really stepping in it by going all out against birth control. After all, women vote and about 98% of them use, or have used, birth control. Goddess knows, I hope that’s how it plays out.
But I’m not so sure.
One thing you can say for the Republicans and the Dominionists is that they are masters at moving the Overton Window. (And one thing you can say for Democrats and Progressives is that they give new meaning to the word “lame” in this regard.) And what’s happened over the course of just a few weeks is that the argument has shifted from keeping abortion legal and accessible (an argument that we’ve been losing, BTW, up until Komen went too far, too fast) to whether it’s a vile intrusion of big government onto the religious rights of fundies for women to have access to birth control. I may be a bear of little brain, but it’s difficult for me to see how that’s a huge win for women.
The brilliant Sarah Posner warned us about this some time ago when Newt Gingrich began ramping up his rhetoric about the poor, persecuted Catholics. Christians are v good about insisting that any time they’re not allowed to impose their (completely unworkable, anti-woman, anti-reality, sex-negative) worldview (I won’t call them morals, because they’re not) on the rest of us, that means that we’re picking on the Christians. Honest to Hera, Mobius had nothing on these guys; they’re that good.
Charles Pierce is one of the lone voices suggesting that maybe we ought to be concerned instead of celebrating.
Seriously, does anyone here expect any prominent Democrat to come out and take a stand to protect women on this “icky” issue? I don’t. Not Barack Obama. Not Catholic Joe Biden. Not Katheleen Siebelius. None of them. Nancy Pelosi made one statement today and then shut up. In fact, I expect Obama and the Dems to do what they always do in the face of these entirely-predictable negotiating tactics by the right: retreat some more. Keep negotiating against themselves. Pretend that there’s a middle ground and keep running after it as the fundies snatch it further and further to the right.
Meanwhile, there are a few expressions that no one dares to utter in this entire debate: (1) Population Explosion. (2) Planetary Carrying Capacity. And the fact that those terms dare not speak their names is a HUGE part of the problem.
And, yes, for all that many of us have been saying for years that these people really wanted to abolish birth control as well as abortion, I can’t say that I’m enjoying being right.
I’ll just add that there’s no reason for some of these insane policies to stop with women. Maybe gay men should have probing anal exams before they can get access to drugs for HIV/AIDS. Or to condoms. Sure, it has no medical purpose and is done simply to shame, humiliate, increase costs, and hurt. But we’ve apparently crossed that Rubicon. Maybe immigrants should be subject to humiliating medical exams before they apply for citizenship. Maybe people who apply for unemployment insurance should be waterboarded once a month. Maybe women and children claiming to have been raped or abused should be thrown into a lake. If they sink, they were telling the truth; if they float, they’re lying and should be punished.
I have an idea. Let’s leave the tender consciences of the Catholic bishops (who aren’t worried when their own priests bugger little boys, but who faint and cry at the thought of having anything to do with providing birth control) intact. The government, via single-payer health care, can provide birth control and abortions (fuck the Hyde Amendment), free of cost, to women who want them. As to the argument that Catholics don’t want their tax dollars supporting something they find abhorrent, I’ll simply note that war is against my religion. Torturing people is against my religion. Drilling for oil and cutting timber on federal lands is against my religion. Holding people without charges is against my religion. Tasing people is against my religion. Breaking up peaceful demonstrations is against my religion. And my tax dollars get used for all of those things and many more that I find abhorrent. So unless we’re going to add about 500 pages of check-off items to income tax forms, the Catholics can either suck it up or become tax protesters, facing jail and foreclosure as serious anti-war activists, Quakers, for example, do.
Damn. I’m sick of this bullshit.