In a culture war that I thought had long been over, many Republicans are going out of their way to whip up the party base. Rick Santorum, the candidate who’s very existence defies logic, is surging due to the proposed federal requirement that all employers, regardless of religious affiliation, provide access to contraception free of charge. In a move to placate certain groups, President Obama dropped the requirement of the employers, and instead is requiring the insurance companies to cover the contraception.
Naturally, Republicans are “outraged” at this encroachment on religious liberty. Apparently, they are not concerned about the encroachment on female liberty. They have no problem telling women what to do with their own bodies. At a hearing yesterday about this very issue, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) refused to let any women testify. Apparently, only men (and celibate Catholic Priests no less!) were allowed to give testimony regarding whether this was a violation of religious freedom. Lest you misunderstand, the President was not proposing that employers give out condoms when employees arrive to work. He was merely trying to ensure that if the employer offered insurance benefits, they will also provide contraception in the plan.
Beyond religious concerns (and many are valid), there are women’s health issues at stake. House Democrats had planned on bringing a current law student to Issa’s hearing, but were rebuffed. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) incredulously asked, “Where are the women?” Had they been able to, they would have heard about the student’s friend who lost an ovary due to her inability to afford contraception. Apparently, Republicans, and Catholic Bishops, are unaware that birth control is used for more than just birth control. It also protects a woman’s health.
The bottom line is social conservatives want to decide what everyone can do with their bodies. However, if you want to make your case for such nonsense, try avoiding this photo op.