Hey, Gov. Nikki Haley, wanna bet?

As Samhita mentioned, yesterday on The View, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley claimed that “women don’t care about contraception.” She went on to clarify that she just doesn’t want the government dictating when we can and can’t use it. Which is a little bit like opposing that law that says you have to eat broccoli.

Via ThinkProgress

HALEY: Women don’t care about contraception, they care about jobs and the economy and raising their families and all those other things–

BEHAR: Well, they care about contraception too.

HALEY: But, that’s not the only thing they care about. The media wants to talk about contraception.

BEHAR: But when someone like Rick Santorum says he’s going to take it away, we care. [Applause]

HALEY: Well, while we care about contraception, let’s be clear. All we’re saying is we don’t want government to mandate when we have to have it or when we don’t. We want to be able to make that decision. We don’t government making that decision for us.

Yes, Nikki, let’s be clear: There is no government mandate that dictates when women have to have birth control or when we don’t. I mean, this is almost as ridiculous as Michele Bachmann’s claim that we’re on a slippery-slope to a one child-policy in the U.S. The idea that requiring insurance policies–most of which already cover contraception because it’s good economics–to do so at no additional cost because it’s good public health policy is somehow akin to shoving birth control pills on unwilling consumers is, well, actually just as ludricrous as many of the GOP talking points about Obamacare. (Remember death panels?)

As for Haley’s other point that the media just wants to talk about contraception, I’d just remind her who made this a thing in the first place. Majorities of Americans of all parties, genders, and religions support the administration’s no-cost birth control mandate. As an Obama official said recently, “I didn’t think it would be this controversial.” In fact it wasn’t until the US Conference of Catholic Bishops hammered on the issue, opportunistic politicians grabbed the chance to spout off about “religious freedom,” and folks like Rush Limbaugh weighed in with absurdly antiquated ideas about the 99% of heterosexually-active women who’ve used birth control. No shit, the media–not to mention Democrats and the President–want to keep this story alive. But that’s only because ya’ll made it a story to begin with.

According to a new Gallup poll, Haley may be right that birth control hasn’t become a major election issue for voters. After all, social issues rarely are. But still–the fact that 55% of women consider policies on birth control important to their presidential vote should give the GOP pause. And that number may increase if more states follow Arizona’s lead by proposing bills that would require employees to justify their birth control use to their employers and more Catholic institutions drop coverage of birth control like Xaxier University just did. The more clear it becomes who really wants to interfere with private decisions about birth control, the more we’ll see how much women–and men–really care.

AP photo via.

Atlanta, GA

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director in charge of Editorial at Feministing. Maya has previously worked at NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health and was a fellow at Mother Jones magazine. She graduated with a B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. A Minnesota native, she currently lives, writes, edits, and bakes bread in Atlanta, Georgia.

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Editorial.

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  • http://feministing.com/members/labargeka/ k

    I am very disappointed by my Alma Mater, Xavier University, for several reasons surrounding this issue, but I am most disappointed by the timing of this decision. By making this change mid-year, Xavier has left it’s employees unable to opt for private insurance or spousal coverage, and continuing to pay for benefits they are no longer receiving. Ideology aside, these changes should not be put into effect until employees have the option of choosing if Xavier’s healthcare still fits their needs or they want to look at other options.

  • http://feministing.com/members/nonsequiteuse/ Nonsequiteuse

    So, can we infer from her comments about not wanting the government to make that decision for us that she is pro-choice? If we start to talk about her as South Carolina’s pro-choice Republican governor, how quickly will she back-track?

    These Republicans have no shame.

  • http://feministing.com/members/freckledpapaya/ Maya

    I can see where the criticism of what she said is coming from, but I do think it’s absolutely ridiculous that contraception is the main topic of focus in a PRESIDENTIAL election. It IS an important issue, but right now it’s being used as a distraction from any other conversation about the presidential debate, and as per usual in the last few decades, the media is never really critical of the government – they just sit idly by while candidates debate over and over about the same issue.
    We know where they all stand on these issues. Let’s stop trying to change their minds until they’re actually elected, (definitely still take action presently with officials who ARE in office), and start asking some new questions shall we?

  • http://feministing.com/members/nana8697/ sandra

    I am a resident of SC. I was really happy when we elected Nikki Haley. I no longer support her for many reasons – her acceptance of out-of-state reelection funding, her 5 star trip to Europe, her support of actions which benefitted the port of Savannah, GA at the expense of SC and now this.
    I remember the time before birthcontrol pills. I would think that contraception would be praised and supported by those who oppose abortion. I also want to know if those who oppose contraception for women, oppose the availability of condoms. And do they think that it is okay for insurance to cover ED help for men.