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.
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.