Opinion
Grading City Hall: See our report card for L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson
Top of the Ticket
Opinion Top of the Ticket

Republican hearing on contraceptives was dumb politics

Congressional Republicans held a hearing about birth control and religion last Thursday, and the take-away image from the gathering is a shot of the key witnesses: five middle-aged men representing various religious organizations.

Fairly or not, the spin coming out of the hearing was not about how religious institutions might be threatened by a federal requirement that employees be provided insurance coverage for contraceptives, which is what the committee chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa of California, intended. Instead, the story became how women were left out of a discussion about birth control. 

Republicans are trying hard to play this dispute to their advantage and win over religious voters, but they are not playing it smart. President Obama has already blunted most of the impact this issue might have among Catholic voters by compromising on the coverage requirement. As a result, Republicans do not seem to be gaining much traction with their accusations of an attack on religion, except among voters who are already on their side. But they are succeeding in scaring off independent females who are beginning to believe the real Republican agenda is to turn back the clock and limit access to contraceptives.

Rick Santorum’s various comments about the evils of contraception are doing nothing to dispel that suspicion. Nor is his recent statement that prenatal testing should not be paid for by health insurance plans. And it hardly helped when Santorum’s campaign sugar daddy, evangelical multimillionaire Foster Friess, joked that women could prevent pregnancies by holding a couple of aspirin pills between their knees.

Maybe among the rhetorical "American people" for whom conservative congressmen always claim to speak, birth control is a wicked thing that leads to promiscuity and wanton pleasure, but among the actual human beings who live in this country, contraceptives are more popular than apple pie.

Republicans should check their calendars and take note that the year is 2012, not 1912.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • Mitt Romney, vulture capitalist, stalls in blue-collar Michigan

    Mitt Romney, vulture capitalist, stalls in blue-collar Michigan

    This post has been updated. See note at the bottom for details.

  • Malaysia and the cynical politics of free trade

    Malaysia and the cynical politics of free trade

    When Congress granted President Obama fast-track authority in June to negotiate trade deals, it included an amendment by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) barring any nation on the bottom rung of the State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons report from being part of a trade pact with the United...

  • Israeli policies sparked the deadly Duma fire

    Israeli policies sparked the deadly Duma fire

    Friday's horrific arson attack on a Palestinian home by suspected Israeli extremists, in which an 18-month-old Palestinian toddler was burned to death, was, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared, "a terrorist crime." What he did not say was that the attack on the Dawabshe family...

  • A legal -- for now -- end-run around Citizens United

    A legal -- for now -- end-run around Citizens United

    With the 2016 election looming, Republicans in Congress want to make sure that the Internal Revenue Service won't crack down on tax-exempt "social welfare" groups that serve as conduits for untraceable political spending. And the commissioner of the IRS has indicated that, in any event, the agency...

  • Would you work for $1 to $3 a day?

    Would you work for $1 to $3 a day?

    Each year, tens of thousands of people being held in the federal immigration detention system are put to work scrubbing floors, cooking meals and landscaping grounds, among other menial jobs. They can work as much as eight hours a day and 40 hours a week. The pay: $1 to $3 a day.

  • Before Watts '65: A black cop's view of the LAPD

    Before Watts '65: A black cop's view of the LAPD

    Fifty years ago, five days after President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act to guarantee black Americans a voice at the ballot box, other black voices made themselves heard in Los Angeles. By the time the Watts riots were over, 34 people were dead. Watts was Norman E. Edelen's neighborhood...

Comments
Loading
69°