Reproductive Rights, the Republicans and You

by Danielle C. Belton

Despite Hell having not frozen over, conservative shock jock and gaseous bag of wind, Rush Limbaugh apologized Saturday for being a horrible person.

(Jokes, all jokes he said.)

It was a rare apology (he’s not big on them), but it all came down to some lost sponsors and some “slut shaming” surrounding Georgetown Law Student Sandra Fluke and her testimony for Congress regarding birth control and why her university clinic should cover it.

Limbaugh, being Limbaugh, called Fluke a “slut,” wanting to be compensated for having sperm n’ egg conception-free sex, ignoring the fact that Fluke’s testimony was about the other non-egg fertilizing uses of birth control where it is medically necessary for many women’s health.

From Fluke’s testimony:

A friend of mine, for example, has polycystic ovarian syndrome, and she has to take prescription birth control to stop cysts from growing on her ovaries. Her prescription is technically covered by Georgetown’s insurance because it’s not intended to prevent pregnancy.

Unfortunately, under many religious institutions and insurance plans, it wouldn’t be. There would be no exception for other medical needs. And under Sen. Blunt’s amendment, Sen. Rubio’s bill or Rep. Fortenberry’s bill there’s no requirement that such an exception be made for these medical needs.

When this exception does exist, these exceptions don’t accomplish their well-intended goals because when you let university administrators or other employers rather than women and their doctors dictate whose medical needs are legitimate and whose are not, women’s health takes a back seat to a bureaucracy focused on policing her body.

Ignoring the fact that birth control – something that most thought was settled around the 1970s – is now part of our political debate…

Wait.

Don’t ignore that.

Why is birth control, something that we all thought was settled as a part of life post the sexual revolution of the 1960s, rather commonplace by the 1970s, and something I took as a 15-year-old virgin to regulate my horrible, no good, very bad menstrual cycle (you don’t want to know) CONTROVERSIAL?

I get why various forms of birth control and family planning were controversial in my grandmother’s day, back when getting your tubes tied was called “butchering”…but today? Now? And why?

Well, there’s an election, that’s why.

Right now the various GOP candidates for president are all in a race of who can “out-conserve” the other, and the winner of the ultra-religious conservative wing of the Republican Kingmakers is Rick Santorum. He’s Catholic, but rather than sounding like the wine-loving, birth control-using American Catholics I knew growing up in St. Louis, he’s chosen to hug hard the Apocalyptic, “We’re all going to die” death cult of the most hysterical of the Bible Belt, evangelical conservatives. The conservatives who want to refight the battles of the 1960s, believing that the real cause of the dip in the marriage rate and increase in the out-of-wedlock births is women wanting the right to vote, decide when to start a family, drive, divorce, drink and go to college (basically all the things women can’t do in Saudi Arabia).

(Obviously this has to be that, not the switch from a blue collar to white collar society, and all the financial inequity that comes with it.)

  • LKJ

    This entire issue is so outrageous, and the fact that it has come to this makes me wonder how I woke up back in the 1950s.

    Rush Limbaugh’s apology was the most insincere non-apologetic piece of b.s. and the GOP candidates inability to properly repudiate Rush speaks volumes. These guys are going to have a terrible time in the general election, as they continue to move right they will alienate the center.

    Finally, the hypocrisy in this debate is ridiculous. Viagra is covered, and viagra does one thing and only one thing for men. Birth control is not covered yet it can treat a multitude of women’s health problems, and women are not even allowed into the debate to discuss it.

  • Carol

    Why does every article related to abortion on this site assume that all black women are pro-abortion rights? It’s a somewhat troubling theme in a lot of areas on the site. All black women have curvy bottoms, all black women default to hip hop and R&B etc. etc…

    I think more balance to these stories, at least in the form of seeking quotes from (black) people with alternate views would add some much-needed depth. It would also help us (black women) move away from the belief that we are a monolithic unit.

  • Humanista

    this article was not about abortion. it was about the availability and coverage of birth control.

  • Greg

    “Why does every article related to abortion on this site assume that all black women are pro-abortion rights?”

    They don’t assume every black women is pro-abortion rights, they WANT every black women to be Pro-Abortion. That’s why you won’t see balance on the issue. Censorship. You should of been here when the Anti Abortion posters went up in NY (which I absolutely loved) They tried the same with the LGBT VS. Civil Rights post too. That backfired though. We’re also assumed to be pro-illegal immigration too but all it looks like to me is the black vote being disenfranchised in preference for non-americans.

    I try with more conservative views but I type in fear and save everything for friends/family to review later, believe me.

  • @Work_Bored

    wow i never knew Viagra was covered, thats crazy i’m actually annoyed that were going backwards. Its sad…

  • Greg

    Well Humanista. the Democrats have been losing support on Abortion which is why they felt they needed to incite Santorum, who long ago realized he couldn’t outlaw contraceptives and didn’t even think to bring it up cause it’s so mainstream. That’s why Stephanopolous brought it up during the CNN debate. Even then Santorum was like “huh, who’s trying to ban Contraceptives?”

    Because Democrats are losing on Abortion they felt they should target the Catholic Church and make them refuse their religious beliefs about life. Santorum was just the set-up pawn. This argument IS about Abortion, the contraceptive angle was conjured by Democrats not Republicans.

    Banning contraceptives wasn’t a plank in ANY Republicans campaign. It had too be conjured by Feminist because they’re losing on Abortion.

    except in the Black female Community where Abortion is a aphrodesiac apparently.

  • Greg

    And Viagra is for a sexual disorder with the body not working correctly,

    Abortifacients (plan B) is for the body working correctly. That’s not a medical disorder, except to black women apparently.

    And asking others to pay for your sexual activity aids is the height of “Get your @ss back in the Kitchen”!?

  • QoNewC

    As someone who has suffered in the past with a large fibroid I can attest to birth control being life saving. I have had to recieve two blood transfusions because of the hemorrhaging I suffered because of the size of my fibroid. The first time I had a blood transfusion I didnt know that my blood count was so low until I got some blood work done. I was rushed to the emergency room after my results came in. I was walking around literally half dead and could have gone into cardiac arrest at anytime. The second I just had a ready bad period where I had a rapid heart beat because of the acute blood loss and was taken to the emergency room again. Had I known that by taking birth control bills I could have stopped my bleeding completely, I could have saved myself two trips to the ER and thousands of dollars. I eventually had my fibroid removed but I was advised that it would grow back. I keep birth control pills on hand everywhere I go because of my experiences.

  • nepanthe

    viagra is covered and birth control isn’t:?

  • Greg

    ONC?
    -It seems strange they wouldn’t offer the drug re-labeled to avoid controversy if useful for other means. That’s done all the time with the drug Industry, we got Viagra from a drug purposed for an entirely diff. ailment. Also I don’t think Birth control is as controversial as the Left is trying to make it out to be all a sudden

    Abortion and abortifacients on the other hand…you’re talking an attack on Christianity and I agree w/ the Catholics in that regard.

    PS. People assume black women are extremely religious because they attend church alot. I think they attend more for research to bring the church DOWN. Something hetero black men just aren’t interested in doing.

  • Nic

    This article is not assuming all black women are pro-abortion, but since you asked maybe the authors don’t like pandering to idiots who cannot read or comprehend. This article is clearly about birth control and the hypocrisy of certain presidential candidates.

    And here I was thinking these candidates could not really be people by the inaccuracies they continually spit, until I meet Greg…

  • QoNewC

    @Greg

    I support all forms of hormonal birth control for the reasons I have suggested and to prevent pregnancies. I also support the “emergency pill.” I dont support abortions under any circumstances other than for a pregnancy that is life threatening which is so rare it hardly deserves a mention.

    For this reason I believe birth control should be apart of any health care coverage. Controlling births are apart of a woman’s health. Also when it comes available it should be available for men too, along with condoms.

  • Carol

    Thank you Humanista, but I can read. While the impetus for this article is over birth control, there are frequent mentions of abortion intertwined with that issue.

    And thank you Greg for pointing out the ridiculousness of this fabricated uproar. Rolling back birth control is not a pillar of the conservative movement or the GOP. The right is generally more religious, but the majority of the American right is NOT Catholic and as such, does not have the same restrictive view on birth control.

    The enforced groupthink (by way of shoving one-sided information down people’s throats) in our community is quite troubling…

  • Britney D.

    Levonorgestrel, the active ingredient of Plan B and partial ingredients in most birth control medications, is not effective after the implementation of pregnancy has started. It has no effect on the fetus, and does not cause abortion of the fetus.

    I’m all for protecting the rights of religious businesses, but to completely get rid of contraceptives is ridiculous. If they are going to debate this much on oral contraceptives, then they need to debate on sildenafil. There are women that could die without the hormone changes with the use of oral contraceptives, but there is no man that will die without sildenafil.

  • Crossroads

    Reproductive rights!? Right. The right for 9 black women to f*ck and have a kiddie for one 6ft+ athlete bm but not give a chance to an average of short bm. You know, the Evander Holyfield/Antonio Cromartie DEAL…

  • Really?

    To Greg, Humanista, and others:

    Birth control pills are used to treat many gynecological conditions. I, a person who would be considered chaste, had to use the pill for a brief time to control bleeding. That excessive bleeding was causing other health issues including a heart condition. I also happen to be a black Catholic.

    You can try and change the subject here, but, if you are an American, I cannot understand why you are so concerned about the reproductive choices or health care choices other people make. The bigger problem here is not allowing either the uncoupling of health insurance and employers. Why you or anyone else should get in between me and my health care provider is beyond me. These conservative religious figures, politicians and entertainers who are attempting to shame women will soon get their comeuppance.

  • Nic

    An article about Whitney Houston is always gonna mention Bobby Brown. Does that mean the article is about Bobby Brown? No. You people and your logic…

    Reproductive rights does include the right to an abortion if necessary, but it majorly means the right to control/time/plan births which is the current non-controversy. The word “abortion” is mentioned 1 TIME in this article….someone clearly failed to teach you reading comprehension. Birth control does not equal abortion. The pills, Plan B, or any other contraceptive method CANNOT terminate a pregnancy; they are for prevention only.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    there is NO reason for any woman to vote for any republican

  • Nic

    Don’t worry, they aren’t interested in hearing reason or actual facts. (All they hear is “abortion! abortion!”).

    If you are a women who has ever been in need, you know just like health care providers know that birth control are multipurpose (Clearly men like *greg* would NEVER know or understand).

    Like plenty people have mentioned before, NOBODY said anything when states made these exact same laws requiring contraceptive coverage in prescription insurance coverage (MA, GA, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, HI, IL, ME, MD, MI, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OR, RI, VT, WA, WV) and many already offer religious exemption.

    But because a certain president pushed for a health care reform that eliminates cost-sharing and requires THE INSURANCE COMPANY to offer preventative services/contraceptive coverage to women directly, it is now a national issue. Religious orgs are still exempt, but yet they want more…and that’s the right to control whether or not YOU get the health care services that YOU need, regardless of your beliefs or faith as an employee.

  • Carol

    Nic,

    Large swaths of the author’s final discussion of the various GOP candidates point directly toward their beliefs on abortion, and for some candidates (Ron Paul, Romney) the author doesn’t mention birth control at all. If anyone is needlessly mixing the two arguments (birth control vs abortion rights), it’s the author of this piece.

    And for someone who seems so concerned with my reading comprehension, it seems odd to rely on a word search of just “abortion” to make your point when so many many other euphemisms for abortion exist and are used in this article. But I guess a thorough look through the article wouldn’t have proved your point.

  • Whatever

    Birth control should be free for everyone and so should condoms… Abortion should then be banned. (except for extreme situations like rape or a medical emergency)

    Too many women treat abortion like it is a contraceptive. “The right to choose” shouldn’t be the issue once you’re pregnant, it should be the issue once you decide to have sex. Every time you have sex, you run the risk of getting pregnant. Having the right to get rid of a child doesn’t make me feel more like a woman, liberated, free or powerful. Abortions are terrible. Period.

    Another thing I noticed is women who constantly judge women for having too many children or having children out of wedlock etc. and some of these same women passing judgement have had an abortion. If you had an abortion, you do not have the right to pass judgement on another women for having her child. Having an abortion doesn’t make you responsible or in control of your life. You are just as irresponsible… it just comes down to morals.

    Birth control is very necessary and should be FREE.

  • Dani

    Actually, most of the people passing judgment on women who have multiple children and out of wedlock births are conservatives who are anti-abortion. You know the whole Black single mother, welfare queen phenomenon. Rick Santorum himself is AGAINST free pre-natal care for low-income women. Mind you these are women who WANT to have their children. What does that say to you?

  • The Taker

    @ Really?

    You cant reason or explain logic to these people. They are C.R.A.Z.Y.! They take everything to new extremes. What you, me and other sane commenters read is far from what they are reading. They are imagining things that are not even anywhere in the article. I often look at the crazies’ comments and ask myself are these people even human and/or do they even live in the real world and not some perfect little world “where everything goes how I want it to go” they seemed to conjure up in their puny little heads.

  • http://changecomesslow.com/2012/03/05/society-vs-social-issues/ Nikesha

    The current fixation on social issues in America is not necessarily manufactured expressly for a candidate’s political campaign; Rick Santorum has two books on social issues and family values. However, the fixation on social issues in a society that has not embraced a lifestyle of wayward mores is a cover up for issues of more importance like the economy.

    This entire contraception fight is absolutely ridiculous and quite frankly baseless.

    But i guess that won’t stop the GOP from crusading against their wives, aunties, cousins, daughters, granddaughters in an attempt to force women to return to their chastity belts, check sheets at first sex, and stone a woman for enjoying good sex and orgasms while staying safe about it.

    To: the GOP the Pope and the Vatican: Get your life
    From: A catholic woman

  • Nic

    Nic: This article is clearly about birth control and the hypocrisy of certain presidential candidates.
    Carol: Large swaths of the author’s final discussion of the various GOP candidates point directly toward their beliefs on abortion
    ————————–
    Oh, I’m sorry, did you just support my argument in your snarky retort? Why, thank you. An example of candidate’s changing positions on women’s choice regarding abortion is nevertheless an example of hypocrisy. The author is making a point to show who is the biggest threat to reproductive rights if elected president based on their framing these policy debates around abortion (due to their own sometimes inconsistent views) and religion and morality INSTEAD of health. It may have not been the best way to go about it, but she isn’t conflating the issues.

  • Whatever

    I am not siding with democrats or republicans. That is just my personal view. I think contraceptives and condoms should be free for all.

  • Donald K Sumner

    If it is ok for women to be heightist then this should be ok to…

  • jamesfrmphilly

    health care should be free (tax payer funded) for all.
    it would ultimately be cheaper.

  • Rastaman

    @Donald K Sumner Short much?

  • LKJ

    Greg,
    You should take your Rush Limbaugh self back to faux news, where facts don’t stand in the way of whatever lies you want to spew.

    Birth control can help treat poly cystic ovarian syndrome and is often prescribed to help improve heavy and irregular periods as well as help acne symptoms. Heavy menstrual cramping may improve or lesson while on birth control, and birth control can also help ease Premenstrual Syndrome symptoms.

    Additionally daily use of birth control is linked to reduced risk of certain reproductive cancers such as endometrial and ovarian cancer and better bone health.

    Viagra is specifically for men to have sex, that is it. Covering viagra for men and not birth control for women means taxpayers are paying for men to have sex.

  • leonard smalls

    Interesting comment; however, allow me to add the following:

    1. Demographics – Taking away immigrant and minority births reflects the fact that the US has a demographics problem. Any and all means to address that issue will be explored, because the needs of the group arguably outweigh those of the few.

    2. Reciprocity – Men have few if any reproductive rights. Hence, it is arguable to say that the new focus on reproductive rights is just “leveling of the playing field.”

  • Mina

    Um, what?

  • Pingback: Here we go again…Birth Control Controversy | Non-Conformed Happiness

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003405645302 Hatice

    Before I answer, pseale understand that I am against abortion, I also am a councellor at a pregnancy care center. That said. Most of the time an abortion done in the second trimester is done while the patient is under twilight sleep or general anestesia. You would not remember anything.I have had three abortions in my life, the lives that I stole will always haunt me. I had 2 abortions that were done within 12 weeks of conception and one done at 20 weeks. As I was leaving the abortion clinic after the procedure, I saw a nurse inspecting an aborted fetus (could have been mine). It was an obvious baby. It was red and in several pieces. This happened when I was 18, I am now 38 and it still haunts me and I imagine it always will.I know what it is like to take a life, to give life and keep it and give life and give it away (adoption). Let me tell you that giving life is less painful than living with the acts of abortion for the rest of your life. It is a painful hole that can never be filled and the more you try to fill it, the deeper and darker it becomes.My oldest daughter was supposed to be aborted. She would have been the 4th. I had the laminara stips put in the night before the abortion. I was 23 weeks pregnant. I changed my mind, I went to another doctor, had them removed. I had a healthy baby girl a few months later. She will be turning 18 on August 29th. Today she and I are the best of friends, I cannot imagine my life without her. I have told her everything about her life inside my belly. She has learned through me that she never wants the same things to happen to her and she forgives her mother for almost ending her life.You need to know what you are going to loose with an abortion esp. this far advanced.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003405631312 Morag

    I am against both for eomiocnc & constitutional arguments.First there are far better ways to save money in the long run than to get involved in the Federal government providing contraception. That is a state issue. If states want to provide contraception that is their decision. It is not my responsibility as a federal taxpayer to do so. It is not the job of the federal government in general to provide birth control or counseling services either.Second you are making an assumption about my stance on abortion. I despise it but understand that even with a federal ban it would still occur. I actually favor both abstinance & contraceptive education. Neither of which I believe the Federal government should provide. I also believe Roe v. Wade should be overturned and states should be given the right to choose.What I object to fervently is our government paying for abortions around the world or getting involved in fertility decisions overseas. Again not my responsibility as a taxpayer, not the federal governments responsibility under the Constitution.

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