It’s not bad enough that abortion rights are under attack in much of the USA, conservatives are going after contraception now too. This has become a hot issue because of three things:
First: Rick Santorum, who has emerged as the Not-Romney candidate du jour, said the following to a right-wing Christian blog:
One of the things I will talk about that no president has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea. Many in the Christian faith have said, â€˜Well, thatâ€™s okay. Contraceptionâ€™s okay.â€™ Itâ€™s not okay because itâ€™s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. Theyâ€™re supposed to be within marriage, they are supposed to be for purposes that are, yes, conjugal, but also [inaudible], but also procreative. Thatâ€™s the perfect way that a sexual union should happen. We take any part of that out, we diminish the act. And if you can take one part out thatâ€™s not for purposes of procreation, thatâ€™s not one of the reasons, then you diminish this very special bond between men and women, so why canâ€™t you take other parts of that out? And all of a sudden, it becomes deconstructed to the point where itâ€™s simply pleasure. And thatâ€™s certainly a part of itâ€”and itâ€™s an important part of it, donâ€™t get me wrongâ€”but thereâ€™s a lot of things we do for pleasure, and this is special, and it needs to be seen as special.
Again, I know most presidents donâ€™t talk about those things, and maybe people donâ€™t want us to talk about those things, but I think itâ€™s important that you are who you are. Iâ€™m not running for preacher. Iâ€™m not running for pastor, but these are important public policy issues. These have profound impact on the health of our society.
Second: Santorum’s patron Foster Friess recently said “Back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraception. The gals put it between their knees and it wasnâ€™t that costly.” Classy.
Third: the Obama administration angers the Catholic hierarchy and gives the GOP something to bash him over by insisting that even Church-affiliated institutions must cover birth control in their health-care plans. For the Catholic church, their opposition is presumably sincere. For the GOP, it’s tactical.
All of this contributes to a climate of demonizing sex and treating women as either sluts who deserve to get pregnant for their wantonness, or baby-making machinery with no say in the matter.
That is, by far, the worst part of it. But any self-respecting man who doesn’t want to have as many kids as Santorum (seven) should be angry as well as women, and not just from a sense of solidarity with women (although that too). It’s a ridiculous state of affairs that we have three kinds of boner pills on the market, but the only forms of male birth control are mechanical or surgical. I took the surgical option years before I ever met Gwen, and I’m happy with that decision. Santorum is telling me that our marriage is as invalid as he considers a gay marriage to be (another can of worms for another time).
Ultimately, this is just another facet of the right wing’s war on anyone who’s having more fun than they are.