Anti-choicers – who ought never be thought of as less-than-assiduous in their quest to rid America of the scourge of ladies refusing pregnancy – are really going to town these days!
Per the inimitable Sally Kohn:
“Serious adults are in charge here,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) added for good measure, “and we intend to make progress.”
And then they introduced no fewer than five restrictions on abortion on the first day of the new Republican-controlled Congress. Because, you know, priorities.
Reps. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) reintroduced a ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, a bill the Republican House had already passed in 2013. And in the Senate, David Vitter (R-La.)—always a jarring champion for such moral crusades given the scandalous and, uh, detailed revelations that he frequented a DC prostitution ring—introduced four bills restricting reproductive rights. One would bar Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds for family planning work—even though abortions make up only 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s vital health services work, and Planned Parenthood is already barred from using federal dollars for abortions.
Another one of Vitter’s bills would require all abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital—which especially hurts rural abortion providers that aren’t located hear hospitals. The mortality rate from colonoscopies (which do not require hospital admitting privileges) is 40 times higher than for abortions, but anyway. Vitter also has a bill would allow hospitals, doctors and nurses to refuse to participate in abortion-related care even in cases of an emergency—which makes that “admitting privileges” bill entirely disingenuous. And Vitter would also ban “sex-selective abortion,” which is purely a fictional boogieman invented by anti-abortion opponents.
If you’ll recall, the entire last midterm election was dedicated to the proposition that the “so-called War on Women” is over. The only attention the Serious People felt that repro rights warranted was the derisive jibe at “Mark Uterus”. Lulz! But it turns out that anti-choicers, well, gotta anti-choice. And who could have predicted that? Oh yeah, we hysterical, overwrought pro-choicers did!
And now come the attacks on birth control access, with renewed vigor!
March for Life Education and Defense Fund, the nonprofit that organizes the annual protest, identified oral birth control as a form of abortion in a lawsuit filed in July. With the suit, which is ongoing, March for Life is fighting for an exemption from the Affordable Care Act mandate that all private employers provide contraception coverage.
March for Life argues that covering drugs or medical devices that cause abortions would violate its founding principles. And it places hormonal birth control, which includes things like oral contraception and vaginal rings, squarely within that category. In its lawsuit, the group refers to these as “abortifacients,” a characterization with which most physicians strongly disagree.
Polls consistently find that a majority of Americans who oppose abortion have no moral objections to birth control. Most of those planning to attend the march probably have no idea that March for Life views birth control as immoral: March for Life doesn’t advertise its opinions on birth control in its promotional material for the protest, and the group’s website simply bills the march as a mass demonstration against “legalized abortion on demand.”
The group’s lawsuit seems to have been inspired by the Supreme Court’s June 2014 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. In that case, Hobby Lobby’s owners sued to avoid covering intrauterine devices and emergency contraception pills. A 5-4 conservative majority on the high court ruled in favor of the craft chain’s owners, saying that certain privately owned businesses don’t have to cover emergency contraceptives if the owners object on religious grounds.
Wait a sec, what happened to the midterm “We’re all about selling birth control over the counter!” dealio? Yeah, that went away the second they took over Congress. Now the Right is firmly back in “the Pill kills babies!” territory. We pro-choicers were prescient about that too.
The GOP sweep of Congress and state legislatures plus the onset of the 2016 Presidential election have created the perfect conditions for what promises to be a torrent of purse-lipped God-botherers annoying everyone else with their creepy sex obsessions in 2015. Perennial GOP Presidential candidate and professional grifter Mike Huckabee has already gotten in on the act:
“Beyoncé is incredibly talented – gifted, in fact,” Huckabee writes in the book, which hits stores until Jan. 20. “She has an exceptional set of pipes and can actually sing. She is a terrific dancer – without the explicit moves best left for the privacy of her bedroom. Jay Z is a very shrewd businessman, but I wonder: Does it occur to him that he is arguably crossing the line from husband to pimp by exploiting his wife as a sex object?”
Christ, he’s gross. And racist. But his commentary really boils the anti-choice movement down to its essence: a bunch of bitter prudes spending waaaaay too much time angrily imagining what attractive young people might be doing with their clothes off. Unfortunately, America gave people like that the keys to the country two months ago.