Over the weekend Mike Huckabee created new headaches for his party when at the annual RNC’s Winter Retreat in downtown DC he went on a mini tangent on contraception related to the Democrat’s “War on Women” meme. More specifically, Democrats and leftist women right’s groups screamed bloody murder over this sound bite, ” And if the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control, because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it.”
What was left out of this sound bite was Huckabee’s original statement, “”Women I know are outraged that Democrats think that women are nothing more than helpless and hopeless creatures whose only goal in life is to have the government provide for them birth control medication,” he said. “Women I know are smart, educated, intelligent, capable of doing anything that anybody else can do.” Obviously the first part of the quote sounded much better but considering how the media and Democrats have made the “War on Women” such a central theme of their message don’t expect it to get out.
In an election year where the President has a meager 40% approval rating, Healthcare Reform is a disaster and the economy continues to stutter while the President mumbles about income inequality some Republicans would much rather not inject social issues into the equation. Yet, while these Republicans exist there seems to be a lot of Mike Huckabee’s in the party. They may just want to focus on other social issues. Banning abortion at five months with exceptions (supported by Americans in polls) would be a good start.
Consider that the RNC adopted a resolution urging their candidates to speak out more forcefully on abortion (about time). More specifically, about the science of abortions at five months and how liberal groups support abortion on demand and taxpayer-funded abortions through Obamacare (in this case through some state Medicaid expansion and the exchanges). Republicans would be wise to do so considering Democrats will never back off this attack until they realize its impact has been blunted if not minimized fully.
The realities and politics of contraception are quite different than abortion however even if they are the same to Democrats and their base. For Republicans on contraception the biggest reality the GOP needs to understand is that it is widely accepted and used by women of all incomes, ages, and races. This puts Republicans in an extremely slippery position of trying to explain why the government should not mandate contraception be offered in EVERY health insurance plan (note: men and grandma do NOT need it) and defending 1st Amendment Rights.
Yet, liberal blogger Sandra Fluke, (yes the same women who said contraception was so expensive it was bankrupting her back in 2012 to an all Democratic panel in Congress) shows how the left is just as blind on the issue as the right, just in different ways. Without recapping every point in her article Fluke argues yet again how contraception is bankrupting some women to acquire it (in her 2012 testimony she said it could cost over $3,000 during law school, Target sells a month’s supply for $9) and that pesky things like the moral objections of 1st Amendment protected entities such as non-profits and churches do not matter. But according to the Constitution they do. Oh and lest I forget, she linked it to life saving procedures such as blood transfusions (smack forehead here).
We can debate until we are blue in the face whether contraception is much to expensive (note to Fluke, I have never heard nor read it cost $3,000 over a four-year period and I am a pretty educated guy) but what can be debated and should be by the GOP is her point on moral objections not mattering. That is dangerous. If she was not so blinded by ideology and her women’s activist agenda she might realize it. Alas not.
Enter the politics of contraception. Democrats want to make it available to everybody and either have insurance companies or taxpayers subsidize it. Most Republicans (me included) do not have a problem with contraception being provided in Health Insurance plans as long as it is A) not funded by my tax dollars (women or their employers pay for it), B) the customer actually wants it in their plan and C) that the moral objections of non-profit and religious institutions are taken into account.
Indeed, Fluke and many Democrats who support forcing institutions with moral objections to providing it to their employees are more liberal than liberals on the Supreme Court. Last week the Supreme Court unanimously ordered a stay on the Obama administration enforcing the contraception mandate on a small group of Roman Catholic Nuns known as Little Sisters of the Poor. They morally object to having to provide their employees contraception. Another case involving a non-profit is pending. The Supreme Court did not say they leaned one way or the other but that a tax penalty could not be enforced on the nuns while the case is first heard in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Now little things like that might not matter to Sandra Fluke or many Democrats but they do matter to constitutional conservatives, libertarians and millions of deeply religious individuals. And if Republicans are going to talk about contraception this is a point they need to hit on. Providing contraception to women should not step on the 1st Amendment. Last I checked we have a 1st Amendment to protect the rights of the minority (in this case religious institution’s beliefs) from the majority.
There is also the cost aspect to consider. Providing contraception to their employees for many businesses is an expensive ordeal. Democrats and women’s groups might scoff at this excuse but until they have to balance a business’s expenses their opinions carry limited weight and are of course clouded by their ideology. However, it should be noted many businesses are willing to expand their coverage to include this expense although this ignores they have dropped their insurance coverage for many other employees due to other onerous aspects of the ACA.
In essence neither the Republicans or Democrats truly get the politics of contraception. Many Republicans seem to think all contraception is like the Life of Julie (Julie forever subsidized by the government) while many Democrats seem to think that annoying arguments about the 1st Amendment over the contraception mandate do not matter.
But here are some realities of contraception for both groups. It is widely used and available (somebody should tell Fluke it is available at Target). It has benefits for society such as preventing unwanted pregnancies (fewer abortions and social costs on society). A solid majority of women use it. But a mandate on contraception is overreaching. No, women do not have a right to contraception just like men do not have a right to condoms. This country is diverse in every aspect and there will be entities and groups that object to its use. Their concerns are protected under the 1st Amendment (that pesky thing). And mandating everybody have it in their coverage only jacks up the cost of everybody’s insurance when millions of Americans do not need contraception (I guess helping the middle class and seniors is out the window).
So Miss Fluke, Mike Huckabee, Republicans, Democrats, liberals and conservatives please do realize these realities and get it together. A contraception mandate is unconstitutional and like all free individuals women should be allowed to buy and purchase it at their leisure while the rest of America is not forced to subsidize it.