Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Culture Wars & Birth Control

They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. All I can think is that the entire Republican Party has gone insane because once again we’re seeing the same failed “culture war” argument of the past election repeated, as Republicans flail around trying to attack a popular Democratic president.

Yesterday on MSNBC Pat Buchanan said that in church on Sunday morning, his pastor spoke about the “new culture war.”

“Democrats want to use taxpayer money to fund overseas abortions,” he said.

Well, that’s a grossly inaccurate way of describing what’s really happening, which is lifting the global gag rule, a policy loved by Republicans and reviled by women’s rights groups.

Now Republicans are spreading the lie that the stimulus will spend hundreds of millions on contraceptives. I wrote about this yesterday, noting that the program Pelosi wants to expand was created by a Republican president and supported by Republican governors. But when you don’t have any policy ideas of your own, flogging the culture wars are a sure-fire way to fool the media.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with the government spending millions on contraceptives for low income women. If you don’t like abortion, then the best way to stop that is to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

But what this proposal really does is simply expand the number of states eligible to use Medicaid funds for birth control services for low income women.

And for some reason conservatives still think women’s access to birth control is controversial or unpopular.

Folks, 62,000 jobs were lost yesterday. You really want to argue over women’s access to birth control? I’d say working women feel like they need birth control now more than ever.

Of course, the AP is reporting that Obama is considering dumping the proposal.

Big mistake. HUGE mistake. Women should not be thrown under the bus. I’ve already written the White House (and you can do so here, or call (202) 456-1111).

Birth control is not controversial. It’s needed, especially in times of economic distress. Bowing to the idiot conservatives who think they have pushed the right culture war button is the wrong thing to do. And I think it's wholly unnecessary.