Am I the only one who is utterly gobsmacked that we are having a “contraception debate”? What year is it again? I’m 48, and the debate on all this was settled long before I ever found it necessary to wrap my lil kamper in latex. And my confusion as to what year it is was only heightened the other day when Rick Santorum said this:
Woodstock is the great American orgy. This is who the Democratic Party has become. They have become the party of Woodstock. The prey upon our most basic primal lusts, and that’s sex. And the whole abortion culture, it’s not about life. It’s about sexual freedom. That’s what it’s about. Homosexuality. It’s about sexual freedom.
Woodstock?! He’s trying to tie the Democrats to those dirty hippies we all saw on the Merv Griffin show? Wait, maybe he’s talking about Woodstock 1999? That was pretty horrible. No? He means, like, Woodstock Woodstock? 1969 Woodstock? Man, all I can say is, someone didn’t stay away from the brown acid. (And, as Charles Pierce points out, Santorum says “sexual freedom” like that’s a bad thing.)
But this only proves a point, which is that the best thing about wingnuts is that they always eventually show their true colors. They can only subsist on code language and dog whistles for so long before the real bile begins to flow.
Which brings us back to the birth control debate. In New Hampshire, for instance, GOP lawmakers oppose the new federal rule compelling insurers to provide birth control to employees of religious organizations. Only here’s the problem: New Hampshire has had a state law on the books for 12 years that requires contraceptive coverage in all prescription drug plans, and at the time it passed, no one objected.
The law was passed by a Republican Legislature and signed by a Democratic governor. Nobody at the time, it seems, saw the policy as a blow against religious liberty.
Democratic state Rep. Terie Norelli, who co-sponsored the law, said that objection never came up.
“There was no discussion whatsoever — I even went back and looked at the history from the bill,” she said. “There was not one comment about religious freedoms.”
So whose fault is it, this 12-year-old law passed by the state’s Republican Legislature? It’s Obama’s fault, of course.
It’s hard to miss the politics fueling state House Speaker William O’Brien’s push to carve out a religious exemption from the contraception mandate.
“The Obama administration is trying to divide this country and to divide women against Catholics,” O’Brien said. “The amendment before you, however, is a way of guaranteeing religious freedom by ensuring that we are not forcing employers to purchase health care coverage that violates their belief.”
And who helped to draft the new You-Ladies-Should-Just-Keep-Your-Legs-Closed bill? The Catholic Diocese of Manchester.
The diocese isn’t itself directly affected by the contraception mandate because it, like the state’s largest Catholic hospital, has chosen to self-insure. But if the church gets its way, contraceptive-free insurance may soon be widely available on the open market.
“I ask that all of our people of good will support that which is in the best interest of that which gives life, that which sustains life,” Bishop Peter Libasci said during a recent news conference. The diocese helped draft the bill, which would free any employer, be it an auto repair shop or a metaphysical bookstore, with a religious objection to birth control.
I can’t see how these same objections would not equally apply to a Christian Science business owner, who might object to all medical care, or to a New Age owner, who would only want to cover crystals, magnets, and herbal remedies.