I’ve watched the recent insurance/contraception controversy play out with an increasing sense of unreality. The GOP attack on the HHS rules seemed so transparently political–after all, some 26 states have had similar rules for years, and somehow religiously-affiliated hospitals and universities have lived with them. I chalked it up to the same partisan frenzy that accompanies every single thing this administration tries to do.
And while I still think that’s true of the faux outrage by Boehner and Romney and many others, I have also reluctantly concluded that many of these privileged white males who want to defund Planned Parenthood and outlaw abortion also–unbelievably–want to deny women access to birth control. These advocates of “limited government” really do want to use that government to control women’s bodies. Their reaction to Obama’s masterful “compromise” strips the veneer off their argument that their concern was all about the First Amendment (a “concern” that incidentally demonstrated their lack of understanding of First Amendment jurisprudence).
The GOP argument was that requiring religiously-affiliated employers to pay for health insurance that included birth control violated the employers’ religious liberties. The Obama administration said fine, then the insurance companies will offer that coverage–free–directly to the employees. (The insurance companies have no problem with that, because birth control saves them money; abortions and live births are both far more expensive than contraception.) The religious employers don’t have to pay for the coverage; they don’t even have to tell employees it’s available-the insurance companies will. Problem solved.
Except, evidently, it isn’t solved, because those uppity women will still have access to free birth control. So the attacks–considerably less coherent, but no less furious–continue.
It is absolutely amazing that in the 21st century, there are still men–and some women–who believe women should be kept barefoot and pregnant. It seems unbelievable, but there is no other plausible explanation.
I don’t know if other women are as angry as I am about this contempt for women and our most basic rights. I think many are. My favorite bloggers, Margaret and Helen, certainly are.
All I know is that the 2012 election is increasingly shaping up as a contest between the 21st century and the 1950s, when grown women were “girls” and men made all the rules.