Behind the Abortion Warr
I hope the Republicans spend a lot of time and energy on things like abortion and whether Obama was born in the U.S. – their extremist views may energize their base, but it completely alienates moderates in the middle, the 10% of voters who determine every close election. Here's Gail Collins with an op ed about Republican attacks on abortion, which is really an attack on contraception:
Beyond the science, there's the fact that many social conservatives are simply opposed to giving women the ability to have sex without the possibility of procreation.
"Contraception helps reduce one's sexual partner to just a sexual object since it renders sexual intercourse to be without any real commitments," says Janet Smith, the author of "Contraception: Why Not."
The reason this never comes up in the debates about reproductive rights in Washington is that it has no popular appeal. Abortion is controversial. Contraception isn't. A new report by the Guttmacher Institute found that even women who are faithful Catholics or evangelicals are likely to rely on the pill, I.U.D.'s or sterilization to avoid pregnancy. Rachel Jones, a lead author of the report, said the researchers found "no indication whatsoever" that religious affiliation has any serious effect on contraception use.
What we have here is a wide-ranging attack on women's right to control their reproductive lives that the women themselves would strongly object to if it was stated clearly. So the attempt to end federal financing for Planned Parenthood, which uses the money for contraceptive services but not abortion, is portrayed as an anti-abortion crusade. It makes sense, as long as you lay off the factual statements.
April 13, 2011
Behind the Abortion War
By GAIL COLLINS
Part of the price of keeping the government operating this week is another debate over the financing of Planned Parenthood. Whoopee.
At least it'll give us a chance to reminisce about Senator Jon Kyl, who gave that speech against federal support for Planned Parenthood last week that was noted for: A) its wild inaccuracy; and B) his staff's explanation that the remarks were "not intended to be a factual statement."
This is the most memorable statement to come out of politics since Newt Gingrich told the world that he was driven to commit serial adultery by excessive patriotism.