The Republican War Against Women
If you don’t think that Catholic and evangelical leaders are waging a new war against contraception, then you aren’t paying close attention. Even two years ago, I would have scoffed at the notion that any group would think it was feasible or advisable to take a public stand against contraception. With very large majorities of Americans in favor of contraception, and the Women’s Rights Movement—which arose in part to obtain women’s right to use contraception, so that women would not have their lives dictated by biology—in the rearview mirror, it seemed to me to be just the sort of misogynist position that was beyond the pale in the 21st century. I was wrong.
Catholic and evangelical leaders are even now feverishly lobbying and funding public relations experts and lawyers in an attempt to avoid having for-profit corporations include women’s contraception in their health plans. Apparently, these religious organizations’ war chests are so deep that poverty, education, and care for the homeless are well-covered, freeing them to try to turn the clock back to when women, in their eyes, were just as women ought to be. This is only the newest attack on women’s rights to obtain contraception, however, as the same forces had already been propounding so-called “conscience clauses” in the various states and the federal government in order to permit health care professionals (e.g., pharmacists) to refuse to hand over contraception.
These forces’ latest move is to urge Republicans to sneak into the proposals that were flying back and forth between the House and Senate to avoid a government shutdown, an amendment to Obamacare, delaying its effect, and including permission to employers to refuse to pay for contraception “based on religious or moral objections.” Few noted the proposed amendment, except CNN, in the heat of the impending government shutdown, which did indeed happen.