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Ear to the Ground

GOP Congressman Defends Comparison of 9/11, Free Birth Control

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Posted on Aug 2, 2012
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Rep. Mike Kelly.

Instead of doing the right thing—i.e., apologizing—for his insensitive and outrageous claim that President Obama’s mandate that insurance companies provide contraception without a co-pay is just like the 9/11 terrorists and Pearl Harbor, GOP freshman Rep. Mike Kelly is doing the opposite: doubling down on his remarks.

In case you missed it, here’s what Kelly said Wednesday: “I know in your mind, you can think of the times America was attacked. One is December 7, that’s Pearl Harbor Day. The other is September 11, and that’s the day the terrorists attacked. I want you to remember August 1, 2012, the attack on our religious freedom. That is a day that will live in infamy, along with those other dates.”

Mind you, the “attack” he was talking about was merely the day Obama’s birth control mandate went into effect. It’s still pretty unclear how atrocious acts of war and terrorism have anything to do with easier access to contraception, but try telling that to Kelly.

On Thursday, the Pennsylvania congressman defended the controversial comment. Or rather, Kelly’s office did. His spokesman told the conservative website Newsmax.com, “Our freedoms and way of life have been under attack before, from both internal and external threats. If we fail to defend our constitutional rights, we risk losing the freedoms that so many brave men and women have given their lives to defend throughout the course of our nation’s history.”

Oh, you mean like the freedom to decide whether you want to use contraceptives or not?

Kelly’s comparison has been heavily criticized, and pressure for him to apologize is mounting.

—Posted by Tracy Bloom.

The Huffington Post:

His comments offended many of his Democratic colleagues, earning him especially harsh attacks from members in Hawaii and New York whose districts include the sites of the two attacks. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) called the comment “shameful,” and Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), whose district includes Ground Zero, said Kelly should apologize.

“It is complete nonsense to suggest that a matter discussed, debated, and approved by the Congress and the President is akin to a surprise attack that killed nearly 2,500 people and launched our nation into the second World War,” Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) said in a statement. Inouye witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor and fought in WWII.

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