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Ear to the Ground

Obama Gets Ready to Defend Birth Control Policy

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Posted on Feb 7, 2012
White House / Pete Souza

It’s an election year, so it’s time to play wedge issue roulette. Which culture war favorite is it going to be this time? Gay marriage? The Obama administration’s recent and contested decision to require Catholic organizations to provide birth control coverage to employees?

There’s movement on both those fronts this week, what with a California appeals court’s ruling Tuesday that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. Also that day, White House spokesman Jay Carney piped up about the birth control controversy and his boss’ plans to try to tamp down the criticism. How exactly Obama will do this was unclear at press time.  —KA

Update: And they’re off: Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney took to the contraception coverage debate with aplomb Tuesday in an effort to one-up each other and gain on fellow GOP contender Rick Santorum, who’s already made some headway on this issue.

AP via USA Today:

He continued to defend the new policy, while making clear Tuesday that the White House is looking for a way to calm the growing election-year firestorm that’s erupted since it was announced late last month.

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By Big B, February 8, 2012 at 8:31 am Link to this comment

Its never just been about abortion witht the right wing wak-a-moles, That’s just step one. Outlawing birth control has always been their goal. They believe that it the ultimate step in the re-subservience of women. For the USA to be a proper theocracy women must be removed from public life.

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Robespierre115's avatar

By Robespierre115, February 7, 2012 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment

Isn’t the Catholic Church almost extinct anyway? Latin America is the only corner of the globe where it still has 14th century-style power.

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By Shenonymous, February 7, 2012 at 5:19 pm Link to this comment

The Church’s doctrine of non-contraception part of an ancient
problem of women’s freedom and a continuation of male
discrimination against women.  The origins of choice reaches back
in societies around the world for millennia.  Reproductive freedom
has been a matter of contention both of women’s rights and religious
doctrine, a racial issue, a biological and medical issue, a sexual issue,
a legal issue and about property law.  And the view of contraception
and abortion has changed over the millennia as well and has varied
from one ethnic group to another.  If this has been such a wavering
doctrine, there is an institutional bias against women to keep them
in their place as seen by men throughout history.  For those not of
any faith, or of differing beliefs, their rights are being trampled.

The US Supreme Court settled the dilemma about birth control with
Griswold v. Connecticut that legalized birth control in 1965 which
articulated as a constitutional right, a legal right to privacy that protected
citizens from government interference in marital childbearing decisions.
That did not address the biological necessity for reproductive freedom. 
The Catholic edict about abortion or contraception is not a Biblical one,
not mentioned in the Holy Book except for one verse in Exodus 21:22
that speaks about the penalties that are to be imposed if one person
causes an accidental miscarriage.  Religions mainly wrote ecclesiastical
law in order that the religion accumulate more members thereby making
it stronger, or as in the Jewish teachings in order for the Jewish race to
continue.  But even in these cases, it was even required that birth control
and be used.  While Christian doctrine, which was written over centuries
after the New Testament had been written, considered contraception and
abortion to be “mostly” sinful, but not always!  Theology took a more
inflexible tone after the Black Death nearly wiped out Christians in
Europe in mid-14th century.  Some historians believe that the Christian
Church promoted witch hunting and the Inquisitions to prevent midwives
who were the major agents of birth control and abortion methods to the
women of Europe from carrying on their practice.  Nevertheless, the
Church was not anti-abortion!  And for centuries there was a debate
when a fetus became human and would come under the protection of the
Church law.  A theory that a fetus wasn’t formed or became a human for
40 days after conception for males and 80 days for females was adopted
by Christian theologians based on the idea that every fetus was believed
to be conceived as males and females were in-utero mutations.  So
females were seen as subordinate early in the Church’s rationale. 
Whatever, this became known as the doctrine of delayed ensoulment. 
While Aquinas opposed abortion he maintined that the sin in aboriton
was not homicide unless the fetus was ensouled. This theory of “delayed
hominization” (delay of becoming human) is the most consistent thread
throughout church history on abortion.

The notion that contraception or abortion is a sin are not originally a
Christian injunction. They both became a sin when Pope Sixtus V, in
1588,  became concerned about prostitution. Apparently that did not
stop prostitution but it did continue the degradation of women for
thousands of years now.

The posturing of the Catholic Church and Rick Santorum today is
preposterous.  There is much the public has to learn about what is
truly religious and what was expedient by Church clergy to control their
members.  There may be excellent reasons for limiting abortions but no
reason for contraception.  The real history of women’s reproductive
rights is the abomination forced on women for thousands of years.

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, February 7, 2012 at 4:33 pm Link to this comment

Imagine the health coverage that a Christian Science or Jehovah’s Witness (god bless them) organization might opt for. Counseling, prayer, and funeral services. The insurance companies would love that.

Anyhow, there is no reason for Catholics to get so upset.

Is E.J. Dionne being threatened with excommunication???

Well… who knows about that guy???

Apparently, he believes “progressive” Catholics will be against it.

I guess the only solution is to make Medicare available for all.

Go with it Obama!!!

I promise I will say something nice about you.

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