Last week we learned how
questions about birth control cause John McCain’s so-called "Straight
Talk Express" to veer off track in a big way (watch this priceless-but-disturbing video clip for a first-hand look). Now, thanks to the Bush administration’s
that could discourage doctors and health clinics from providing women
with access to contraception, birth control is back in the picture — and
that’s not good news for McCain. The Straight Talk Express is going
to hit a few more bumps.
The fundamental question
for McCain is whether he thinks birth control programs should cover
Do we seriously have to ask
this question in 2008? Yes, yes, we do. Let’s remember we are talking
about someone who voted against family planning twenty-two times.
Here are just four examples
of how the Bush regulations could affect women’s access to contraception:
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- This regulation
could affect good state laws that require hospitals to provide emergency
contraception to rape victims.
- The regulation
could undermine laws that ensure pharmacies fill women’s prescriptions
for birth control. (The Straight Talk Express should stop by
some pharmacy counters and ask women what they think about this one.
I’m just making the suggestion.)
- The proposal could
allow health-care corporations (hospitals, HMOs, and health plans) to
refuse to provide services or make referrals not only for abortion but
also for birth control.
- Twenty seven states
have laws requiring health-care plans to cover contraception on an equal
basis with other prescription medications. This draft regulation could
threaten that guarantee, on which millions of women rely for their birth
We are eager to hear McCain
answer questions about each provision. Wait, I know, perhaps he could
refer this matter to Carly Fiorina. She should be up to speed on McCain’s
record since we shared it with
her last week.
(And, no, she has not sent a thank-you note.)
Phil Gramm can weigh in,
too. I am sure there is enough "straight talk" to go around.
- Cristina Page, HHS Moves to Define Contraception as Abortion