Roundup: McCain’s Crude Jokes and His Stances on Abortion and Birth Control

Brady Swenson

Olbermann and Maddow take on the serious matter of McCain's crude jokes, McCain speaks out against abortion and birth control, Hillary Clinton and Patty Murray condemn Bush's anti-contraception proposal, The Daily Show takes on the term 'cougar'.

The Serious Matter of McCain’s Crude Jokes … John McCain’s ‘sense of humor’ may just be a red flag for a man who disregards women as something lesser than men. On MSNBC’s Countdown last night Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow examined some of the crude anti-woman jokes McCain has told, in public, throughout his career in Washington.  The McCain campaign did not really apologize for the jokes, including one about an ape raping a woman, saying instead that these jokes are examples of "McCain being McCain" and evidence of his "authenticity."

McCain’s Speaks Out On Abortion … John McCain spoke openly about his devout anti-choice stances at a town hall meeting in Kansas City yesterday:

Sen. John McCain went out of his way to speak
against abortion twice today at a town hall meeting before a friendly
audience that vigorously applauded a range of conservative proposals.
It’s a subject he rarely raises on the campaign trail unless asked
directly about it—and one where Democrats think they have the edge.

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“I also would like to say one other thing very quickly to you–that
is I am proud of my record of protecting and advocating the rights of
the unborn. I believe this is also an important issue,” he said. He
said the noblest words every written were the rights to “life, liberty
and the pursuit of happiness.”

Abortion rights advocates believe that many voters mistakenly believe
that McCain supports abortion rights and that they will be less
inclined to vote for him once they realize he does not.

McCain’s Opposition to Birth Control … Katha Pollitt has a great piece in the Chicago Tribune today explaining that McCain, like the Bush administration, is opposed to birth control and voted against requiring insurance companies to cover contraception: 

So, John McCain is so opposed to contraception he voted against
requiring insurance plans to cover it like other drugs, and either so
indifferent to women’s health and rights or just so out of it he
doesn’t even remember how he voted. That’s the way to show American
women you really care.

This is not a trivial issue. There’s
the basic unfairness of not covering these essential—even
life-saving—drugs and devices, so fundamental to women’s health and
well-being. And then he adds the insult of denying coverage while men
are lavished with cut-rate erections. There’s the craven submission to
religious extremists that moves the politics of that denial.

It’s
a pocketbook issue too: A year’s worth of contraception can cost a
woman $600. That’s a lot of money. Is it too much to expect the next
president of the United States to understand that? Especially now that
every politician in America prides himself on knowing the price of a
gallon of milk, and talks like he’s just finished doing the week’s
shopping for a family of 10?

More Responses to Bush’s Anti-contraception Proposal … We’re on the fourth day of newsmaking for a leaked HHS proposal that would limit women’s access to birth control.  Yesterday Senators Hillary Clinton and Patty Murray jointly sent a letter to HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt condemning the proposed rule change.  

Murray and
Clinton said the proposed rule change is a "poorly veiled attempt to
roll back women’s health care options before the current Administration
leaves office."

"This
misguided attempt to restrict health care services and limit access to
contraceptives defeats our common goal of reducing the number of
abortions in this country," said Murray.

They said one of
the most troubling aspects of the proposed rule is the overly-broad
definition of "abortion."

"This definition would allow
health-care corporations or individuals to classify many common forms
of contraception – including the birth control pill, emergency
contraception and IUDs – ‘abortions,’ and therefore to refuse to
provide contraception to women who need it," they said.

Murray and Clinton go on to say "the regulations could even undermine
state laws that ensure survivors of sexual assault and rape receive
emergency contraception in hospital emergency rooms." 

The far-right blogs have been strangely slient on this development.  The Catholic World News did publish a short piece simply restating the major aspects of the proposed rule change with no mention that it will have the effect of severely limiting women’s access to birth control pills and IUDs. 

Daily Show’s Senior Women’s Issues Commentator Kristen Schaal Takes on the ‘Cougar’ Label … After all this seriousness we need some comic relief and there’s nobody doing comic relief right now better than the Daily Show.  Kristen Schaal goes to great lenghts to prove to Jon Stewart that the term ‘cougar’ is dehumanizing:

 

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