The right gets even more hysterical in attacks on contraception, going so far as to imply that Planned Parenthood invented sex. Rebecca Hains explains the pros and cons of "girl power".
Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images
The right gets even more hysterical in attacks on contraception, going so far as to imply that Planned Parenthood invented sex. Rebecca Hains explains the pros and cons of “girl power”.
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On this episode of Reality Cast, it’s more and more entertaining clips of conservatives working themselves into an anti-contraception frenzy. To mix things up, I have author Rebecca Hains on to talk about the evolution of the concept of girl power.
Amy Poehler returned to “Saturday Night Live” in part to revise a popular character with Maya Rudolph, but also to unleash her fury, alongside Seth Meyers, about the conservative war on contraception and abortion. It was, needless to say, awesome. Here’s a sample.
- really 1 *
I really—really—liked the way Poehler ended this segment.
- really 2 *
Heh. I think that may have to live on beyond this podcast in some form. I’ll be hanging on to it.
Last week, I covered the increasingly hostile rhetoric from the right to women having sex at all, and certainly any kind of health care that makes it safer and easier and more pleasurable for women. Well, that week had nothing, nothing on where it went. I actually predicted on Twitter that by Wednesday the 15th, some conservative on cable news would drop the “shut your legs, slut” type line. I was off by a day. It took until Thursday the 16th before it happened.
- sex 1 *
That was Foster Friess, who is the biggest donor to Rick Santorum’s Super PAC, and a billionaire. Friess married in 1962, and while he has a slightly higher than average four children, it’s still a much lower number than could be expected if he actually lived the anti-contraception values he’s promoting. But as I noted before, some of these old dudes have so much privilege that it probably never occurred to them to even ask how their wives avoided unwanted pregnancy. They probably just think the contraception fairies take care of that, in the same way the toilet fairies make sure the toilet is clean.
Friess apologized in the usual disingenuous manner, and then Santorum did a little damage control, which is interesting. I wish I could show you the video, because the amount of grinning Santorum did during this interview was genuinely unnerving. It didn’t cover up his anger and nervousness very well.
- sex 2 *
He did, in fact, do that, back before the Republican Party decided en masse that they object to contraception subsidies and threatened to shut down the government over it. Yes, folks, the belief that contraception is so evil that the federal government should be shut down rather than continue subsidizing it was something that Republicans just started believing. Until last year, contraception subsidies weren’t controversial at all in the mainstream Republican party. Something to think about. Someone needs to ask the Susan B. Anthony List about this, since they made a commitment defunding Title X part of the pledge they required Santorum to sign to get their endorsement.
I think conservatives are beginning to realize this is a losing issue for them, which is why Santorum bared his teeth and forced himself to pretend he’s not as extreme on this as he is. But unfortunately, the stampede mentality of conservatives means that while they are easy to turn in the direction you want, once they’re unleashed in a direction you don’t want, it’s really hard to get them in line. For instance, Dana Loesch went off-message when defending a Virginia bill requiring women to get trans-vaginal ultrasounds if they want to get an abortion.
- sex 3 *
That’s about as blatant as it gets. Loesch is saying if you have sex once, you forsake your right to ever say no to vaginal penetration ever again. Defense attorneys for rapists are probably begging her to sit on juries after this. But it was a refreshing break from anti-choicers claiming that they want to assault unwilling women with unnecessary ultrasounds for their own good. Loesch is clear that this is punishment for having sex. But we knew that all along.
And I just have to include this clip of yet another conservative calling contraception abortion, this time Mitch Daniels.
- sex 4 *
There is no such thing as “morning after abortion”, since the morning after you have sex at night, you cannot be pregnant. It’s biologically impossible. If you show up at the abortion clinic, they’ll laugh and say, “Wait until you’re actually pregnant, hon.” Sperm are really tiny; it takes them awhile to get up there. What he’s obviously trying to do is characterize emergency contraception as abortion. In other words, they’re saying pregnancy begins at ejaculation, putting the day “life” begins days before the sperm meets the egg. Maybe Amy & Seth are right, and next they’ll be saying “life” begins on the first date.
After the interview, I’ll have some clips of conservatives getting even more outrageous and hysterical over the fact that women use their reproductive rights, and the Obama administration supports their right to do so.
Last segment, you got to hear some over the top hysteria from the right, but that has nothing—nothing—on this segment. This is where the paranoia goes to the next level, where right wingers imagine that they’re suffering at the hands of an orgiastic feminist conspiracy to kidnap all men and force them into sex slavery. Okay, well they haven’t said that yet, but the conspiracy theories get surprisingly close. For instance, American Life League put out a video accusing Planned Parenthood of, well, it’s an interesting conspiracy theory.
- hysteria 1 *
The book, by the way, is a standard sex education children’s book, the kind parents have bought kids who have questions since roughly forever. I suppose American Life League believes that if your kid has questions about where babies come from or what sex is, you should slap them and send them to their room. Knowledge is naughty! If you think I’m exaggerating about their stance, I have to say I really am not. For one thing, the announcer says kids start puberty when they start high school. Actually, it’s many years before, and puberty is actually complete in most teens by the beginning of high school. They also argue that kids would have no interest in sex if Planned Parenthood didn’t tell them about it. But they’re not only completely wrong on the facts, but they also have a really elaborate conspiracy theory.
- hysteria 2 *
Of course, Planned Parenthood is not a business, but a non-profit. Which is just the least of the concerns when considering the relationship of this video to reality. These are the sort of people that have hijacked the national discourse for two weeks, screaming about how Obama is somehow violating religious liberty by allowing women to access contraception coverage through their employers. This is how they frame contraception, as propaganda tricking people who otherwise wouldn’t be interested in sex into having it. Why they have a seat at the table is beyond me.
American Life League is always paranoid, but their kind of paranoia became the norm amongst right wing pundits in the past month. Rush Limbaugh, well-known fan of repeated marriage, Viagra, and trips to countries known for sex tourism, repeated American Life League’s claims.
- hysteria 3 *
You should listen to this video and the American Life League one together. They’re nearly word for word in their arguments. Again, the problem here is that Planned Parenthood is a non-profit, and overall, contraception saves money. So claims that liberals support sexual health rights for nefarious reasons tend to fall flat, and conservatives are starting to get creative in their elaborate conspiracy theories about why liberals support reproductive rights.
- hysteria 4 *
Of course, it’s clear from Greg Gutfeld’s claims that really what’s going on is the right doesn’t want the poor to have the option to get out of poverty. If you can’t control your family size, controlling other things, like your education or employment opportunities, is really out of the question. And that’s what a lot of this is about.
One more clip, to show you how out of control this is getting.
- hysteria 5 *
Needless to say, there is no power granted to the executive to force people to stop at two children. More importantly, this is a fundamental misreading of the pro-choice position. We oppose this kind of state control over reproduction, and instead demand the state work with women to give us as many options as possible. Which the birth control mandate does, by making sure a woman’s choice to get pregnant or not isn’t determined by her ability to pay.
And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, the kicker edition. Like last episode, and for all I know, next episode, the two news segments have devoted to collecting right wing weirdness, so I almost feel like this is just, I don’t know, the whipped cream on top of a poo sundae? A lot of people have noted that it’s not just the teenage sluts of right wing dreams that use contraception, but married people and mothers, too. But Rush Limbaugh has an answer for that!
- Limbaugh *
He admits that some women use contraception after having babies, but continues to believe that otherwise, there’s two groups of women: Those “into” birth control, as if it was a sexual kink, and those who have kids. In reality, most women who want to be mothers one day use birth control, so they can have kids when they want. The average woman who has two kids will use birth control for about 30 years of her life. That’s an experience Limbaugh just denies outright, and assumes will have no impact on the election.