Truthful Tuesday — Birth Control

Melanie, of Sparks from a Combustible Mind, is still filling in for Frank, aka PCGuy, who is taking a hiatus from his Truthful Tuesday prompt. This week Melanie has picked up on this post I wrote last week about how paradoxical it is that many who oppose abortion also oppose birth control. Melanie asks…

Birth control? Pro or con. Please explain.

My wife and I believe in the “replace yourself” theory of population growth. So after we had our second child, I had a vasectomy. It was our way of ensuring that we didn’t have any more kids.

A vasectomy is one form of birth control that a man can employ. The condom is another. Virtually all other forms of contraception are used by women. I haven’t looked into the Republican efforts to ban contraceptives, but I would wager that it doesn’t include banning vasectomies. Am I right, fellas?

Speaking of birth control, a few weeks ago, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 228 to 195 to pass the Right to Contraception Act, which would make it a federal right for Americans to obtain and use birth control pills, condoms, IUDs and other contraceptives.

The bill specifically defined contraceptives as “any drug, device, or biological product intended for use in the prevention of pregnancy, whether specifically intended to prevent pregnancy or for other health needs, that is legally marketed under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, such as oral contraceptives, long-acting reversible contraceptives, emergency contraceptives, internal and external condoms, injectables, vaginal barrier methods, transdermal patches, and vaginal rings, or other contraceptives.”

But when the Senate Democrats tried to pass the bill codifying federal rights to contraception by unanimous consent, it was blocked by Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican from Iowa. So for now, the bill is dead in the water.

Birth control is a way for women and men to prevent and/or plan the timing of pregnancy. It’s use is a personal and private matter. It should not be a political issue. It should not be a religious issue. It should be a matter for a woman and a man to decide upon. Period.

It’s a Paradox

The above headlined flashed up on my iPhone’s newsfeed today. What? Contraception prevents unplanned, unwanted pregnancies, and women who choose to have abortions do so, to a large extent, because of unplanned, unwanted pregnancies. So doesn’t it follow that advocating the use of contraceptives and promoting their availability would reduce the demand for abortions? Yes, it does.

But that logic seems to be beyond what many religious and social conservatives can grasp, so they continue to follow the paradox of being opposed to both abortion and contraception.

The federal right to contraceptives is accepted in the United States because the Supreme Court decided, in the 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut case, that married couples have a constitutional right to buy and use contraceptives without government intrusion.

Yet after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the decision that gave women the right to have a legal abortion, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and other conservatives justices have vowed to erase the right for women to have access to birth control by going after Griswold v. Connecticut just as they did Roe v. Wade.

In an effort to ensure the right for Americans to have legal access to birth control, Democrats introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, The Right to Contraception Act, that would enshrine that right to contraceptives into federal statutory law. It would ban states from restricting access to the pill, IUDs, and emergency contraceptives, while also giving both the attorney general and medical providers the authority to bring civil lawsuits against state governments that restrict contraception access. It passed the House last week in a 228-195 vote.

But for some reason, the Democratic effort to guarantee the right to contraception under federal law sputtered in the Senate along partisan lines Wednesday. Republican Senators said no to codifying contraceptives on a federal level.

I just don’t understand why those who oppose abortion also often oppose contraception. It seems rather paradoxical to me.

As Democratic Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts said on the Senate floor today, “No abortion, but no birth control to prevent the need for one. That is where the Republican Party is today.”

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

CC3B1D3E-1CB4-4B03-8530-F9DEFC2A2DC2Yesterday, James Pyles, my conservative blogging buddy over at Powered By Robots, wrote a post titled, “Five Ridiculously Implausible Things The Progressive Left is Afraid Of.” He described his post as a “tongue-in-cheek (or is it?)” response to an apparently satirical post he read called, “5 Ridiculously Implausible Things The Alt-Right Is Afraid Of.”

Anyway, just for shits and giggles, I thought, as the official representative of progressive thinking on WordPress, I’d offer my responses to James’ list of things progressives are afraid of. Here goes.

1. The World Will Be Controlled By An Oppressive Version of Christianity

No, not the world, just the United States. Christians in America, who make up about 73% of the citizenry, seem to feel like they are being persecuted and are under siege by atheists, agnostics, nones, and other unaffiliated heretics. But evangelicals and other fundamentalist Christians have had their prayers answered and are thanking God for delivering unto them their new savior, Donald J. Trump, who has promised that Christians can, once again, feel free to say “Merry Christmas” to their hearts’ content. Praise be!

2. Extreme Right Wing Government Control of America

I don’t know why James would say that progressives fear this. Is it because Donald Trump’s list of Supreme Court nominees as well as names for other Federal judgeships were provided by the far-right Heritage Foundation and that extremely conservative judges have been appointed at a head-spinning rate? Or is it because the far-right House Freedom Caucus, the House’s most conservative faction, wields enough votes to shape just about any Republican-led legislation? Nah. Nothing to be afraid of.

3. Abortion and Birth Control Will Be Outlawed and Women Will be Forced to Have Sex and Babies Against Their Will

Progressives don’t fear that women will be forced to have sex against their will. Progressive women love to have sex with us very sexy progressive men.

But as to abortions being outlawed, there is some validity to that, especially with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh is no fan of Roe v Wade and, if he makes it onto the Court, there’s a very real possibility that Roe v Wade is in jeopardy. As to birth control, Kavanaugh has referred to contraception as “abortion-inducing drugs,” and we already know Kavanaugh’s position on abortion. So other than forcing women to have sex, I gotta give this one to James. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

4. The LGBTQ+ Community Will Be Forced Back Into The Closet

I don’t know what goes on in the closet, but I do know that most Republicans in Congress, especially the more conservative ones, as well as evangelicals and other religious fundamentalists, would be delighted to roll back most of the civil/equal rights gains that the LGBTQ community has achieved over the past half decade. So watch this space.

5. Civil Rights For Immigrants and Minorities Will Be Destroyed And Only White Dudes Will Rule

This is already happening at our southern border, where people seeking asylum in the U.S. are being turned away or arrested, detained, and where children have been separated from their families. And a series of quiet reforms from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services could threaten even more immigrants, many of them here legally, with deportation.

And in North Carolina, ICE and the Department of Justice have gotten a court order for the state to turn over eight years of voter registration records. The request is apparently related to indictments announced in late August, when the DOJ and ICE announced they had charged 19 foreign nationals with voting illegally. So the state is being asked to turn over 15 million documents for examination. Hmm, nothing to see here, right?

But if you’re a white, Christian, conservative dude, no worries, right James?

Merry Christmas.