Birth con­trol ag­it­prop

Left hopes con­tra­cep­tion hy­per­bole over­whelms lack of logic

The Washington Times Daily - - Opinion - By Jonah Gold­berg

In 1984, Mario Cuomo pi­o­neered the ar­gu­ment that one may be “per­son­ally op­posed” to abor­tion, while sup­port­ing abor­tion rights.

Ever since, this con­ve­nient lo­cu­tion has be­come a sta­ple for count­less Demo­cratic politi­cians, par­tic­u­larly Catholic ones. It is Vice Pres­i­dent Joseph R. Bi­den’s view and was Sen. John F. Kerry’s stance when he ran for pres­i­dent in 2004.

Mr. Cuomo’s ar­gu­ment was a mess. For in­stance, in or­der to but­tress his ar­gu­ment, he touted the al­leged re­fusal of Amer­i­can Catholic bish­ops to force­fully de­nounce slav­ery. The bish­ops “weren’t hyp­ocrites; they were re­al­ists,” Mr. Cuomo ex­plained. They of­fered a “mea­sured at­tempt to bal­ance moral truths against po­lit­i­cal re­al­i­ties.”

As Ramesh Pon­nuru writes in “The Party of Death”: “It is a mark of the strength of con­tem­po­rary lib­er­al­ism’s com­mit­ment to abor­tion that one of its lead­ing lights should have been will­ing to sup­port tem­po­riz­ing on slav­ery in or­der to de­fend it.”

I bring this up be­cause ac­cord­ing to the logic of Democrats these days, all of these politi­cians want to ban abor­tion. It doesn’t mat­ter that they sup­port abor­tion rights, in word and deed. It doesn’t mat­ter that they’re will­ing to for­give tol­er­ance for slav­ery to de­fend the dis­tinc­tion. They are per­son­ally op­posed to abor­tion, usu­ally as a mat­ter of faith, and so they must fa­vor ban­ning it.

That’s the up­shot of the shock­ingly dis­hon­est pro­pa­ganda be­ing ped­dled by lead­ing Democrats and me­dia out­lets about the Re­pub­li­can push to “ban” con­tra­cep­tion.

Part of the prob­lem is sim­ply psy­cho­log­i­cal pro­jec­tion. Since many lib­er­als be­lieve there’s no valid lim­it­ing prin­ci­ple on gov­ern­ment’s abil­ity to do “good,” they as­sume that con­ser­va­tives be­lieve there’s no valid lim­it­ing prin­ci­ple to do “bad.”

Rick San­to­rum, who un­pro­duc­tively helped in­ject birth con­trol into the GOP pri­maries, nonethe­less ex­plained the flaw in this think­ing: “Here’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween me and the left, and they don’t get this. Just be­cause I’m talk­ing about it doesn’t mean I want a gov­ern­ment pro­gram to fix it. That’s what they do. That’s not what we do.”

But don’t tell that to the Democrats who are des­per­ate to ac­cuse the Repub­li­cans of com­stock­ery.

“Let’s ad­mit what this de­bate is re­ally and what Repub­li­cans re­ally want to take away from Amer­i­can women. It is con­tra­cep­tion,” out­ra­geously claimed Sen. Charles Schumer, New York Demo­crat, while op­pos­ing the Blunt Amend­ment. Sen. Frank Laut­en­berg, New Jer­sey Demo­crat, said the GOP was yearn­ing to re­turn to “the Dark Ages . . . when women were prop­erty that you could eas­ily con­trol, even trade if you wanted to.”

The Obama cam­paign in­sists that “if Mitt Rom­ney and a few Re­pub­li­can sen­a­tors get their way, em­ploy­ers could be mak­ing women’s health care de­ci­sions for them” and re­quire that women seek a per­mis­sion slip to ob­tain birth con­trol.

It’s all so breath­tak­ingly dis­hon­est. Rather than trans­port us to Pres­i­dent Franklin Pierce’s Amer­ica, never mind Charle­magne’s Europe, the Blunt Amend­ment would send Amer­ica hurtling back to Jan­uary 2012. In that “Handmaid’s Tale” of an Amer­ica, women were free to buy birth con­trol from their lo­cal gro­cery store or Wal­Mart phar­macy, and re­li­gious em­ploy­ers could opt not to sub­si­dize the pur­chase. What a ter­ri­fy­ing time that must have been for Amer­ica’s women.

To be sure, Repub­li­cans in­vited some of this mad­ness upon them­selves. But it was Pres­i­dent Obama who started this mess by break­ing his vow to re­li­gious in­sti­tu­tions to al­low them to keep the same con­science pro­tec­tions that even Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton’s pro­posed health care re­forms in 1994 rec­og­nized as es­sen­tial.

The ly­ing de­mo­niza­tion of Repub­li­cans isn’t nearly so of­fen­sive, or at least sur­pris­ing, as the ex­trem­ist pol­icy as­sump­tions lib­er­als are now us­ing to de­fend Mr. Obama’s “accommodation” of re­li­gious in­sti­tu­tions. They ar­gue, in short, that if em­ploy­ers and the gov­ern­ment — us­ing tax­payer money — do not pro­vide birth con­trol (and some abor­ti­fa­cients), for “free,” then they are ban­ning birth con­trol. Tak­ing them se­ri­ously — no easy task — Democrats are say­ing that there’s no le­git­i­mate realm out­side of gov­ern­ment.

In other words, there’s no room for any­body to be per­son­ally op­posed to pay­ing for some­one else’s birth con­trol. That means the peo­ple who want birth con­trol to be a per­sonal mat­ter and no one else’s busi­ness are dem­a­gog­i­cally fight­ing for a pol­icy in which your birth con­trol is, in fact, ev­ery­one’s busi­ness, start­ing with the gov­ern­ment’s.


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