Ok let's get down to brass tacks. We know the Republicans are mostly just playing politics with women's health. If we stop them from bashing birth control they'll find something else. But now that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled the California ban on gay marriage unconstitutional, it seems appropriate to out the opponents of birth control. For being straight.
Most heterosexually active Americans, including most Catholics, use birth control, as do many others who use hormones to treat a medical condition. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops opposes birth control. The Catholic Church operates a large chunk of the nation's hospitals and universities, and provides health insurance to its millions of employees, many of whom are not Catholic. The Affordable Care Act proposes that these institutions will have to continue offering coverage for contraception without co-pays or deductibles, like any other employer, or start doing so, as of 2013. Actual churches are excluded from this requirement. The Bishops are riled up about this. Congressional Republicans, and some in the "liberal" media, are echoing distress at the law's incursion on the church's right to impose its religious views on its employees and students.
So, do the critics walk the walk? We'll take the Bishops at their word that they don't have kids. But members of Congress love to talk about their families. So we should be able to tell whether or not members who say they don't believe that contraception is an essential aspect of health care, especially for women, are likely users of contraception.
The websites for the 16 Republican members of the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee describe all but two as having children. The breakdown:
One child: 2 members: Leonard Lance, Tim Murphy (Rep. Murphy, from a hearing on this subject: "It is not our job as Catholics to tell God what he should do. It is our job to learn and follow his teachings.")
Two children: 5 members: Mike Rogers, Marsha Blackburn, Bob Latta, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Fred Upton
Three children: 5 members: Joe Pitts, Michael Burgess, John Shimkus, Bill Cassidy, Brett Guthrie
Four children: 2 members: Phil Gingrey, Joe Barton
Their family size suggests that these right wing opponents of medical contraception are, in fact, ardent practitioners of what they want to deny to the rest of us. There are other possible (though unlikely) explanations: despite being married, among them for collectively more than a century, perhaps they rarely consummate their relationships. This may explain their often public irritability. Alternatively, these uncommonly blessed couples might have beaten the statistical odds for success with the rhythm method of birth control.
Next time they spout off about it in public, maybe we should ask them.
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