Friday, January 24, 2014

Religious Right (and Catholic Bishops) Discover Contraception: Steve Benen on Rev. Huckabee and "Uncle Sugar," Patricia Miller on the Catholic Bishops

As Steve Benen notes for the Maddow Blog, it's sort of . . . funny . . . that "Republican politician/preacher/media-personality Mike Huckabee" is now ranting about "Uncle Sugar" and women's unbridled libidos and the federal government and contraception, when, as Bill Scher points out,

Funny story: in 2005, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee signed a law mandating Arkansas insurance plans provide contraception coverage, including church-affiliated organizations such as hospitals and universities
Nine years ago, Huckabee thought that the government should ensure that everyone had access to contraception. In fact, as the Los Angeles Times detailed in 2012, all sorts of Republicans were happily embracing contraception coverage mandates in the days of Bush and Clinton.


Quite right. And then President Obama was inaugurated, at which point Republicans began opposing the same policies they endorsed, pretending routine matters scandalous, and hoping the public and the media won’t know the difference.

It was at this very moment—when contraception was about to be enshrined as a basic health care service—that the Catholic bishops suddenly reentered the debate over contraception in a big way, arguing that forcing Catholic employers to cover contraceptives was a violation of their "conscience"—and therefore of their religious liberty. Traditional conscience protections were applicable only to protecting an individual from being forced to take part in an act such as abortion that was held to be potentially morally problematic, so it’s difficult to overstate what a novel reading of conscience protections this represented. The federal Church Amendment, passed soon after Roe v. Wade, offered conscience protection only to individuals or hospitals from having to perform an abortion or sterilization procedure against their will.

And, in case you need a reminder, here's Sahil Kapur at Talking Points Memo this morning rehearsing the craziest things Republican leaders have said about women in the past few years, from Bro.-Gov. Huckabee's "Uncle Sugar" and women's libidos to Wisconsin state representative Roger Rivard's insistence that "some girls, they rape so easy." 

It's going to be a long, long 2014 for anyone following U.S. politics who is disturbed by stupidity (and by stupidity coupled with moral obtuseness coupled with outright inhumanity disguised as "religion").

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