Contraception Politics

So, on the one hand we have the administration championing to right of women to get access to contraception (even to the point of them getting it free of charge) and on the other hand we have one of the two main GOP candidates saying things like this (as quoted by Doug Mataconis earlier today):

Many in the Christian faith have said, “Well, that’s okay … contraception’s okay.”

It’s not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. They’re supposed to be within marriage, for purposes that are, yes, conjugal … but also procreative. That’s the perfect way that a sexual union should happen. We take any part of that out, we diminish the act. And if you can take one part out that’s not for purposes of procreation, that’s not one of the reasons, then you diminish this very special bond between men and women, so why can’t you take other parts of that out? And all of a sudden, it becomes deconstructed to the point where it’s simply pleasure.

Sure, the linkages to abortion and religious freedom will resonate in some quarters, but ultimately does anyone think that this kind of conversation is going to do anything other than redound positively in the president’s direction?  Is the semi-casual consumer of political news  going to hear anything other than “Obama is for ensuring access to contraception while some of the Republicans want to allow states to ban it?”

This is not much more an observation for the moment, but I have to admit this is how things are shaping up. Certainly this is the kind of thing that has to make Republicans cringe when they consider an Obama-Santorum matchup.

Of course, if Romney is the nominee, this issue will shift (at least on the GOP side of the discussion).   Along those lines see TPM:  Blunt: Contraception Mandate Not ‘Only Litmus Test’ For Presidential Candidate.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, US Politics, , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Herb says:

    “redound positively in the president’s direction?”

    Not so sure this is such a sure-fire loser. The fact that we’re even discussing contraception indicates the Republicans are getting away with something. We’re still have American troops in Iraq and the economy is still crap….but we’re talking about birth control pills? That’s one hell of a shell game they’re operating…..

  2. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    More to a different point, a percentage of the population–I’m not sure how large, but am sure they believe that they are “the majority”–see Santorum’s talking point as someone finally speaking the truth about American society. Significant numbers of these people are disciples or followers of Maggie Galagher, based on what I see as a subscriber to her newsletter. This line of reasoning resonates with people who have been feeling that they have been coopted out of the political discussion. That it may ultimatly redound to the sitting President’s benefit is undoubtedly true. but these people may be enough of a majority in the GOP to seriously hobble Mitt.

    Beyond that, we need to remember that a sizable majority of Republicans polled indicate that it is more important to nominate a person who holds the “right”views than one that will win. Doug, IIRC, had a post on this a few months ago.

    And then there’s Eric…;-)

  3. James H says:

    Suddenly, Stephanopoulos interrogating Romney on contraception makes sense.

  4. Hey Norm says:

    “…This is not much more an observation for the moment…”

    But there isn’t much more to say.

  5. WR says:

    I actually think the politics are even worse than you suggest, Dr. Taylor. To the semi-engaged, it’s not going to be “Obama is for ensuring access to contraception while some of the Republicans want to allow states to ban it.” It’s going to be Obama is working to create jobs and get the economy running again while the Republican presidential candidates are trying to ban contraception.

    Maybe this is all a Republican plan to make Goldwater’s loss look better by delivering Obama a bigger landslide than Johnson got…

  6. Gulliver says:

    You are all completely underestimating the callousness of most moderate – conservative voters today towards “Red Flag” news reporting. The polls consistently show that the public has a very healthy scepticism regarding the bias of the media and the “truth” of what is reported.

    Voters will no longer take an immediate bite on headlines and sound bites referencing scare tactic words like”theocracy” and “woman-hater.” This means that Santorum, if he doesn’t fall into the trap of focusing primarily on social issues (and he seems to be very aware of the potential downfalls based on recent interviews I’ve seen ), will have a chance to elaborate on the economic failures of Obama as the main issue in the election.

  7. An Interested Party says:

    If anyone thinks that Santorum has any possible chance of actually defeating the President in November, he/she is completely overestimating his/her grasp of reality…