Michele Bachmann: Feds Could Mandate A One-Child Policy

She may not be running for President anymore, but Michele Bachmann is back running for Congress, and she’s back pouring on the craziness:

During Tuesday night election coverage on the GBTV program “Real News From The Blaze,” Rep. Michele Bachmann expressed her growing concerns over the implications of the recent debate involving the mandating of contraceptive coverage.

The Blaze political analyst Will Cain asked Bachmann if the Republicans had “bungled” the issue which is now, he argued, perceived by much of the public as a “war on women.”

Bachmann responded that she felt it would be a mistake for conservatives to get caught in “trap” defined by the left. Her greater concern — the overall cost of health care for women and how much they might lose under the Obama administration.

Bachmann then described what she sees as a plausible and disturbing scenario. She began with her summary of the position expressed by the HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius — that the government should cover contraceptives because it is less expensive than pregnancy to the federal government.

“Going with that logic,” Bachmann says, “It isn’t far fetched to think the President of the United States could say…we need to save health care expenses…the federal government will only pay for one baby to be born in the hospital per family. Or two babies to be born per family. That could happen.”

This, ladies and gentlemen, is a woman who was once the frontrunner for the Republican nomination. The woman who won the Ames Straw poll. The head of the Tea Party Caucus in the House of Representatives. And, she’s either just making up stuff that is completely insane to appeal to the base, or she’s nuts herself.

And, if you’re really up for it, check out the comment section at the link above.

H/T Ed Kilgore

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, Congress, , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    the federal government will only pay for one baby to be born in the hospital per family. Or two babies to be born per family. That could happen.”

    I don’t know why they would bother, I mean isn’t that like closing the barn door after the horse is gone? She has already given birth to 7 or 8 and fostered a couple dozen more. A little late to put the stopper in that gene pool.

  2. Completely unreasonable to think like Mrs. Bachmann.

    I mean, it’s not like trusted Obama advisors such as John Holdren and Cass Sunstein have ever argued in favor of forced population control…oh…wait…they have!

    I realize VP Biden is a buffoon, but was he just a buffoon when he told an audience in China that he and the administration “understands” their one-child policy or was he a buffoon that let the truth slip?

    They view each human life as a cost to society, not a source of unlimited potential. Why else would the President himself remark that he wouldn’t want either of his daughters “punished” by a baby?

    The administration’s anti-energy policies are themselves population-limiting.

    Really, President Obama couldn’t have had any nefarious motivations when he said that he was going to “fundamentally transform” the United States, could he? Nah…couldn’t be.

  3. John H says:

    @Allan Bourdius:

    You started and ended so well. Now if only the crazy, creamy filling hadn’t been inserted.

  4. MstrB says:

    Some people should be under a zero child policy

  5. Hey Norm says:

    Oh boy…this one is guaranteed to bring out the nut-jobs.
    I hope some of the commenters from the link show up.
    Talk about whackadoodles.

  6. Tsar Nicholas II says:

    Bachmann indeed is a loon on several fronts, but this is an unfair post which is not in the ballpark of being reasonable or even cogent. Read Bachmann’s comment a little more closely. “Going with that logic…” is the key modifier. Bachmann is expressing a legitimate concern about a misguided federal mandate when juxtaposed to a misguided overall federal healthcare policy, which not coincidentally is being administered by a cadre of big government leftists. Let’s not be so naive and so loopy not to realize the prospective implications (key word: prospective) of having leftists in charge of a big government healthcare system. It can get quite dystopian. Ask a Canadian. Even better, ask a Canadian of means just before they fly down to the Mayo Clinic or to Sloan-Kettering to receive some legitimate healthcare services.

  7. Hey Norm says:

    “…Bachmann is expressing a legitimate concern …”

    Like I said…here come the loons.

  8. Anderson says:

    I mean, it’s not like trusted Obama advisors such as John Holdren and Cass Sunstein have ever argued in favor of forced population control

    Links please.

    It can get quite dystopian. Ask a Canadian.

    How many babies are Canadians allowed to have by their government?

  9. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Allan Bourdius: Helpful hint: the mushroom tea party and the tea party are two different things.

  10. gVOR08 says:

    Doug–these days isn’t that always the question with all Republicans. Are they themselves stupid and/or crazy, or do they just think their constituency is stupid and crazy?

  11. Anon says:

    Okay, I’m really confused by this. So Tea Partiers think that we should just let people without health insurance die, except if they are having a baby, in which case the government should pay for it? Honestly, yesterday I would have thought that Tea Partiers would have been all for limiting pregnancy benefits to poor people.

  12. As much as I hate to defend Bachman, “Going with that logic” indicates this was intended as a reducto ad absurdum argument, not some sort of prediction of the President’s actual plans.

  13. Tillman says:

    @Tsar Nicholas II: Bachmann’s comment is lunacy when one takes into account our population growth, which, according to the CIA World Factbook, is estimated at 0.899%. In other words, the government doesn’t have to mandate a lower birth rate, the free market is already taking care of it. Yes, in a hypothetical world in which American families had a higher birth rate, maybe her comments would make good nonsense instead of bad nonsense.

    Let’s not be so naive and so loopy not to realize the prospective implications (key word: prospective) of having leftists in charge of a big government healthcare system.

    Care to elaborate? I love implications.

  14. Tillman says:

    @Allan Bourdius: Hey, look at that, views expressed in the 1970s about overpopulation! Hell, he was afraid of “280 million by 2040.” [1] It’s not as if he’s advocated for these positions since, what with that World Factbook statistic I just pulled out being the status quo.

  15. James H says:

    Y’know …

    I should point out that a government that mandates coverage for contraceptives is regulating the insurance market, while a government that requires ultrasounds and 24-hour-waiting periods before an abortion is rather strictly regulating individual medical/reproductive decisions.

    Since we’re drinking the Krazy Kool-Aid today, I’ll point out that the latter is far more likely to set a precedent for a one-child policy …

  16. Galanti says:


    There is no official limit as yet, but the cost of putting them in hockey and 7 am Staturday morning practices means the effective limit is approximately 1.

  17. Robert in SF says:

    @Allan Bourdius: I remember when this was the topic de jeure (sp).

    Here’s the finding of politifact.org:

    …allegation has its roots in a book Holdren co-authored with Paul and Annie Ehrlich more than three decades ago called Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment .

    Conservative bloggers have quoted the book extensively, and often out of context, to make the point that Holdren has advocated positions such as the ones Beck stated.

    We obtained the book to see exactly what Holdren, then a young man, wrote (or co-wrote). The book is just over 1,000 pages, and it clearly makes that case that an explosion in population presented a grave crisis. Although it is a textbook, the authors don’t shy away from presenting a point of view. As the preface states, “We have tried throughout the book to state clearly where we stand on various matters of controversy.”

    In a section on “Involuntary Fertility Control,” Holdren and the other authors discuss various “coercive” means of population control — including putting sterilants in the drinking water. But they stop well short of advocating such measures.

    Here’s a few excerpts:

    “The third approach to population limitation is that of involuntary fertility control. Several coercive proposals deserve discussion, mainly because some countries may ultimately have to resort to them unless current trends in birth rates are rapidly reversed by other means. …

    “Adding a sterilant to drinking water or staple foods is a suggestion that seems to horrify people more than most proposals for involuntary fertility control. Indeed, this would pose some very difficult political, legal, and social questions, to say nothing of the technical problems. No such sterilant exists today, nor does one appear to be under development. To be acceptable, such a substance would have to meet some rather stiff requirements: it must be uniformly effective, despite widely varying doses received by individuals, and despite varying degrees of fertility and sensitivity among individuals; it must be free of dangerous or unpleasant side effects; and it must have no effect on members of the opposite sex, children, old people, pets, or livestock. …

    “Again, there is no sign of such an agent on the horizon. And the risk of serious, unforeseen side effects would, in our opinion, militate against the use of any such agent, even though this plan has the advantage of avoiding the need for socioeconomic pressures that might tend to discriminate against particular groups or penalize children.”

    Later, the authors conclude, “Most of the population control measures beyond family planning discussed above have never been tried. Some are as yet technically impossible and others are and probably will remain unacceptable to most societies (although, of course, the potential effectiveness of those least acceptable measures may be great).

    “Compulsory control of family size is an unpalatable idea, but the alternatives may be much more horrifying. As those alternatives become clearer to an increasing number of people in the 1980s, they may begin demanding such control. A far better choice, in our view, is to expand the use of milder methods of influencing family size preferences, while redoubling efforts to ensure that the means of birth control, including abortion and sterilization, are accessible to every human being on Earth within the shortest possible time. If effective action is taken promptly against population growth, perhaps the need for the more extreme involuntary or repressive measures can be averted in most countries.”

    And here’s the part that some have interpreted as Holdren advocating for forced abortions.

    “To date, there has been no serious attempt in Western countries to use laws to control excessive population growth, although there exists ample authority under which population growth could be regulated. For example, under the United States Constitution, effective population-control programs could be enacted under the clauses that empower Congress to appropriate funds to provide for the general welfare and to regulate commerce, or under the equal-protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Such laws constitutionally could be very broad. Indeed, it has been concluded that compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society. Few today consider the situation in the United States serious enough to justify compulsion, however.”

    This comes in a section discussing population law. The authors argue that compulsory abortions could potentially be allowed under U.S. law “if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society.” Again, that’s a far cry from advocating or proposing such a position.

    In the book, the authors certainly advocate making abortions readily accessible for women who want to get them. But they never advocate forced abortions. Big difference.

  18. WJW says:

    @Tsar Nicholas II:

    Outside of the loon comment, agree with you. Don’t any of the other people who read this site have any sense of history?

    Do you think that many people were seriously considering 30 years ago that our state and/or federal constitutions had hidden language in them that guaranteed the right for two men to marrry?

    Do you think that many people were seriously considering 30 years ago that our federal constitution had commerce language in it wthat would allow the federal government to force you to buy a product/service?

    If the federal government is making the ‘logical” arguement that birth control is less expensive than having babies, then why couldn’t the federal govt. limit you to one child for cost purposes?

    Instead of a feeble attempt at snarky, try and answer the question with reason? Can anybody?

  19. David M says:

    Some statements are so loony that snark is the only proper response. This is one of those times, so if you’re not being taken seriously, try making a serious argument.

    As to why it’s so ridiculous, it’s because Bachmann and apparently her followers have absolutely no familiarity with the events of the past few years. Over the past several years, the Democrats have increased maternity coverage requirements for health insurance as part of Obamacare and expanded Medicaid / CHIP coverage (which pays for childbirths). At the same time that has been going on there’s been plenty of GOP support for cutting those programs, and yet Dems are the ones who aren’t going to pay for childbirths?

  20. Hey Norm says:

    Wow…Bourdius got hidden in a hurry.
    According to his blogger profile:

    “…the United States of America has been placed upon the Earth by God as the defender of Freedom and Liberty for all humanity in His broken creation…”

    ’nuff said.

  21. Tillman says:


    Instead of a feeble attempt at snarky, try and answer the question with reason? Can anybody?

    I already did. It was that part where I noted we already have a birth rate lower than this hypothetical government mandate Bachmann brings up.

    Oh, but maybe you took issue with how I called it bad nonsense. Let’s see. Her position, as stated in the video clip on The Blaze’s site, is that, since the government pays for childbirth care and prenatal care and all that because of the Affordable Care Act, it can theoretically say that it won’t pay for children born after the first or second. In effect, a one-child policy.

    Now, the reason that I’m calling her position nonsense is the fact that the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare, if you prefer) is not government-run healthcare. What it does, see, is mandate that private citizens purchase privately-run insurance plans, which are aggregated on a state-by-state basis in these insurance exchanges, which are, when it comes down to it, just catalogs for people to browse through. So, and this is the part that matters, the government under the auspices of the Affordable Care Act doesn’t pay for childbirth at all in the sense of taxes funding childbirth. Her position is based on a misinterpretation of the law. Hence, nonsense.

    What makes it bad nonsense is the fallacious logic she is using. This is called a slippery slope argument. She provides no reasoning behind why this has to take effect but only postulates that it can. Remember, as stated above, it can’t. Hence, bad nonsense.

    Does that satisfy you?

  22. PogueMahone says:

    And, if you’re really up for it, check out the comment section at the link above.

    I thought I was up for it. Turns out, I was nowhere near prepared for it.


  23. David M says:

    @PogueMahone: Oddly enough, not really crazier than I expected. Although the comments supporting the idea the Government should stop paying for births for people who can’t afford it seemed odd. Conservatives literally demanding the government implement the policy Bachmann was scared about, so maybe that’s why they think it could happen. They support the policy as long as it’s not targeted at them.

  24. @Tillman:

    What makes it bad nonsense is the fallacious logic she is using. This is called a slippery slope argument.

    This isn’t a slippery slope argument though. There’s a difference between the argument “if we do X, we will inevitably end up doing Y, and since Y is bad we cannot do X”, which is a causal slippery slope argument, and the argument “if argument A can justify X, it can also justify Y, and since Y is bad there must be something wrong with argument A”, which is a reducto ad absurdum.

    Bachmann’s argument is in the later form. That is, she didn’t say that a contraception mandate will lead to a one child policy; she said that the argument for a contraception mandate on the grounds that it eliminates the medical costs of having a child would apply to other policies that most people consider unacceptable. That is, she was attacking the argument, not the conclusion.

  25. @Stormy Dragon:

    Note the key difference is that later form leaves open the logical possibility X could still be justified by some other argument B, which does not apply to Y.

  26. David M says:

    She began with her summary of the position expressed by the HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius — that the government should cover contraceptives because it is less expensive than pregnancy to the federal government.

    I’m pretty sure this is a lie by Bachmann. The Govt is mandating contraceptive coverage because it is an essential part of women’s health care. They are only saying the insurance companies can pick up the cost when the quasi-religious institution objects because contraceptives may be cheaper than childbirth. The cost is not the reason they requiring them to be provided to everyone though.

  27. dennis says:

    I thought I was up to reading the comments at that link, Doug; but, apparently, I don’t know my own limitations. I made it through six comments before the lunacy started eating into my brain cells. I have a question for you, though:

    I no longer consider myself a Republican because, beginning with my sojourn through Townhall.com in 2006, then culminating with the 2008 election, I could no longer take the outright racial vitriol spewed by conservatives. I found an acute dissonance playing out in my head between being a Republican Party member and being Black. On top of that, all the other lunatic antics just became unsupportable. But my question:

    Why do YOU continue to identify with these nutcrackers when, clearly in your posts, you disagree with so much that is going on in the party? Every now and then you’ll post something favorable to present-day conservatism (for which some of us here blast you), but I read the same conflict in your posts. What gives?

  28. dennis says:

    @Allan Bourdius:

    Ya know, when conducting an exercise in critical thinking, it’s usually the case to use opposing sources to support the original claim. Using your methods, I claim myself to be the greatest man on earth. Because I say so.

  29. @dennis:

    Deciding that he has no home in either of the major parties requires accepting the realization that he has no actual input on the political direction of the country. Most people don’t want to give up the illusion of control.

  30. Tillman says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Oh you’re right, my mistake. I was reading into it too much. Garden-variety nonsense then.

  31. dennis says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Nah, I don’t buy that. D.Mat has proved himself an independent thinker, not a narcissistic control freak. Hence, my original question.

    I can hardly wait for Ozark, MBunge et. al. to get off work though, so they can weigh in!

  32. David M says:

    @dennis: I’m pretty sure that Doug identifies as a Libertarian rather than Republican. He may not like the Dems, but he hasn’t been cheering on the GOP for quite a while.

    I don’t always agree with Doug, but I’d probably rather see Gary Johnson as president than any of the GOP clowns.

  33. dennis says:

    @David M:

    Yeah, David, you’re probably right about that.

    I wanted Romney to get the 2k8 nomination and was pissed at Huckabee for his veiled bigotry. Now? Ugh, I agree with you; none of these guys is palatable.

  34. CCR says:

    A few have attempted to mildly defend her by her “going with that logic” analogy but that fails because she could reach for any health cost cutting as a target, such as, “going with that logic, to save health care expenses the government could deny covering Viagra so men would have less sex and lead to less children.” or ” going with that logic, to save health care expenses the government could deny covering all cancer treatments leading to the death of thousands each year.” In both scenarios, her logic still stands. Utlmately she really does not want ANY government assistance on health care so it does not matter how she constructs her analogies, she is simply trying to scare people.

  35. @CCR:

    This is true, but the logical merits of a particular argument have nothing to do with why the person presenting it is choosing to do so. That is, while Bachmann’s argument is certainly not convincing in light of her desire to scare people, that doesn’t automatically make the argument fallacious.

  36. Hey Norm says:

    Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 13:15

    Wow…Bourdius got hidden in a hurry.

    Have this little thing called a job…it does require some time.

  37. CCR says:

    Upon further review, a better analogy by “going with that logic”, is since it is cheaper to pay for vaccinations than to treat the diseases they prevent, to save health care expenses the government can deny paying treatment for small pox, polio, cervical cancer, hepatitis, anthrax, pertussis, mumps, encephalitis, tetanus, etc. etc. etc.

  38. Hey Norm says:

    Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 13:15

    Oh, and on my Blogger profile, I’m just as radical as the signers of the Declaration of Independence, you know, “endowed by their Creator” and “firm Reliance on the Protection of the divine Providence”.

  39. matt says:

    @Allan Bourdius: How about those same founders that signed the treaty of Tripoli? You know the treaty that says “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,”?

  40. anjin-san says:

    endowed by their Creator

    divine Providence

    Did you note where they passed on the chance to say “Christian God”? “Creator” and “divine providence” both have meaning for me, but that meaning is most likely quite different from what they mean to say, a fundamentalist Christian. That’s kind of the point of the rather vague language used.

    Smart guys, the founding fathers.

  41. matt says:

    @anjin-san: Indeed one of many reasons what they accomplished still astounds me.

  42. Hey Norm says:

    @ AB…
    Sorry pal…the founders never said anything about protecting freedom for every single member of humanity. The problem with those out on the fringe is they don’t realize how far out on the fringe they are.
    You might want to look up the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

  43. al-Ameda says:

    It’s hard to believe that Rick Santorum is not married to Michele Bachman.