Republican Congressman Compares Contraceptive Coverage Mandate To 9/11, Pearl Harbor

Pennsylvania Congressman Mike Kelly wins today’s award in ridiculous political hyperbole:

House Republicans called the Obama administration’s birth-control mandate “religious bigotry” and compared it to the events of Pearl Harbor and Sept. 11, 2001.

The heated remarks came at a press conference marking the mandate’s first day.

“I know in your mind you can think of the times America was attacked,” said Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), a freshman.

“One is December 7 — that is Pearl Harbor Day. Another was September 11 — that was the day of the terrorist attack.

“I want you to remember August 1, 2012 — the attack on our religious freedom. That is a date that will live in infamy, along with those other dates.”

Starting Wednesday, most employers will have to cover contraception in their health plans without a co-pay.

Republicans have denounced the policy as an attack on the religious freedom of people who object to birth control or consider some forms equal to abortion.

Another freshman, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), said the mandate marks the return of “anti-Catholic bigotry” to American life.

“We thought we were past that,” he said, “but the mandate from this administration represents the rearing of its head again.”

I’m not a huge fan of this mandate. Not because I oppose contraceptives, but because I oppose the idea of the Federal Government dictating the terms of benefits provided by employers to employees. Kelly’s remarks, though, are utterly ridiculous. Not satisfied with bringing up a military attack that killed thousands, he goes even further and compares the mandate to the murder of 3,000 Americans in a coordinated and planned terrorist attack. I’m surprised he didn’t throw the Nazis in there.

FILED UNDER: Congress, US Politics, , , , , , , ,
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. michael reynolds says:

    Is Pennsylvania going after Arizona, Florida and Texas in the Olympic Craziest State competition?

  2. legion says:

    @michael reynolds: They’re certainly making a play for most politically corrupt. The absolute fiasco of their voter ID law is playing out in testimony now, and it’s truly stunning.

  3. grumpy realist says:

    Just for once, I wish that nitwits like this could get month-long cramps….

  4. David M says:

    Well, give him points for WW2, that’s close to bringing up the Nazi’s. And don’t lose hope yet either, there’s still plenty of time for the GOP to go there.

  5. Moosebreath says:

    @michael reynolds:

    As James Carville said, Pennsylvania has Philadelphia on one side, Pittsburgh on the other, and Alabama in between. Kelly’s from the Northwest corner of the state, which is part of what us natives call Pennsyltucky.

  6. @Moosebreath:

    Of course, Moosebreath lives in what the other “us natives” call West Camden. ;>

  7. Moosebreath says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Stormy, no just outside of it. But from Kelly’s district’s point of view, so do you.

  8. Bennett says:

    Since this issue is now a “War on Religious Rights”, I assume that Republicans will start lining up for their deferments.

  9. legion says:

    @Moosebreath: Hah! My boss is from that region and makes Pennsyltucky references all the time!

  10. legion says:

    Jeezus H Cowtipping Christ, Doug – you may need to revise the lede on this article. Since you posted it this morning, there’s been serious competition for “Most Disgracefully Insane Nutball”. Not only has Iowa’s Steve King come pretty darn close to defending dog-fighting as an American right (by comparing it favorably with boxing), he’s also going birther. But that’s not nearly as wack as the guy from Tennessee who’s trying to drum up votes by telling his constituents that Obama is going to stage a fake assassination attempt near the election as an excuse to declare martial law…

    Where do we get these people?!?

  11. al-Ameda says:

    Honest to god, what a bunch of f***ing morons.

    All we can do is to provide them with their purple shrouds, their nike shoes, some complimentary vodka Kool Aid, a bowl of apple sauce, and then hope they don’t miss their outbound comet.

  12. Robert Bell says:

    Doug: ” Not because I oppose contraceptives, but because I oppose the idea of the Federal Government dictating the terms of benefits provided by employers to employees. ”

    Absent tax deductibility of such insurance, I agree, but given that there is deductibility, doesn’t the government have the right to impose conditions on what is and isn’t covered?

  13. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Lowest common denominator principle.

  14. Carson says:

    Why is the Federal government involved in telling businesses what health care benefits that they must provide? This is no business of theirs. No wonder health costs are so high. The business owners should be deciding that, not the Federal government. The businesses should not have to provide such things as birth control. Next will be plastic surgery: lifts and cosmetics. I would love to have laser eye surgery – how about that, Mr. Obama? Is there anything now that the government does not try to control? As far as tax deductions for insurance costs, that does not give the government the right to dictate and control someone’s behavior. The deductions are there to give the hard working people some sort of break and relief!

  15. J-Dub says:

    The fight for women’s health care is not over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!