Does John McCain Want to Criminalize Contraception?


In a speech on Tuesday at Wake Forest University, McCain spoke not a word about Roe v. Wade, evading "the abortion issue" in a manner for which he has become known. But he did make a shrouded (and critical) reference to the 1965 Supreme Court decision "Griswold v. Connecticut" – the case that struck down a state ban on contraceptives for married couples.

According to Medical News Today, McCain, assuaging the conservative crowd in attendance said that he would appoint conservative justices to the bench and "criticized justices for using the words ‘penumbras’ and ‘emanations’." Those just happen to be two words used in the famous Griswold decision to reason that marriage fell within a zone of privacy (specifically that marriage fell under a "penumbra" of privacy and therefore married couples decision to use contraception was a private matter, not to be regulated by the government).

McCain’s coded language around reproductive rights needs to be called out. With the anti-choice advocacy community renewing their focus on contraception as murder and state ballot campaigns that seek to define a fertilized human egg as a person, birth control is under very real attack.

And if you think this is just about the "choices" women make, you’re wrong. This is about allowing physicians to practice free from strict government intervention (hint: not all women take birth control for contraceptive purposes); allowing families, couples and individuals the freedom to make private decisions without the government deciding for them; and allowing women’s reproductive cycles to occur without the government telling us whether what’s happening in our own bodies is legal or not (hint: miscarriage is not a "choice" but under Colorado’s proposed ballot initiative it might very well be considered a criminal "choice").

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  • invalid-0

    I have suspected for some time now that birth control was in danger. It is really good of you folks at Rh to make it known these dangerous plans of the right wing. I am a married woman who takes birth control for a condition called PCOS. I don’t use it for birth control because my husband had a vasectomy last year. But my doctor tells me that the PCOS would be hard to control if not for the pill I am on. I have also been on the pill since I was 15 for help with severe periods. I wasn’t using it then for birth control. I just wish these idiots would see that sometimes birth control has other uses than birth control and even if a woman uses it for birth control what is the big deal? Her body her choice and if they would look at the real science like my husband and I say all the time, they would see that it doesn’t kill the fertilized egg. ARGH! But I guess in a way like Amanda said at least they are showing their true colors? Again thanks for a great article, Amie!

  • invalid-0

    In the rigid world of these people, health problems are caused by “sin”; so women suffering from endometriosis, heavy periods, PCOS, et al, “deserve” to suffer. Birth control must also be forbidden just in case we sluts actually use it to prevent pregnancy! [snark]

  • http://www.prochoice.org invalid-0

    Griswold was a big step toward reproductive freedom and a foundation for Roe v. Wade. “Infamous” to the antis, maybe. Have I misunderstood that sentence in your post?

    • invalid-0

      I, sadly, used the word incorrectly :). Thanks, Bill!

      Amie Newman

      Managing Editor, RH Reality Check

  • invalid-0

    The criminalizing of contraception isn’t about protecting “life,” or “the unborn.” It’s about keeping women down. The more we’re barefoot and pregnant, the less healthy we are, and the less able to stand up for our rights.

  • invalid-0

    That’s part of what makes me so angry. I know that in these people’s minds, morality is based on a strict social code and not whether or not anyone gets hurt. They don’t care about women. They just care about keeping us in the place they’ve made for us.

  • invalid-0

    I doubt this could be accomplished by McCain or the Court. The drug companies would not allow it. Too much lost revenue.

  • invalid-0

    on the state of our society when we’re relying on capitalism in place of justice and equity. I think you make an excellent point – I also believe that with 98% of American women having used birth control at some point in their lives it would be a horrendous political strategy. However, anti-choice organizations are embracing the strategy because they’ve got allies in high places.

    Amie Newman

    Managing Editor, RH Reality Check

  • http://www.GainesvilleNOW.org invalid-0

    I urge all women and men who are outraged at these goings on to join a progressive feminist movement. We need your energy, your anger, and your money to continue to fight for women’s rights, or we’re going to lose all of them.
    NOW, the National Organization for Women, is such an group. we fight for all women. The right to abortion and contraception is at our foundation. The right to decide if and when we have children is fundamental to our civil rights as Americans and humans.
    Join!!