Birth Control Spawns Right Wing Hysteria


For some reason, the right wing has decided to double down on attacks on contraception. Amanda surveys the damage. Katherine Stewart explains where the real attacks on religious liberty are coming from.

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Links in this episode:

Chelsea Handler, like most women, doesn’t regret her abortion

George Will works himself into a frenzy of lying

Karl Rove is a shameless liar

Rick Santorum lies about abortion and breast cancer

Rush Limbaugh lies about abortion and breast cancer

No link between breast cancer and abortion

Limbaugh’s meltdown over contraception

Neil Cavuto implicitly compares contraception to the Crucifixion

Matt Barber suggests that priests are going to be thrown in prison

Liz Trotta believes women in the military should expect to be raped

On this episode of Reality Cast, I rounded up tons of hysterical reactions from conservatives to the news that even women that work for Catholic hospitals and universities will get no co-pay contraception, though Obama has let the employers get away with not paying for it. To break it up a little, I also have Katherine Stewart on to talk about the actual attacks on religious freedom. Guess what, it’s from the right!

I just want to play this clip of Chelsea Handler talking about her abortion, and Rosie O’Donnell speaking some truth about it.

  • handler *

There’s a lot of pressure on women to play-act regret about abortion, so good for Chelsea Handler and Rosie O’Donnell for pushing back against that.

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So, there were a couple weeks in a row where women’s health advocates got our way. First there was the Komen thing, where the outrage online at the Komen foundation for trying to cut off Planned Parenthood caused them to walk it back. Then the next week, conservatives thought they could do the same to Obama, screaming until he gave in and took away the new mandate for contraception coverage under the health care plan. Unlike Komen, however, Obama was in the right on this. And so he crafted a new accommodation that lets religiously affiliated organizations not cover contraception but requires insurance companies to step in and do it for women who would otherwise be deprived.

The right is, well, pissed. They have grown accustomed to believing that women’s bodies are their property, and having that belief smacked down twice in a row has not set well with them. And, as usual, the strategy right out of the gate was to lie. A lot. First there was the lie that the contraception mandate covers abortion, which George Will spouted on “This Week”.

  • liars 1 *

Claiming that having your insurance cover your birth controls is the same thing as making a priest perform an abortion is a new low in right wing stretching, I must admit. There’s like 15 gradations of outright lying there. The biggest one is saying that abortion has anything to do with this. Abortion simply isn’t covered in these regulations, which are preventive regulations. The second biggest lie is claiming that allowing women to access health care benefits they earned through working is somehow the same thing as their employers buying them birth control. I fully expect some wingnut to start claiming that your boss has a right to determine how you spend your paycheck after he relinquishes it to you. Basically the same principle.

Karl Rove, who is a deeply immoral person who will say anything to score a point, took this lie and went a step further.

  • liars 2 *

He was asked about birth control, and he claimed that the regulation forces Catholic doctors to perform abortions against their will. This is a pure, unadulterated lie. This regulations requires insurance companies to offer contraception for free. That’s it. Doctors are still not required to perform abortions in this country if they don’t want to. You’re not expected to do any service if you don’t want to. No one is asking podiatrists to do heart surgery, either. There’s a narrow law that requires doctors to save patients lives who come to E.R., and that may in a handful of circumstances mean not let a woman die on the table rather than treat her in a way that could or will end her pregnancy, but that’s it. And that has NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING to do with this regulation.

Then there’s that oldie but goodie, claiming falsely that women who get abortions are punished by God with breast cancer. Rick Santorum whipped that out.

  • liars 3 *

Of course, an absolute ton of research money, much of which probably would have been better spent elsewhere, has gone into chasing down this claim of anti-choicers that God punishes slutty abortion havers with breast cancer. No link has been found. None. Over and over again, no link is found. Of course, that’s science that proved that, and at the heart, this claim is based in a superstitious belief  that God is going to get you if you have an abortion.

Rush Limbaugh told this whopper, too.

  • liars 4 *

Well, he’s right that the medical research world has spent a lot of time documenting this issue, but he’s 100% wrong about their conclusions. From Susan G. Komen’s own site: “Research clearly shows abortion (also called induced abortion) does not increase the risk of breast cancer. In 2003, the Board of Scientific Advisors and Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) unanimously agreed the scientific evidence did not support a link between abortion and breast cancer [1]. (The NCI routinely reviews the evidence on this topic and continues to agree the evidence does not support a link between the two [2]). Also, later that year in 2003, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also stated there was no evidence to support a link between abortion and breast cancer [3].” Komen has made their mistakes, but as far as I know, they’ve never given in to anti-choice pressure to misrepresent the scientific data on this issue.

Next segment after the interview: More liars, but now with an extra dose of hysteria.

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insert interview

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After Obama passed down his decision that allowed Catholic organizations to avoid paying for contraception but prevented them from blocking their employees’ access, there was massive hysteria on the right. It was immediately clear that it had never been about religious liberty, because Obama addressed that concern. It was always, from the beginning, about denying women access to contraception. And once they were flushed out of the closet for that, the results were amusing, if for no other reason than they were completely out of touch with the realities of most people’s lives. Take Sean Hannity, for instance.

  • hysterics 1 *

This was a typical response, to frame birth control pills as a party drug. There were lots of comparisons to buying beer, in fact. But I don’t have to sit in the stirrups and submit to a doctor checking my body out to get beer. And if I don’t have beer, I’m not going to develop a condition, in this case pregnancy, that requires medical intervention. Since pregnancy either has to end in an abortion or childbirth, it’s a medical condition. But Hannity had more lather to work himself into.

  • hysterics 2 *

Notice the words he uses to describe the sexual behavior of nearly every single heterosexual person in this country. He claims they’re not responsible because they have sex. He calls having sex a “lifestyle”. Or at least having non-procreative sex, that is. Since Hannity has been married 19 years and only has two children, we can safely say that he himself is a pervert with a “lifestyle”. He may not know it, of course. I get the impression a lot of the guys ranting about this have a don’t ask/don’t tell policy with their wives. They just have sex and don’t ask too many questions about how pregnancy doesn’t happen. Lets them continue with their belief that women who use contraception are dirty sluts, and certainly not nice girls like the ones they married. Except that they are.

I could go all day just on Hannity’s reaction, including his outright denial that 98% of Catholic women use contraception, including probably his wife, which someone seriously needs to ask him about. But there’s so many more delicious hysterical reactions. Limbaugh was a winner in the hysteria department.

  • hysterics 3 *

Conflating abortion with contraception, even though contraception prevents abortion? Check. Treating contraception like it’s some kind of crazy party drug that only weirdoes use? Check. Blatant hypocrisy? Check. Rush Limbaugh has been married 4 times and has zero, you heard me, zero children. Even though we know he’s a big fan of Viagra.

Neil Cavuto reached for an interesting metaphor.

  • hysterics 4 *

Uh, not to trivialize it, but… Sure. Just goes to show this has nothing to do with respecting religion. Cavuto just compared letting women get contraception no matter who they work for to executing Jesus Christ on trumped-up charges. That Monsignor Jim Lisante glazed right over the comparison of his Lord’s execution to a woman opting out of being pregnant all the time shows that misogyny trumps any religious concerns here.

Do  you have stomach for one more? I have literally dozens of these clips, but this one was special. This is Liberty Council’s Matt Barber.

  • hysterics 5 *

Hell, it’s hard enough getting them in prison for raping children, so this concern strikes me as overstated. Seriously now, there are 28 states that have a mandate requiring Catholic hospitals and universities to cover contraception coverage, and so far, no rounding up and imprisoning of priests. The refusal to acknowledge these realities shows that they’re not actually worried about religious liberty, but are using it as a fig leaf to attack contraception. Something 99% of women use. I don’t know if the war on women gets any more obvious than that.

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And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, unbelievable rape apology edition. Liz Trotta was on Fox News to comment on the Pentagon’s attempts to fight rape in the military, which is up 64% since 2006. She naturally blames the victims, since blaming rapists continues to be considered taboo on the right.

* trotta *

A bit longer than  usual because it’s hard to really pull out the most offensive part of this vicious rant. How does one decide between the phrase “raped too much”, which implies that there’s a certain level of rape that’s okay, and implying that the difference between men and women is that men are rapists and women are prey? So it all had to go in, just so you can marvel at the hate. 


Follow Amanda Marcotte on twitter: @amandamarcotte