March 28, 2012 |
In 1957, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first birth-control pills, it wasn't for birth control. The contraceptives won approval as a treatment for severe menstrual disorders; temporary infertility was a side effect. Funny, women across the country suddenly started complaining in droves about severe menstrual disorders. As religiously-affiliated organizations, such as Catholic hospitals and universities, continue to complain about federal policies that would require that health insurance cover family planning (President Obama worked out a compromise deal under which the insurance companies would absorb the cost, but the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops still sees this as undue interference)
March 26, 2012 |
As a new season of "Mad Men" begins, it is interesting and a bit unsettling to realize that the era of Don Draper is equidistant in time between the era of "Downton Abbey " and the present day. Looked at another way, Franklin Roosevelt's second election in 1936 was exactly as close to the current year of the series storyline, 1966, as Bill Clinton's second election in 1996. It may be a shock to baby boomers for whom the 1960s do not feel that far away, but it really was a long time ago. In Republican politics, however, it seems no time has passed.
March 6, 2012 |
In 1984, Mario Cuomo pioneered the argument that one may be "personally opposed" to abortion while supporting abortion rights. Ever since, this convenient locution has become a staple for countless Democratic politicians, particularly Roman Catholic ones. Cuomo's argument was a mess. For instance, in order to buttress his argument he touted the (alleged) refusal of American Catholic bishops to forcefully denounce slavery. The bishops "weren't hypocrites; they were realists," Cuomo explained.
March 5, 2012 |
Rush Limbaugh's lame apology to Sandra Fluke does not even come close to getting him off the hook. He needs to apologize to America for pushing political discourse to the level of drunk good ol' boys shouting crude epithets in a topless bar. In case you missed it, a few days ago Limbaugh went after Fluke for supporting the inclusion of contraceptives in employee health plans. The 30-year-old Georgetown University law student jumped into the controversy over a new Obama administration rule requiring even institutions run by religious organizations to provide insurance coverage for birth control.
March 1, 2012 |
Senate Republicans, who narrowly lost a bid to roll back new federal insurance rules requiring contraceptive coverage, were decidedly circumspect after being portrayed by Democrats as trying to interfere with women's health options. "I don't have anything else to say," said Sen. John McCain(R-Ariz.), after the GOP's effort Thursday to curb the rule failed 51 to 48. Other Republicans were only a bit more talkative, and they quickly shifted their remarks to the other issues - jobs and the economy - suggesting that the contraception fight may have waning appeal for the GOP. "It was a good vote, but we do need to be focused on some of these debt issues - they're just huge," said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.)
March 1, 2012 |
The clash among Republican presidential candidates over social issues shifted Thursday to the Deep South as Rick Santorum tried to undercut rival Newt Gingrich's support among conservative evangelicals in Georgia, a must-win state for the former House speaker. Santorum also tore into front-runner Mitt Romney over his latest remarks on birth control. The rhetorical assault on his two leading opponents was part of the former Pennsylvania senator's full-bore "family values" pitch to Republicans at two stops in northern Georgia, the state that will deliver the biggest cache of delegates during a nationwide flurry of contests Tuesday.
February 28, 2012 |
In the heated debate over to what extent religiously affiliated employers should be required to provide free contraception for workers, no one has talked much about what methods are available to women who want to prevent pregnancy and how their choices might change if cost were removed from the equation. But it's an important subject. With prices ranging from about $1 for a condom to more than $800 for an intrauterine device (IUD), some of these women - maybe a lot of them - might switch methods if they could afford to. That's exactly what manywomen's healthadvocates hope.
February 16, 2012 |
A wealthy backer of GOP presidential contender Rick Santorum left his interviewer scratching her head Thursday when he suggested that in the olden days, birth control was less expensive because women just squeezed an aspirin between their knees to prevent them from having sex. Foster Friess, the retired mutual fund executive from Wyoming who has been basking in the spotlight recently thanks to his six-figure donations to a 'super PAC' backing Santorum,...
February 15, 2012 |
Since President Obama moved to require Catholic hospitals and universities to offer their employees contraceptive health benefits, Republicans have rushed to accuse the administration of an unprecedented attack on religious freedoms. None has been more forceful than former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who accused Obama of "a direct violation of the 1st Amendment. " But years before the current partisan firestorm, GOP lawmakers and governors around the country, including Huckabee, backed similar mandates.
February 14, 2012 |
The fight over the Obama administration's rule requiring that all employers provide birth control coverage to their workers, including religiously affiliated hospitals, universities and charities, is the kind of dispute Washington likes best. Why? The dispute stirs up ardent partisans on both sides with much less impact on those in the middle, providing an opportunity for groups on both the left and the right to raise money to motivate their supporters without undergoing huge political risk.