8 votes

The GOP Lost the Birth Control Debate a Decade Ago

The GOP Lost the Birth Control Debate a Decade Ago

The Hinlicky Rule directs us to fully understand the argument of an opponent before criticizing it.

“You shall not criticize the position of another…until you can state that position with such accuracy, completeness and sympathy, that the opponent himself declares, ‘Yes, I could not have said it better myself!‘ Then, and only then, may you criticize. For then you are engaging a real alternative and advancing a real argument. Otherwise you shed only heat, not light.”

I expect no such formalities from either partisan Republicans or Democrats. The Republicans and Democrats talk past each other, and both are happy to do so to fire up “the base.” Readers of these pages are likely to understand the talking points coming from both parties and to laugh at them for different reasons.

The Republican talking point goes like this: “People of faith should not be forced to pay for birth control if it is inconsistent with their religious views.” That’s where the GOP says it’s coming from. That argument’s commonsense for lots of Americans, especially those with Republican leanings.

Many who simply hate Obama also pretend that it’s commonsense for them, whether or not they have any moral objection to the idea. Experience has shown that the day one of the “anybody-but-Obama” candidates begins to sound exactly like Obama, lots of folks on the right will suddenly start to like those same ideas that they once opposed so fervently.

And commonsense for a Democrat is: “If affordable healthcare is a right, and everyone agrees that modern healthcare should include access to the most modern forms of contraception, then it would follow that affordable access to birth control is a right.”

Rights v. Privileges
Of course, the Democrats confuse the idea of a right and a privilege. The problem with the Democratic argument is that affordable healthcare is not a right. Rights do not take from others. To have healthcare, one must have a doctor. To have contraception, someone must make it. You have no right to anyone else’s time. You might have a government funded privilege to someone else’s time. One may call this mere semantics, but that distinction of the words privilege and right are seldom acknowledged in Democratic circles. And it’s selectively applied in Republican circles.

I see that the Democrats are entirely off base on this, but three of the four Republicans candidates have no credibility while criticizing the Democrats on this issue. While the Democrats get the definitions of privilege and right wrong, the Republicans are opportunists only pretending to be on the side of smaller government. Neither behavior appeals to me, but at least the Democrats are consistent and straightforward on this topic.

You see - the Republicans lost this argument a decade ago when under fiscal “conservative” leaders like Rick Satorum (while in office) and Newt Gingrich (while out of office) the Republican Party passed Medicare Part D. Officially called “The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003,” it passed Congress overwhelmingly with the GOP in control of both houses and the White House (all three houses). George W. Bush led the charge. “Conservative” think tanks praised it. Ron Paul opposed it of course. It has cost $203 billion through 2010, and is projected by the CBO to cost an additional $391 billion by 2015. Part D was a handout to seniors, meant to bring electoral gain, and a handout for the pharmaceutical industry. It brought financial reward for select congressmen and staffers alike in a way that is almost impossible to refer to as anything but corruption. Furthermore, under the Republican lead, it was the biggest expansion of Medicare since Lyndon Johnson’s 1965 program began. Bottom line: Many Republicans were out there conveying the message that access to ‘free’ medicine was a right in America.

Protect Your Neighbor and You Protect Yourself
Should a person of conscience have to pay for another person’s birth control against his or her will? Absolutely not. No one should have to pay for another person’s anything against his or her will. However, as Martin Niemoller pointed out in so many post-WWII speeches over decades – you protect your own liberty when you protect the liberty of others. Once your own liberty is directly at risk, it’s probably too late to stand up and expect that you’ll have many allies rushing to your defense. As the anti-free-birth-control-on-religious-grounds-in-most-situations-for-recognized-religious-institutions-with-sufficient-lobbying-support-in-Washington-DC folks will soon recognize, when you stand by idly and wait until your own rights are directly threatened, you end up being left with a pretty feeble and easily toppled argument.

Instead of taking a stand on such a significant issue, those mealy-mouthed Republicans led the charge supporting Medicare Part D, excitedly expanding Lyndon Johnson’s program.

No one should be surprised that several years later a Democratic candidate, appealing to the progressive base of his party would come along and say that affordable healthcare is a right.

The Democrats publicly confuse the idea of a right and a privilege. The Republicans do as well. They both insist that their latest bright ideas are “rights.” I could have sworn that Newt told us last week that Americans have the right to go to the moon affordably. Bill O’Reilly confuses the idea of a right and a privilege when he talks about low cost gasoline and criticizes the President for not restraining the oil companies.

Opening the Door for the Next Losing Debate
Just as the Republicans gave birth to our current socialized birth control controversy, Bill O’Reilly when he talks about the need for presidential intervention to ensure low cost gasoline opens the door for the president to socialize the oil companies. And why not? President Obama “saved” the U.S. Economy; he “saved” American automotive manufactures; he “saved” the American patient. He did these things with lots of bipartisan support. O’Reilly, Gingrich, Santorum, and the others are not opposed to any of that; they are just opposed to their buddies not being in power when that happens.

Many of the Republicans are so unprincipled when they openly claim to oppose a concept that they favored just a few years prior. Universal access to pharmaceuticals for seniors is just a step away from universal birth control for all women and not far from universal healthcare for all Americans. Correspondingly, they have a low estimation of the average Republican voter to so brashly pretend like this never happened. The Republicans gave birth to this debate on free contraceptives a decade ago. The Republican voters, in supporting those politicians, empowered that.

Hatred for Obama is the only thing that will ostensibly keep Republicans from being seen as having had lost the birth control debate. But it must be remembered by anyone with a memory, anyone who would look critically at this situation, that the Republicans lost this debate a decade ago and have been losing it for years longer as they increasingly made themselves the second statist party.

Allan Stevo is author of How to Win America for Ron Paul and the Cause of Freedom in 2012, a book on how Ron Paul supporters can secure the GOP nomination and with certainty deliver a presidential win for Ron Paul in 2012.

Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

You know, paying for birth

You know, paying for birth control is a hell of a lot cheaper than paying for delivery in a hospital.

I was always of the impression that family planning is a hallmark of people who are responsible with their crotches.

I believe the birth control

I believe the birth control issue has been used to keep Republicans voting for Republicans. If the Republican party wanted to get rid of abortion they would have done it when they had a majority under Newt. I think they didn't because that issue held power over the conservative voter while the Party Machine continued on with their other plans as we have seen them onfold. This idea was a part of my waking up...

Sure, aside from flag waving,

Sure, aside from flag waving, bible thumping, and dead baby beating, why would anybody vote for Republicans? When it comes to real issues, from this century, that actually matter (like the economy???) they're dead in the water. The sad part is there is no antithesis to the Democrats' socialist platform.

Well, from my memory while

Well, from my memory while they were touting social conservatism they also spoke of small government, but did the opposite when elected...so there was somewhat of an antithesis in rehetoric. Problem was they either lied, did not follow thru, or were corrupted... Which is why I am voting Ron Paul and for Liberty.

Well written

article. Every Republican should read this.

Birth control can't be

Birth control can't be construed as health care.

I would agree we shouldn't be

I would agree we shouldn't be forced to provide party implements, but we also shouldn't be forced to take care of some low-life's children with welfare payments.

Aborting them, letting them starve after birth, or raising them properly should be entirely up to the animals that bred them, and not one dime of my tax money should be wasted rewarding their irresponsibilities, nor should it go towards courts to enforce such alleged obligations.

How about killing them after

How about killing them after birth - shouldn't parents - low life or otherwise - be allowed to kill any child they have "bred"?

Please don't waste your time on him...

...because he is a self-proclaimed Obama supporter(check his symbol), fascist and globalist. He was on "vacation" for a while, but it looks like he is bored and lonely again. He likes to cause trouble. He must've had a bad childhood or something to be like he is. Ignoring him is the best you can do.

I'm new here; thanks for the

I'm new here; thanks for the advice.

Sure! Only 12 wks. for me!

Had quite a few struggles with Warlord and received the same advice.

If I wanted to assume

If I wanted to assume responsibility for a child, I would knock up some broad. That should answer your question.

The question was about the

The question was about the right to kill one's offspring.

I imagine under copyright

I imagine under copyright law, you would have the right to revoke the license to use your DNA, which if put into practice would effectively kill the offspring...


...I don't know that one has the right to outright kill his own child, but I don't see why one wouldn't have the right to simply abandon the child on a mountaintop in the presence of a pack of wolves...


Maybe I don't believe in this nonsensical idea of a "right" to reproduce in the first place. I believe the quality of the national stock is of paramount importance to the state, assuming the technology necessary to do so effectively has been invented.

Neither Can


Viagra is used to treat a

Viagra is used to treat a dysfunction of the male. Chemical birth control is used to impair normal functioning of the female. One is health care, the other is not.

When your wife weighs 400

When your wife weighs 400 lbs, you can do one of two things: take a little blue pill, or find a 20 year old Mexican.

Why not a sixteen year-old

Why not a sixteen year-old Negress?

Why not?

Why not?

Good article

I especially like the Hinlicky rule intro.

Me too.

Me too.

School's fine. Just don't let it get in the way of thinking. -Me

Study nature, not books. -Walton Forest Dutton, MD, in his 1916 book whose subject is origin (therefore what all healing methods involve and count on), simple and powerful.