Anatomy of a smear; or, no, conservatives are not trying to ban contraception in America

In 1965, the United States Supreme Court decided Griswold v. Connecticut, the first case to enunciate a “right to privacy” under the U.S.  Constitution.  Before Griswold, notion of a right to privacy had only existed as a common law doctrine, applicable to ones fellow citizens.  This was the first time, however, that the United States Supreme Court anchored this common law privacy right to the Constitution — despite the justices’ acknowledgment that the Constitution makes no mention of privacy as one of the inalienable citizen rights upon which a government cannot impinge.  Instead, the justices used strained and imaginary “penumbras” and “emanations” of existing rights (the Fourth Amendment, for example, which bars unreasonable searches and seizures) to justify their decision.  So, a lousy law (and banning contraception was an exceptionally lousy law) led to something even worse:  a fake constitutional right.

In any event, since 1965, contraceptives have been legal all over America.  You can get them with a prescription if they’re hormonally based, and you can pick them up at any pharmacy, grocery store, vending machine, high school, middle school, etc., if they’re barrier-style contraceptives.  United States taxpayers already subsidize those that get to people through Planned Parenthood and through our schools.

Such was the status quo until ObamaCare.  Now, though, the Progressives have added a hitherto unknown imaginary constitutional right:  women have the absolute right to free contraceptives.  Of course, since nothing is free, what this really means is that women have the absolute right to contraceptives paid for by others.  Regardless of how one feels about either privacy or contraception, anyone with even a smidgen of intellectual honesty has to concede that forcing third parties to pay for women’s access to a readily available, perfectly legal product is not something one can find in the Constitution itself, or even in the Constitution’s recently discovered penumbras and emanations.

Some Republicans in Congress, appalled by this government overreach, have proposed a bill that bars the government from using ObamaCare to justify forcing third parties to pay for women’s contraceptives.  It’s important to note here that they are not banning contraceptives.  Nor are they even reversing the current status quo (because the ObamaCare ukase has not yet gone into effect).  Rather, the Republicans are maintaining the status quo that has existed in the United States since 1965:  contraceptives are legal and women (and men) are free to buy them any time, any where.  Some are more expensive than others, but none are very expensive.  The alleged annual $600 cost for the average women wouldn’t be a big deal now if it wasn’t for the rising price of fuel, something that makes everything expensive.

The above are the facts.  Here’s the spin the Progressives are using to keep the White House in 2012 and to regain the House:  “GOP officials fight to restrict women’s access to contraceptives.”  (That verbatim quotation is taken from a longer post saying that the current GOP fight regarding contraception is akin to their failed fight to keep the state of Florida from forcing Terri Schiavo to starve to death.)

Let me repeat:  The Progressives are explicitly stating that the GOP is “fight[ing] to restrict women’s access to contraceptives.”

This is a bald-faced lie.  The GOP isn’t touching the status quo on abortion, a status quo that has been in place for almost 50 years.  Instead, the GOP is fighting to restrict the federal government from creating a non-existent “right” to birth control, a right that allows the federal government to force third parties, including religious organizations, to subsidize birth control, abortifacients, and sterilization.

Facts are stubborn things, and the facts favor conservatives.  Unfortunately, as Churchill knew, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”  We’ve got the facts on our side, but this is one lie that the Progressives are making sure has legs.

Whenever my “real me” Facebook friends put up a post about the GOP attack on contraception, I politely point out that, as I understand things, the GOP isn’t challenging women’s right to contraception.  It’s just challenging a federal mandate forcing religious institutions to subsidize a doctrinally offensive product.  Interestingly, whenever I drop that indisputable fact into one of hate-filled rants regarding the GOP and women’s rights, I stop the Facebook conversation dead.  There are no arguments and no ripostes.  Facts are stubborn things.

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  • JKB

    I sometimes wonder if some of the GOP know this.  Not that some want to ban contraception but that they seem to stupid to see when they are being set up with the questions.   

    Here’s a tip to Santorum and all the GOP idiots the media might find. Don’t discuss contraception.  Discuss who pays for the contraception and if you find old idiots who like to make jokes, punch them in the mouth.

  • Aeon

    Hi Bookworm!
    I’ve been reading your site for over a year, but this is my first time commenting, so go easy on me guys!
    I stopped checking my Facebook account a couple of weeks ago, largely because I was exhausted and beat up from the constant Conservative/Christian/Republican bashing that goes on there.  I’m not even a Republican myself, I’m a Libertarian, but my husband is one and I was getting wholly tired of watching him get called an evil imbecile on a regular basis.
    I still use Facebook because the people who read my own blog get updates through it, and after responding to a few comments there this weekend I noticed a whole, huge string of posts in the news feed about the supposed “Republican War on Women.”  I was JUST about to compose a message to you, Bookworm, asking for clarification on what the heck these people are all foaming at the mouth about, and lo and behold – you post the answer today before I can even ask.  So for that, thank you!
    I desperately want to send people this post of yours to provide them with facts that they are obviously sorely lacking, but I feel as though for the past couple of years the level of disdain, anger and false logic on the left has increased to such a degree that arguing with them feels a lot like trying to teach a pig to sing.  “It wastes your time, and annoys the pig.”
    At least I know now what they’re referring to and can gladly go back to ignoring the awful, negative things that people put on Facebook as much as possible!

  • Ymarsakar

    Aeon like the movie, Aeon Flux?

  • Ymarsakar

    “I stop the Facebook conversation dead. ”

    Osoroshi, Book. A frightening endeavour of magnified proportions: such is the power you have wielded.


  • beefrank

    More than a smear. this is a political tactic from the White House that started with George Stephanopoulos peppered Romney about states banning contraception in the last ABC sponsored Republican debate.  At the time, the candidates and commentary questioned the relevance of this question. After the Daily Caller reports on the Media Matters connection to the White House and NBC, and Obamacare’s requirement for health insurance companies to provide free contraceptives regardless of the company’s policies, it is evident it is Obama’s calculated political maneuver.  As Bookworm aptly described in another post. it is the ‘tar baby’ of the Left.