Santorum and birth control

I might as well talk about Rick Santorum while I’ve got a chance.  I don’t think he’s going to be hanging around the national stage for very long.  So, I saw this article in Salon that said he favored outlawing birth control.  I assumed that this was Salon just being over the top.  Sure, as  a very devout and very conservative Catholic, he surely opposes birth control, but I didn’t think he would actually be in favor of outlawing it, but… Yep– pretty much:

Speaking to ABC News’ Jake Tapper, Santorum recently reaffirmed his opposition to Griswold v. Connecticut, the 1965 Supreme Court decision that struck down a ban on discussing or providing contraception tomarried couples, and established a right to privacy that would later be integral to Roe v. Wade and Lawrence v. Texas. (It is generally better-known how Santorum feels about gay people.) That would be the case where the majority asked, “Would we allow the police to search the sacred precincts of marital bedrooms for telltale signs of the use of contraceptives? The very idea is repulsive to the notions of privacy surrounding the marriage relationship.” Rick Santorum disagrees. Hethinks, using the currently popular states’ rights parlance, that “the state has a right to do that, I have never questioned that the state has a right to do that. It is not a constitutional right, the state has the right to pass whatever statues they have.” This is a view Santorum has held at least since 2003.

In all fairness, he’s not saying he’d ban birth control, just saying he has no problems with states doing so.  Still, not exactly a position to win him many friends with the 90+% of people who have actually used birth control.

On an quasi-related note, this bit in David Brooks’ recent column about the GOP and the white working class caught me as somewhat interesting:

Santorum does not have a secular worldview. This is not just a matter of going to church and home-schooling his children. When his baby Gabriel died at childbirth, he and his wife, a neonatal nurse, spent the night in a hospital bed with the body and then took it home — praying over it and welcoming it, with their other kids, into the family. This story tends to be deeply creepy to many secular people but inspiring to many of the more devout.

Despite being a regular church-goer, it’s fair to say I have a fairly secular mindset, so yes, I do find this very creepy.  Is this really such a secular thing to find this creepy, though?  No matter how much you love Jesus, do you really want to do this with a dead body?  Then again, I’m a big fan of the closed casket.  Not because I’m particularly uncomfortable with death (I don’t think I am), but because I think a dead body is just an empty shell and the person that you love/knew/liked/etc., is just gone.  Maybe in Heaven or elsewhere, but not in that body.

My, I got far afield from birth control.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

4 Responses to Santorum and birth control

  1. John F. says:

    Totally creepy bordering on the insane. All of it.

  2. itchy says:

    OK, I was going to comment on the first part, but … that second part kind of dominates your post.

    You might have seen the N&O story last year about a couple pregnant with a child they knew was going to be stillborn. Their actions were not anything I ever would have taken, but the story was one of the most powerful I’ve read.

    Santorum’s behavior with this child was a personal choice, and I have great empathy for him. It’s hard to know how I’d feel in the same position; I can’t imagine doing the same thing, but different people grieve differently.

    His stance on birth control is the opposite. It’s a public imposition on others’ personal lives.

  3. Steve Greene says:

    I remember that N&O story. Powerful, but yes, creepy to me. I would never begrudge anybody coping with a dead child (or any dead relative) in whatever way is going to give them the most comfort. Just that I find it creepy and I do wonder the degree to which religion plays the role that Brooks suggests.

  4. itchy says:

    I think I see your point: A person whose religion compels him to behave like this, even in a deeply personal circumstance, is going to be guided in public life by a set of standards and expectations that might not be shared by most of us.

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