Birth control and the asymmetry

You know how I’ve been saying that the Republican party has moved way more to the right than Democrats have moved left.  Well, this isn’t nice numbers based on thousands of votes, but it’s damn illustrative (from a Post article on the new politics of birth control):

“We need to take sensationalism out of this topic so that it can no longer be used by militants who have no real knowledge of the voluntary nature of the program but, rather, are using it as a political stepping stone,” said George H.W. Bush. “If family planning is anything, it is a public health matter.”

Title X, the law he sponsored that still funds family planning for the poor, passed the House by a vote of 298 to 32. It passed the Senate unanimously. A Republican president, Richard Nixon, enthusiastically signed it.

That was 1970.

This is now: The issue of birth control has suddenly become an obsession of the 2012 presidential campaign. To many observers, it seems that the clock has indeed been turned back.

Using birth control to have sex without making a baby has been settled social behavior, not a taboo but an ordinary prescription that virtually all American women present at the drugstore counter at some point in their lives. For many, it seems the common-sense way to avoid the prospect of abortion, which has been the really divisive issue of sexual politics.

That is, unless, you are a modern-day Republican politician.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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