At the root of the conservative war on contraception is a deep-seated anxiety about the traditional family
By Joan Walsh
Tuesday, Apr 3, 2012
Liberals have documented the existence of a bitter Republican campaign against women’s health and freedom, but I don’t think we’ve identified its cause or its full intent. It may be hurting Republicans almost as much as it’s hurting women: New Gallup poll data released Monday found that Obama leads Romney 51 percent to 42 percent among registered voters in 12 swing states. Last month he trailed the Republican by 2 points. The change is due to a sharp shift among women: Obama now leads Romney among women under the age of 50 by 30 points; that lead was 5 points in February.
Some panicked Republicans insist crafty Democrats are the ones playing the culture wars, but we’ve debunked that: Democrats didn’t make the GOP presidential field back “personhood” laws that would criminalize some forms of birth control. They didn’t force the newly elected House GOP to make defunding Planned Parenthood their first legislative goal. And they didn’t propose the Blunt Amendment that would have allowed employers to withhold health insurance coverage not only for contraception, but for any treatment they disapproved of — or make every Republican senator vote for it, except the outgoing Olympia Snowe.
But why is this happening now, and not in, say, 2000 or 2008? I got my first hint of what conservatives are up to listening to Rick Santorum early in the presidential campaign. “When the family breaks down, the economy breaks down,” he says over and over, and he insists growing “dependency” on government plays a key role in the family’s decline. Mitt Romney goes a little lighter on the culture-war stuff, but Saturday in Wisconsin he too sounded the anti-government-dependency theme. “President Obama believes in a government-centered society,” Romney said. Not coincidentally, he also railed against Planned Parenthood, and once again promised to defund it.
Paul Ryan likewise attacks “dependency,” telling the American Enterprise Institute last week that America is at an “insidious moral tipping point, and I think the president is accelerating this.” Government support, Ryan insists, “lulls able-bodied people into lives of complacency and dependency, which drains them of their very will and incentive to make the most of their lives. It’s demeaning.”
Continue reading at: http://www.salon.com/2012/04/03/must_women_civilize_men/