The title may seem like an exaggeration, but it doesn’t take much reading right now to prove that it isn’t. The United States is in trouble, and everyone knows it – especially, I think, the GOP. Their strategy of diverting attention away from real, important issues by focusing on what they perceive to be “wedge” issues – the “morality” of access to contraception, women’s healthcare, legal abortion, etc. – is a woefully misguided final gasp of a dying party that doesn’t have any answers. Unfortunately for them, access to birth control is not a wedge issue in the United States. Even among Catholic women, who ostensibly subscribe to the belief systems of an organization that has consistently railed against all kinds of birth control, including condoms, for years, the numbers are ridiculously high. Approximately 98% use or have used contraception. If that doesn’t tell the GOP anything about the opinions of the American people on something that they’ve increasingly tried to paint as divisive, then I doubt anything will be able to convince them otherwise.
One of the most frustrating aspects of this whole thing is the rampant misinformation politicians and pundits have been throwing at us. Almost exclusively men, they’ve proven over and over again that they have little to no idea how contraceptives actually work. From Jezebel, which I love linking to:
Falsehoods about what birth control is, and what the birth control mandate does, are so rampant that they’ve been given a place in the debate alongside actual facts. Bill O’Reilly seems to think that there are “thousands” of federally funded health care providers who distribute free birth control to anyone who just waltzes on in, Santorum funder Foster Freiss thinks that simply not having sex will do all of the things that birth control does, Fox News pundit Greg Gutfeld thinks that giving everyone access to low-cost birth control is the same thing as hating poor people, Sean Hannity thinks all birth control costs like $9 per month, regardless of the prescription, and another Fox anchor seems to think that condoms should do just fine for every woman, no matter what her situation or preferences. O’Reilly tells his viewers that compelling insurers to let female employees who pay premiums use their premiums to purchase birth control is akin to forcing Bill O’Reilly to personally buy Depo Provera injections for every Tri-Delt in America. None of these things are remotely facty.
Reading the news lately has become a struggle. It’s hard to know that, by sheer dint of having ladyparts, a significant portion of not only the population but of political leaders think that I should not be trusted to make decisions about my body and my life. I thought we were better than this. I thought we were beyond this kind of misogyny. I thought our political leaders actually cared about at least looking like they cared about 50% of the population. But there they are, up on the public stage, spouting off whatever nonsense they please without consequence.
I honestly don’t know how to cope with this.