Santorum For GOP
Reason #3 to Support Santorum: Force GOP to Deal With Contraception Hypocrisy

95% of what Planned Parenthood does is abortion. You heard that figure. 95%. That’s the figure U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch recently stated. This is a more precise update of the “well over 90%” figure cited by Senator Jon Kyl last year.

Unfortunately, the statistic was totally made up. In fact, abortion is less than 3% of what Planned Parenthood does. When confronted on his made up statistic, Rep. Kyl said his statement “was not intended to be factual.” Yet he made the statement anyway, without any disclaimer about its truthiness. It’s in the Congressional Record. If he hadn’t been confronted on it, an outside observer of the political process sure would have mistaken it for a factual statement.

In reality, what does Planned Parenthood mostly do? Give cancer and STI screenings, and hand out birth control. It’s the latter of these that the GOP is most concerned about.

Make no mistake about it: the modern GOP is after your birth control. Of course, most of them are too smart to admit it. They know that they risk both alienating voters and losing the moral high ground if they admit they hate birth control just as much as they hate abortion. So they pretend it’s about protecting “innocent life” while making attacks calculated to destroy the full range of women’s health services.

Republicans Against Contraception

Deny, deny, deny, that’s what mainstream Republicans do while they work their anti-contraception schemes behind the scenes. Even the current ruckus over the contraception requirement for employer-provided insurance is couched in terms of “freedom of conscience.” Never mind that former front-runner Mitt Romney has supported a personhood amendment that would have the unfortunate side effect of banning hormonal contraception; when later asked about a state’s right to ban contraception, he played stupid by bluntly stating that no state was trying to do that. This is dangerous for women: we can have no doubt that Romney will actually take away The Pill if given the chance, yet we can’t quite stick the issue to him. No matter how we try, he has an out, because he never actually said he was against contraception, in so many words.

Here’s where Santorum comes in. Unlike Romney, he has no plausible deniability. You know the things he’s said. First, contraception was not okay. Second, that states should be able to ban contraception. Third, that contraception shouldn’t be covered by any health plan. Now, his biggest backer is insinuating women who use contraception should just be keeping their legs together instead. Somewhere in there Santorum trotted out the same “liberty of conscience” line as the rest, but whereas other candidates seemed happy to stop at an exemption for religious employers, he took it way beyond the conscience of the employer and tried to substitute his own conscience for everybody else’s. Simply put, Santorum intentionally makes contraception the issue. And this is at a time when we need contraception to be an issue. We need every opportunity to push back in the war on women’s health. This is an issue we can win on. Contraception has widespread support among American voters, far moreso than abortion. Out of 100 American women, only 2 have never used contraception. As for the rest? Do you think these women are about to vote for a man who actually wants them not to have birth control, and says so openly? Think again.

          Santorum Not Electable
And once they have the chance to make that choice, and we have the chance to mobilize around this battle, we’ll find the whole debate on women’s health and reproductive rights opens right up. Funding Planned Parenthood will become a bi-partisan issue. It won’t be about “baby killing” any more. It will be about government trying to cram itself up every woman’s uterus. For those of us on the pro-choice left it has always been about that. Now most of the middle and even many conservatives will be forced to see it in those terms, and think more critically about what the whole debate really means.

To do this, we need Santorum to stay in the race.