Ladies, let’s all calm down.

Rick Santorum doesn’t actually want to take away your birth control! Hahaha. Silly ladies, thinking that when he said “One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is, I think, the dangers of contraception in this country. . . . Many of the Christian faith have said, well, that’s okay, contraception is okay. It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be,” it meant he opposed birth control access. Even sillier ladies, thinking that when he said Griswold v. Connecticut (the Supreme Court case striking down state laws prohibiting birth control) was decided wrongly, he meant that states should have the right to outlaw birth control.

SILLY SILLY LADIES. If I knew how to underline that phrase with a splashy slash of lipstick, I would.

Santorum came under fire for the birth control comments, and is now saying that his opposition to birth control is only a personal belief, and not one he’d impose on anyone. Ok fine. I could live with that. If Rick Santorum is going to exercise his right not to take the pill, fantastic for him. He’s in good company with most men on the planet there. But (a) I’m pretty sure that he does impose that view on his wife, and (b) conservative politicians like Rick Santorum have a nasty habit of imposing their “personal beliefs” on everyone else. Santorum, for example, opposes federal funding for family planning, even though he obviously does not oppose federal funding generally. So his “personal beliefs that I won’t impose on anyone” are, actually, sometimes imposed on people.

And then:

The former Pennsylvania senator recently told ABC’s Jake Tapper that, yes, he disagrees with Griswold v. Connecticut, the 1965 Supreme Court decision that struck down a ban on contraception.

He said Friday evening that it’s the idea that states don’t have a right to pass such a law that he opposes, because he does not see the right to privacy as a constitutional right envisioned by its signers. This is hardly a new argument.

“It could have been a law against buying shoestrings; that it was contraception has nothing to do with it. States have the right to pass even dumb laws.”

Welcome to Disingenuous Central. “Contraception has nothing to do with it”? Sure. Santorum just picked that case of out thin air. I’m sure he was going through the list of cases where the court evaluated state law and was like, “Hmmm, Brown v. Board of Ed, Loving v. Virginia, Engle v. Vitale, Cohen v. California, Marsh v. Alabama, NAACP v. Button, Stanley v. Georgia, Gonzalez v. Raich… Oh I just like the sound of the name Griswold, let’s go with that.”

Santorum referenced Griswold because it’s a dog-whistle to his virulently anti-choice base. Most reasonable people and legal scholars agree that Griswold is pretty well-settled law — it’s not a case like Roe that is always up for debate in Supreme Court nomination processes, and it’s not a name that means anything except to pro-life and pro-choice activists. Naming Griswold specifically was Santorum throwing a bone to the radical anti-choicers who do want to see birth control outlawed, and who have been taking steps to do just that. It was him saying, “I’m with you,” just loudly enough so that the anti-choice inner circle could hear, but not so obviously that the rest of mainstream American caught on.

Do I think that if Santorum is elected president he’ll try to outlaw birth control? No. Of course not. That’s not going to happen, and that’s not what anyone is actually worried about. What we are worried about are the efforts on the state level to outlaw birth control, and the kinds of federal judges that President Santorum — a phrase that makes me feel slightly ill — would appoint, to the Supreme Court and other federal courts. Supreme Court nominees get a lot of press and attention, but the real power comes in through all of the lower federal appointments that presidents make to courts that decide many more cases than the Supreme Court. And if we have a president who not only believes that states have the right to pass laws which violate the federal constitution, but specifically focuses on cases that relate to reproductive rights and gender equality? You can bet he’s going to seek out judges with those same beliefs.

Despite the claims of WaPo lady-blogger Melinda Henneberger [insert lipstick slash here], we are not actually scared that Rick Santorum is going to set our diaphragms on fire or snatch the rings out of our vaginas. We are, however, concerned that he will stack the courts with anti-choice judges, and will back state efforts to limit or outlaw birth control. If Melinda Henneberger isn’t concerned about that, good for her — but I would suggest maybe that’s not because of Santorum’s actual stances, but because she’s asking the wrong questions and not paying attention.

About Jill

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
This entry was posted in Gender, Health, Law, Politics, Reproductive Rights and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to Ladies, let’s all calm down.

  1. FashionablyEvil says:

    As a Savage Love reader from the 2000-2003 time period, I really can’t even hear or read Rick Santorum’s name without remembering Savage’s definition of Santorum.

  2. Kristen J. says:

    So much word.

    Plus I think the forced birthers are trying to move the goal posts. Pro-choice activists have been holding the line fairly well we’re not as united and active as we should be BUT Roe is still (sort of) on the books and public support seems to be increasing. I think they’re pushing on contraceptives to see if women as a voting block will give ground on abortion as a compromise.

  3. Rights are never taken away all at once. It’s inch-by-inch. A little bit here, hardly worth fighting over. A little bit there, and a little bit more when you’re not looking. Pretty soon you’ve got Southern Sudan, where the value of a woman is the number of cows you can get for her.

    The only way to stop it is to oppose it at every step.

  4. Elliott says:

    Wonder where the Liberal outrage is about this.. (taken from WSJ)

    “A new issue is creeping into the election that riles tea-party groups, the Occupy Wall Street movement, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Ron Paul campaign and more than a few supporters of President Barack Obama. It’s the National Defense Authorization Act, which Mr. Obama signed on New Year’s Eve and which includes a provision giving the government the power to indefinitely detain any terror suspect captured on U.S. or foreign soil, even if that person is a U.S. citizen. Mr. Obama signed the bill ‘with serious reservations’ and pledged not to detain U.S. citizens without trial.”
    Signed on New Year’s Eve.. really? Could you imagine if Bush did this? ;)

  5. I don’t like the idea of Santorum as President, either, but I don’t think he’s been fully vetted yet. He languished for so many months at the bottom of the polls that no one felt any need to take him seriously.

    The skeletons in his closet are considerable, and he will be aggressively questioned about past extreme statements. And, due to the nature of this race, he may be enjoying his fifteen minutes until cooler heads prevail. To me, this race is Romney’s to win. I think even those who may not like him will see no choice but to give him their votes.

    Even a very wounded Obama defeats Santorum handily. This is just another edition of Republican Musical Chairs. I hope you’ve enjoyed the show.

  6. FashionablyEvil says:

    Wonder where the Liberal outrage is about this.

    I dunno, here?

  7. NikhNelia says:

    Wow. That article at thinkprogress.org scared me quite a bit. I’m not from the US but have been following the blogs on this site for a few weeks now (I love it here). Never was I of the opinion that feminism is over and superfluous since, well, women are fine now, aren’t they? But (I confess) neither was I aware that the problem was still so big and the threat sometimes so acute in the Western world. This somehow shows me that we should indeed never ignore injustice or just stop talking about problems. I agree wholeheartedly with you, Rinth de Shadley, when you say that the only way to fight against rights being taken away lies in opposing any attempt to do so at every step.

  8. Calioak says:

    I’m not worried about MY state outlawing birth control, but I’ve been way to surprised by men who do not regard freedom of conscience/religion, self determination, bodily integrity and the rights to your own labor as basic when it comes to women. No woman (err..female bodied person?) can exercise those rights without the option of using birth control and for to many men birth control is less basic and important than say free speech. The last few decades where women have had the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are the exception in the US, not the rule. I think it’s a slim, but very realistic possibility that the federal government would outlaw birth control again.

  9. Peter says:

    Little Ricky is clearly one of those Tea Bag partiers that are still traumatized that other people in college and high school had more sex than them. I suspect that’s why these dudes are so keen on stopping all sex outside of heterosexual marriage. Onward, christian soldiers!

  10. Archie says:

    President Santorum. yuck.

  11. Count me as a charter member of the Silly Lady Club. I clutch my pearls every time that Frothy Mix’s name is mentioned, without irony, by a member of the mainstream media.

  12. Bitter Scribe says:

    He’s a cousin of the “libertarians” who are against racism, but gosh, if Mississippi wants to segregate its schools, lunch counters and drinking fountains, well, the federal government has no right to tell them otherwise, and if the black people down there don’t like it, they can move.

  13. PrettyAmiable says:

    Wonder where the Liberal outrage is about this.. (taken from WSJ)

    Cool story, bro. Sorry your research is shoddy :(

  14. Marksman2010 says:

    I have a bad feeling one of these freaks is going to land in the White House sooner than later. The American voters can’t seem to get enough of them–even after two terms of good ole “Dubya.”

    A few months ago I heard someone comment that Sarah Palin and Sheriff Joe Arpaio would have been a “dream ticket” for President and VP, respectively. See what I mean?

  15. DouglasG says:

    [What we are worried about are the efforts on the state level to outlaw birth control, and the kinds of federal judges that President Santorum — a phrase that makes me feel slightly ill — would appoint, to the Supreme Court and other federal courts.]

    Only slightly? I envy the strength of your constitution.

  16. librarygoose says:

    A few months ago I heard someone comment that Sarah Palin and Sheriff Joe Arpaio would have been a “dream ticket” for President and VP, respectively. See what I mean?

    HAHAHA I love humor. Please tell me they were joking.

  17. Tony says:

    A few months ago I heard someone comment that Sarah Palin and Sheriff Joe Arpaio would have been a “dream ticket” for President and VP, respectively.

    A dream ticket for Democrats, to be sure.

    Sarah Palin would be a disaster as a candidate, but she does have certain instincts that tend to hit in the right direction. When she talks about crony capitalism, I think she touches on a subject that the politically aware on both the Left and the Right can agree on, and are outraged about. There’s definitely a big opening for a person who wants to build a national movement around corporate influence and government reform, only it needs the right messenger.

  18. RachRach says:

    http://fucknoricksantorum.tumblr.com/

    This site makes me feel a little better. Just a little.

  19. zuzu says:

    As a Savage Love reader from the 2000-2003 time period, I really can’t even hear or read Rick Santorum’s name without remembering Savage’s definition of Santorum.

    Otherwise known as Santorum’s “Google problem.” It’s still there.

  20. Val says:

    I’m not really sure what the issue is……birth control should always be available, condoms should always be FREE to whoever wants them and some people should be court ordered to be sterilized when they are convicted of child abuse of a certain degree, sexual predators included. That’s all I have to say and you don’t have to agree with me.

  21. Angie unduplicated says:

    In many parts of America, all contraception except condoms was illegal until the late ’60s. “Make love, not war” was not a jest. Boston was the last major city to legalize contraceptive pills, due to the influence of the Catholic Church. Santorum and his ilk (or bilk?) do, indeed, want to turn back the clock. Mormons actively discourage birth control, and the GOP is running two of them.
    Samtorum also wants Social Security slashed, rather than having the SS ceiling removed from its current limit, a move which would guarantee the program’s solvency.
    Yes, Rinth de Shadley, we should be fighting them at every turn. They are well-dressed barbarians, and we do not want them taking over.

  22. speedbudget says:

    “It could have been a law against buying shoestrings; that it was contraception has nothing to do with it. States have the right to pass even dumb laws.”

    To be clear, he does think that laws banning birth control would be dumb “for a number of reasons. Birth control should be legal in the United States. The states should not ban it, and I would oppose any effort to ban it.’’

    So if states have the right to pass even dumb laws, why would you spend the time and money opposing a ban on birth control? Santorum, you lying rug, shut up.

  23. PrettyAmiable says:

    Did anyone watch the debate last night? They asked a question about whether selling contraception was protected by the constitution – clearly aimed at Santorum – and Romney went on a tirade instead about how no one wants to do that. Except, you know, Santorum.

  24. Lasciel says:

    Oh this is just what Republicans want. It’ll be great for them when they have 3 political aids trailing each one with four kids a piece demanding child support… that did great things for John Edwards’ image after all.

  25. Datdamwuf says:

    You say: “Naming Griswold specifically was Santorum throwing a bone to the radical anti-choicers who do want to see birth control outlawed, and who have been taking steps to do just that.”

    I disagree with the term “radical”, substitute the word “most” in that sentence. I’m talking specifically about the pill. This became very clear when the morning after pill was approved and it scared the hell out of me. Both pills work in the same way and when you listen to the anti-choice people protest the morning after pill, you are hearing exactly the same argument those so called “radical” people are making about birth control pills. And, after all that is pretty much what the morning after pill is, a massive dose of birth control pills.

    Then there is the other way these people try to limit birth control; getting legislation passed that allows pharmacists to refuse to fill a prescription if it is countered to their conscience…and such legislation has passed in a few places.

  26. Angie unduplicated says:

    Update: Excalibur, commenting at Crooks and Liars on a CVS pharmacist’s refusal to provide Plan B to an adult, has one red-hot idea. He wants feminist girls to go to pharmacy school.
    Sounds like Plan A for unemployed/underemployed feminists of any age. Go for it!

  27. Peter says:

    Little Ricky: “States have the right to pass even dumb laws.”

    Wait a minute. Little Ricky wants a federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, is States that have decided to make gay marriage legal.

    How can he be for the right of states to pass “dumb laws”, but proactively seeking to use the federal government ban gay marriage at the state level.

    Please explain the contradiction, Little Ricky! Both of these stated positions of yours cannot possibly be true simultaneously! I am befuddled!

  28. Datdamwuf says:

    Last year I found John Wallace’ website and bookmarked a piece he did on lying that was excellent, relevant in any election year and is hard to find: http://www.spectacle.org/0500/lies.html

    I gave the first link because he also just wrote a short essay on abortion I think is worth sharing: http://www.spectacle.org/0112/abortion.html

  29. William says:

    They are well-dressed barbarians,

    Thats an insult to “uncivilized” folk the world over. Santorum’s ilk are no more barbarians than the Taliban or any other group of violent theocrats. The things they advocate do not flow from a lack of privilege, education, class, or civility, they flow from an underlying belief that a well running civilization is one in which people are not allowed to offend their interpretations of the precepts of their god. I think that precision is important here. When we deal with people like Rick Santorum we are dealing with the Radical Christianism, with people who seek to inflict their god upon others.

  30. BobbyG says:

    http://personhoodusa.blogspot.com

    Santorum is signatory to PersonhoodUSA.

  31. PrettyAmiable says:

    Yeah, that was the other thing. The discussion of a constitutional amendment that defines marriage the DOMA way. And Newt kept calling it a sacrament. Separation of church and state say whattt

  32. Alison says:

    Update: Excalibur, commenting at Crooks and Liars on a CVS pharmacist’s refusal to provide Plan B to an adult, has one red-hot idea. He wants feminist girls to go to pharmacy school.
    Sounds like Plan A for unemployed/underemployed feminists of any age. Go for it!

    I am, in fact, about to start the Pharmacy Technician certificate program at my local JC. Doing my part! :)

  33. EG says:

    States have the right to pass even dumb laws.

    Is there a reason I should care more about states’ rights to pass dumb laws than I do about my own rights to privacy, bodily autonomy, and sexual health?

  34. EG says:

    I would also note that in the US, invoking the language of “states’ rights” is almost always invoking the justification of slavery and Jim Crow. Which is why the Republican Party has been using it for the past few decades. It’s a dog whistle to racists as well as to pro-forced-birthers.

  35. zuzu says:

    The discussion of a constitutional amendment that defines marriage the DOMA way. And Newt kept calling it a sacrament. Separation of church and state say whattt

    With the third wife (with whom he cheated on his second wife, with whom he cheated on his first wife), he became a Catholic. Certainly has the convert’s zeal as only someone whose prior fuckups have all been washed away, doesn’t he?

  36. j. says:

    Val:

    …and some people should be court ordered to be sterilized when they are convicted of child abuse of a certain degree, sexual predators included.

    I can’t possibly see what could go wrong with that policy.

  37. Pingback: Henneberger and the Pro-Choice Cassandra Syndrome: WashPo … | Programmer Solution

  38. DonnaDiva says:

    On Saturday night’s debate it seemed like ABC was going out of it’s way to put the contraception issue to rest. They allowed both Romney and Santorum to give ambiguous non-answers, with Romney coming out looking “moderate” in the end. Also it was ever so charming how Diane Sawyer ended the questioning segment by saying it was time to “elevate the discussion” or words to that effect. Yeah, silly ladies just being silly.

  39. Pingback: Primary Ticket: It’s a mad, mad, mad, vagina-hating world « The Sin City Siren

  40. William says:

    Also it was ever so charming how Diane Sawyer ended the questioning segment by saying it was time to “elevate the discussion” or words to that effect.

    Maybe I’m being intemperate again, but the only elevation that would do that debate a damn bit of good would be a scaffold.

  41. PrettyAmiable says:

    Maaaaaaaaybe a little intemperate

  42. EG says:

    Yeah, well, when any of the Republican stooges who are trying their best to force me to endure pregnancy and childbirth against my will are running even the slightest risk of being hanged, I’ll try to work up some caring. Until then, I say that temperance is overrated.

  43. William says:

    Yeah, well, when any of the Republican stooges who are trying their best to force me to endure pregnancy and childbirth against my will are running even the slightest risk of being hanged, I’ll try to work up some caring.

    That’d smell a lot like self defense to me. Just sayin’…

    Until then, I say that temperance is overrated.

    Isn’t it always?

  44. Poetree says:

    I’m also an avid Savage Love reader and I can’t help but giggle at “Santorum” whenever I hear his name.

    At this point, republicans really are the boogey monsters they try to make Obama out to be; they are working diligently to forge campaigns that threaten rights we already have. How can they be taken seriously? Who is really going to vote for any of them and why? Between Mitt Romney saying he likes being able to fire people and Santorum being anti- everything and everyone who isn’t white, cis male, heterosexual, practicing his religion his way and wealthy and the rest all being racist and misogynist I…I have no words.

  45. LotusBen says:

    My favorite slice of Santorum was the editorial he wrote on Catholic Online right after the priest sexual abuse scandal broke. In it he argued that yes, priests raping kids is bad, but “I am proud to see the Church, often alone, take one courageous stand after another on the great moral issues of the day” and “The Catholic Church remains true to the teachings of Jesus Christ and the dictates of the natural law.” Well, isn’t that just super! And a totally appropriate time to bring it up, right after a bunch of Catholic priests rape some kids and every Catholic official who knew about it helped cover it up!

    Not only that, but Santorum says he understands the root causes of the child rape! Apparently it’s because the city of Boston is too liberal! And something or other having to do with “alternative lifestyles” and “moral relativism.” Really classy Mr. Frothy Mixture and probably sociologically accurate as well!

    Here’s the link is you want to witness the callous idiocy firsthand:

    http://www.catholic.org/featured/headline.php?ID=30

  46. Poetree says:

    @ LotusBen, please pardon me while I borrow your new nickname for Santorum “Mr. Frothy Mixture!”

  47. LotusBen says:

    Haha, no problem Poetree! But check out Shannon Drury @ comment 11; I was inspired by her.

  48. Poetree says:

    I see! I have to wonder, how many people googled Santorum and saw Dan’s definition of it and just shied away from Mr. Frothy Mixture altogether? Haha! I don’t know what’s worse for his campaign, Dan’s definition of Santorum or Mr. Frothy Mixture’s very own words.

  49. Val says:

    j. (no. 36) quite frankly, I can’t either.

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