Okay, I admit it.
I can’t stand to watch the GOP presidential hopefuls pandering to the farthest right in and out of their party. They give me a headache. So I don’t watch. Too painful.
And so when Meda looked up yesterday morning and commented on Rick Santorum’s opposition to birth control, it took me by suprise.
Are Republican’s really ready to go back more than 100 years to the point in American history where it was illegal to speak publicly about contraception and birth control, or to obtain information on the subject in the privacy of your own home? I wish that were unbelievable. But apparently not.
Santorum is among those who would reverse the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1965 decision in the case of Griswold v. Connecticut. The plaintiffs were the executive director of Planned Parenthood in Connecticut, and a professor at Yale Medical School who provided family planning services for Planned Parenthood. They were arrested for providing contraceptive advice and services to married couples. Yup, right up into the 1960s.
In this case, though, the Supreme Court ruled that there is a constitutional right to privacy in a zone involving intimate aspects of one’s life, including the “intimate relation of husband and wife and their physician’s role in one aspect of that relation.”
The present case, then, concerns a relationship lying within the zone of privacy created by several fundamental constitutional guarantees. And it concerns a law which, in forbidding the use of contraceptives rather than regulating their manufacture or sale, seeks to achieve its goals by means having a maximum destructive impact upon that relationship. Such a law cannot stand in light of the familiar principle, so often applied by this Court, that a “governmental purpose to control or prevent activities constitutionally subject to state regulation may not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of protected freedoms.” Would we allow the police to search the sacred precincts of marital bedrooms for telltale signs of the use of contraceptives? The very idea is repulsive to the notions of privacy surrounding the marriage relationship.
I remember reading about Emma Goldman’s birth control activism and wondering how the police state could have gotten so involved in individual lives, down to the point of arresting women for telling people about their birth control options? But here are the same issue being played out today.
Where does this all lead? Doesn’t prohibiting contraception and birth control imply a woman’s duty to be pregnant at every opportunity? Do you see why this all hurts my head?
I think the court’s question in Griswold needs to be asked on the campaign trail this year: “Should we allow the police to search the sacred precincts of marital bedrooms for telltale signs of the use of contraceptives?”
But I’m afraid that in the general rush to the right, the last standing Republican candidates may answer in the affirmative.