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Ian Lind • Online daily from Kaaawa, Hawaii

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GOP candidates target contraception?

January 6th, 2012 · 12 Comments

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.

Tags: Court · Politics

12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 NOT SPAM // Jan 6, 2012 at 8:25 am

    Perhaps it’s apropos to remind that evidently “GOP” now stands for “grand oil party,” and that in lieu of a “republican” party we have a bunch of corrupt “rape-public-cans.”

    Sadly, the dems aren’t as good as they should be, either – even if they are a step better!

    But we can always put our brains at rest, allow ourselves an ostrich-sort of outlook, watch fux noise and listen to rush oxy-contin, I guess.

  • 2 ohiaforest3400 // Jan 6, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Frankly, I hope they do answer in the affirmative. I hope these GOP candidates go completely off the right end in their effort to out-conservative each other sucking up to and slathering holier-than-thou moralistic clap-trap all over the over-eager GOP base because, come general election time, they will only get about 25% of the vote and be sent away for another 4 years. That’s about how long it will take the rest of us to wash off the stench.

  • 3 hugh clark // Jan 6, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Come on, Ricky boy is a certifiable crook who misused benchmarks to obtain his own home loan, it is claimed in many places.

    As a Big Island friend says, if you like the Taliban you will love Santorum. He is the biggest nut of a bumper crop.

  • 4 Ulu // Jan 6, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    A female friend of mine has a bumper sticker: GOP: Keep your hands off my uterus!

    Then from the Onion a point/counterpoint from way back in 1999 but depressingly relevant today

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/us-out-of-my-uterus-vs-we-must-deploy-troops-to-je,11546/

  • 5 Ken Conklin // Jan 6, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    I think this particular post borders on demagoguery and straw-man argument of the sort which the left typically uses to attack conservatives.

    First let me be clear that I support the right of men and women to use contraceptives and to terminate pregnancies. The fact that I feel a need to say that is already an indication of the demagoguery here, because I should not need to address those issues in order to make my case on the substance of the question whether contraception and privacy should be seen as rights guaranteed by the Constitution, or whether they should be seen as rights provided by statute laws passed through the political process.

    Many conservative legal scholars have questioned whether Griswold and Roe v. Wade (which relies on Griswold) were properly decided. Does the Constitution in fact provide a right to privacy (and contraception and abortion), or is that so-called “Constitutional right” invented by judges who were legislating from the bench? That’s a perfectly legitimate debate, and people who take the conservative (original meaning) position on Constitutional jurisprudence should not have their characters besmirched by commentators who attack them as supporters of police visits to bedrooms to test for evidence of contraceptives.

    Everyone who is a Catholic must surely be aware that the position of the Church, clearly laid out in the Papal encyclical “Humanae Vitae”, is that abortion is a mortal sin, and contraception is morally prohibited because every act of sexual relations must be open to the transmission of life. These are theological issues which have very respectable intellectual arguments in favor of the Pope’s positions (although I disagree with them).

    By the way, I have written extensively on the general topic of privacy and the specific issues of contraception and abortion. See my refereed article 36 years ago in a scholarly journal “Privacy: Should There Be A Right To It?” EDUCATIONAL THEORY, XXVI, 3 (Summer, 1976), pp. 263-270
    http://www.angelfire.com/planet/conklinpubsbeforehaw/PrivacyRightEdThry1976.html
    and my webpage essay “Life and Death — Moral Shades of Gray” published 7 years ago at
    http://tinyurl.com/6dwry

  • 6 Satta // Jan 6, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    The below is a verbatim excerpt from an article at http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/01/rick-santorum-we-always-need-a-jesus-candidate/

    According to Santorum, the interviewer [from a Boston radio station] said, “We don’t need a Jesus candidate, we need an economic candidate.”

    “My answer to that,” Santorum added, ”was we always need a Jesus candidate.

  • 7 Ian Lind // Jan 6, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    I can’t agree with you on this one, Ken.

    Those “conservative legal scholars,” in this case, are feeding politicians and far right activists who aren’t just taking an academic view. They intend, if given the chance, to turn the clock back 100 years. They aren’t shy in making pronouncements to that effect. And Justice Scalia’s dalliance with the Tea Party and other right activists makes this threat more than an academic exercise.

    If these are “just” theological issues, remember that theological issues fueled the crusades.

  • 8 A. K. Wagner // Jan 6, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Not long ago my husband asked” what do you know about this Santorum guy”? I had watched one of his stump speeches on CSPAN. He spent the second half of his speal on his deceased baby. I though that was strange so now I refer to him as ” the died baby candidate” Yesterday he spoke of his sequestered child. …a sick child?
    I suspect all this impared baby talk is meant as some sort of moral badge message. It really troubles me when politicians use their dead or deformed children as some sort of right of passage to round up the religious right vote. Many of us have lost babies but that doesn’t mean we are now qualified to hold office.
    As far as abortion goes, I believe it is a heart-breaking experience for most rational women. Mr Santorum lives in a world of privilidge sans womb.

  • 9 Ulu // Jan 6, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Please don’t invoke “Humanae Vitae” for American law. Catholicism and all other religions are not state religions (even Ireland has taken a pass on that concept).

    Conservatives (there are a few left) believe that government should keep its hands off of most everything, they never imagined a uterus would be a political matter. This is more basic than the Constitution which speaks only of federal power. The present GOP is about as conservative as Bernardine Dohrn. If you follow their thinking to its lowest conclusion, with no privacy, state or federal governments can pretty much do what they want with individuals. There may be compelling interests, but forcing a woman to bring a baby to birth after a rape or incest is NOT one of them (except perhaps in rural Afghanistan etc).

    Involuntary pregnancy is involuntary servitude which is just a little bit of a non-no (13th Amendment) . And “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” (14th Amendment).

    Some of us still love the Constitution and refuse to pimp it out even to our personal beliefs.

  • 10 Ulu // Jan 6, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    And we are going to ban vasectomies and condoms under the equal protection clause?

    Just keep government away from affairs of the uterus or transplant one into Santorum and see how that works out for him.

  • 11 Kathleen // Jan 6, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    Hear Hear Ulu! Viagra good – birth control bad (only as it pertains to women). Typical GOP thinking.

  • 12 Nancy // Jan 7, 2012 at 9:47 am

    “I propose that four U.S. Army divisions be deployed to Jessica Linden’s uterus no later than midnight Friday. Once there, a reconnaissance force of 200 men will be stationed on her cervical perimeter, denying entrance to any unauthorized personnel or equipment.”

    Oh, how I love The Onion!

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