Mitt Romney Goes Rogue on Birth Control

A surprise statement from Mitt Romney– here’s a transcript from the debate in The Washington Post…

ROMNEY: I’d just note that I don’t believe that bureaucrats in Washington should tell someone whether they can use contraceptives or not. And I don’t believe employers should tell someone whether they could have contraceptive care of not. Every woman in America should have access to contraceptives. And — and the — and the president’s statement of my policy is completely and totally wrong.

I was happy to hear Governor Romney say that, but this is a departure from the stand his Republican Party has taken. For example, Linda Mc Mahon, running for the US Senate in Connecticut abandoned the rights of women to the best standard of emergency care in the most dire situation. From Talking Points Memo…

At an editorial board meeting with the Hartford Courant Friday, McMahon said she opposed requiring religious hospitals to dispense emergency contraception to rape victims, which has been state law in Connecticut since 2007.

“I don’t think that the government should overreach,” McMahon said when asked if a Catholic-run hospital should be required to provide emergency contraception access to a rape victim who arrives “in the middle of the night.”

“I mean it’s a separation of church and state in my view, and I think that a religious institution has the right to decide what its policies would be in that, in that case,” she said.

Emergency contraception and antibiotics to prevent sexually transmitted disease should be universally available to rape victims seeking medical care, but that is not guaranteed.

One study looked at the availability of emergency contraception in Catholic hospitals in Washington, New York, California, and South Carolina, after these states passed legislation that either directly or indirectly mandated that emergency contraception be provided to sexual assault victims.10 Based on a survey administered to sexual assault nurse examiners regarding their hospitals’ written policies on providing emergency contraception to rape victims and a “mystery client” approach, the researchers found that there is still room for improvement. While most of the hospitals’ policies appeared to comply with their local emergency contraception laws, 35% of the hospitals informed a “mystery client” caller that they do not provide emergency contraception, regardless of a patient’s circumstance, and 38% of the hospitals surveyed indicated that they do not treat sexual assault patients.

While lovely abstract arguments can be made about religious freedom and conscience, it is the woman who depends on emergency care whose freedom is in question, and whose own conscience is not respected.

The rates of abortion in the US had been falling for years before the current recession. An early study of the Affordable Care Act shows that women will use protection against unintended pregnancy.

This news on the benefits of contraception coverage did not get much notice. From the AP via The Post and Courier…

WASHINGTON — Free birth control led to dramatically lower rates of abortions and teen births, a large study concluded Thursday, offering strong evidence for how a bitterly contested Obama administration policy could benefit women’s health.

The project tracked more than 9,000 women in St. Louis, many of them poor or uninsured. They were given their choice of a range of contraceptive methods at no cost — from birth control pills to goof-proof options like the IUD or a matchstick-sized implant.

When price wasn’t an issue, women flocked to the most effective contraceptives — the implanted options, which typically cost hundreds of dollars upfront to insert. These women experienced far fewer unintended pregnancies as a result, reported Dr. Jeffrey Peipert of Washington University in St. Louis in a study published Thursday.

The effect on teen pregnancy was striking: There were 6.3 births per 1,000 teenagers in the study. Compare that to a national rate of 34 births per 1,000 teens in 2010.

There also were substantially lower rates of abortion, when compared with women in the metro area and nationally: 4.4 to 7.5 abortions per 1,000 women in the study, compared with 13.4 to 17 abortions per 1,000 women overall in the St. Louis region, Peipert calculated. That’s lower than the national rate, too, which is almost 20 abortions per 1,000 women.

But this goes under the radar because effective contraception is so much less dramatic than a crisis pregnancy and demonstrators outside a clinic. There are too many politicians making a career out of opposing legal abortion to let the issue quietly fade away by giving women access to birth control.

The extreme wing has re-defined contraception and conception– labeling emergency contraception as abortion and a conception that might occur without it as a baby– regardless of the woman’s situation.

I think Mitt Romney might have some explaining to do to the Todd Akin tip of the Right Wing. It will be interesting to see if this gets notice.

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3 Responses to Mitt Romney Goes Rogue on Birth Control

  1. Pingback: Binders of Women Now Voting for Obama «

  2. Angie unduplicated says:

    The Catholic hospital in our region does not even deliver babies. This is more than a metaphor: it is obvious that to this cult, women should be forced to give birth, in an alley or in a tax-supported hospital, just not in theirs.

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