Yes, the so-called pro-life movement and the politicians sucking oxygen off of it is not about abortion, it's about controlling women. Here's another raft of old, white, Republican men fighting the idea that contraception is a critical component of women's health, couching their opposition as "religious freedom," of course.
First there's Ron Paul, who says that the decision by the Department of Health and Human Services to implement the Institute of Medicine's recommendation that contraception be included as mandated preventive services for health insurance plans makes a "mockery" of the concerns of Christian conservatives.
"I am deeply troubled by the flippancy with which President Obama recently discussed regulations that are alarming and troublesome for many Americans," said Rep. Paul (R-Texas). "Not all Americans are comfortable with the Obama administration’s decision to mandate coverage of birth control and morning-after pills, and the considerations of these people, many of them Christian conservatives, are worthy of careful consideration—not mockery."
How'd you like to have him for a doctor? Paul is joined by Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Johanns, who have written a sternly-worded letter, co-signed by plenty of other old white men (and two women) to Secretary Sebelius, bitching along the same lines.
In the letter, the Senators wrote that they are concerned "with the lack of due consideration given by [Sebelius] and your Department to the adverse impact that IOM's recommendations would have on our core constitutional value of religious liberty." The Senators added that "[t]hough the IFRs' 'religious exemption' purports to protect religious organizations, health care professionals, and health care plans, it is clear that this protection falls well short of securing this constitutional right."
In addition to Sens. Hatch and Johanns, the letter to Secretary Sebelius was signed by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania), Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), Dan Coats (R-Indiana), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Jon Kyl (R-Arizona), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), John Cornyn (R-Texas), John McCain (R-Arizona), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma), and Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire), David Vitter (R-Louisiana), Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), John Hoeven (R-North Dakota), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), John Thune (R-South Dakota), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma).
Secretary Sebelius nailed the effort in her response.
"They don't just want to go after the last 18 months, they want to roll back the last 50 years in progress women have made in comprehensive healthcare in America," Sebelius said of the mandate's opponents at an NARAL Pro-Choice America luncheon. "We've come a long way in women's health over the last few decades, but we are in a war."
Sebelius said the regulations are necessary, considering that insurance companies had previously categorized "Viagra an essential medication and birth control a lifestyle choice."
We might have come along way in women's health in 20 years in the research and health treatments available to women, but we've slid dangerously politically in protecting women's reproductive health rights. The current target (since states have done such a bang-up job in limiting abortion) is absolutely contraception, and the Right has fully engaged in this war.