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January 21, 2012

Comments

Insert kidding emoticons if needed.

Would the apply to both parts of the response, or just the second?

The repubs defunded PP because PP is the largest abortion provider in the country and they don't like federally funded abortions or bookkeeping gimmicks. This is a big stretch. As big as the one's above I'm trying to call out.

1. So they presumably came up with some plan to fund an alternative that doesn't provide abortion but does provide the rest of the services that PP provides right?

2. What's with abstinence-only sex ed then. If people were pro-life and pro-contraception you'd imagine they'd want to actually explain how to use contraception in sex ed.

So, name names, please.

I would say that the number of people, conservative or otherwise, who are in favor of banning contraception as a matter of public policy are very few.

They are not non-existent, and as the example of Santorum shows, not all fringe actors, but they are few.

The number of people who favor removing contraception from the realm of public policy and/or funding, not so few.

And most of them are conservative.

So, another difference between the US and Europe.

Would the apply to both parts of the response, or just the second?

Most emphatically the first, but in general you can use those a LOT in my comments without losing much flavor.

I'd hypothesize that it's not so much lack of knowledge in using contraceptives as much lack of planning in having them handy combined with aw WTF let's just ride bareback this time. And doubtless, other factors. It's the vector sum of ignorance and enjoying the moment.

...

Isn't that sort of the point, though? It's one thing to know something, and it's another to internalize it so that you're more likely to act on that knowledge.

Yes, exactly. Hence my shift from just blaming poor/insufficient sex-ed to a public health ad campaign. A steady drumbeat: use protection, use protection, use protection...

Pretending you're going to convince people to not have sex is futile. Educating them has only gone so far. Bring on the propoganda :)

Even if that were true, it is politically irrelevant. Early term abortions aren't going anywhere and contraception isn't going anywhere with even more certainty than that.

Umm early-term abortion isn't going anywhere?

1. The Constitutional guarantee on abortion is finely balanced. If Ginsburg (or another pro-choicer) is replaced by a pro-lifer then the SCOTUS would probably overturn Roe. Were that to happen several states would ban abortion immediately (they have laws that would take effect immediately to ban abortions).

2. Following Casey vs Planned Parenthood several states have tried to erect as many barriers to abortion as possible. eg enforcing counselling with pro-life organisations and waiting periods. As a practical matter South Dakota has one abortion provider in the entire state who flies in so at least in that state any abortion provision is tenuous.

Come on, that sounds like a talking point from Planned Parenthood rather than an argument for this discussion. Planned Parenthood is a target because of its abortions and the fact that it is incredibly politically active regarding abortions. If it was only a contraception place it wouldn't have been a target because contraception enjoys a huge amount of support in the population. Abortion is much more mixed.

Well as long as Griswold remains on the books it certainly won't be constiutional to actually make contraception illegal but you can make it harder to access. Defunding PP would have that effect.

If the House Repubs were only after PP because of abortion but weren't after contraception did they decide to fund an alternative that does do everything that PP does but doesn't provide abortions?

I don't think that Sebastian can speak for "House Repubs", bexley. He isn't one of them.

Is there really a kid under the age of 13 in this day and age that doesn't know what a condom is for, and how to use one?

http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/766477/not-so-shocking_study%3A_pregnant_teenagers_misinformed_about_birth_control_%28thanks,_abstinence-only!%29/>This from this week. It indicates that 50% of unintended pregnancies in teenagers occured while contraceptives were used. Looks like the teens that are responsible enough to use them still don't know how to use them properly. It is a sad irony that that plays into the hands of the very ideologues that mandate that, if contraceptives are mentioned at all in sex-ed, their extrem fairlure rates are to be emphasized (in some states teachers have even to tell the kids that condoms INCREASE the risk of STD transmission).
As for names of contraception fiends, feel free to browse www.rightwingwatch.org. It's a regular topic. Alternet.org also has tons of stuff on it.

At least partially related (not limited to sex)
http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/767192/new_hampshire_gop_pushes_bills_that_make_intimate_partner_violence_difficult_to_prosecute/>New Hampshire GOP wants to make prosecuting domestic violence more difficult

I don't have time to specifically respond, but I'll just (again) note that the fact that the freaking Obama Administration felt the need to trump the FDA's decision to make Plan B available over the counter to teenage girls for purely naked political reasons is pretty stark evidence that there is a large anti-birth control constituency in this country.

Slart asks:

"Is there really a kid under the age of 13 in this day and age that doesn't know what a condom is for, and how to use one?"

Well, to the second half of that question, I would say, yeah, plenty.

I don't know, how many 14-year old kids do you want applying CPR to you after you suffer the big one, based on their learning that skill all the way last school year?

I'll give you that 13-year old girls seem a bit more serious about their listening habits in class, and can probably sheath a banana in no time flat, and some of the 13-year old boys of an engineering or other scientific bent, if you'll pardon the French, find condom technology to be interesting from a geeky, process point of view as long as there isn't an impatient erection hovering over their attempts to open the condom wrapper. etc. etc.

But, on the whole, kids, and this goes for abstinence-only sex education as well, I'd say just about anything taught in the context of school leads quickly from giggling to musty, eyelid-heavy boredom and the listening and retention skills suffer a very quick half-life, generally speaking.

I suspect you have more 13-year old kids having gauzy images of what they think constitutes sex while sitting in geography class as the teacher discusses, I don't know, peninsulas, then you would in boring old health class, where what's for lunch and after-school soccer practice take precedence over the sexy ... in the kid's minds.

There is wisdom in this Monty Python bit from "The Meaning Of Life". Not apropos at work, around the kids, and should you catch Rick Santorum, Orrin Hatch, or Michelle Bachmann lingering enthralled over your shoulder, I'm sure they will be outraged you were watching them watch this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDoQFcQEpOQ&oref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fresults%3Fsearch_query%3Dsex%2Beducation%2Bscene%2Bin%2BThe%2BMeaning%2Bof%2BLife%26oq%3Dsex%2Beducation%2Bscene%2Bin%2BThe%2BMeaning%2Bof%2BLife%26aq%3Df%26aqi%3D%26aql%3D%26gs_sm%3Ds%26gs_upl%3D3108l55167l0l57366l42l42l0l36l36l0l320l1327l1.1.3.1l6l0&has_verified=1

I would add in my response to Slart that if by "how to use one" he means that 13-year-old boys could hit the bus driver in the back of the head with a water-laden condom balloon, I'd would have to agree.

bexley:

"1. So they presumably came up with some plan to fund an alternative that doesn't provide abortion but does provide the rest of the services that PP provides right?"

I guarantee that if a bill with such provisions was brought to a vote in the House of Representatives this afternoon, we could cut and paste the long list of names MckT requested from the Congressional Record on Monday.

Natch, orotund rhetoric regarding states rights and the effing budget deficit would clog the record of the proceedings and obscure the fainting spells over contraception, but I think John Ashcroft might appear as a witness in opposition to the Bill accompanied by his version of Lady Justice, blindfolded, breasts draped in heavy sackcloth with a slip underneath, legs crossed, and the birth control pills snatched from her purse.

I would also add that I agree birth control methods are readily available in the United States, evidence of which are the hermaphroditic fish and other creatures showing up in lakes and streams.

My crack-pot theory is that American kids are, well, American, and they, just like their parents, don't like authority telling THEM what to do and how to live, whether it's to screw their brains out or not, or to practice safe sex or not, or anything else.

They are just a bunch of teenaged Ron Pauls walking around.

"I don't wanna."

Of course, most or all of OUR (meaning the meaning OBWI collective), kids are fine sensible human beings, so what do I know?


You've ignored the fact the House Repubs have taken a stance which would reduce access to contraception by defunding PP.

felt the need to trump the FDA's decision to make Plan B available over the counter to teenage girls for purely naked political reasons is pretty stark evidence that there is a large anti-birth control constituency in this country.

The target keeps moving. There is no appreciable constituency for restricting or eliminating adult access to contraception, as was implied when I first asked Hartmut to name names.

THERE IS a big divide on when and to what extent birth control should be made available to high school and junior high school students. The socially conservative view is that making contraception available, regardless of how you dress it up, implicitly approves and promotes early sexual behavior. The moderate/liberal/pragmatic view is that, educated or not, kids are going to be active--at least many of them will--so cluing them in on how to take precautions makes sense.

I have, over time, moved into the moderate/liberal column on this one, although what Texas public schools were proposing for 12 and 13 year old girls when my daughter was that age was the farthest thing I could imagine from useful guidance on preventing pregnancy. The point here being, that even if you agree with the theory of non-abstinence only sex ed, you still have to deal with the practice of how it is taught, and whether the 'how of it' does as much harm or more.

But, back to the topic, it is a far cry from questioning whether 13 and 14 year old's should have school-sponsored condom use instruction, and outlawing condom use across the board.

Likewise, many, many things are legal, even encouraged, yet not taxpayer funded. You can make a good argument for taxpayer funding of contraception, and you can oppose taxpayer funding but not oppose contraception just as cogently. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Pro-choicers, as we see in this thread, try to score points for the abortion component of their position by broadly linking opposition to abortion as a means of birth control to opposition to any form of birth control plus a policy bias in favor of a man owning his wife's body. When called on it, the target moves, and when called on it further, the target morphs into something else again.

MckT, I think you spotted Hartmut and company the name Rick Santorum on the list you requested above, so I was wondering if you have any idea what "appreciable constituency" Rick Santorum thinks he is talking to when he talks.

Is he imagining his constituency?

I'll give you that it's confusing that the exact same constituency applauding Santorum's views on sex also applaud Newt's feigning being appalled that his rutting over the years has become an issue, when what we really should be talking about is our Moon colony (which oddly enough will be financed entirely by Federal taxes, though I'm sure there will be tax revolt of some kind by fat guys sitting in Medicare hovercraft) applying for statehood so that the House of Representatives can add to its votes prohibiting sex and marriage between certain consenting adults and make sure there is absolutely no Federal coverage for medical procedures and supplies, especially to provide protection against STDs, supply pre-natal care, and counsel women on their reproductive choices.

The other day Santorum, in some many words, there is no place in military service for sexual activity of any kind.

I don't think he was talking to the Navy:

http://www.wtkr.com/news/wtkr-tsr-prostitutes-feb15,0,7195252.story

And that's in Norfolk, Virginia. Santorum ought to have visited Subic Bay in the Philippines during its heyday.

But I have a feeling the constituency can be found across town at Pat Robertson digs.

I see Hartmut's point about evangelical preachers wanting to prevent sex, contraception, and all that goes with among the rest of us.

I would add though that the prohibitions they favor for us end at the door to the motel they are entering under an assumed same (did I say Jimmy, I meant Jehovah) with either their hired prostitute, their girlfriends or boyfriends, or their ex-wives, not necessarily in that order and not necessarily restricting the visitation to one OR the other.

I'll bet you they forget the condoms every time though, being 13 years old grifters.

Whenever I see a big-haired holy roller prancing back and forth on the TV laying hands on I know for sure more there is more than meets the eye going on south of his Border and more of him is getting laid than just his hands.

Went on a tangent there having nothing to do with MckT, but I had fun nonetheless.

Is he imagining his constituency?

To an extent. A subset of his constituency (which I don't think is all that large in any event) is in line with his views on contraception--they are older, conservative Catholics who are no longer in the game, so to speak.

I see Hartmut's point about evangelical preachers wanting to prevent sex, contraception, and all that goes with among the rest of us.

Count, all of the evangelical preachers I know of are gung ho in favor of recreational sex inside marriage and just fine with birth control. Roman Catholic doctrine and some outlier fundies are pretty much it on the stuff Hartmut alleges is the case.

MckT: I expect you're close there.

Besides, those aren't the constituencies that I'm worried about.

This guy's constituency is the one (from an interview with National Journal):

"NJ: What if the Democrats still have control (of the Presidency after 2012)? What’s your scenario then?

NORQUIST: Obama can sit there and let all the tax [cuts] lapse, and then the Republicans will have enough votes in the Senate in 2014 to impeach. The last year, he’s gone into this huddle where he does everything by executive order. He’s made no effort to work with Congress."

I hope for that scenario too but only so Norquist and company will suffer birth control after the fact en masse.

Re abstinence only education, you can see here as a jump off point if you want.

Essentially abstinence only education appears to have practically no effect on teenage sexual behaviour (especially as measured through STD prevalence) but that is directly compared to the control group, of which at least half got traditional sex education. (The rest I guess got no sex education). None of the current sex education appears to change teenage behavior to any statistically noticeable level.

I believe the discussion of sex education misses the point. The problem is the societal view of sex. While anecdote is not data, when I lived in Europe, things certainly seemed more relaxed and open, such that people didn't have to get drunk to have an excuse to get into bed. This Independent article, noting that the Netherlands has half the teenage pregnancy rate as the UK and has the lowest abortion rate in Europe has this:

The teenage pregnancy rate in Holland is only one-fifth as high as that of the UK – only five births per 1,000 teenagers compared to the UK's 27. Its abortion rate per teenage head of the population is also one of the lowest in Europe. The approach to sex education, though, in a country where pupils are as likely as not to walk through an authorised red-light district on their way to school is very different. Yes, children can discuss sex during their primary school years but it is discussed in an atmosphere of talking about relationships and caring and respect for others.

As Siebe Heutzepeter, headteacher of De Burght school in Amsterdam, puts it: "The English are embarrassed to talk about sex. They are too squeamish. Here adults and children are better educated. It would be unthinkable for a Dutch parent to withdraw their child from sex education. I have only had one Muslim mother who left halfway through a parents' talk on sex." He added: "There is no point in telling children just to say 'no' – this is a liberal country: you need to tell them why they are saying 'no' and when to say 'yes'.

I share some of that squeamishness, so I understand that we can't flip a switch and have the whole PTA attend a 'sex and your child' lecture. But when the front line is not how to incorporate teaching about relationships and responsibility, but the mention of human sexual processes in biology (which is usually where most sex education is taught), you are setting it up for failure.


Until not so many years ago Holland was the location to go for German women that sought an abortion but could not get it in their part of the country. That was such an open secret that conservatives thought about extra border control, although they did not go so far as Ireland where attempts were made to prevent pregnant women from leaving the country altogether (esp. when the destination was the UK).
---
Googling opposition to birth control I (re)found this* merry band (Rachel Maddow had a few things to say about them on accasion):
http://www.all.org/article/index/id/MTUwMw

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/07/magazine/07contraception.html?pagewanted=all>Here is a longer piece from the NYT (2006) and Romney (according to http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2012/01/the-republicans-lost-privacy.html>this New Yorker piece) tried to outdo Santorum by attacking Griswold v. Connecticut. Yes, I am aware that Romney does not actually care but he seems to believe that this could be what the base wants to hear.

*deliberately not 'a href-ed' in order to deny those guys a direct link to us.

The 'a href-ed' New Yorker link seems not to work, so here is the raw address:
http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2012/01/the-republicans-lost-privacy.html

Funny anti-contraception quote of the day:
The pill and the condom are the hammer and sickle of cultural Marxism.
http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/jeffrey-kuhner-calls-civil-disobedience-combat-obamas-repressive-state>Source

I thought this was interesting (hit the links, too):

http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/01/are-fairy-tales-worth-saving.html

NORQUIST: Obama can sit there and let all the tax [cuts] lapse, and then the Republicans will have enough votes in the Senate in 2014 to impeach. The last year, he’s gone into this huddle where he does everything by executive order. He’s made no effort to work with Congress.

Holy. I knew Super Grover was a nutter, but, jeebus.

Super Grover: If I were president, I would love to have that money [via repatriation holiday] flow back into the real economy, not the Solyndra economy, the year before I’m running for office.

The "Solyndra" economy.

SG: We’re focused on the fact that there is this Damocles sword hanging over people’s head [in the form of tax cut expiration].

Right, because most Damocles swords are...well, fnck it. Unicorns also make an appearance, I kid you not.

This guy's constituency is the one (from an interview with National Journal):

I worry about every nutball constituency, not because in isolation they pose a threat, but their cumulative strength (I forget the phrase--it's early Monday and I had a good weekend) via interest group cross-pollination. That said, GN's fantasy is just that, fantasy.

McTx: That said, GN's fantasy is just that, fantasy.

I could walk out of my office and be in Grover's in 5 minutes, probably less. Grover is a nut, and while I agree that the particular statement of his referenced is a fantasy, this man has a great deal of sway on U.S. tax policy. Here is his tax pledge (the House version). Here is the list of signatories to the pledge in the 2012 Congress, which includes all but 6 GOP members of the House and 7 of the Senate.

IOW, 95% of the GOP in Congress has signed on to this insanity. Grover is not some sort of Ray Finkle recluse/crackpot. Ignoring his fantasies really isn't an option.

IOW, 95% of the GOP in Congress has signed on to this insanity. Grover is not some sort of Ray Finkle recluse/crackpot.

Imagine a similar pledge on the Dem side, "I will support the Democratic version of healthcare reform, no matter what, and regardless of what the law actually says." 100% of sitting Dem reps and sens did precisely this. Was that a difficult sell? To a degree, yes, but getting most Dems on board was a six inch putt. Some held out for special deals--and got them, others held out for the appearance of deals and pronounced themselves satisfied. But, in the end, it was unanimous and no one knew what the law said.

So, is it shocking that the vast majority of Repubs would sign on to something they had actually read, if it involved denouncing tax increases?

You can argue that agreeing in advance to 'no tax increases' is bad policy, and I might agree with you. I argue that passing a law that no one has read or can comprehend is at least as bad.

McTx: Imagine a similar pledge on the Dem side, "I will support the Democratic version of healthcare reform, no matter what, and regardless of what the law actually says." 100% of sitting Dem reps and sens did precisely this.

Done every year for the past 20 years?

"I will support the Democratic version of healthcare reform"

Er, which one? There's actually a bit of disagreement among democrats about what constitutes good healthcare reform policy. Perhaps you recall the 2008 Clinton/Obama/Edwards primaries? The three candidates put out detailed healthcare reform plans that differed significantly. And while trying to get the ACA passed, there was tons of discussion among Democrats about what sort of plan to pass.

I argue that passing a law that no one has read or can comprehend is at least as bad.

McTx, the GOP -- to a man, and a Michelle Bachmann and a Sarah Palin (remember her?) too -- spent MONTHS shouting and hollering about how GOD-AWFUL the ACA was, what with the DEATH PANELS! and the SOSHULIZM! and the threat it posed to major Medicare fraudsters, aka MEDICARE CUTS!

Are you telling me, now, that THEY DID NOT KNOW WHAT WAS IN THE BILL THEY WERE RAILING AGAINST? Or are you saying that only the Dems who voted FOR the bill had no clue what it said? Or what?

.--TP

The three candidates put out detailed healthcare reform plans that differed significantly. And while trying to get the ACA passed, there was tons of discussion among Democrats about what sort of plan to pass.

And yet, in the end, all 2500 pages passed, with hardly any idea what was in them.

Are you telling me, now, that THEY DID NOT KNOW WHAT WAS IN THE BILL THEY WERE RAILING AGAINST? Or are you saying that only the Dems who voted FOR the bill had no clue what it said? Or what?

Bits and pieces of early versions of the bill got out and were discussed. The final version was made public some three days before the vote. It was Nancy Pelosi no less who said 'We need to pass HCR so we can see what's in it' or words to that effect.

The point simply is that, when it came down to the wire, the Dems fell lock step for a concept that almost passed under Clinton, and finally passed under Obama, with very little real debate and no, in the end, discernible dissent. Much like Repubs on tax hikes--lock step, no real thinking, nada.

McTx, you know I like you, but your insistence on making this particular false equivalence will drive me to the verge of irritation soon.

"Hardly any idea what was in them"?!? Puhleeze!

"No tax increase on anybody, ever (except FICA payers), cross my heart and hope to die," is a much CLEARER piece of pigheadedness.

--TP

And yet, in the end, all 2500 pages passed, with hardly any idea what was in them.

This is ridiculous. Congress passes multi-thousand page bills all the time. Surely you don't think this year's defense appropriations bill or transportation bill is a 3-pager, do you?

More to the point, bills can be thousands of pages of legislative language but that's not what Congress actually debates: they debate a much higher level language without all the legislative crap.

As for what was in them, I recall tons of debate about whether/how-much to tax "cadillac plans", whether to include a public option, whether/how-much to set medical loss ratios, how to structure accountable care organizations, etc. Democrats were at each other's throats arguing about this stuff. I had multiple conversations with my Congressman's health care staffer about these issues and we disagreed vehemently.

Catholic bishops' fantasies regarding limiting and/or outlawing contraception hit the big time:

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2012_01/contraception_and_religious_li035088.php

As to Grover Norquist's nutcase fantasies, would that I could find as many powerful signatories to my fantasies.

Didn't we have a President in the 1990s who acted out his fantasies and then was impeached by a gaggle of fantasists led by a current Presidential candidate who, as if he didn't have enough to do wasting the Nation's time with that crap, was simultaneously acting out the same exact fantasy on a table in his Congressional Office, all as a kind of porn-inspired puppet show to take our minds off Norquist's and K Street's fantasy of spending some time alone with the baby in the bathtub in preparation for electing a George W. Bush who would let all of us share in his and Grover's fantasy of gutting the Treasury with two wars at one end and ruinous tax cuts at the other.

Dreams come true if you wish hard enough.

Getting an impeachment proceeding going against Obama in 2013-2014 for something, anything, in the House of Representatives is child's play for these fantasists.

Meanwhile, the GOP was screaming "death panels" and "medicare cuts" as loudly as they could, while refusing to engage the Dems at all.

Somehow, this is the Democrats fault.

At some point, perhaps the GOP can recognize their mistake. If you go all-in on total opposition to something, you will have very little influence on what's in it if it passes.

The GOP could have engaged on healthcare reform (either when they were in power - oops, Medicare Part D, or in 2009), but chose not too. Bang up job, fellas!

Getting an impeachment proceeding going against Obama in 2013-2014 for something, anything, in the House of Representatives is child's play for these fantasists.

Pretty much every president in living memory has had someone in the House introduce an impeachment bill. I can't rule out a concerted effort by Repubs to impeach Obama toward the end of a second term, but a lot has to happen between now and then: first, he has to win the next election. I don't think this is a foregone conclusion, but certainly, it isn't a foregone conclusion that he will lose. Second, come 2013, he will have had to so offend the country that the Repubs would have the clout to actually pull something off without provoking a solid backlash. The latter seems unlikely to me, primarily because neither party has the kind of traction with the public that would allow for something like this.

At some point, perhaps the GOP can recognize their mistake. If you go all-in on total opposition to something, you will have very little influence on what's in it if it passes.

True enough, but that wasn't my point. Both parties have their touchstones. Health care reform on a fairly massive (subjective term, I know) scale is a peculiarly Dem issue, as are taxes for the Repubs. Both could wind up causing a lot of trouble.

Both parties have their touchstones.

Is there some outside actor with a "Health Care Pledge" that 95% of Democrats have signed on to for, again, every year for more than two decades, complete with a large amount of funding that stands ready to "primary" any Democrat that violates the pledge? Because that's what Grover has.

I mean, what would such a pledge even look like? "I pledge to support whatever 'Health Care Reform' bill that comes out of the conference committee should we even get that far."?

Maybe there's an issue on the Democratic side like the tax issue for Republicans, but AFAIK there is nothing that compares to Grover's "pledge."

but AFAIK there is nothing that compares to Grover's "pledge."

Maybe, if that is of great significance. My view is that Dems who don't sign on to certain core issues don't remain Dems for long. Same with Repubs. The 'no tax pledge' was a clever move by Norquist. Few Repubs have the stones to say no, and now they're locked in. What remains to be seen is whether the short term gain achieved by taking the pledge results in long term damage to the Repubs if they can't miraculously grow the economy out of its deficit spiral.

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