When Democrats accuse Republicans of opposing “access” to birth control, what they really mean is that Republicans oppose forcing taxpayers to foot the bill for birth control or that Republicans oppose coercing people of faith to provide birth control (including abortifacients) against their consciences.
The Right to Contraception Act, a bill that passed in the House yesterday, allows reporters and Democrats to manufacture panic by claiming Republicans voted against a bill that “protects access to contraception,” even though the actual legislation was crammed with enough poison pills to kill the First Amendment.
It’s mind-boggling that any Republican would lend their support to this travesty. Yet eight House Republicans did. One, South Carolina’s Nancy Mace wore a jacket to the vote that featured the words, “My state is banning exceptions. Protect contraception.”
“And just this week, I think it was yesterday or the day before, the state of South Carolina is working on passing legislation that would ban those exceptions,” she explained. “So if you’re gonna have a state that bans abortion for women who are victims of rape and incest, you have to and should protect access to contraception. I can’t imagine a world where you wouldn’t otherwise, especially for those women that have been through that kind of trauma.”
Mace’s claim is either a sophistic non sequitur or completely bonkers. Is Mace really arguing that rapists don’t have enough access to condoms? Contraception is widely available in South Carolina, as it is everywhere else in the country. Just this year, Mace’s state passed the “Pharmacy Access Act,” a law that allows patients to obtain birth control without a doctor’s prescription (Washington Republicans proposed a similar bill a few years back that was shot down by Democrats) with “strong bipartisan support.”
Even if the Supreme Court decided tomorrow that contraception wasn’t under the purview of the Constitution, as they did abortion, the laws of South Carolina — as with the laws everywhere else — would remain in place. The chances of anyone snatching away your condoms or birth control pills is on par with the chances of you being murdered over “net neutrality.”
Again, the Right to Contraception Act is not merely about protecting the right of a person to obtain contraception but forcing others to provide it for them. In the bill’s findings, we learn one of its purposes is to undercut conscience exemptions for birth control — which under the Democrats’ definition includes abortion drugs and sterilization:
Providers’ refusals to offer contraceptives and information related to contraception based on their own personal beliefs impede patients from obtaining their preferred method, with laws in 12 States as of the date of introduction of this Act specifically.
Too bad. No American should ever be compelled by the state, or anyone else, to deliver a product that undermines their faith (and this atheist doesn’t believe anyone should have to pay for your birth control.) Indeed, the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act codified the non-imaginary constitutional right of religious freedom for people who function under federal laws and regulations. In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court found that the Obamacare contraception mandate, the one used to persecute nuns, violated the rights of privately held, for-profit organizations.
The Democrats’ new bill undermines both. It also defines contraception as “any device or medication used to prevent pregnancy, whether specifically used to prevent pregnancy or for other health needs,” which, as John McCormack notes, includes abortifacients drugs such as mifepristone, which have both “contraceptive and non-contraceptive uses,” and are used to end the lives of the unborn in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. If that is the kind of birth control Mace is talking about, she should say so.
This bill also funnels more money into Planned Parenthood’s industrial-scale abortion business and prohibits states from voting to cut off taxpayer subsidies. And as Cathy McMorris Rodgers points out, under the new law, Planned Parenthood can use taxpayer dollars “to sterilize a 13-year-old without her parents’ knowledge.” The text of the bill does not define the age of “a person.” And anyone who follows this issue knows well that it’s no oversight.
No one is coming to take your contraception. But someone is definitely coming for conscience rights. And they’re doing it with the help of eight Republicans.