Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, seems to have been widely misquoted last Friday, after the Obama administration announced a compromise to the campaign-season conflict between religious liberty and women’s contraception coverage under health insurance plans provided by Catholic employers (hospitals, universities and other agencies, but not churches). With the compromise, responsibility for funding contraceptives was shifted to the insurers, and Dolan purportedly said the resolution was, “a first step in the right direction.”
But, oh no, no! What Dolan surely said was that the resolution was “a first step in the right direction — to hell!” and that was made clear when the bishops slammed the compromise later in the day.
The Council of Bishops doesn’t like birth control, no matter who pays for it, and the mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act for women to have free access to all FDA-approved forms of contraception (free as in no co-pay) really gets the bishops’ priestly frocks in a bunch. Their position on contraception, however, is right in line with that of the devoutly conservative leaders of Baptists and Mormons and every other faith intent on overpopulating the world with their fecund progeny — and intent on keeping women in their traditional barefoot and pregnant places by claiming contraception kills babies. It’s apparently of little concern to the bishops that public polling suggests the vast majority of faithful devotees have a penchant for family planning, because, gosh, planning for children makes for healthier families.
Well, dagnabbit! If the bishops want our lot of GOP presidential hopefuls to fully embrace anti-contraceptionism as a GOP platform position, I’m all for it — it can only strengthen Obama’s support when voters see these nincompoops trying to out anti-contraception each other. And what better way to determine their true commitment to the position than to compare their relative baby-production rates!
So, as my in-kind contribution to the GOP presidential primaries, I present the Anti-Birth-Control GOP Voter Guide for 2012. One note on the methods used to create the guide: A candidate’s viability as anti-contraception presidential material is based on the Child Deficit Ratio (CDR). The CDR is the number of births the candidate and his spouse have not had, but should have had (if they are truly devout anti-contraceptionist Catholics or Baptists or Mormons and still like each other enough for nooky), based on 1 birth every 18 months (assuming wives wouldn’t let the candidates near them for at least a few months after delivery and to make the math a little easier for me), compared to the number of the wife’s married fecund years to age 48 (a record set by Karen Santorum, god bless her!).
1. Assuming Newt remains in the marriage until Calista’s 48th year, they have another two or three years to produce. With some fertility assistance they could improve their chances of multiple births and potentially match the Santorum’s ratio — alas, too late for the 2012 elections.
2. And if Newt has been to the Yankee clipper, they had better try to have that annulled, like Newt’s previous marriages.
As the guide reveals, only the Santorums come anything close to walking the anti-contraceptionist walk, and even they appear to lack the passion for full embrace of the platform, so to speak. Newt Gingrich, who failed the CDR test and isn’t quite as nutty as the rest of the candidates on contraception is nonetheless taking advantage of the fracas to arm the right wing with religious war rhetoric. Mitt Romney gave a paltry performance of his faith’s mission to make more Mormon’s, and last week he was sucking up to his “friends in the Catholic faith,” who, by the way, think his faith is a cult. Ron Paul didn’t evolve politically until his wife’s reproductive years had passed, and now he’s jumping on the anti-Planned Parenthood wagon, which is actually long gone — apparently he missed PP’s recent love fest with the American public. Anyway, Santorum wins the Conference of Catholic Bishops’ endorsement — or he ought to: They share the same misjudgment of their flocks.
People just do not want to make babies when they don’t want to make babies, and they want to have sex when they want to have sex. The GOP presidential primaries’ ultimate outcome might still be debatable, but there is no question about who wins the contraception war.
Kit-Bacon Gressitt's commentary and political fiction can be read on her blog Excuse Me, I'm Writing and is republished by SDGLN, The Ocean Beach Rag and The Progressive Post. She was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize while working for the North County Times. She is also host of Fallbrook's monthly Writers Read open mic and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.