Last Thursday, former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee stated:
“If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it. Let’s take that discussion all across America.”
Huckabee, simply put, is delusional. He is either entirely baffled, willingly ignorant, or blatantly lying about effective policymaking in regards to contraception usage.Even worse than that, he’s making character judgments about half of the world’s population, and accusing the Democrats of mistreating women.
First of all, Americans, and people of the world in general, need to understand that having access to birth control is not a “women’s issue.” Women are not solely responsible for pregnancy, but often shoulder all of the blame for unintended pregnancies. While women are not solely responsible for unintended pregnancies, much of our society marks them as being blameworthy. Single mothers who have had unintended pregnancies are stigmatized greatly in America, which affects a large portion of women in the United States. According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, half of the United States’ six million pregnancies each year are unintended, and about one-third of American girls get pregnant before their twentieth birthday.The United States has more unintended pregnancies than any other developed country.
These numbers suggest that there’s a bigger problem at play. And it’s the mentality of our pal Huckabee that’s to blame.
By making the topic of safe sex taboo by shaming anyone interested in purchasing contraception, Mike Huckabee is not stopping America’s teens and young adults from having sex. He’s just making it less likely that they’ll do so in a safe way. Telling the American population that abstinence is the right course of action while providing no information about or support for contraceptive methods fails the American people, especially American youths.Certainly, abstinence an effective way of preventing pregnancy. But only in the conservatives’ view of the best of all possible worlds.
Taking away fire hydrants doesn’t make fires less likely to happen. Taking away police stations doesn’t prevent crime. And taking away access to birth control doesn’t prevent sex from happening.
More important than the rational failings of Huckabee’s assertion, though, is the incredibly offensive judgment he makes of all women seeking birth control.
Within this argument, he is stating that: 1. Birth control is only a means by which women out of wedlock can avoid the repercussions of their actions, 2. Birth control has no value other than preventing pregnancy, 3. A government that wishes to provide basic contraceptive availability to its citizens is going far beyond its role, 4. Democrats are insulting American women by asserting that they have the individual right to choose to take birth control or not, and 5. Women on birth control are promiscuous.
The Republican Party is apparently incredibly knowledgeable about women’s reproductive systems–even without any factual or scientific grounding–and the rights women should have in regards to their own bodies. Todd Akin, of course, knew that rape does not result in pregnancy. “…the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down,” he said.Celeste Greig, president of the California Republican Assembly, stepped down from her position fairly recently after she recited a line similar to Akin’s.Back in October of 2012, Richard Mourdock was bold enough to assert that he knew the will of God, who apparently intends for rape pregnancies to occur. Ron Paul has made sure to differentiate between rape and “honest rape”, and, of course, Wisconsin State Representative Roger Rivard passed along the valuable advice his father once gave him that “Some girls rape easy.”
The American public has elected politicians who spend their valuable time in office denying the option of birth control to their electorate, and then shaming them for even being interested in having access to it. Even those who take birth control for other health reasons are deemed immoral and depraved.
American women with the option to take birth control or not are empowered to take control of their own bodies and make decisions based on their own understandings of what is best for themselves, both physically and spiritually. A cashier working at a Hobby Lobby store should be able to make decisions about her birth control use, rather than her employer.
Perpetuating a societal mentality that those who take birth control are somehow morally inferior to those who do not is both delusional and destructive. Those politicians fighting a woman’s ability to take control of her own body are creating a culture of shame. This culture of shame does not fix problems, but rather exacerbates them.
Huckabee’s comments are incredibly offensive, not to mention grounded in faulty logic and a falsely high sense of his own understanding of morality. He, and all those who agree with him, lack a fundamental respect for half the world’s population, and these comments ought not to be tolerated. American society has come a long way in terms of basic respect toward women, but people like Huckabee are destroying this foundational respect and causing the United States to take one giant step backward in its reach for equality.
Class of 2014 at Concordia College. Majoring in Political Science and Philosophy. Involved in Student Government and, of course, The Concordian.