Republican Men Hate Birth Control, Except When Forcing It On Poor Women
The vice chairman of the Arizona Republican party resigned on Sunday night, after suggesting on his weekly radio show of September 6 that were he in charge of Medicaid, he’d provide birth control to the low income women who fell under his purview. Hang on, what’s that? A Republican party official coming out in favor of access to birth control? No wonder he had to resign! Before you dial up 1-800-FLOWERS to send Russell Pearce a bouquet, though, you may want to know the whole story. It wasn’t exactly that he wants to offer birth control options to people who can’t afford their own coverage or who don’t have it provided through their employers; it was that he wanted to force birth control on them.
You put me in charge of Medicaid, the first thing I’d do is get Norplant, birth-control implants or tubal ligations. Then, we’ll test recipients for drugs and alcohol, and if you want to [reproduce] or use drugs or alcohol, then get a job.
That is one hell of a giant asterisk on the idea of making birth control accessible to low income people. Mandatory sterilization for the poor! Pearce, a former Arizona state senator, appears to have lifted his theme neatly out of dystopian science fiction and plugged it straight into the Republican party line. Funny how part of the party platform has long been refusing birth control access to people who want access to the stuff based on the plan they have through their employers, but when it comes to people who might want to have a child but who didn’t win the Circumstances Lottery, it’s go birth control or go home(less).
I know certain Republicans like Pearce (whose name is attached to plenty of pro-fetus legislation and position papers) prefer to be called “pro-life” over “anti-choice”, but this is exactly where the name comes from. There’s nothing pro-life about wanting to deny what you consider the wrong sort of people the chance to have a family; but there’s a lot of anti-choice sentiment inherent in wanting to yank birth control from the willing while forcing it on those who are averse.
Pearce’s resignation comes as a welcome follow-up after he came under fire from Arizona Democratic Party Executive Director D.J. Quinlan; Pearce also drew some belated ire from Republican gubernatorial candidates who immediately began to distance themselves from Pearce after Quinlan’s call-out. The fall-out has been ripe with schadenfreude, and if you want a laugh, go read some of Pearce’s excuses for his words. They’re all fairly off the wall, but my personal favorite is his explanation that these remarks weren’t in fact his, but rather written by another individual that he had failed to properly attribute. Newsflash to those who are unaware: if you wholeheartedly quote someone else’s ugly words, but still agree with them, that’s the problem, not the giant [Citation Needed] that came at the end of your speech.