Keep the government small, but make sure it has enough power to keep controlling women. Such is the ideal of the modern Republican Party, it seems, as it continues to try to deny birth control for women.
In the past, Congress has had some pretty valuable lessons to teach us, the lowly plebeians of the U.S. Last August, former Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., riled America with his riveting and downright horrifying comments about rape and the mysterious abilities of the female body to shut down pregnancy from “legitimate rape.”
Now, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is here to teach us about birth control.
Cruz seems to hold steady to the belief that birth control for women is, for some reason, a bad idea. At the 2013 Values Voter Summit, Cruz referred to birth control as “abortifacients,” saying the federal government is coming after Christian-owned businesses, such as Hobby Lobby, and requiring them to provide pills that induce abortions.
This is false.
Under the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” most businesses are required to provide birth control coverage, including contraception and pills like Plan B, in their health care plans for full-time employees.
Plan B and similar pills, however, do not cause abortions.
Last year, during the heat of abortion debates throughout the presidential election, the New York Times examined the way pills such as Plan B prevent pregnancy. They found that, rather than aborting a fertilized egg, “the pills delay ovulation, the release of eggs from ovaries that occurs before eggs are fertilized, and some pills also thicken cervical mucus so sperm have trouble swimming.”
The Affordable Care Act does not require that businesses include the RU-486 medication, which does terminate pregnancy by destroying already implanted embryos, in their plans, according to the Times’ study.
Calling the morning-after pill an “abortifacient” is as erroneous as calling Russia a world leader in human rights.
Also in the birth control debate this week is Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who during talks to avoid a default on the national debt said that the House of Representatives could not accept any deals to raise the debt ceiling thus far, as Republicans would lose “leverage” in trying to limit the contraception mandate of the Affordable Care Act.
Ideally, Ryan wants to give employers the ability to opt out of birth control coverage based on religious or moral reasons, though churches and religious nonprofit organizations are already exempt from the mandate.
It seems odd — rather, counterproductive — that during a time when the country faces further financial turmoil, some Republicans would rather postpone agreements to reopen the federal government and prevent a credit default than allow the clause in the new health care law that would require birth control coverage in employers’ health care plans to go forward.
Zealotry is what sank the country into a government shutdown and debt crisis in the first place, yet still none seem willing to give way for compromise.
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