Oral Contraceptive Republicans - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Oral Contraceptive Republicans

The Left’s relentless “war on women” campaign is producing some odd results, one of which is the emergence of Republicans who champion over-the-counter contraceptives. As Time puts it, “Republicans Can’t Stop Talking About Over-the-Counter Birth Control.”

“Four GOP Senate candidates have advocated for over-the-counter birth control, Colorado’s Cory Gardner, Thom Tillis in North Carolina, Ed Gillespie in Virginia, and Mike McFadden in Minnesota,” Time reports. “‘I actually agree with the American Medical Association that we should make contraception more widely available. I think over-the-counter oral contraception should be available without prescription,” Tillis said last week in his first debate against Sen. Kay Hagan.”

Democrats are complaining about this development, but it is not clear why. They should consider it a victory that they have pulled the issue so far to the left that the Republicans mentioned above now find themselves aligned with Third World reproductive-rights activists on the desirability of over-the-counter oral contraceptives. This new position is cast as an “end” to the birth control war in politics, but Democrats are sure to find new fronts for it.

It is a measure of the Left’s progress in the culture war that the architect of Republican support for over-the-counter contraceptives is a Catholic, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who in 2012 wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed in favor it. According to Time, “Jindal’s political aides, and many GOP operatives, believe birth control is a gateway issue for women voters. While the politics of abortion have remained consistently split, Republicans fear being cast as anti-birth control could cost them a generation of women voters. ‘It’s often an immediate shutdown,’ said one Jindal aide.”

The Left should rejoice that “socially conservative” Catholics like Jindal have become enthusiasts for a position Catholic teaching regards as sinful. This will make it even easier for the Left to dismiss the Church’s stance as too “irrational” to warrant religious-freedom protection. It is hard to imagine Republicans who favor over-the-counter contraceptives serving as reliable defenders of the Church’s religious freedom over time. If Obama’s original contraceptive mandate became overwhelmingly popular, wouldn’t they end up supporting that too in the name of retaining women voters?

But then, Church officials these days, in another sign of the times, don’t appear all that interested in protecting the Church’s freedom. In the latest example, Cardinal Timothy Dolan has given his blessing to the inclusion of anti-Catholic gay groups in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York City. No government mandate forced this change. It is a voluntary surrender of a Catholic event to left-wing culture.

The Left’s campaign to liberalize the Church is growing easier as her officials define heterodoxy as “charity” and submission to liberal hectoring as “unity.”

“I think, in part, the tone is changing within the Church, and I think Pope Francis has spoken about this, and Cardinal Dolan did last night,” the parade’s spokesman explained to the press last week. “There is a sense among many Catholic leaders [for] showing that compassion and that brotherly love, regardless of whether or not one agrees with Church teachings. It may be the best foot forward for the Church at this point. We hope people will see it in that light.”

Secularists say the Church “imposes” itself on society by merely opposing the contraceptive mandate, even as they successfully impose their demands on Catholic events. Cardinal John O’Connor, the late New York archbishop, resisted secularist pressure to turn an event honoring a saint into a celebration of sin, saying, “Neither respectability nor political correctness is worth one comma in the Apostles’ Creed.” But today’s parade organizers say that their “expanded inclusiveness is a gesture of goodwill to the LGBT community in our continuing effort to keep the parade above politics.”

They haven’t kept the parade above politics; they have introduced left-wing politics into it, which renders the parade meaningless. By accepting a false unity at the expense of Church teaching, they have handed the Left yet another victory in the culture war. As these victories add up, as Catholic politicians tout over-the-counter contraceptives and bishops march with gay groups, it becomes clearer and clearer that only one side in the conflict is bothering to fight it.

George Neumayr
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George Neumayr, a senior editor at The American Spectator, is author most recently of The Biden Deception: Moderate, Opportunist, or the Democrats' Crypto-Socialist?
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