Rick Santorum and the Restriction of our Right to Birth Control

In October, Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum elucidated his thoughts on birth control to the evangelical Christian blog CaffeinatedThoughts:

“One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country. Many of the Christian faith have said, well, that’s okay, contraception is okay. It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.” (Starts around 17:00 minute mark).

While Santorum is certainly not alone in his opposition to non-procreative sex, he has been particularly public about the issue, even asserting that married couples should not be engaging in sex for pleasure. The former Pennsylvania senator has also stated his opposition to the Supreme Court’s 1965 ruling that invalidated a Connecticut law banning contraception. Santorum said he still feels that a state should be able to make such laws. In light of the ongoing Republican war on women’s bodies, what does Santorum’s threat to cut America’s access to birth control truly mean?

Like other conservative candidates, Santorum supports the de-funding of Planned Parenthood, which provides low-income people with contraception along with other vital medical care. For people who rely on such organizations for their contraceptive needs, federal funding cuts literally take away their birth control. In December, Santorum signed the Personhood Pledge which claims, contrary to all scientific evidence, that the morning after pill, the birth control pill, and the IUD induce abortion, and should therefore be banned. Santorum is committed to overturning Roe vs. Wade and appointing Supreme Court justices who will not uphold our constitutional right to privacy.

Santorum’s hostility towards birth control illustrates the ideological disconnect between anti-choicers and the majority of the American public – 99% of sexually active women have used at least one contraceptive method and rely on contraceptives to prevent unwanted pregnancies and limit the spread of STDs. In turn, contraceptive services provided by publicly funded clinics prevent millions of unintended pregnancies each year. It is no secret that the assault on reproductive freedom is a key part of the Republican agenda. Rick Santorum, who has made the contraception issue central to his campaign, stands ready to restrict a woman’s right to make her own childbearing decisions and deny millions of Americans access to imperative health care. The America envisioned by Rick Santorum and social conservatives like him is one that unfailingly aligns itself with the goals of the antiabortion movement, and as the presidential elections loom in the coming year it is imperative, now more than ever, to demand our right to bodily autonomy, health, and reproductive justice.

This article was written by Senti Sojwal. Senti is a third year Hampshire student from New York City, currently studying abroad in Havana, Cuba and concentrating in race, gender theory, and creative writing. In her academic and creative work she has been exploring the ideas of cultural appropriation, misrepresentation, identity politics and feminist theory. In the past she’s worked with sexual health awareness initiatives in Pune, India, volunteered with NARAL Pro-Choice New York, and helped organize the annual From Abortion Rights to Social Justice conference last spring. 

Advertisements

Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s