As Cries of “Religious Freedom” Grow Louder, It Is Clear Anti-Choicers Are Targeting Contraception

From RH Reality Check:  http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/06/10/anti-contraception-voices-get-louder

by Amanda Marcotte, RH Reality Check
June 11, 2012

The always-excellent Sarah Posner responded to this past weekend’s anti-contraception rallies (disguised as “religious freedom” rallies, but timed to coincide with the anniversary of the Supreme Court legalizing contraception) by writing articles profiling some of the anti-choice activists who have really been gaining in prominence because of their unadorned hatred of birth control. The unmistakable conclusion to which all of this points is that the anti-choice movement is feeling way more comfortable by the hour admitting what they’ve previously tried to keep from being understood by people outside of their movement, which is that they oppose contraception just as they do abortion. Which, of course, makes it clear that their concern isn’t “life,” but that “life” is just a code word for making sure that the amount of sex that occurs in this country is minimal both in frequency and pleasure, and geared strictly towards procreation.

On one hand, this new openness with the public about the anti-contraception views anti-choicers have previously shared mostly with each other could be a scary thing. It could mean they feel emboldened by victories that have made abortion more inaccessible even as it remains legal, and now think the public is ready to hear more obviously anti-sex messages that aren’t covered in crocodile tears shed for fertilized eggs. On the other hand, this might be the behavior of desperate people trying a new tactic because they realize that the sexual revolution is four generations in and quite likely to become permanent if drastic measures aren’t taken.  The faux concern about fetuses has not, as they hoped, resulted in a return to 19th century sexual mores, and so maybe they hope a more direct attack on contraception will do the trick.

Of course, that doesn’t mean the anti-choice movement is being honest yet. At this point, it’s easy to imagine that they don’t know how to make a straightforward argument expressing their actual values to the public at large. They don’t have any practice, after all. Instead, the strategy is to fling the phrase “religious freedom” around a lot, and use it as a pretense to get their anti-contraception messages into the conservative mainstream. No doubt the hope is they can get people more used to these ideas and eventually they’ll be taken seriously in the larger mainstream. After all, this strategy worked well with “free market” libertarian ideology, which used to rightly be seen as the rantings of cranks, but now is the governing philosophy of an entire political party.

Either way, it’s good for feminists and our non-misogynist allies to familiarize ourselves with the anti-sex (for women) arguments we’re dealing with here, because we’re going to be seeing a lot more of them, if the past two years have been any indication. The argument, to summarize, is that contraception has been bad for society and especially for women, because it takes women away from our “natural” and “God-given” duty to stay virgins until marriage, begrudgingly let our husbands relieve their blue balls into us once or twice a year until the flame finally flickers out, have as many children as this ends up creating, and then dying with the knowledge that while this life was relatively colorless and sad, the next one will be pretty good. (And absent all that dirty sex stuff, since there is no “horny” in heaven.) In the meantime, your own unmentionable sexual tension that finds no other outlet can be turned into bitter hatred for other women, which can then be useful to the church and the anti-choice movement because it gives you a reason to push for more anti-choice laws and rhetoric.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/06/10/anti-contraception-voices-get-louder

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