Staff Writer

Sex is popular. People enjoy having recreational sex responsibly, with mature and healthy partners, and most people believe there’s nothing wrong with that.

Considering this, in an election year, it seems downright bizarre that the GOP should make such a fuss about giving people free birth control. The GOP’s been planning to take the presidency by blaming President Obama for a grim jobs picture, but then the economy started doing well. Maybe they’ll just blame him for gas prices instead, like what Newt Gingrich has been experimenting with on the campaign trail. But no, instead, the Republican Party has decided to focus on sex.

The transvaginal ultrasound bill in Virginia was ridiculous, and the fact that it wasn’t eliminated sooner wasn’t great either. The final version of the bill still required an ultrasound for any woman to get an abortion, so at least wasn’t mandating rape, but it’s still a defeat for any reasonably minded person. The Pennsylvania state government recently introduced a similar bill to its legislation. Abortion as a political issue was settled in American politics, it feels like, a long time ago. Why has the GOP picked now, just as one of the biggest elections of all time approaches, to pick a fight they will lose?

Economic policy does not work as a platform for the GOP to run on if the economy continues to improve. If the jobs report next week indicates more than 150,000 jobs have been added, I imagine President Obama might laugh, crack open a beer, and watch some basketball to celebrate. The GOP might continue its crusade against women, because they see it as an issue that “rallies the base.” The primary system has set them up for failure; when presidential candidates are forced to appeal to a recondite group of senior citizens in Iowa for decisive political advantage, something is wrong. These primaries, insane and inane as they’ve been, have forced the candidates and party supporters to adopt harsher and harsher rhetoric. Does any of this have something to do with Rush Limbaugh’s little outburst?

Limbaugh called 30 year-old Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a “slut,” a “prostitute,” and various other things on his national radio talk show the other day because she was set to testify before Congress about the need for birth control on college campuses. Limbaugh claimed her family should be ashamed. (My little sister goes to Georgetown University, never mind their law school, and if she did something like testify before Congress about an issue as important as this, my entire family, half Catholic, would be immensely proud of her, as we already are). Obama gave this woman a phone call, saying what she was attempting to do was very important. Unfortunately, the Congressional committee did not permit Ms. Fluke’s testimony. It turns out the committee, by some freak coincidence, allowed only men to testify on an issue focused on women’s health.

The Blunt Amendment, which would have allowed religious organizations to prohibit insurers from providing birth control to their employees (at no additional cost to the religious organizations), failed in the Senate. Most Catholics support the use of birth control. Nobody listens to Limbaugh anyway.

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