Thursday Reads: Male Politicians and Pundits should Worry about their “Erectile Dysfunction” and STFU about Women’s Health (and Other News)

Morning News by Ellen Day Hale (1855-1940)

Good Morning!

I thought this painting was appropriate, since we are being dragged back into the 19th Century by both Democrats and Republicans these days. We all know about the war on women being waged by Willard “Mitt” Romney, Rick “the Dick” Santorum, Nasty Newt Gingrich and Ron “White Power” Paul. But Democrats have now been empowered the Catholic Church’s attack on Obama’s attempt to protect women’s health care.

But now “liberal” pundits like Chris Matthews, Mark Shields, and E.J. Dionne have joined the battle to remove any semblance of privacy and autonomy from women.

Today former DNC Chairman and Governor of VA–and likely Senate candidate Tim Kaine came out against the requirement that contraception be included in health insurance policies.

Pat J is right. We need a women’s freedom party. Aren’t any of these dinosaurs aware that birth control (and abortion) have been with us during most of recorded history? Check out this series of photos in Newsweek drawn from the history of birth control.

Did you know that Aristotle recommended birth control methods for women in the 4th Century BC?

The philosopher recommended that women “anoint that part of the womb on which the seed falls” with olive oil in order to prevent pregnancy. His other top picks for spermicides included cedar oil, lead ointment, or frankincense oil. If the lips of the cervix were smooth, he noted, then conception would be difficult.

Sponges used for contraception

Ancient Egyptian women used sponges.

Long before Seinfeld’s Elaine Benes weighed the merits of a man to determine his spongeworthiness, women were using sponges as a method of preventing pregnancy. The sponge has its roots in early Egyptian civilization, and this photo depicts the variety of models available in the early 20th century. Those sponges were made of a variety of materials, and were sometimes drenched in lemon juice or vinegar to act as a spermicide. Today’s sponges (called, in fact, Today’s Sponge) are synthetic, and use a chemical spermicide.

Another early method was the chastity belt. Perhaps religious nuts like Rick Santorum and Mark Shields would find that one acceptable?

At Wonkblog, Sarah Kliff thinks the Obama administration “sees political opportunity in the contraception battle,” because of the data shown in this chart:

(Public Religion Research Institute)

Kliff writes:

while Catholic leadership has blasted the new regulation, polls show that a majority of Catholics are actually more supportive of the provision than the rest of the country. A poll out Tuesday from the Public Religion Research Institute finds 52 percent of Catholic voters agreed with the statement, “employers should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception and birth control at no cost.” That’s pretty much in line with overall support for the provision, which hovers at 55 percent – likely because Catholics use contraceptives at rates similar to the rest of Americans.

A majority of Catholics – 52 percent – also agree with the Obama administration’s decision to not exempt religious hospitals and universities from the provision. “Outside the political punditry, most Catholics agree with the administration on the issue,” says one Obama campaign official, explaining the view that this could be a political win.

And a lot of this likely isn’t about Catholic voters at all.

Rather, it may well be about the demographics that are most supportive of this particular health reform provision: young voters and women. In the PRRI poll, both groups register support above 60 percent for the provision.

Those two demographics are important here for a key reason: they were crucial to Obama’s victory in 2008. Third Way crunched the numbers earlier this month and found that the “Obama Independents” — the swing group that proved crucial to his 2008 victory — are, as Ryan Lizza put it, “disproportionately young, female and secular.”

Let’s hope Obama keeps all that in mind instead of bending to the will of the old gray white male Catholic Bishops and the elderly male fake-liberal pundits who won’t STFU and let women make their own choices.

Even some of the saner folks in the GOP are warning their wingnut colleagues that a fight against contraception would be a “disaster” for their party.

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