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The right is coming for birth control, too

By Mary Sanchez, Tribune Content Agency on

While Mr. Page is away Mary Sanchez is filling in.

Surfing conservative websites, it didn't take long to find this nugget of backward thinking, courtesy of American Thinker:

"The sexual revolution that was kick-started by the advent of birth control in the early 1960s has done irreparable damage to Western civilization."

If you had any doubt about where the renewed state-by-state arguments over abortion will creep, take heed. Women's access to contraception, their right to determine if and when they will have children -- not to mention their sexuality in general -- will be swept up in the rush to see which state can send a case to the U.S. Supreme Court first with the hope of overturning Roe v. Wade.

A preliminary injunction is keeping Missouri from becoming the first state without clinical access to abortion. In Illinois, meanwhile, legislators passed a law to ensure that abortion and contraception, along with pregnancy and maternity care, would remain fundamental rights, regardless of whether Roe v. Wade is overturned.

For many on the right, the abortion issue is not merely a question of a fetus' right to life but rather part of a larger project to undercut women's reproductive health in general. Many of the arguments are undergirded by the twisted notion that educating and empowering women to control their own fertility is inextricably tied to promiscuity.

 

Data don't support that contention. But we should expect to hear a lot of old canards about the sexual freedom of women and how they were led astray by feminism.

You hear these arguments in the debate over comprehensive sex education and whether it should include information about LGBTQ issues. You hear it from policy makers who fear providing girls the HPV vaccine, believing it will increase their sexual appetites and lure them into risky behavior.

It would be nice if Republican women who know better would rebuke such foolishness from their side of the aisle. But don't count on it.

Regardless of where they find themselves on the political spectrum, most women grew up in a context that emphasized a fundamental inequality between male and female libidos. Boys were held to a different standard. If they had sex, they were merely fulfilling their natural urges. Girls, on the other hand, were to control theirs. That was part of a whole package of inequalities between men and women, many of which society has yet to resolve.

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