President Barack Obama startled handicappers by selecting Dartmouth President Jim Yong Kim as the U.S. candidate to lead the World Bank rather than the reported front-runner Larry Summers, Obama’s former National Economic Council director.
The Korean-born Kim is a medical doctor, anthropologist, and MacArthur fellow, best known for his pioneering work to fight HIV and tuberculosis in the Third World. Kim helped develop treatments for drug-resistant TB, and then successfully pushed to reduced the cost of anti-TB drugs. He is close associate of Dr. Paul Farmer, the lead founder of Partners in Health and subject of Tracy Kidder’s 2003 book, Mountains Beyond Mountains.
While Third World leaders had pushed for an alternative to Summers, Kim was a total surprise. The appointment is a two-fer in the sense that it gives the job both to an American and to an Asian, as well as a welcome breakthrough in that the presidency goes to someone with on-the-ground work fighting poverty and disease as opposed to an international dignitary or economist.
Jeffrey Sachs, who audaciously threw his own hat into the ring, can take some credit for this surprise choice, since his own move created some pressure for Obama to think outside the box. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was also reportedly favorable to the Kim selection. For Summers, this ends a winning streak of falling upwards.
Etch-A-Sketch was big news in NW Ohio yesterday, because Ohio Art is based here, but there’s a substantive problem now brewing for Mitt Romney in Ohio and Michigan, and it just highlights how dead-on the Etch-A-Sketch comparison really is:
Michigan politics is rarely subtle. But the current dustup over a proposed new bridge to Canada has been particularly nasty. Billionaire trucking company owner Manuel “Matty” Moroun, who beat out Warren Buffett in bidding for the 81-year-old Ambassador Bridge more than three decades ago, is now doing his best to undercut Republican Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s efforts to build a publicly owned competitor to what is the busiest U.S.-Canada border crossing.
Americans for Prosperity, an advocacy group founded by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch that has embraced some Tea Party causes, bankrolled a public-relations campaign against the proposed public bridge, including mass mailings to state voters. Matty Moroun, who has a personal net worth of $1.7 billion, according to Forbes, also hired Dick Morris, the onetime campaign strategist turned Fox News Network (NWS) pundit, as an adviser. Moroun “has co-opted some of the Tea Party movement, which sends shivers up Republicans’ backbones,” says Tom Shields, spokesman for a coalition of business, labor, and political leaders that supports Snyder’s plan.
Americans For Prosperity and the Koch Brothers oppose the new bridge because it’s publicly funded:
Americans For Prosperity-Michigan today announced a statewide campaign to stop Michigan from plunging $620 million further into debt. The Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC), a taxpayer funded Detroit bridge which traffic studies show is unwarranted, is expected to be introduced in the State Senate within a few weeks.
Mitt Romney (of course) won’t take a stand:
In the lead-up to last month’s presidential primary in Michigan, Republican front-runner Mitt Romney refused to take a stand on the proposed $2 billion span, which is supported by Mich. Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, the Canadian government, and a host of labor and industry officials in both countries.
On Thursday, the Obama Administration released a statement supporting a proposed second span connecting Detroit and Windsor.
“The New International Trade Crossing is one of the Department of Transportation’s top border priorities,” said the U.S. Department of Transportation in a statement. “The Detroit-Windsor corridor is the largest commercial crossing in North America and carries 24 percent of trade between the U.S. and Canada. We are working with Michigan and the Canadian government to support construction of a new bridge that will boost trade and relieve congestion on the existing crossing,” the statement said.
The GOP Michigan governor supports the bridge. The Obama Administration supports the bridge, and they’re backing that up with 2 billion in matching highway funds. Canada supports the bridge. Americans for Prosperity, the Koch Brothers, and Dick Morris oppose… well, Dick Morris is just picking up a paycheck, so I guess we don’t know where the Fox News personality bloc is on this.
Where is Mitt Romney on the bridge? No one knows. He won’t say:
A day after GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney refused to take a stand on the proposed new bridge between Canada and Detroit, the Romney campaign issued a statement that provided some answers, but not a definitive position.
“Governor Romney believes that it is up to the people of Michigan to decide if another bridge is in the best interest of their state. Governor Romney has confidence that Governor Snyder and the Michigan legislature will come to an agreement on this issue,” read the statement by Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams.
A bridge between the US and Canada and the economy in at least 4 US states and, more broadly, two countries is now a state issue. That’s an absolutely ridiculous answer. It’s an embarrassing answer. Funny, Mitt Romney had no problem supporting Governor Kasich’s union busting law in Ohio, and that really WAS a state issue. Romney was strongly in favor of union busting within the state of Ohio. He had an opinion on the teachers, firefighters and police officers in a state he’s never lived in, but he’s passing on a bridge between the US and Canada in his “home state” of Michigan?
Roy Norton, the consul general of Canada in Detroit, in an email to The Blade Thursday, said 8 million U.S. jobs depend on trade with Canada. “Since one-quarter of all U.S. trade with Canada crosses the Ambassador Bridge, therefore 2 million U.S. jobs depend on the Ambassador Bridge,” he wrote. He said the number of Canadian jobs reliant on the Ambassador Bridge “is comparable,” so that would be another 2 million jobs. Mr. Norton, whose region includes Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Kentucky, has urged transportation interests throughout the region to support a new river crossing. “Exports from Ohio to Canada increased [in 2010] by more than 20 percent over 2009,” Mr. Norton wrote. “As it has for many years, Ohio continues to enjoy a significant trade surplus with Canada. Modern border infrastructure linking the Midwest to Canada is essential to moving existing and future trade.” Last year, he also said that building a second Detroit River crossing is Canada’s top national infrastructure priority because of the corridor’s importance to U.S.-Canada trade.
Romney’s afraid to walk out on the bridge because powerful lobbyists within the base of the GOP oppose the project. How in the world is this person going to be as President? What’s the plan, here? He’s elected President and then becomes a completely different person, becomes a person who makes decisions and takes on risk? When is this complete transformation of his essential character and temperament scheduled to occur?
“Moderate” Republicans miraculously find their voice, express “doubts” on union-busting, just in time for the start of campaign season:
For the first time in more than three decades, Minnesota Republicans are basking in majorities in both chambers of the state Legislature, so on matters that need no signature from the Democratic governor, they can do as they please.
And yet, on a recent afternoon, Senator Dave Thompson said he had grown doubtful that the “right to work” amendment he hoped to put before voters this fall — a proposition requiring no approval by the governor — would survive a vote of his fellow Republican legislators, or even find its way out of Republican-controlled committees.
“I’ve been told that no hearing has been scheduled and that a lot of people are concerned, so I guess this isn’t going to move anywhere,” Senator Thompson said on Friday, days after the proposal drew hundreds of protesting union supporters to the halls of the Legislature, and after an advertising campaign critical of the idea began airing around Minnesota. “It’s not about the policy. There is a tremendous fear of the political ramifications — it boils down to that, nothing more or less,” he said.
After costly, bruising political showdowns with union forces last year in Wisconsin and Ohio, Republicans in some state legislatures are facing a tugging match within their party — between passionate conservative members like Mr. Thompson, a freshman who was among hundreds of legislators swept into statehouses in 2010 who want to push forward, and a more moderate bloc not sure it is wise to take on labor so directly now.
The dueling pressure comes at a key moment in an election year — not only for the presidency, but for more than 5,900 state legislative seats around the nation — with Republican leaders eager to keep newfound legislative majorities in capitals like this one.
The much-publicized union battles last year, which led to a recall campaign against Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin and to the repeal of a bill limiting collective bargaining backed by Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio, seemed likely to quiet such efforts. But some Republicans have pushed ahead, to the discomfort, in some cases, of their fellow Republicans.
Many right-to-work advocates were energized this winter when Indiana, with little debate within the Republican ranks that control state government, passed a bill making it the 23rd right-to-work state. It was the first state to take such a step in a decade, bringing new energy to similar proposals in Missouri and New Hampshire.
I understand the impulse to treat this as something other than a press release, but, really. At what point do we all just laugh at these carefully-timed-and-released claims of lessons learned and responding to their voters concerns? How many times can conservatives pull this scam?
They’re backing off these anti-working class measures not because there’s been any sort of “moderation” in conservative-libertarian anti-union dogma in response to public opposition but because they are worried about losing a certain crucial share of union voters in the next election. They’re afraid they’re going to lose their jobs. If they don’t lose their jobs, they’ll be back with a vengeance, because they’ll claim a “mandate” for the same anti-worker legislation they just carefully announced shelving.
I’m just going to quote media darling and principled conservative leader Mitch Daniels here, to get an idea on what their solemn vow on unions is worth:
“We cannot afford to have civil wars over issues that might divide us and divert us from that path. I have said over and over, I’ll say it again tonight: I’m a supporter of the labor laws we have in the state of Indiana,” he said in a speech to the Teamsters 135 Union Stewards Dinner on Sept. 23, 2006. “I’m not interested in changing any of it. Not the prevailing wage laws, and certainly not the right to work law. We can succeed in Indiana with the laws we have, respecting the rights of labor, and fair and free competition for everybody.”
Certainly not! Mitch Daniels was upset at just the mention of right to work. You’ll also notice Daniels talks about “respecting the rights” of labor. That language has completely disappeared from the Republican Party, but I expect it will reappear in states like Minnesota and Ohio and Michigan and Wisconsin, because it’s time once again for conservatives to run away from the policies and practices they support.
Daniels was, of course, lying to his union voters in 2006. Daniels promoted and passed union-busting laws in 2012. Republicans have every intention of pursuing union-busting in Midwest states. Like Daniels, they simply want to wait until after they retain their own jobs to pursue the anti-worker laws they’re committed to passing.
Karen Santorum insisted her husband will do “nothing” on the issue of contraception.
Rick Santorum, like each and every GOP candidate, has vowed to end funding for Title X.
Title X provides access to birth control for 5 million people. Now. Today. Title X has been in place since 1970. Each and every GOP candidate has (now) promised to gut the program. Republicans have supported Title X in the past. Now they don’t. That’s a substantive, radical change in position, and one they should have to explain. I know, I know, it’s LOW INCOME people, so they’re invisible and it doesn’t really matter, but 5 million people is a lot of people. President Obama and Democrats in Congress support Title X. Romney and Santorum and Republicans in Congress don’t. That’s a choice Republicans made, and it’s not a rhetorical or political difference. It’s 5 million people, access to birth control. They have it now, and they will lose it if any Republican wins.
Title X is the only Federal grant program dedicated solely to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services. The Title X program is designed to provide access to contraceptive services, supplies and information to all who want and need them. By law, priority is given to persons from low-income families.
Nearly 100 Title X grantees provide family planning services to more than five million women and men through a network of over 4,500 community-based clinics that include State and local health departments, tribal organizations, hospitals, university health centers, independent clinics, community health centers, faith-based organizations, and other public and private nonprofit agencies. In approximately 75% of U.S. counties, there is at least one clinic that receives Title X funds and provides services as required under the Title X statute.
Indeed, after Santorum mega-donor Foster Friess “humorously” suggested that women practice birth control by putting an aspirin between their legs, Santorum defended himself by invoking Title X.
“It’s funny that I’ve been criticized by Governor Romney and by Ron Paul for having voted for something called Title X, which is actually federal funding of contraception,” Santorum told CBS’s Charlie Rose. “My public policy beliefs are that contraception should be available. Again, I’ve supported Title X funding.”
Excellent. Except, here is Santorum, five days later, at the Arizona presidential debate:
“As Congressman Paul knows, I opposed Title X funding. I’ve always opposed Title X funding, but it’s included in a large appropriation bill that includes a whole host of other things,” Santorum said.
“What I did, because Title X was always pushed through . . . I said, well, if you’re going to have Title X funding, then we’re going to create something called Title XX, which is going to provide funding for abstinence-based programs.”
Maybe Karen Santorum thinks 5 million people are “nothing”, but I don’t agree with her. Do conservatives like Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney plan to end the federal support for family planning that has been in place since 1970? Because that’s what they say they’ll do.
I saw mistermix’s post on the DOJ coming into Florida, but I don’t want to let Florida lawmakers and politicians off the hook. “Stand your ground” seems to be some radical new conservative legal interpretation of self-defense. Apparently the lock-step drones in the Florida legislature and governor’s office felt threatened by NRA lobbyists so rather than standing their ground they allowed NRA lobbyists to write yet another law:
You can’t say we weren’t warned.
Back in 2005, opponents of Florida’s first-of-its-kind “stand your ground” law said it wouldn’t be long before we’d see shootouts in the streets — all in the name of self-defense.
Prodded by their NRA masters, lawmakers waved off those predictions as exaggerations. Then they overwhelmingly passed a bill that took the “castle doctrine” to infinity and beyond. The “castle doctrine” used to mean you could use deadly force if someone attacked you in your home. “Stand your ground” not only absolved the homeowner of any obligation to retreat, it extended that concept outside the home
Gov. Jeb Bush couldn’t sign the bill fast enough.
Seven years later, those warnings so casually dismissed by Bush and the Legislature are taking shape.
Seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin is dead, and Central Florida is the focus of an international spectacle, quite possibly a result of Florida’s politicians deciding to become the 21st century’s Wild West.
Unfortunately, Trayvon may not be the only victim.
I haven’t heard of any fatal disputes over the grocery check-out line, but in 2010 an unarmed man was shot and killed at a park near Tampa in a dispute over skateboarding rules. The victim’s 10-year-old daughter watched her father die. A judge is currently considering whether the shooter merely stood his ground.
In 2008, a 15-year-old boy was killed during a shootout between two gangs in Tallahassee. Nobody was held accountable for the crime because a judge, citing the law, dismissed the charges.
And in January, a former Broward County sheriff’s deputy shot and wounded a homeless man inside a Häagen-Dazs ice cream shop in Miami Lakes. He said the man was threatening him and his family. Police said charges were unlikely in that case as well.
In fact, the number of justifiable homicides has significantly increased since the law went into effect, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
From 2000 to 2005, an average of 13 killings by private citizens were deemed justified each year. Between 2006 and 2010 that average increased to 36 killings per year. The highest was in 2009 at 45.
It makes the Brady Campaign’s ads against this law back in 2005 almost seem prophetic. The campaign handed out leaflets and posted billboards warning Florida tourists to avoid fights and to “keep their hands in plain sight” if they wind up in a disagreement.
Sound advice, given the number of cases where “stand your ground” prevails.
Not that any of this mattered to lawmakers seven years ago when I was covering this story in Tallahassee. At the behest of the all-powerful National Rifle Association, they decided law-abiding people were facing criminal prosecution for nothing more than defending themselves or their families.
Turns out the NRA’s best examples of these unjust cases were ones in which the charges were eventually dropped. I’d call those examples of the system working, not a chronic injustice that needed to be repaired through legislation.
NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer wouldn’t comment about the Trayvon Martin case when I talked to her Monday. I don’t blame her. There is no good way for gun proponents to spin the death of an unarmed teenager.
Rep. Dennis Baxley, an Ocala Republican who sponsored the original bill, said the law is still “good public policy” but questioned whether it should apply to Zimmerman.
“I think the fact that he was in pursuit does greatly compromise his argument” of self-defense, Baxley said.
Baxley apparently doesn’t understand the law he promoted and voted for, and why would he? He didn’t draft it:
Florida Governor Jeb Bush recently signed Senate Bill 436, which expands and clarifies Floridians’ self-defense rights against violent attackers. The bill was the creation of former NRA President Marion Hammer, who is also head of Unified Sportsmen of Florida, the state’s major pro-gun group. The NRA has announced that it plans to take SB 436 national, and urge other states to adopt similar measures.
There’s going to be a lot of hand-wringing over Trayvon Martin’s killing, another fake-debate, but Florida lawmakers could buck the NRA tomorrow and repeal this law. Jeb Bush could come out against the law he signed. He’s a media darling. He’d get a huge platform. The truth is, “someone” outside the US Department of Justice could do “something”. The truth is, if they don’t do anything at all at the state level in Florida in response to this, it’s because they don’t want to.
Anne Laurie wrote about the latest conservative effort to gut the Voting Rights Act last week, but I want to return to it, because the political commentary that is developing on the Texas case is interesting.
The Texas voter suppression law really is different than the new laws in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, or the new laws in South Carolina and Tennessee, because the Texas law targets Hispanics:
On Monday, the Justice Department blocked Texas’ voter ID law , and the state is fighting back. At a forum in Dallas Thursday night, Republican candidates running to replace Kay Bailey Hutchison in the Senate argued that the Justice Department is trying to stop Texas from implementing “common-sense law.” Rick Hasen reported on his Election Law blog that Texas is not only challenging the Justice Department on the merits of its decision, but is arguing that Section 5 is an unconstitutional infringement on states’ rights.
A state’s right to do what? This argument goes back to the dark days when states argued that the federal government had no right to interfere with their mistreatment of minorities. It took a Civil War, two constitutional amendments, the blood of civil rights activists, an act of Congress, and courageous Supreme Court justices to put an end to that. The ideologically driven Roberts bloc has already allowed the financially powerful to drown out other voices in campaigns. It would be tragic if they allow the politically powerful to decide who gets to vote.
First, let’s call it what it is. The burgeoning battles over state redistricting and voter ID laws — and the larger fight over a key part of the Voting Rights Act itself — are all cynical expressions of the concerns many conservatives (of both parties) have about the future of the American electorate. The Republican lawmakers who are leading the fight for the restrictive legislation say they are doing so in the name of stopping election fraud — and, really, who’s in favor of election fraud? But the larger purpose and effect of the laws is to disenfranchise Hispanic voters, other minorities, and the poor — most of whom, let’s also be clear, vote for Democrats.
Jonathan Chait, in a smart recent New York magazine piece titled “2012 or Never,” offered some numbers supporting the theory. “Every year,” Chait wrote, “the nonwhite proportion of the electorate grows by about half a percentage point — meaning that in every presidential election, the minority share of the vote increases by 2 percent, a huge amount in a closely divided country.” This explains, for example, why Colorado, Nevada, and Arizona are turning purple instead of staying red. “By 2020,” Chait writes, “nonwhite voters should rise from a quarter of the 2008 electorate to one third. In 30 years, “nonwhites will outnumber whites.”
The laws in the other states I listed may also affect Hispanic voters, but the Texas law puts Hispanic voters front and center in this dispute, simply because of the demographic make-up and (current and projected composition) of the electorate in Texas, and that’s new in a case that is going to get national attention.
I’ve written here before that I have been on several conference calls on voting rights in Ohio, and I can tell you, listening to others on those calls, that this issue is huge for those Democrats and liberals who are members of minority groups or act as voting rights advocates for members of minority groups. Simply, people want the right to vote. They want the right to the franchise protected. They want someone in state and federal government to protect their right to vote.
I think the fact that the Voting Rights Act challenge is based on the Texas law takes us into new terrority on the politics of voter suppression, and that new political terrain may be less favorable for conservatives than it has been previously, because conservatives actually rely on Hispanic voters to win elections in places like Texas, and Hispanic voters are projected to be such a large portion of the electorate in places like Texas:
So if section 5 doesn’t apply to “long past sins” against black voters, what about current sins against Hispanic voters? If the Voting Rights Act was originally designed to protect the rights of black Americans to vote, do we now need a new Voting Rights Act that would protect the rights of Hispanic Americans to vote? If so, why aren’t federal lawmakers tripping over themselves to get on the good side of a voting bloc that is going to increase in power over the next generation? Oh, that’s right. As Chait reminds us, we are not quite yet at the point at which the benefit of shilling for Hispanic votes outweighs the burden of angering white voters.
It’s unlikely new legislation is needed — we can still use the old reliable 1965 statute and apply it to new circumstances like the ones presented now. But does the discriminatory effect of state ID laws have to be so bad — “violence, terror and subterfuge” is how Justice Thomas put it — before the federal government may step in against a state? Or is it enough to establish that there is a national effort by conservative groups to press for these types of laws? (Ironic, isn’t it, in a dispute conservatives argue is states’ rights, that so many of these state voter ID laws would be conceived within the Beltway.)
Should be really interesting to see how this plays out politically, now that conservatives themselves have taken voter suppression out of the context of “the past” and placed it squarely in the context of the present and future, by targeting a voting bloc that is projected to increase in number and power over the next generation, and targeting voters that they are (supposedly) still seeking to court.
There seems to be some mistaken notion out there that the the efforts to limit access to family planning by Republicans are purely abstract and hypothetical and “political” and unlikely to have any real effect on real women, if Democrats win the “message war” on the HHS contraception rule. That isn’t true.
Democrats portray Blunt’s measure as the latest example of a Republican attack on women’s access to health care.
Limiting access to family planning services isn’t a “losing” purely political ploy by Republicans that is then being countered by a “winning” purely political ploy by Democrats. Both sides aren’t doing it. One side is limiting access to birth control, now, today, and the other side is pointing that out. No “portrayal” about it. It’s happening.
We’ll go to Republican actions at the federal , state and then county level, so it’s clear.
First, Title X is a federal program that subsidizes access to contraception, which should be obvious to even the most even-handed, even-steven, fair and balanced political reporter, because this is the name of the Title X program:
The Title X Family Planning program [“Population Research and Voluntary Family Planning Programs” (Public Law 91-572)]
Actions at the federal level taken by Republicans to limit access to contraception; Title X:
But when Boehner later asked for the elimination of funds for Title X — spending for women’s health and family planning organizations that also provide abortion services, the aide said the president flatly refused.
The two GOP candidates for the presidency both oppose Title X funding. That’s fact. If a candidate opposes Title X funding, that candidate is vowing to limit access to family planning. It isn’t that complicated. If Mitt Romney intends to eliminate Title X, Mitt Romney intends to limit access to family planning for 5 million people. Title X = family planning for 5 million people. No funding, no Title X.
Actions at the state level by Republicans to limit access to contraception:
The bill would cut $3 million in federal money the state currently allocates to the women’s health group. But the bill also puts Indiana in a financial tight spot as it risks losing $4 million a year in federal family-planning money that would be eliminated because of the state legislation.
Leticia Parra, a mother of five scraping by on income from her husband’s sporadic construction jobs, relied on the Planned Parenthood clinic in San Carlos, an impoverished town in South Texas, for breast cancer screenings, free birth control pills and pap smears for cervical cancer.
But the clinic closed in October, along with more than a dozen others in the state, after financing for women’s health was slashed by two-thirds by the Republican-controlled Legislature.
The cuts, which left many low-income women with inconvenient or costly options, grew out of the effort to eliminate state support for Planned Parenthood. Now, the same sentiment is likely to lead to a shutdown next week of another significant source of reproductive health care: the Medicaid Women’s Health Program, which serves 130,000 women with grants to many clinics, including those run by Planned Parenthood. Gov. Rick Perry and Republican lawmakers have said they would forgo the $35 million in federal money that finances the women’s health program in order to keep Planned Parenthood from getting any of it.
When Republican governors like Mitch Daniels and Rick Perry refuse to fund Planned Parenthood clinics with Medicaid funds, Republican governors like Mitch Daniels and Rick Perry are limiting access to contraception, because Planned Parenthood clinics are where certain women go to get contraception:
Contraception — 35 percent of services in 2008
Reversible Contraception Clients, Women** 2,263,776
Emergency Contraception Kits 1,436,808
Tubal Sterilization Clients 489
Reversible Contraception Clients, Men 109,823
Vasectomy Clients 2,979
Contraception is the single biggest service Planned Parenthood provides (pdf)
Planned Parenthood clinics = access to birth control for certain women. Again, not that complicated.
Actions taken by Republicans at the county level to limit access to contraception:
After yesterday’s post about county commissioners in New Hanover County, North Carolina, voting to reject state money for family planning, Amber Pickman wrote to tell us about a similar move in Miami County, Kansas.
The Miami County Commission voted 3-2 last week to exclude about $9,000 in funding aimed at covering contraceptives from the county’s state grant applications.
To recap: Republicans have been taking action to limit access to contraception at the federal level since 2010. All of the Republicans candidates for President have vowed to limit access to contraception through Title X. Republicans at the state level are right now, today, limiting access to contraception, because they are defunding the Plannned Parenthood facilities that provide access to contraception, and, finally, Republicans at the county level are limiting access to contraception by zeroing-out funding for family planning programs. Limiting access to contraception is conservative policy, in action, at the federal state and county level, now, today.
Further, these actions by Republicans at the federal, state and county level have nothing to do with President Obama’s announcement of the rule on contraception in the health care law or “religious liberty” because they were attempted, in place or in the works before President Obama’s announcement of the rule. These actions to limit access to contraception have nothing whatever to do with church-owned health care corporations or entities, so are completely unrelated to the nonsensical “religious liberty” smokescreen. Republicans have been and are taking action to limit access to contraception separate and apart from President Obama’s HHS rule.
The answer to the question “are Republicans limiting access to contraception?” is “yes”. The one and only question remaining is how far they’ll go. Will they go to employer-provided health insurance policies and all women, or will this conservative campaign to limit access to contraception remain confined to women who rely on Title X, Planned Parenthood and county-funded family planning services?