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I’m watching the Rachel Maddow Show and they just showed a clip of Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum doing an informal interview. What he said made me jump up and run for my laptop.

One of the things I will talk about that no President has talked about before is, I think, the dangers of contraception- the whole sexual libertine idea. Many of Christian faith have said, “Well, that’s okay. I mean, you know, contraception’s okay.” It’s not okay. Cause it’s a license to -uh- to do things in a sexual- in a sexual realm that is, that is counter to what- how things are supposed to be.

And then it got worse. Rachel next showed a clip of front-runner Mitt Romney speaking with Mike Huckabee on his Fox News show.

Huckabee: Would you have supported a constitutional amendment that would have established the definition of life at conception?

Romeny: Absolutely.

Personhood amendments ban most methods of contraception (including the pill and the IUD), make abortion illegal at any time during a pregnancy, and criminalize women who have had a miscarriage.

Are these really the choices that we have in choosing a Republican nominee for President?

Information from the Guttmacher Institute finds that the women of America would be severely and negatively impacted by not having access to contraception. 

There are 62 million U.S. women in their childbearing years (15–44).

Virtually all women (more than 99%) aged 15–44 who have ever had sexual intercourse have used at least one contraceptive method.

Overall, 62% of the 62 million women aged 15–44 are currently using a method.

Almost one-third (31%) of these 62 million women do not need a method because they are infertile; are pregnant, postpartum or trying to become pregnant; have never had intercourse; or are not sexually active.

Thus, only 7% of women aged 15–44 are at risk for unintended pregnancy but are not using contraceptives.

Among the 43 million fertile, sexually active women who do not want to become pregnant, 89% are practicing contraception.

Activists in the effort to protect access to safe, legal abortion have known for years now that anti-women activists are also against contraception, even though increased and accurate use of contraception decreases the need for abortion. In recent years, many anti-women groups, finding it difficult to make abortion illegal for all women (though for many women they have made it nearly completely inaccessible), they have become more virulent in their attack of contraception. They’ve done this, in part, by outright lying about the dangers of birth control pills and by introducing “personhood” bills in state legislatures (such as Mississippi).

As Rick Santorum just demonstrated, they have also attempted to demonize sexual activity, as if having sex was only something that sinners did. They frame this in a way that begrudgingly accepts sex in the context of heterosexual spouses who are trying to become pregnant or who would accept the burden of an unwanted pregnancy. Anything outside this frame, such as sex in lesbian or gay relationships, between unmarried partners, and between people who don’t (currently) want to become pregnant, is, as Santorum says, “libertine” (defined as indulging in immoral pleasures) and not “how things are supposed to be.”

For people who believe that government should be made as small as possible, it’s extremely hypocritical when Santorum and Romney suggest that the government should force pregnancy on 40 million women. Maybe I’m weird, but that doesn’t seem like a very good strategy for winning over voters.

~ Samantha
Community Editor