Why Republicans Keep Calling Women Sluts

As you've heard, yesterday Mike Huckabee stepped up to the plate and smacked a stand-up double in the GOP's ongoing effort to alienate every woman in America, when he said, "If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of government then so be it! Let us take that discussion all across America because women are far more than the Democrats have played them to be."

As expected, Huckabee quickly explained to his supporters who the real victim is here ("I am apparently the worst conservative ever or at least the most annoying one according to the left wingers in Washington today"), but the question is, why do they keep doing this? After all, every Republican knows by now that their party has a problem with women; Mitt Romney lost their votes by 11 points. The simple answer is that they can't help themselves, but more specifically, it's a combination of ignorance, contempt, and Puritan morality that inevitably leads to these eruptions. And it's going to keep happening. Let's look at the particulars:

Ignorance: These kinds of statements tend to come from older conservative men who have no idea how ladyparts work, and really don't want to know. That extends to contraception, which as far as they're concerned is something that is women's responsibility and therefore there's no need to understand it. That accounts for the bizarrely widespread belief that all forms of contraception work like condoms: a one-use kind of thing that is employed whenever sex is desired. Which is why Rush Limbaugh said that Sandra Fluke was obviously a "slut" if she wanted contraception to be covered by the insurance she was paying for, because "She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception." And Huckabee believes that you only need birth control every month if you have a rampaging libido, while if you were more chaste, it would be something that would sit at the back of the cabinet, seldom brought out but there if necessary, like that little container of tumeric you once bought for a particularly exotic recipe and might some day use again.

Since Mike Huckabee doesn't have 18 kids, I'm guessing his wife has used contraception throughout their marriage. But a Baptist minister and his wife have a "don't ask, don't tell" arrangement when it comes to that sort of thing, just like millions of other couples, which enables him to continue believing that only a fallen woman would need to take a contraceptive pill every doggone day like she was some kind of insatiable sex machine who barely had time to cook his food and do his laundry in between all that rutting. Which brings us to...

Beliefs about sin: The morality clearly reflected in these statements is that sex is inherently sinful. It's a tiny bit sinful for the man—the kind of thing you might feel a little guilty about, but you can get over quickly—but it's hugely sinful for the woman. An unwanted pregnancy is the just punishment a woman receives for having sex, and a virtuous woman doesn't have sex except for those rare occasions when her husband wants to impregnate her. That's why Huckabee can say—sincerely, I'm sure—that it's an insult for Democrats to say women should have access to contraception, because that's the same as saying women lack virtue. Women who don't need contraception "are far more than the Democrats have played them to be."

The conception of sex as inherently sinful drives pretty much every conservative policy position that touches on sex, perhaps most notably the support for abstinence-only sex education. The fact that abstinence-only sex education has been shown over and over to fail is of only passing concern to them, because what they want out of sex education isn't so much practical things like a reduction in teen pregnancy and the spread of STDs, but a moral statement: sex is bad. If you talk to kids about sex without telling them it's bad, you've cooperated with immorality. Conservatives seem to be constitutionally unable to discuss anything that touches on sex without including some kind of moral condemnation in everything they say.

Tone-deafness: Huckabee's position is that saying "Democrats are treating women like dirty sluts by saying they should have access to birth control!" is very, very different from just saying women are dirty sluts. He feels he's been falsely accused of saying the latter, when he was really just saying the former. I'm sure that he thinks that if women just understood the full context of his statement, they'd realize he respects and honors them. What he doesn't get is that women actually want and need contraception, and 99 percent of women who have had sex have used some form of contraception at some point in their lives. So when he tells them that contraception is for sluts, what they hear isn't "Because I care for you, I don't want you to become a slut," what they hear is, "You're a slut."

This seems to come up again and again: Republicans think they're talking to a nation of nuns, when in reality they're talking to actual women whose lives and experiences are different from what Republicans imagine them to be. If you told them that, guess what, your wife uses contraception, and so does your sister, and so does your daughter, and not only that, so did your mom, they'd cry "Nuh-uh!" and stick their fingers in their ears.

Which is why this is going to keep happening. Maybe Republicans can be convinced to steer clear of saying appalling things about rape, but the subject of contraception is going to keep coming up because of the Affordable Care Act's mandate that it be included in insurance plans. And every time it does, they're going to keep pushing women away. They can't help themselves.


The best part will be when women vote them out of office. We captured CA and it is a much better state. All the red states have attacked women. Vote them out in 2014 because of all the good points in this article.

Yes but can our sympathizers please stop saying "ladyparts"?

Since Mike Huckabee doesn't have 18 kids, I'm guessing his wife has used contraception throughout their marriage.

The alternate explanation is that Mr Huckabee and his wife do not enjoy sex and are horrified that other people seem to.

This is some straight-up ignorant bull crap right here! A complete turn-around of everything Huckabee said. Brainwashed fools.

Even the title is a 100% misrepresentation of what Huckabee said.
Sad you can't even get that part right.

Well that put ryfish'5 lady parts in a bunch, huh?? This is exactly why the gop believes it's the 'messaging' and not the actual message, because people like ryfish5 swallow the bait hook line and sinker.

Got a question here.

I come as someone who thinks Mike Huckabee is a doofus, fully capable of insulting virtually anyone, not just women.

That said, I do not agree with the cost of contraceptives being subsidized by government programs and therefore by taxpayers. Nothing religious about that stance; I am agnostic. Nor am I a Republican.

It just seems to me, and I suppose Huckabee would agree, this matter is outside the appropriate province of government. The question: Does my position on this automatically put me in the sexist penalty box? Am I “wrong headed” on this issue in your judgement?

First of all, there are lots of things my tax dollars subsidize that I don't agree with- bailing out banks for doing stupid things, spending trillions on useless wars, giving tax breaks to billionaires, but the thing about living in a Republic, and not a Democracy is that you elect people to spend the money for you. You don't really get to say what your dollars can pay for and can't pay for.
Furthermore, your tax dollars that subsidize contraception are such a tiny amount of the whole, that one begins to wonder where your priorities lie. The fact is, the woman's insurance company will pay far more for covering 100% of the cost of contraceptives than you will, and guess what? They're perfectly fine with that! It's far cheaper to provide contraception than to pay for the cost of having a baby.

Yes, you are wrong headed. The cost of contraceptives is NOT "being subsidized by government programs and therefore by taxpayers." Prescription contraceptives are being covered by insurance policies just like any other prescription drug dispensed by a medical doctor. Beyond that, 15-20% of women use prescription contraceptives for medical reasons other than to prevent pregnancy, Why is there no uproar about a "erectile dysfunction" mandate? We all know why - because a male-only medical treatment would NEVER be excluded from insurance policies. Once you say, "All insurance will cover every accepted medical treatment except those used exclusively by women," you are trying to control women and/or make them pay extra for being female, which is not legal. This post is about as intelligent an analysis of why Republican "moths" keep flying too close to this "flame" as any I have every read. And bravo that it was written by a man.

For the vast majority of women who use contraception, by your numbers 80 - 85%, contraception is not health care or a medical treatment. It is a health choice no different than taking vitamins or going to the gym. Therefore, it is wrongheaded to have such an open mandate when it could have been more narrowly defined. Also, the law requires health insurers to give superior coverage to contraceptives than they give to other prescription medications or medical devices, as the insurer cannot even require the same deductible and/or copayment as they can otherwise require. There is no reason that contraceptive coverage could not have been left to the free markets as has been done for ED treatments like Viagra, which has been removed from coverage for many public employees due to citizen outrage that they were required to pay them... and ED treatments are at least a treatment for a legitimate medical condition or lack of function.

As a woman, and a registered Republican (gasp, but in truth I believe in Freedom, Liberty, and the Constitution, but there is no party for that) I agree with tmott......First, its vital that we stop using the terms democrate and republican. Those terms are so far removed from todays government that they are only misleading to the younger generations, who must by now be so confused. Liberal or Conservative (I'm being kind) if you please. When, where, and why the Hell is the government so involved in our personal lives? All other subjects aside, I personally believe NO ONE has the right to tell me what to do with my body, I would hope that I was raised to be a decent enough person to know what to do with it myself. But if not, if I make a "mistake" then it is my mistake to correct. I work hard for my money and I don't believe for a second that one cent should go for birth control or abortions. Not a penny. I fully support birth control, if a person chooses to use it....then that person can pay for it. Even as easy as BC is to get and use there seems to be no decrease in the # of abortions. That makes no sense to me. One or the other should work.....we are certainly paying for both! Maybe(?) if mistakes were not so easy to fix, fewer would be made? Just a thought.

Well, if one believes that birth control that is paid for through ones insurance isn't prudent, then you must agree that supporting a child and single mother who must depend upon welfare to be the correct thing.

For every action there is a consequence. And social consequences are more far reaching than most here are realizing.

Your comment includes a false assumption. Free contraception is not subsidized. Most insurance policies are not subsidized, of course. Health insurance premiums under a relatively small percentage of policies under the ACA receive government subsidies (for lower income people) regardless of the contraception mandate. However, insurance companies want the contraception mandate because it saves them money and keeps premiums lower. Actuarily, the cost of unplanned pregnancies (to insurance companies and secondarily to the government through government subsidies) is much more than free contraception. Therefore, free contraception saves everyone money -- women, health insurers and the government. The contraception mandate is actually something that the health care industry supports as a cost saving mechanism.

If insurance companies want to cover contraception, then no mandate should be necessary. All they need to do is cover it as many already have been doing.

Obviously, svtcarboy, you are not following the debate in the public sector, where there is a lot of opposition by some companies to providing birth control in health insurance. If you are not aware of it, I strenuously advocate that you look into it. This is NOT a matter of religious choice, this is a secular health matter, and it should remain so.

Covering reliable prescription contraceptives is good medical policy. Bad medical policy is making contraception and abortion harder to get by imposing financial and political restrictions on access that don't exist is the rest of the developed world. This can be seen in WHO statistics that show the U.S. with the highest unintended pregnancy rate in the developed world and an infant and maternal mortality rate comparable to the third world in states that have these restrictions.
The Republican policy on reproductive issues is based on ignorance and lack of respect for women as autonomous individuals using religion as a fig leaf to justify it.

Brava, arlene.cayer! I couldn't say it better! I also find it implausible the these same Republicans have no issue with Viagra or the huge host of other prescription drugs available to men to get an erection so they can make their way into a vagina and release their libido... What else are they going to do with that erection? And as others in these comments have pointed out, there are many other medical issues which are directly addressed with birth control pills--the ignorance factor is huge and I suppose that their distrust of science and even empirical data is part of their problem---but we should not have to suffer or be treated differently due to their religious beliefs or puritanical values.

"What else are they going to do with that erection?"

I think they're going to whip them out on the floors of the House and Senate to show who's the manliest, just before they vote on attacking Iran and Syria.

"What else are they going to do with that erection?"

I think they're going to whip them out on the floors of the House and Senate to show who's the manliest, just before they vote on attacking Iran and Syria.

Insurance is not and has never been intended to cover every expense. Rather, it is designed to protect the policy holder from unexpected catastrophic expenses by spreading risk over a large population. If we treated auto insurance like health insurance, we would expect it to cover oil changes, which is in most cases far more important to the health of your car than contraception is to the health of a person.

After all, in the vast majority of cases, contraception is not health care, but rather a voluntary health choice like taking vitamins or going to the gym. It is not being used to treat or correct an infection, injury, or malfunction of the body. It does not protect or maintain health in this vast majority of cases. Even worse, the federal government requires contraception to receive superior coverage than far more essential medical devices, treatments, and prescriptions because there cannot be deductibles or copayments associated with contraception that can apply to a pacemaker or statin medications for cholesterol.

Coverage of contraceptives outside of active treatment for a medical condition should have been left to the free markets to offer if demanded by rate payers.

Health insurance is not like other insurance. It is intended to do more than just cover catastrophic events. It's the system through which we pay for virtually all health services - those that are "voluntary" and those that aren't.

I've had employer provided coverage virtually all my life, and for at least 20 years now the coverage has included an annual physical with no co-pay. Insurers are happy to do this. Why? Because an annual physical is great from a cost point of view: it's better to catch something early than late, both because the cost is lower AND because the likelihood of successful treatment is higher. People can still choose whether or not they want to have the physical, but the fact it is free is an indication that the system wants us to do this.

The same logic applies in the case of contraception. The only reason this is so controversial is that some people, whether it be for religious or other reasons, have problems with sex.

Besides, it WAS demanded by ratepayers. Until the ACA, virtually every health insurance plan in the country provided this, because it made sense from a policy perspective. Never heard the bishops or anyone else batting an eye about it. Even church policies provides it. Suddenly with the ACA it's a problem?

"Since Mike Huckabee doesn't have 18 kids, I'm guessing his wife has used contraception throughout their marriage."

I'm guessing she didn't need to. Seriously, would YOU have sex with Mike Huckabee any more than you absolutely had to?

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