Republicans continue to campaign hard on the issue of access to contraception and are trying to use the recent controversy with the Catholic church to suggest two pro-choice Democratic women are out of touch with their constituents.
In Wisconsin, the National Republican Senatorial Committee launched a radio ad targeting Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) calling the Affordable Care Act contraception rule the “Obama-Baldwin law.”
The ad plays like this: “First, they took over the banks, then they put government in charge of our health care,” says the female narrator. “Now, what are liberals Barack Obama and Tammy Baldwin focused on? Regulating the Catholic Church. Obama and Baldwin want to force the Catholic Church and Americans of faith to abandon tenets of their religion, mandating that the church pay for medical procedures and drugs that go against their beliefs.” “And if the church won’t comply?” the ad continues. “The Obama-Baldwin law punishes them, forcing them to pay fines and penalties just for doing what they believe is right. It’s a direct attack on religious freedom.”
In Missouri the state Republican Party is going after Sen. Claire McCaskill with an almost identical ad attacking the “Obama-McCaskill law.”
Republicans are desperately trying to wedge Catholics and contraception, despite the fact that most Americans, and most Catholics, side with the administration on its approach. The public was with the administration even before the Obama administration announced an accommodation that makes it possible for religious employers to opt out of providing insurance coverage for birth control while guaranteeing women’s fundamental right to be free from discrimination in the delivery of health care services.
If these ads are any indication, a woman’s right to access safe, affordable health care is going to remain a central issue in the 2012 election making it clear that for the right this battle was never about religious freedom and always about restricting women’s rights.
Photo from Tammy Baldwin for U.S. Senate