The New “Anti-Choice” Movement


Written by Robert Walker, Executive Vice President, Population Institute

Thank you, Rick Santorum, for clarifying what it means today to be “anti-choice.”  Historically that label has been applied to those who would deny women the right to an abortion.  Now the whole world knows that an increasing number of social conservatives are not just anti-abortion; they are avidly anti-contraception as well.

For years, even decades now, many social conservatives have justified their opposition to family planning by linking it to abortion, but within the past year it’s been increasingly clear that they are also opposed to contraception.

When Rick Santorum said last week that he thought states should have the power to ban family planning, he wasn’t saying anything new.  He had been saying it all along; most of us just weren’t listening.  Apparently, he has always believed in the “dangers of contraception.”

If the polls can be believed, Rick Santorum’s political ascendancy is about to crash, but “pro-choice” advocates should be forever thankful to him for putting the religious right’s hostility toward contraception into full public view.

When social conservatives last year tried to shut down any federal funding for Planned Parenthood clinics, they did so under the pretense of trying to stop abortions, even though federal dollars can only pay for abortions in the case of rape or incest.  In reality, many were also hoping to cut off federal support for contraceptives, even if that also meant eliminating the other preventive health services that family planning clinics routinely provide to women.

When Rick Perry launched his presidential campaign last summer, he proudly trumpeted the fact that Texas had slashed state support for family planning clinics by two-thirds.  Not to be outdone, Mitt Romney said he would eliminate funding for Title X, which helps to provides low-income women with access to family planning and reproductive health services.

But after Santorum got kicked around in New Hampshire for suggesting that states should have the power to ban contraception, Mitt Romney quickly back pedaled.  When challenged in a weekend debate to make clear his position on giving states the authority to ban family planning, he conveniently forgot about his support for a “personhood” amendment that would effectively ban many forms of modern contraceptives, and insisted that no governor or legislator would want to do such a thing.

The question that should be posed to Romney is simply this:  What would you do as president that would have the effect of denying women access to contraceptives?  The honest answer, of course, is “a lot.”  You cannot wipe out Title X and Planned Parenthood clinics without denying a lot of women access to contraceptives.  You cannot pass a “personhood” amendment without limiting reproductive choice.

Romney and many other social conservatives do not want to make public their opposition to contraception, but Rick Santorum’s candid admission is forcing their views into the public spotlight.

Thank you, Rick.


Related Stories:

Rick Santorum’s Right to Choose

Florida Suspect Firebombed Clinic Due to “Strong Disbelief in Abortion”

Anti-Choice Group Invokes Roe V. Wade To Defend 14 Year Old’s Right to be Pregnant



William C
William C3 months ago


W. C
W. C3 months ago

Thank you.

John Kramer
John Kramer6 years ago

I wish there was a shortage of anti-choice movements. They are the real communist.

Kat Head
Katherine H6 years ago

I hate Rick Santorum. He brings a bad name to pro-lifers. Actually, he brings a bad name to humanity.

SeattleAnn S.
Ann S6 years ago

It's maximally head-up-your-ass to be anti-contraception.

Edward W.

Republican thugs want 'smaller government' so that there wont be enough resources to regulate the rich, but how many resources will be needed to regulate the poor and the middle class?

Dawn F.
Dawn F6 years ago

I really loved the comment from Sharon R- I DID NOT KNOW THAT!!! Amazing what people, ignorant-closed minded-entitled-people that is, Time has just stood still in some peoples minds. This kind of control, oppression & fear astounds me. If everybody would just concentrate on their own lives.... Everyone has the right to choose for themselves. To talk & take council from whomever they want. To have their own opinions & beliefs. You can not dictate what another person should do, can handle, accept, afford or wants..... Free thought-free will-free to choose. Laws & Religion have no place in this arena. We destroy-decimate the planet, our wild life by trying to control everything. The main reason we need so much space & are consuming all the land,resources & wilderness ( meant for all living things, not just humans ) IS OVER POPULATION!! No one person can dictate rules for the whole population. Personal choice, PRO CHOICE.

Sharon R.
Sharon R6 years ago

For those interested, the history of abortion and contraceptives got linked with eugenics when Margaret Sanger tried to push these as a means of undermining minority populations. She joined with the KKK in a racist desire to limit black population growth in particular. She hired people to talk to black ministers so they would encourage their parishioners to use contraceptives or go for abortion. By this means, they hoped to decrease the black presence in America. Unfortunately, their idea backfired when the white population embraced contraception and abortion, too.

Bruce S.
Bruce S6 years ago

For anyone wondering why I called him "Little Ricky", that's because "Big Ricky" is Big Rick Alzheimer, or, as Big Rick Perry is known in Texas as, Mr. Brainfreeze.

Bruce S.
Bruce S6 years ago

The only person Little Ricky Sanitarium speaks for is Little Ricky Sanitarium. Does ANYONE think he's for real? He was even tossed out of Pennsylvania.

He claims Newty Ging-Grinch was his idol and role model.