For decades American politics has been poisoned by the great abortion debate. Never mind that the economy is in the dumps, the national debt is spiraling out of control, the nation’s infrastructure is crumbling, health-care costs are rising (even faster with the onset of Obamacare), and each year our kids learn a little less than they did the year before. So candidates for public office better know where they stand on abortion, because they will be asked again and again. And they better not flip-flop on the issue.
Now, lo and behold, contraception has yet again surfaced as the social policy issue of the day. So, candidates for President of the United States better know where they stand. Making contraception center-most in the campaign for president in 2012 is like making a black-and-white, silent movie in the twenty-first century: Who would guess that it would win the Oscar for best picture? And who would guess that forty-seven years after Griswold v. Connecticut, contraception would make a return to the silver screen of national politics.
Before candidate Rick Santorum resurrected the long moribund topic of the acceptability of contraception, the question du jour was whether the Obama administration’s newly promulgated rule on the provision of contraception services violates religious freedom or supports the freedom of women to control their reproductive lives. Now the question is whether the government has a role in regulating contraception. The response to that question should be: “You’ve got to be kidding! Of course there is no role for government.” But given that the question is now on the front page of every paper in the land, perhaps we can make some lemonade from this lemon.