Mike Huckabee lit up the blogosphere today with one of his carefully crafted provocative lines.
It sounded an awful lot like he said women wanted government-sponsored birth control because they couldn’t control their libidos
His actual statement was more nuanced and conservative websites and his political consultant daughter leapt to his defense. He deserved none. Read what he told a Republican group in full from the conservative National Review:
“Our party stands for the recognition of the equality of women and the capacity of women. That’s not a war on them, it’s a war for them. 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 the 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.”
Read carefully, See Huckabee claims it’s not him who thinks women are a bunch of sluts who want free birth control from “Uncle Sugar” so they can copulate like bunnies. It’s the Democrats who think that and promise free pills and rubbers to lure the votes of women they view as sexually crazed. Except that, of course, no Democrat ever said such a thing.
What Huckabee has said clearly articulates his view. He has said there’s no need for government family planning services because women are capable of preventing pregnancy if only they’d hold a pencil between their knees at all times. In the real world, where most women live, sex is a fact of adult life. Comprehensive family planning, which some women can’t afford and which some Republicans are determined to keep out of health insurance coverage on religious grounds, can prevent unwanted pregnancies and thus abortions. It can provide for solid and productive families.
I don’t buy those who say Mike Huckabee was misquoted by those criticizing him. His feelings are clear. He doesn’t want government or insurance customers helping women have birth control pills. Why should they? Because it’s unnecessary. If only women who wanted it weren’t such nymphos. At least the ones who vote Democratic.
Huck’s insensitivity gave Democratic campaign organizations an opportunity to link Huckabee with Senate candidate Tom Cotton, whose extreme views include personhood of the fertilized egg, which would prohibit the morning-after pill; opposition to the violence against women act; religious opt-outs for insurance coverage of family planning, and opposition to health and welfare programs of immense importance to women. The record of Republican insensitivity to women is long. And growing:
DSCC NEWS RELEASE
According to Mike Huckabee, birth control is only something for women who “cannot control their libido.” While Huckabee’s comments are obviously offensive to all women, his positions on women’s issues, shared with Republican Senate candidate Tom Cotton, are even more dangerous for women in Arkansas and across the country.
Today, Mike Huckabee said that Democrats tell women “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 the government.”
Huckabee’s positions on women’s issues are equally as offensive and extreme: he is one of the strongest supporters of “personhood” legislation, has claimed that “most” single moms “would rather be married and have a nice ‘Leave It To Beaver’ home,” endorsed a Baptist church statement saying that women should “graciously submit” to their husbands, and as governor directed the Medicaid office to deny payment for an abortion for a 15-year-old teenager who had been raped by her stepfather.
Tom Cotton’s offensive and dangerous views on women’s issues mirror Huckabee’s. Earlier this year, Cotton threw his support behind dangerous so-called “personhood” legislation, an extreme measure pushed by the far right that would define life as beginning at the moment of fertilization, making some commonly-used types of birth control illegal. Specifically, it could outlaw some oral contraceptives, emergency contraceptives, intrauterine devices, and make it nearly impossible for doctors to perform in vitro fertilization.
“Tom Cotton and Mike Huckabee’s attack on women’s health care rights is dangerous for women in Arkansas and across the country,” said Regan Page, a spokeswoman at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “In Tom Cotton and Mike Huckabee’s world birth control is only something for women who ‘cannot control their libido’ and if they had their way, women could lose access to commonly-used forms of birth control. It’s a shame Republicans like Cotton and Huckabee want to push divisive social issues that would roll back women’s health care rights instead of focusing on growing the economy and creating jobs.”
Since the so-called Republican rebrand, countless GOP Senate candidates like Tom Cotton have alienated women by making offensive comments, supporting policy positions that are harmful to women, and refusing to abandon their all-consuming focus on divisive social issues. Furthermore, Republicans have resorted to holding training classes to teach their candidates how to “improve [their] pitch to women voters.” Today more than ever, it’s clear the GOP rebrand and effort to become more appealing to women has failed.
Cotton Co-Sponsored A Bill To Declare That Constitutional Rights Take Effect At The Moment Of Fertilization. In January 2014, Cotton co-sponsored H.R. 1091: “Life at Conception Act – Declares that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being beginning at the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual comes into being. Prohibits construing this Act to authorize the prosecution of any woman for the death of her unborn child.” [Library of Congress, H.R. 1091, introduced 3/12/13, co-sponsored 1/8/14]
The Life At Conception Act Legislatively Establishes Personhood. According to Pro-Life Alliance, the Life at Conception Act “provides basis for protection of all unborn by legislatively establishing personhood.” [Pro-Life Alliance, accessed 1/9/14]
Defining Fertilized Eggs As “Persons” Under The Law Would “Outlaw Common Methods Of Birth Control,” Including The Birth Control Pill And Plan B. According to Live Science, “On Tuesday (Nov. 8), Mississippi voters will decide whether fertilized eggs qualify as ‘persons’ under the law from the moment when sperm and egg meet. But while the law is designed to challenge Roe v. Wade and outlaw abortion, doctors say that the wording is also likely to outlaw common methods of birth control, including the birth control pill. That’s because some of those methods may work, in part at least, by making the uterus inhospitable to implantation by an fertilized egg, said Pittsburgh family physician Deborah Gilboa. That could mean that some eggs become fertilized and are flushed out in women taking a birth control pill, using an intrauterine device (IUD) or taking ‘Plan B,’ the morning-after pill.” [LiveScience, 11/7/13]
Headline: Huckabee To Akin: ‘Horrible’ Rapes Created Some Extraordinary People. [LA Times, 8/20/12]
Huckabee: Horrible Rapes Have Created Extraordinary People. “The man trying to provide Rep. Todd Akin the softest possible landing after the congressman’s foolish comments about pregnancy and rape was former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a strong supporter of Akin during his run to represent Missouri in the U.S. Senate. In the furor over Akin’s remarks and increasing pressure for him to drop out of his race against Sen. Claire McCaskill, Huckabee used his syndicated radio program Monday to give the embattled candidate a safe venue to express remorse and his determination to remain in the race. Huckabee also took the opportunity to cast the best possible light on Akin’s awkward position. The former Arkansas governor and onetime GOP presidential contender suggested a couple of cases in which he suggested that rapes, though ‘horrible tragedies,’ had produced admirable human beings.” [LA Times, 8/20/12]
Janet Huckabee: “Women Are Really On Fire For Todd Akin…They Want Todd Akin To Be Their Senator.” As her husband Mike Huckabee has emerged as one of Todd Akin’s biggest boosters, Janet Huckabee is now hitting the campaign trail along with the Duggar family for Akin, whose campaign has been unraveling after he said survivors of “legitimate rape” rarely become pregnant as a result. She told conservative radio show host Janet Mefferd, who noted before the broadcast that “portions of The Janet Mefferd Show are sponsored by the Todd Akin for U.S. Senate campaign,” that “women are really on fire for Todd Akin” and “women know what they want and right now I think they want Todd Akin to be their Senator.” [Right Wing Watch, 10/17/12]
Huckabee Called “No-Fault Divorce Laws” A “Government Subsidy” That Makes It “Easier And Easier For People To Walk Away From A Marriage Because They Had A Bad Weekend.” In a radio interview with Scott Hennen, Huckabee said, “If you have no-fault divorce laws that make it easier to get out of your marriage than it is to get out of a contract to purchase a new car, you are encouraging — you are actually making it a government subsidy, so that it becomes easier and easier for people to walk away from a marriage because they had a bad weekend.” [The Scott Hennen Show/ WZFG-AM, 3/14/11, audio available]
Huckabee Claimed That “Most” Single Moms “Would Rather Be Married And Have A Nice ‘Leave It To Beaver’ Home.” In a radio interview with Paul W. Smith, Huckabee said, “If you want to make a case that unwed motherhood is a wonderful thing for America and for our economy, knock yourself out. But the facts show otherwise… [and] there are some incredibly hardworking single moms out there. This is not an attack on single motherhood. Because most of those women would rather be married and have a nice ‘Leave it to Beaver’ home.” [Paul W. Smith Show, WJR 760 AM radio, 3/10/11, audio available]
Huckabee Slammed Natalie Portman For Being Pregnant Out Of Wedlock. Huckabee said, “You know Michael, one of the things that’s troubling is that people see a Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlet who boasts of, ‘Hey look, you know, we’re having children, we’re not married, but we’re having these children, and they’re doing just fine.’ But there aren’t really a lot of single moms out there who are making millions of dollars every year for being in a movie. And I think it gives a distorted image that yes, not everybody hires nannies, and caretakers, and nurses.” [Michael Medved Show, 2/28/11]
Huckabee Endorsed A Baptist Church Statement That Said Women Should “Graciously Submit” To Their Husbands. “White House hopeful Mike Huckabee is under fire again in the GOP holy war – this time for endorsing a Baptist church statement years ago saying that women should “graciously submit” to their husbands. The Baptist preacher and ex-Arkansas governor signed a full-page ad in USA Today in 1998 with 129 other evangelical leaders. His wife, Janet, also endorsed it. “A wife is to submit graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ,” the Southern Baptist Convention says in its statement of faith.” [New York Post, 12/14/07]
Huckabee Supported And Hired Lawyer Who Said Wife Should “Subordinate Herself to Her Husband” And Rape Victims Rarely Got Pregnant. Lawyer Leon Holmes of Little Rock was sworn in as a federal judge by a 51-46 Senate vote. He was the first district judge nominee to go the Senate floor without a committee recommendation in 52 years. Holmes apologized for writing in 1980 that rape victims rarely get pregnant, but has said his 1997 comparison of the Catholic Church’s subservient relationship with Jesus Christ to a wife’s duties to her husband was unfairly taken out of context. In an article he co-authored with his wife, he said a wife has an obligation “to subordinate herself to her husband” and “to place herself under the authority of the man.” Mike Huckabee, a Republican who hired Holmes to advocate for broader school consolidation in the school funding case before the state Supreme Court in his last case as a trial lawyer, said Holmes “will not let politics be a part his decisions but will judge according to the law.” [Associated Press, 8/9/04]
Huckabee “Directed The [Arkansas] Medicaid Office To Deny Payment For An Abortion For A 15-Year-Old Teenager Who Had Been Raped By Her Stepfather.” “Days after he became governor he directed the Medicaid office to deny payment for an abortion for a 15-year-old teenager who had been raped by her stepfather on the ground that Amendment 68 to the Arkansas Constitution permitted public funds to pay for abortions only when the mother’s life was in danger. The amendment conflicted with federal law and Huckabee’s action threatened the whole Medicaid program. He worked out an agreement with the Clinton White House for private arrangements to fund such abortions and keep Medicaid flowing.” [Arkansas Times, 12/21/06]