What We're Reading This Morning -- March 19
Good morning everyone! We hope you had a great St. Patrick’s Day! It was beautiful weather here in D.C., but probably not as warm as Puerto Rico where the Republican candidates where campaigning for the twenty delegates at stake in the GOP primary. Mitt Romney cruised to a win, and will hope to do the same tomorrow as voters in the great state of Illinois head to the polls.
Here’s what we’re reading this morning…
McCain says Republicans need to stop talking contraception and give women the power of choice – “After Backing Anti-Birth Control Blunt Amendment, McCain Now Says GOP Needs To ‘Get Off’ War On Women’”—“Earlier this week, an Arizona state senate committee backed a ‘tell your boss why you’re on the pill bill’ that would allow employers to demand proof that their employees are not using birth control for contraceptive purposes before their insurance will cover the pills. In an interview on Meet The Press this morning, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) slammed this assault on working women, and even urged his fellow Republicans to finally end their lengthy war on women’s reproductive health… McCAIN: ‘I think we have to fix that. I think that there is a perception out there because of how this whole contraception issue played out — ah, we need to get off of that issue, in my view. I think we ought to respect the right of women to make choices in their lives and make that clear, and get back onto what the American people really care about.’”
Winning the women—Romney tries to woo female voters alongside his wife Ann Romney. The New York Times reports: “Romneys Court Women Put Off by Birth Control Issue” – “The Romney campaign is seeking to repair the political damage with women voters that advisers acknowledge has been inflicted by the Republican nominating fight. In February, women were evenly divided between Mr. Romney and his chief rival, Rick Santorum. But in the most recent New York Times/CBS News national poll, among Republican primary voters, 41 percent of women backed Mr. Santorum and 27 percent favored Mr. Romney. Mr. Romney is often introduced by his wife at political events, but her role has taken on greater meaning as the campaign looks ahead to independent voters, particularly women, who polls show have been put off by the candidates’ rightward shift on immigration and social issues.”
Turning women’s health into a political issue is bad politics and bad policy. The Bloomberg editorial board writes: “Anti-Contraception Battle a Loser on Policy and Politics” – “Unfortunately, conservatives in several states have seized the opportunity to inflame the controversy. The Arizona Senate is considering a bill, already passed by the state House, to give businesses the option to exclude contraceptives from health insurance coverage. In Texas, state legislators have joined Governor Rick Perry in working to defund and delegitimize family planning clinics associated with Planned Parenthood. The federal government is right to encourage access to contraception. No church is required to dispense it; no congregant is required to use it simply because health insurance policies cover it. (The majority of private insurers covered birth control services and supplies before the Obama administration’s decision.) At this point contraception’s role in American culture and public health is firmly established. Why turn it into a political pill?”
In Texas, the decision to cut funding for women’s health prompts female republican aide to resign. “Aide causes stir with resignation over women's health”—“It's not often that the resignation of a part-time legislative staffer makes a splash, but it's not often that an aide writes a letter like Allison Catalano did. Catalano, 26, went to work for state Rep. Myra Crownover, R-Denton, in August after graduating from the University of North Texas. She started as an unpaid intern and became a paid staffer. It was a promising start to what she calls her ‘first ”big girl” job after graduation.’ Then she saw something she couldn't stomach — GOP-led cuts and restrictions in family planning programs ‘announced as a victory.’ That's where her letter came in.”