The Democrats' Biggest Lie
There are white lies. There are ordinary lies. There are big lies. And then there are lies that are so huge that it is difficult for a rational person to believe that such a lie has been attempted. The left's talking points about the GOP, contraception, and women in America in the year 2012 are based on the biggest[i] lie of our century: the GOP is attempting to ban contraception in America.
This lie cannot stand examination. The left lies about Social Security reform, unemployment numbers, the state of the economy, global warming, etc. The list is long. The script is methodical and boring. The politicians who deliver the lines of that script are boorish. But the assertion that the GOP is attempting to deny women contraception at the state level is so absurd and so heinous that the Party must not be silent. It must not sit quietly or offer up tepid rebuttals. The GOP must respond loudly and rationally. It must do so now.
Before we examine the reasons why this lie is blatantly egregious, let's look at one instance of the peddling of this pernicious propaganda. The example chosen is a recent press release from KCBS -- the CBS affiliate in San Francisco. The title of the release is "Women's Health Forum At SFSU Focuses On Access To Contraceptives." [Emphasis added.] Here is the opening paragraph:
SAN FRANCISCO - A women's health forum held Thursday at San Francisco State University focused on the timely topic of access to contraceptives. Advocates equated the recent debates on the issue to watching a battle won 50 years ago being waged again. [Emphases added.]
This is propaganda as defined and practiced by Joseph Goebbels. (The numbers that follow are from Leonard Doob's numeration of Goebbels' propaganda methods. Doob's system has become something of a standard for monitoring and explaining propaganda. The system and Doob's rationale for creating that system are here. An abbreviated version is here.)
 "Propaganda must evoke the interest of an audience and must be transmitted through an attention-getting communications medium." The conference was held in a leftist university setting before a group of concerned women -- an audience predisposed to trust the word of the speakers. The event received radio (and other media) coverage.
 "Credibility alone must determine whether propaganda output should be true or false." The reporter defined access to contraception as a "timely topic." Thus, giving the false premise of the story credibility. The "news" was tainted and biased from the first sentence of the story. (As we saw above, even the title of the release was biased.) In the second line the reporter attempts to establish her objectivity by distancing herself from the "advocates." Yet it is crystal-clear that the reporter has chosen to report as factual a fabricated issue.
 "Propaganda may be facilitated by leaders with prestige." This press release was posted on the website of Democrat Congresswoman Jackie Speier -- one of the speakers at this conference. With the requisite rhetorical vagueness practiced by the members of Congress who can only be described as subversive -- rather than progressive -- Congresswoman Speier couched her remarks to those assembled this way:
There have been 1,100 bills introduced across this country to reduce sources for women as it relates to their health. And 80[ii] of them have been signed into law. This is an unprecedented assault on women's health and the status of women in this country. [Emphases added.]
Only one part of this sweeping accusation is in some sense true. There probably are 1,100 bills that address, and possibly impact, funding for health issues -- whether it be health issues for all adults (e.g., Medicaid) or health issues limited to women. It would be surprising if this were not the case.
When I was chairman of the Health and Welfare Committee in the Idaho State Senate, our committee handled at least twenty of what could be called "women's health care" proposals each session. (E.g., almost every Medicaid bill contained some verbiage about women's health care.) About 25% of the proposals made it to the floor for a vote, and perhaps 5% (probably less) became laws as originally written.
States with larger populations usually see more of these bills. An average of only 22 bills per state equals 1,100 bills. If anything, the congresswoman has lowballed the numbers of bills that, in some fashion, touch on women's health concerns. Most states are cutting, and some have already cut, budgets in many areas that receive state financing -- certainly not just programs that affect "women's health." Speier's express thesis, that the states are "reducing sources" for women's health programs, is not a GOP plot or even a shift in the GOP's political ideology -- it is economic survival. And, one hopes, economic survival is not a province solely of Republicans.
More important, if a controversial bill (on a women's health issue -- e.g., abortion) was introduced in our committee, this guaranteed that the opposition of that bill would have a counter-proposal, and so would those seeking middle ground. Some of those groups would split and propose other bills, etc. We might see five proposals on abortion from several different angles in a single year. And the House of Representatives had a different set of competing proposals! Yet I never saw a bill limiting, let alone banning, contraception for adults. And as chairman of the germane committee, I saw every bill that dealt with the issue of contraception. I'll explain why there was no such legislation in a moment.
The expected nonspecific insinuations are there in Speier's speech. The congresswoman said nothing and made it sound like something. Truth is used when convenient. The message broadcast from the conference was this: there is an avalanche of legislation concerning women's health care (true -- because it is true every year for all health issues) that is turning back the clock (false) by denying women contraception (false).
In this propaganda, the last clause is true only if "contraception" is universally redefined as "women's health issues." In other words, "reduced access to contraception" means "reduction in any women's health program." And that is the switch in the press release. Speier doesn't say that 1,100 bills reducing or banning contraception have been introduced. She said, "There have been 1,100 bills introduced ... to reduce sources for women as it [sic] relates to their health." The title of the piece -- as it appears on her website -- uses the word "contraception." Before she is quoted in the piece, the topic is explicitly stated to be contraception. The congresswoman said "reduced sources." Which sources? The logical and emotional conclusion is: contraceptive sources.
[14a] "Propaganda must be boomerang-proof." If the opposition can be confused about the definition of the terms, that opposition can provide no rational rebuttal; there is no "blowback" to the proponent. That's why "contraception" must no longer be limited to preventing pregnancies, but rather broadened to all "women's health issues." The overreaching generalities in this press release were put there on purpose. The congresswoman cannot be accused of claiming that these 1,100 bills will reduce or ban contraception. She doesn't say it -- the media does the dirty work for her.
As Goebbels also taught [16a], "[p]ropaganda must reinforce anxiety concerning the consequences of defeat." The women who left the conference, or who read the press release, have been purposely deceived. They have, in effect, been told that there are 1,100 Republican-sponsored bills destined to take away their contraception. This is a lie. The lie is cloaked in unconscionable dissimulation. The dissimulation drives the propaganda.
Proving that the GOP cannot limit access to contraception at the state level is easy. Unlike the left, I will define my terms. "Contraception: (noun) the deliberate use of artificial methods or other techniques to prevent pregnancy as a consequence of sexual intercourse." [Emphasis added.]
Let's go one step further. Contraception is from two Latin words. "Contra" = "against," and "ception" = a shortened form of "conception." This confirms the common usage and definition of the term "contraception." By definition, and according to the etymology, contraception is something that is used before conception. As a contrast, abortion, by definition, cannot be contraception.
On the issue of state control of contraception, women have nothing to fear. It has long been unconstitutional for any state to prohibit access to contraceptive methods, techniques, or devices when used by adults.
Here is why. In the early 1960s, a married Connecticut couple went to their local Planned Parenthood office and asked for advice about abortion. They received a prescription for contraceptives. At that time, Connecticut had a state law that prohibited the use of contraceptives. In 1965 the Supreme Court, in Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, held the Connecticut law unconstitutional [iii].
No state can prohibit the sale of contraceptives. This should be the end of the argument; everything written either asserting or implying that the GOP can or will ban contraceptives is a lie. For once, just once, the GOP should stand up and, with every resource available to the Party, expose this propaganda and the politicians pitching it for what it is...a lie coming from liars.
Larrey Anderson is a writer, a philosopher, and senior editor for American Thinker. He is the author of the award-winning novel The Order of the Beloved and the memoir Underground. He is working on a new book, The Death of Culture.
[i] The contraceptive lie is "bigger" than the AGW myth because the contraceptive lie is blatant and patent.
[ii] For the most part, the 80 bills that have passed are attempts to prevent financing the sexual conveniences of some people with the money of other people. These bills deal with insurance and/or state payments, in the form of transfers from one party to another, for various aspects of birth control and abortion. (The left's talking point exception is an Arizona bill that limits late-term abortions. Seven other legislatures have passed similar bills in the last two years.)
[iii] I do not agree with the logic that the Court used to reach its finding. I do agree with the outcome. The arguments in Griswold are tortured and contorted, to say the least. The Court should have relied on the Fifth Amendment: "No person shall ... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process." If anything qualifies as "property," it is a person's body. And we have the liberty to use that property. All (sane) adults offer or accept legal contracts for the use of their bodies. It happens all the time. Two examples: (A) A person hired for a job contracts with another person for the some type of use of his or her body and mind. Marriage, at least according to the law and longstanding legal tradition, is a contract for the shared use of the married parties' bodies. (See Blackstone's Commentaries, Book 1, Chapter 15, Section 1. This famous legal commentary was written just before our Revolutionary War.) This right of the person, when viewed as property, like any right, is not unlimited. Some of my objections to Griswold, and a brief positive argument for another approach, are here.