Monday, February 26, 2024

Republican Opposition to Birth Control Bill Could Alienate Voters, Poll Finds. (NY Times)

195 Dull Republicans in Congress voted against your right to contraception.  Vote them out!  From The New York Times:

Republican Opposition to Birth Control Bill Could Alienate Voters, Poll Finds

A survey conducted by Americans for Contraception shows the overwhelming popularity of birth control, and suggests voters are primed to punish Republicans for opposing a measure to protect access to it.

A sheet of birth control pills being held with two hands.
Many Americans across the political spectrum believe that access to birth control is actively at risk.Credit...Hannah Yoon for The New York Times
A sheet of birth control pills being held with two hands.

Reporting from Washington

One month after the Supreme Court struck down the right to an abortion, Democrats who then controlled the House pushed through a bill aimed to ensure access to contraception nationwide. All but eight Republicans opposed it.

That vote two years ago, opposing legislation that would protect the right to purchase and use contraception without government restriction, may come back to haunt Republicans in November, as they seek to keep hold of their slim majority at a time when real fears about reproductive rights threaten to drive voters away from them.

The risks they face became glaringly clear last week, after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos should be considered children. In response, a stampede of Republicans in Congress have rushed to voice their support for in vitro fertilization treatment — even though they have supported legislation that could severely curtail or even outlaw aspects of the procedure.

A new national poll conducted by Americans for Contraception and obtained by The New York Times found that most voters across the political spectrum believe their access to birth control is actively at risk, and that 80 percent of voters said that protecting access to contraception was “deeply important” to them. Even among Republican voters, 72 percent said they had a favorable view of birth control.

When voters were told that 195 House Republicans had voted against the Right to Contraception Act, 64 percent of them said they would be less likely to support Republican candidates for Congress, according to the poll. And overall, the issue of protecting access to contraception bolstered voters’ preference for Democrats by nine points, giving them a 12-point edge over Republicans, up from three.

The survey found that birth control access was especially motivating to critical groups in the Democratic coalition, including Black voters and young people, who are currently less enthusiastic about the election.

Pollsters said the shift in overall party preference — known as the generic ballot — was notable, particularly by such a large margin.

“It’s really hard to move a generic ballot because parties are branded,” said Molly Murphy, the president of Impact Research, which conducted the poll. “You can move numbers on named candidates, but people generally think they know the parties. It’s hard to change that perception.”

While the survey, conducted in early February, did not contain questions about I.V.F., its findings may help explain why so many Republicans have distanced themselves from a voting record that promotes policies that could put such procedures at risk.

Speaker Mike Johnson, for instance, added his voice on Friday night to the growing chorus of Republicans claiming they support in vitro fertilization treatments. But like many of the other House Republicans now saying they back unrestricted I.V.F., Mr. Johnson is a co-sponsor of the Life at Conception Act, which would recognize a fertilized egg as a person with equal protections under the 14th Amendment.

Speaker Mike Johnson in the Capitol wearing a dark suit and red tie surrounded by aides and others.
Speaker Mike Johnson said on Friday that he supported I.V.F., despite being a co-sponsor of a bill that would recognize a fertilized egg as a person.Credit...Haiyun Jiang for The New York Times
Speaker Mike Johnson in the Capitol wearing a dark suit and red tie surrounded by aides and others.

The bill states that the term “human being” includes “all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization,” and does not include any exceptions for I.V.F. and fertility treatments. If enacted, that could severely restrict I.V.F. treatments, which typically involve the creation of several embryos, only one of which is implanted while the others are frozen to allow for subsequent attempts at a successful implantation.

It is the latest bit of politically rocky terrain that Republicans have had to walk on issues of reproductive health since the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which has made real to voters the threat that other rights could be next to go. According to the new poll, three out of five voters living in states where abortion has been banned or restricted said they were concerned that contraception is next.

Ms. Murphy said Republicans’ reaction to the Alabama ruling indicated that they know they have a political crisis on their hands.  “The reason they’re having to come out against this is because they know that it isn’t plausible for voters to believe it was just a court in Alabama, but more of a representation of what this entire party stands for,” Ms. Murphy said. “If they thought this was an outlier ruling from a rogue court in the South and they didn’t have to say anything, they wouldn’t be saying anything. This is damage control.”

It will be the second national election cycle in which Republicans face a bind of their own making as they try to reconcile their party’s hard-line policies on women’s health — based on a fealty to a conservative religious doctrine — with a vast majority of the country that now views the issue differently.

A majority of voters support the Right to Contraception Act across party, racial and gender lines, according to the poll. About 94 percent of Democrats support it, and 68 percent of Republican voters favor it.

But when the proposal came before the House, Republicans balked. Many of them claimed that they supported contraception in practice but considered the bill a gateway to allowing abortion. They argued that the bill’s definition of contraceptives could be interpreted to include pills that induce abortion.

“The Republican Party has so underestimated the way the country has changed,” said Karen Finney, a longtime abortion rights activist. “This is part of the deal they made with very far-right conservatives who are unbending on these issues. There are Republicans who recognize the damage it could do to their base of support if they were to modify in any direction.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

GOP swirling the toilet.
Catering to the extreme
religious whackos.