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Contraception: Huckabee’s ‘libido’ argument

Mike Huckabee accused Democrats of trying to bribe women for their votes by offering them free contraception through the Affordable Care Act.

Mike Huckabee needs to get it through his thick conservative skull, said Sandra Fluke in Newsweek. Contraception is a medical and economic necessity for women, not a response to “an overactive libido.” Huckabee, a past and future Republican presidential hopeful from Arkansas, last week accused Democrats of trying to bribe women for their votes by offering them free contraception through the Affordable Care Act. Democrats, he said, are trying to convince women that “they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of government.” Nutty stuff, but this is how far to the right Republicans have veered, said Gail Collins in The New York Times. The entire party is now hostage to social-conservative extremists who not only want to ban abortion, but also want to curtail access “to any form of artificial birth control, even for married couples.” Now, there’s a winning platform: “Target all the voters who waited until they were married and then practiced the rhythm method.”

Liberals are totally distorting what Huckabee meant, said Charles C.W. Cooke in NationalReview.com. Huckabee’s actual argument was that women are too smart to fall for the phony “war on women,” and that it’s the Democrats, not Republicans, who think women have such raging libidos that they need government-guaranteed, free birth control. In other words, he said the opposite of what he’s now being accused of saying. “Yes, it was unwise for Huckabee to use the words he did,” given that it was inevitable liberals would twist them to conform to their “war on women” narrative. But does that mean no Republican male can discuss reproductive issues without being demonized as a misogynist?

Huckabee has only himself to blame, said Kathleen Parker in The Washington Post. By using words like “libido” and “helpless,” he only served to remind women of conservative icon Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke “a slut” for advocating contraceptive coverage. Huckabee and other social conservatives cannot seem to talk about sex, contraception, and women’s bodies without implying they’re dirty and even frightening, thus reminding women “why they don’t want to associate with this crowd.” Calling Dr. Freud: “Why do these men concern themselves so much with what women do with their, ahem, ‘reproductive systems’?”

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