2012/02/18

The "joke" from Rick Santorum's funder

Okay, okay, after pondering the question for a bit, I now understand that Rick Santorum's billionaire funder who suggested that women could simply place as aspirin between their legs as a method of contraception was joking and that he was suggesting pure abstinence as a way to make any real form of contraception irrelevant. The reason that literal-minded people like myself said “I don't get it. What's the joke?” is that abstinence-only educational programs have proven to be utterly ineffective in delaying sexual intercourse among adolescents.

Santorum said on February 17th that: "I've also supported abstinence-based education, because I believe that is a healthier alternative. I have been a very strong promoter of that.” The study I provided a link to above agrees that abstinence is the first best strategy for preventing not just pregnancy, but a host of other complications. Problem is, it is by no means sufficient all by itself to really accomplish much of anything. The Federal Government has been providing funding for abstinence-only programs since 1982 and has spent many tens of millions of dollars on it per year. All that money though, is money that might as well have been tossed down the sewer or dumped into a landfill for all the good it did.

Santorum's angry reaction, that "It was a bad joke. It was a stupid joke. It is not reflective of me or my record on this issue," may be entirely true, but as Foster Friess provides a very major chunk of Santorum's campaign funding, it's hardly irrelevant what the 71-year-old billionaire thinks.

Update: In the video conversation with Lawrence O'Donnell, Foster Friess tries to compare Roman Catholic hospitals being made to provide abortions and other pregnancy-related services to female patients and a Muslim-owned restaurant being forced to provide pork to its customers. Problem: Pregnancy-related services are a great deal more difficult to obtain than pork and are a great deal more expensive. Let's say a woman is taken to an emergency room after being raped. She knows that the rapist climaxed while inside of her and that the calendar says it's "that time of the month." If the hospital does not promptly provide birth control services, she could very well end up pregnant. Yes, in theory, in a perfect world where everybody is completely mindful and perfectly capable and has the necessary money, she could shop around by telephone and get herself transferred to another hospital where that service would be taken care of, but why on earth would people force a rape victim to jump through those kinds of hoops? Sorry, but if Catholic hospitals don't wish to provide those services, they shouldn't be in the hospital business to start with.

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