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Mitt Romney's Plan to Woo Female Voters: Pretend Women Are Very Stupid

Romney seems to assume that women don't care about sexual rights. But reproductive issues impact almost all women.

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Of course, just because the contraception issue is primarily an economic issue doesn’t mean that the Republican assumption that sexual liberty isn’t a “real” issue is right. Romney and his mouthpieces condescendingly wave off the argument that women care about contraception in part to make it sound like only silly and inconsequential people care about having access to a healthy and happy sex life.

In the real world, far more than sex positive activists believe that only those who can pay out of pocket for escalating contraception costs deserve to have normal sex lives. Most voters have sex, and many of them have it on a fairly regular basis. To hear right-wing pundits talk about contraception, you’d think that people who need it because they have sex a couple of times a week are sex-crazed monsters. In reality, they’re pretty normal. Having sex on a regular basis is as American as watching TV or drinking cheap beer. If you tried to take those things away from Americans — or at least insist that they should be affordable only to the well-off — you’d hit a massive wall of resistance from voters, both male and female. So why should sex be any different?

Most insultingly, the claim that female voters don’t care about contraception, because they’re worried about jobs assumes that women are too stupid to care about any more than one issue at a time. Women can, in fact, both worry about high unemployment while being annoyed that right-wing politicians consider contraception “slut pills” instead of a normal part of health care. In fact, since the issues are related — a politician who cares about making sure women can afford contraceptive care is more likely to care about making sure women have employment opportunities — concerns about these two issues fit neatly together. What female voters have learned from the recent debacles over contraception coverage and Planned Parenthood’s funding is not just that Republicans have serious problems with female sexuality, but also that they don’t care if women have economically stable lives with affordable health care. We can make the leap from there to realizing they probably don’t care if we have good jobs, either. Suggesting that we’re too stupid to make connections like that isn’t exactly the best way to win over female voters who are already suspicious that Republicans have a problem with women.

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