Rick Santorum’s War on Pornography Stirs Up the Same Tired Arguments

Rick Santorum’s crusade to save America from the pandemic of pornography may seem like an out-of-the-blue call to action against smut—the kind of campaign rhetoric that supplies comedians and late-night talk-show hosts with good material—but for the last 40 years my family has lived this culture war. In the 1970s my father was prosecuted by the federal government for distributing Deep Throat, and today owns adult erotic retail stores. Read my full article.

Retro Birth Control Debate

All this retro 70s style debate about access to birth control is like stepping back in time. Didn’t we already decide 40 years ago women should freely determine their reproductive fate? Everyone’s entitled to their opinion but it’s archaic for Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum to believe birth control is harmful for women. Even more insulting is his PAC donor, Foster Friess, eluding to that “back in the day” philosophy that an aspirin in between a woman’s knees is a cost effective form of contraception. Rush Limbaugh became the star creep when he called Georgetown Law student, Sandra Fluke, a slut for speaking out about birth control coverage provided by religious institutions at a Congressional hearing.

My book topic often leads my writing group to discuss sex and women’s issues. And in the context of today’s conversation about contraception, I wanted to share a comment made by a fellow member some time ago before all this recent news coverage. She said, “I’d rather have little girls looking like teens and learning about sex too early than teenagers looking like good little girls and being clueless about sex.” Although we don’t want to see our daughters and granddaughters grow-up too soon, we know from past history that an atmosphere of moral judgment and silence about sexuality leaves women easily ostracized for premarital sex or pregnancy. As you know these comments by Limbaugh and others are reflective of an attempt to ostracize women and marginalize an important women’s health issue.

Recent events illustrate that some attitudes haven’t changed much since the 1970s and that people still believe a widely held misconception that women who have sex outside of marriage are sluts or whores without morals. This attack is a common tactic used to degrade women and harm their credibility in an effort to demean their message.  But today women hold more power, money and influence to fight back and will never be quiet on issues that affect our freedoms and rights.  This upcoming election, watch as women vote overwhelming Democratic and Republicans spend the months leading up to November faltering under the weight of their bad press.  While the aforementioned men seem to pine for the good old days, we will remind them (yet again) that the days of chastity belts are long gone. 

I also want to acknowledge how porn has been influential in spurring conversations and debates about sex and women’s sexuality. When porn became widely available in neighborhood movie theaters and Deep Throat arrived on the scene in 1972, it created awareness about equal sexual pleasure and increased the demand for birth control which was becoming more widely used at the time.  I don’t think women would have won as many hard fought battles for reproductive freedoms and taken such an active role in controlling when they have children, if it had not been for the influence of porn that shaped our opinions about sex at a critical time.

Today sex and porn are still popular and a part of our culture so we should talk about these issues without reverting back to some dangerous views that will limit choices for women. Let’s hope religious organizations will take a broader view about providing contraception coverage and realize a person can freely practice their religion but their religious convictions shouldn’t be forced on to anyone else.

Porn has a place in our society —at least that is what I think. I would like to hear from you on his topic so please answer this quick poll on my blog. It will only take a minute.  Thanks!

Recent Debate Over Contraception Comes as GOP Loses Gains Among Women

Contraception Debate Drowns Out Budget Talk

Rush Limbaugh: Sandra Fluke, Woman Denied Right To Speak At Contraception Hearing, A ‘Slut’

Rush Limbaugh On Sandra Fluke, Obama Call: Having ‘So Much Sex’; Parents Should Be ‘Embarrassed’

Virginia Senate passes bill requiring noninvasive ultrasound exams for women seeking abortions

Va. Senator to Kill Amended Bill on Pre-Abortion Ultrasounds

Did Obama Administration Pick a Fight on Birth Control Deliberately?

House Democrats Hold Birth Control Hearing WithThemselves

Santorum’s Top Super PAC Donor Suggests Women Should Use Aspirin For Contraception

Rick Santorum Declared Contraception ‘Harmful to Women’ in 2006