"Out of Touch": Scott Walker's Long Crusade Against Birth Control

Sep 03, 2014

As women are calling his Republican Party “out of touch,” “intolerant,” “stuck in the past,” and “lacking in compassion,” Scott Walker continues to oppose access to birth control — even as 99 percent of women will use birth control in their lives. [1]
In his first budget, Walker unsuccessfully attempted to repeal Wisconsin’s Contraceptive Equity law that requires employers to cover birth control in the same way as other prescriptions and preventive care.

Walker’s opposition to birth control is nothing new. In 1998, then-Rep. Scott Walker co-authored a bill that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks, even in cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s health was in jeopardy, with a penalty of life imprisonment for physicians who performed the procedure. The bill also defined a “child” as the fetus “from the time of fertilization until it is completely delivered” — the same kind of language used more than a decade later in Republican attempts to pass so-called “personhood” legislation that bans not only abortions but many common forms of birth control and fertility treatments.

And in 1998, 1999 and 2001, Walker was the lead author of a Wisconsin Right to Life bill known as the “conscience bill” which allowed doctors and pharmacists to refuse to prescribe and dispense birth control.

“Instead of avoiding the issue yet again, Scott Walker needs to finally explain his opposition to birth control. Its been decades since access to birth control and family planning was even a remotely controversial issue, so its easy to understand why women think Walker’s Republican Party is ‘stuck in the past,’” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Communications Director Melissa Baldauff said Thursday. ‘Walker is already underwater in the latest polls, trailing Mary Burke among likely voters, because of his massive failure on jobs that dropped Wisconsin to dead last in the Midwest on private sector job growth. It’s impossible, not to mention incredibly arrogant, for Scott Walker to think he can improve those numbers by alienating 99 percent of women — a majority of whom aren’t supporting him anyway.”

[1] 99 percent of women aged 15-44 who have ever had sexual intercourse have used at least one contraceptive method. Daniels K, Mosher WD and Jones J, Contraceptive methods women have ever used: United States, 1982–2010,National Health Statistics Reports, 2013, No. 62, <http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr062.pdf>, accessed September 3, 2014.