On Friday, yet another GOP politician made a ridiculous statement on contraception, shocking absolutely no one.
This time around, it was the Treasurer of the Republican Party of Virginia, Bob FitzSimmonds. In the past, FitzSimmonds has served as the former director of organizations like Care Net Pregnancy Help Center and Crisis Pregnancy Center Directors Association, groups that sound nice but actually seek to prevent women from getting abortions through a combination of questionable information (linking abortion to breast cancer) and discriminatory hiring practices (a.k.a. Christians only). FitzSimmonds has also drafted abstinence-only curriculum for schools in Virginia, though data has proven time and again that these programs are actually counterproductive.
It's unsurprising, then, that FitzSimmonds was recently quoted as saying that he is "not a big fan of contraception, frankly."
Okay, not exactly an intelligent remark – you're not a big fan of the ability to control reproduction, which is essential for an economically viable, functioning society? – but not offensive either.
FitzSimmonds continued, "I think there are some issues, we're giving morning-after pills to 12-year-olds, and pretty soon I guess we'll hand them out to babies."
Nope. We're actually not giving morning-after pills to 12-year-olds. The Obama administration's new law regarding Plan B only provides it to those 15 and older if they have a photo ID. So you're wrong, FitzSimmonds, but you should be right. Unfortunately, as much as we would all like to stick our heads in the sand on this one, kids younger than 15 are having sex and getting pregnant. By limiting access to Plan B, which is by all accounts an incredibly safe and effective drug, we are limiting girls' rights to control their own bodies, while condoms (which serve the exact same function) are available for purchase to anyone at anytime.
But FitzSimmonds doesn't stop there. "I believe we don't recognize the causal effect between the type of sex education we've been giving and the spread of STDs … they're all abortion and HIV. HIV's kind of hard to catch. Abortion happens if you get pregnant. But we're on the track for 50% of the American people to have herpes by the time these kids are my age."
First, let's clarify that the level of herpes infections in the U.S., while relatively high, has remained stable at around 16% for the last decade. There's no evidence that it is about to skyrocket.
Second, FitzSimmonds' quote doesn't quite make sense. The sex education he is bemoaning here is not his abstinence-only model but ones that actually teach about, well, sex, and he's blaming them for the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. It's a questionable claim, but regardless, abstinence-only education is no better. Statistics show it actually increases teenage pregnancies and is not a deterrent from having premarital sex, which means that the best method to prevent the further spread of STDs is, in fact, teaching teenagers about their reproductive health options and how to protect themselves.
That's it for today. Come back soon to catch the next installment of Clueless Republican Male Politician Makes Ignorant Statement on Reproduction – I guarantee it's not far off.