Most Blunt Amendment Supporters Likely to Have Used Birth Control

I confess. I’m contemplating calling all the Senators who voted for the Blunt Amendment yesterday to ask for a statement detailing:

  • What the Senators’ history of reproductive choice has been, including details on what kinds of birth control they’ve used and who paid for it
  • Whether the Senators (or their spouses) have used erectile dysfunction drugs, and who paid for it

Mind you, I think such questions are inappropriate. But given that 48 Senators–including 3 Democrats and 4 women–voted yesterday to say that employers should have really intrusive control over their employees’ healthcare decisions (including, but in no way limited, to reproductive health), it seems fair to at least inquire whether these men and women have been relying on birth control to plan their families, whether their use of birth control violates their religion’s stated doctrine, and whether taxpayers paid for birth control during their child-bearing years.

As you can see from the list below, the vast majority of Senators who voted for the Blunt Amendment are likely to have relied on birth control or sterilization to limit their family size. Just three–Susan Collins, Kay Bailey Hutchison, and Lindsey Graham–have no biological children. And just three–Mike Crapo (5), Chuck Grassley (5), and Orrin Hatch (6)–have more than 4 biological children (McCain and Blunt have more with their adopted kids). Of those likely to have used birth control or sterilization, 22 worked for local, state, or federal government during a roughly calculated “child-bearing” period of their life, meaning taxpayers may have paid for their birth control (though of course their spouses’ employers may have provided health care, too). Of those likely to have used more than the rhythm method, 10 are Catholic.

So I’m going to contemplate this over the weekend. But for the moment, consider that the great majority of the Senators who voted to let employers restrict birth control access seem to have families that have been shaped by birth control.

Note the following details are a first draft–please let me know of any inaccuracies.

Lamar Alexander (R-TN): age 72, married 42 years, 4 children, Presbyterian, some federal and state employ during child-bearing years
Kelly Ayotte (R-NH): age 43, married, 2 children, Catholic, state employee during child-bearing years
John Barrasso (R-WY): age 59, 3 children by first marriage, plus one step-child Presbyterian
Roy Blunt (R-MO): age 62, married 35 years, divorced and remarried, 3 children by first marriage plus one adopted child, Southern Baptist, county and state employ during child-bearing years
John Boozman (R-AR): age 62, married, 3 children, Baptist
Scott Brown (R-MA): age 52, married 26 years, 2 children, Christian reform, National Guard during child-bearing years, though with private employ
Richard Burr (R-NC): age 56, married 28 years, 2 children, Methodist
Bob Casey (D-PA): age 52, married 27 years, 4 children, Catholic, state employ during late child-bearing years
Saxby Chambliss (R-GA): age 69, married 46 years, 2 children, Episcopalian
Dan Coats (R-IN): age 69, married, 3 children, Presbyterian, Federal employ during child-bearing years
Tom Coburn (R-OK): age 63, married, 3 children, OB/GYN known to perform sterilizations, Southern Baptist
Thad Cochran (R-MS): age 75, married 47 years, 2 children, Southern Baptist, Federal employ during child-bearing years
Susan Collins (R-ME): age 59, engaged, Catholic, Federal employ during child-bearing years
Bob Corker (R-TN): age 60, married 25 years, 2 children, Presbyterian
John Cornyn (R-TX): age 60, married, 2 children, Church of Christ
Mike Crapo (R-ID): age 60, married 38 years, 5 children, Mormon, state employ during later chlid-bearing years
Jim DeMint (R-SC): age 60, married, 4 children, Presbyterian
Mike Enzi (R-WY): age 68, married 42 years, 3 children, Presbyterian
Lindsey Graham (R-SC): age 56, unmarried, Southern Baptist
Chuck Grassley (R-IA): age 78, married, 5 children, Baptist, state and federal employ during chlid-bearing years
Orrin Hatch (R-UT): age 77, married, 6 kids, Mormon, federal employ during child-bearing years
Dean Heller (R-NV): age 51, married, 4 kids, Mormon, state employ during child-bearing years
John Hoeven (R-ND): age 54, married, 2 children, Catholic
Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX): age 68, divorced and remarried, 2 adoptive and 2 step-children, Episcopalian, state employ during child-bearing years
Jim Inhofe (R-OK): age 77, married 53 years, 4 children, Presbyterian, state employ during child-bearing years
Johnny Isakson (R-GA): age 67, married, 3 children, Methodist, state employ during child-bearing years
Mike Johanns (R-NE): age 61, married, 2 children, Catholic
Ron Johnson (R-WI): age 56, married, 3 children, Lutheran
Jon Kyl (R-AZ): age 69, married, 2 children, Presbyterian
Mike Lee (R-UT): age 40, married, 3 children, Mormon, federal employment during child-bearing years
Dick Lugar (R-IN): age 79, married 55 years, 4 children, city employ during child-bearing years
Joe Manchin (D-WV): age 64, married 43 years, 3 children, Catholic, state employ during child-bearing years
John McCain (R-AZ): age 75, divorced, remarried, 3 adoptive and 4 biological children, Baptist, federal employ during entire life
Mitch McConnell (R-KY): age 70, divorced, remarried, 3 children, Baptist, county employ during child-bearing years
Jerry Moran (R-KS): age 57, married, 2 children, Methodist, county and state employ during child-bearing years
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK): age 54, married, 2 children, Catholic
Ben Nelson (D-NE): age 70, married, 4 children, Methodist
Rand Paul (R-KY): age 49, married, 3 children, Presbyterian
Rob Portman (R-OH): age 56, married, 3 children, Methodist, federal employ during child-bearing years
Jim Risch (R-ID): age 69,  married 43 years, 3 children, Catholic, state employ during child-bearing years
Pat Roberts (R-KS): age 75, married, 3 children, Methodist, federal employ during child-bearing years
Marco Rubio (R-FL): age 40, married, 4 children, Catholic, state employ during child-bearing years
Jeff Sessions (R-AL): age 65, married, 3 children, Methodist, federal employ during child-bearing years
Richard Shelby (R-AL): age 77, married 52 years, 2 children, Presbyterian, city, state, federal employ during child-bearing years
John Thune (R-SD): age 51, married, 2 children, Evangelical Christian, federal and state employ during child-bearing years
Pat Toomey (R-PA): age 50, married, 3 children, Catholic
David Vitter (R-LA): age 50, married, 4 children, Catholic solicit(ed) prostitutes
Roger Wicker (R-MS): age 60, married, 3 children, Southern Baptist, state employ during child-bearing years

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

35 replies
  1. Citizen92 says:

    Wash Post 3-2-2012

    “Ken Mehlman Apologizing For Bush Campaign”

    … He personally apologizes to people who were harmed by campaigns in which I was involved….

    Really Ken?

    As personally selected lieutenant selected by Karl, as your role as coddler to Jack Abramoff, as facilitator to the 2000 Bush v Gore theft, the cyber theft of 2004, the retaliation of the Denver Three, the RNC’s role in the deleted missing emails from gwb43.org, Michael Connell’s death……

    You’re SORRY?

    Oy veh.

  2. Scott Lazarowitz says:

    On Lindsey Graham not having any biological children: Thank God.

    Ask them if they have used erectile dysfunction drugs, and who paid for them? How about asking if they have taken any cognitive dysfunction drugs.(If not, give them those, for free.)

    Perhaps mandatory birth control might be necessary for those who are driven toward monopolistic, compulsory powers over the rest of us, especially those who start wars for no good reason.

  3. Jim White says:

    One thing that really sticks in my craw about the arguments these troglodytes presented is that they were trying to frame the debate as being about religious freedom, saying employers shouldn’t be forced to pay for things that are against their own religious or moral beliefs. I didn’t watch all of the debate since I don’t want to replace the TV I would have destroyed listening to these guys, so I don’t know if anyone bothered to ask them what it means for religious freedom for employers to force their own beliefs on their employees. Did anyone hear the point being made that the Blunt Amendment, in promoting religious freedom for employers would actually result in religious repression for employees?

  4. Peregwyn says:

    @Jim White: I was going to comment that it matters less what their religion is and more about what their employer’s religion is. And I agree with Jim, that the employers are forcing their religious opinions on others.

  5. MaryCh says:

    Under the health care reform laws, can employers profit by converting to radical Christian Science?

  6. Diane says:

    Thanks for compiling this, EW. A “real” Catholic would have a dozen children…..and so would a “real” Mormon. I was also amazed to see the ages of these reprobates. I knew they were mostly old white guys, but I didn’t know how old. Carry on!

  7. Citizen92 says:

    I also recently learned that Kyle Sampson of Monica Goodling fame (“Karl Rove’s Karl Rove” is what they called him)…. Kyle is a Mormon Bishop.

  8. emptywheel says:

    @Diane: I believe the Mormon Church now considers birth control–but not sterilization–to be a private matter. Though I wasn’t surprised that Crapo and Hatch had the most kids, along w/Grassley.

    Mike Lee, mind you, has 2.

  9. Diane says:

    @emptywheel: Thanks, EW, for setting me straight. I come from the old school and actually just assumed that Mormons rejected birth control. I followed uup and did some research and am pleased that the LDS-Church has such an enlightened view. Now, what in the hell is the RC church thinking???? And those ‘abstinence’ loving evangeligals. Oh, well.

  10. Citizen92 says:

    @eh

    I’m ready for the tell all. I used to see Kenny at Results The Gym in DC which is (sorry to stereotype, but it is) a gay gym way before anyone was even speculating about hos closetedness. Ken was a key pawn/operative placed in key positions by Rove to execute his plan for Bush. Kenny’s hands are so very dirty and I’d love to see him come clean, but I seriously doubt that would be permitted.

  11. orionATL says:

    i suggest, instead, a short questionnaire asking each member of congress who voted for the blount amendment whether the congressional health insurance plan has ever paid for for birth control for any member of their family or any of their staff’s family.

    of this group, there shoud be a small subset some of whose family members have worked or are working for one of the catholic, et al, institutions making such a fuss about their insurance company (not the institution itself) paying for birth control for some of their staff.

  12. 4jkb4ia says:

    It was appropriate that EW should know what a horrible person I am that this reminded me of Rush. Georgetown is analogous to AT&T….

    I wrote something about Roy Blunt being a perfectly nice, smart guy in real life. And that was his statement after the vote–perfectly nice, smart guy. But that is your modern Republican Party. No matter what you know to be true in your own personal life, you have every incentive to fall on your partisan sword and do as you are told. And as EW has written Blunt is Southern Baptist so may not believe in birth control to start with.

    (Not so much that I am disgusted with Roy Blunt, although this is the third time I have written that. Blunt’s office, this is a very irate constituent who was never going to vote for your guy anyway. It’s that this is his history, of being a good party soldier– we saw it on FISA too–and Robin Carnahan ran such an awful campaign that people never got to see that.)

  13. 4jkb4ia says:

    Anyone who voted for this has to be under the assumption that voters are stupid because it was any procedure for any reason. This is bigger than a religious liberty issue and might almost have to be seen as striking against the dreaded Obamacare by any symbolic means necessary.

  14. rugger9 says:

    Let’s not forget that Limpy’s been on the V for years, and was caught red-handed [no – don’t visualize it without bleach] coming back from the Dominican Republic with a passel of them, a place that just happens to be a hotbed for underage prostitution.

    Maybe none of his four wives would sleep with him, or maybe he can’t get it out from under the blubber.

  15. Petrocelli says:

    Go.Marcy.Go !

    How I wish you could be on the Hill with a Camera crew, pitching questions to the Blunt objects …

  16. orionATL says:

    @orionATL:

    easier still, one could review the congressional health insurance offered by the congressional personnel office.

    chances are good the policy for congresscritters and their families plus their very numerous staff and their families pays for contraceptives and contraceptive surgery, and even for viagra for all those randy old goats, something many policies previously would not do.

    and chances are good the implementation is not so convoluted as that required by the compromise worked out by the obama admin and those male-dominated religious organizations and affiiates.

  17. MadDog says:

    OT – A couple of pieces worth reading. Though I read them in the reverse order, I recommend reading them this way:

    1) In the Foreign Policy blog, Daniel Levy’s Netanyahu Won’t Attack Iran (Probably.)

    2) Over at The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg’s interview with President Obama – Obama to Iran and Israel: ‘As President of the United States, I Don’t Bluff’

    As you read these pieces, keep in mind the thought “Israeli tail wagging the US dog”.

    What appears to be happening, or may appear to be happening, is the following:

    a) Israel knows full well that, short of using its own nuclear weapons on Iran, it hasn’t got the military muscle to do more than inflict a mosquito bite on Iran’s nuclear program facilities.

    b) Israel knows full well that to undertake an attack on Iran itself would cast it as the bully, increase the Islamic countries’ antipathy against Israel (regardless of how certain Arab leaders feel about Iran), kick off a major regional economic catastrophe with worldwide implications (think skyrocketing oil prices causing a worldwide recession/depression), and the potential for a major regional conflict fireball with unpredictable reach.

    c) Recent MSM articles have intimated that what Israel really wants is for the US to do the military job on Iran rather than Israel.

    d) Consider the sequence of events over the course of the next few days. Obama speaks at the AIPAC conference Sunday morning. Obama meets with Bibi on Monday. Bibi speaks at the AIPAC conference Monday night.

    Now consider these things after reading those 2 articles. Ask yourself if Bibi hasn’t boxed Obama into a explicit “strike Iran” corner, or at the very least, shifted US foreign policy on Iran so far to the right that the US will have no choice but to commit to “strike Iran”?

    Given that Bibi has already locked up a guaranteed Repug commitment to his “strike Iran” cause, then view Bibi’s moves described in those 2 articles as closing the deal with Obama.

  18. The Oracle says:

    Excellent observation and post.

    This is the same point I’ve been making about Rush Limbaugh’s odious sluts and prostitutes rant against Sandra Fluke, essentially a rant against all women who’ve taken the pill, used contraceptives, including many if not most Republican women, mothers, daughters and sisters.

    IOW, Rush’s rant goes far beyond Sandra Fluke, which makes the silence of all the birth-control-using Republican women over what Limbaugh said even more interesting, as well as the silence of all Republican men whose wives, daughters or sisters have taken the pill.

    Of course, these Republican men might not know or care, or they are honoring the right to privacy of those close to them, not demanding personal accountability like they are doing in one outrageous law after another across America, trying to intrude and destroy a woman’s right to decide what’s best for herself.

    Just how low can these Republican religious fanatics go?

  19. P J Evans says:

    @rugger9:
    I think his statements about women generally, and what he thinks Fluke should have done, tell us a lot about him, and none of it is good. (Does he really think that (a) every women who uses contraceptives is a slut, (b) has sex only for money, and (c) videotapes it every time?)

  20. orionATL says:

    @MadDog:

    i don’t think obama is being boxed in on this one.

    for once, in these 3+ yrs, i actually see some very skillful chess being played by the admin. maybe obama’s got his game shoes on – finally!!!

    at least i HOPE so – for ours, and for the iranian people’s, and for the israeli people’s sakes.

    f–k netanyahu, his ruthless power seeking, and the american-israeli fifth column (aipac, the grotesque anti-defamation defamating league, and numerous american right-wing politicians) operating in this country.

  21. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Hat tip, EW, for articulating what I’d been thinking. How on earth is it possible for all these Senators to have an average of four or fewer (acknowledged) children?

    Also, as I’m reading through Liz Warren’s “The Two Income Trap”, which is blowing my mind, she points out that having children in America puts one at risk for financial stress and possible bankruptcy.

    So in addition to the list of their sexual dysfunction meds, their previous history of birth control use — I’d add one more ‘let’s get some data’ to the list. Let’s see the credit scores of all of these asshats who want the parents of America to be saddled with kids they can’t afford to raise.

  22. Johnson says:

    @MaryCh: Not really about this comment, but, but, but, remember, we wanted to ditch employer based health insurance anyway. Sheesh!

  23. Johnson says:

    @EH: they’re all just using each other. If we really could turn the clock back to the 1950’s, you sure wouldn’t find these particular churches cooperating with each each other. In those days they were so suspicious of each other that the walls between were as high as the sky.

  24. emptywheel says:

    @The Oracle: I think you’re doing them a real favor calling them religious fanatics. They’re power fanatics. The religion is just the excuse they’re using.

  25. Bob Schacht says:

    @MadDog: I sure do hope that you’re wrong, but I’ve been thinking along similar lines. Wag the Dog indeed. My hope is that this (Republican enthusiasm for war with Iran) is another example of over-reach.

    I think the Republicans think they can’t lose on this: Either Obama stays on the sidelines, opening him to the charge of being soft on Islamic extremism, or he drags us into yet another war, which won’t be popular with the general voting public. But I think Obama can finesse this in a way that boomerangs on the Republicans.

    Bob in AZ

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