Did Catholics Pay to Snip Roy Blunt?

I confess, since I wrote this post I’ve been obsessing about Roy Blunt’s balls.

It’s not just that I believe every supporter of the Amendment that bears Blunt’s name should be willing to tell taxpayers whether they’ve used birth control to limit the size of their families.

But because I think there’s a distinct possibility that Blunt had a bunch of Catholics pay to snip his man-parts so he wouldn’t have any more kids.

That, of course, would be precisely what his Amendment claims to want to prevent: forcing people of faith to pay for medical care–birth control–that violates their conscience (or that of their Bishops).

Blunt was born on January 10, 1950. He married Roseann Ray in 1967 (she appears to have been, like him, 17 at the time). Matt, their oldest child, was born in November 1970, the year Blunt graduated from college (though he would immediately get a Masters, perhaps because of the draft). They had a second child, Amy, around 1973. Andrew, their youngest, was born in 1976. Blunt and Roseann were married another 26 years or so after Andrew was born, but never had another child.

In 1972, Blunt had already started public service, working as Greene County Clerk. In 1984, Blunt won election as MO’s secretary of state. From 1993 to 1996, Blunt served as President of Southwest Baptist University–his only significant non-government job. In 1997, as he was turning 37 47, he started serving in Congress, until last year when he moved to the Senate. Thus, for almost his entire life, Blunt worked for taxpayers, whether for Greene County, the state of MO, or the federal government. For the majority of Blunt’s career, taxpayers have paid for his healthcare. And since his now ex-wife Roseann doesn’t get benefits from the foundation she works at, it is likely he provided healthcare for both of them.

If that’s right, then for all but 4 years of his professional life, taxpayers of some sort have paid for his healthcare, including–if it was paid for by insurance–whatever means he and his wife of 35 years used to stop having children after Andrew was born. And while Greene County, in the Ozarks, is Bible-belt Protestant, at the state level, almost 20% of the population of MO is Catholic. An even higher percentage is Catholic at the national level. For 60% of his working life, roughly 20% of the people paying his salary and benefits–his “employer” if you will–were Catholic.

Which brings us to snipping Roy Blunt.

There are any number of ways Blunt and his first wife, Roseann, might have stopped having kids at 3: medical complications, abstinence, the pill, condoms, or sterilization. Several of those would violate the letter of Catholic doctrine.

But look what happened when, in 2002, Blunt ditched his high school sweetheart, Roseann, and married his mistress, Altria lobbyist Abigal Perlman. They adopted, an 18-month old Russian boy whose adoption went through in April 2006.

Again, there are multiple possible explanations for their choice to adopt rather than have a biological child together. By the time they married on October 18, 2003, Blunt was 53, the point in a man’s life where he starts shooting blanks. Perlman was 41, also the tail end of safe child-bearing age for a woman. It’s possible they tried to conceive and failed to do so immediately, so decided to adopt. It’s possible Perlman didn’t want to have a pregnancy interrupt her high power lobbying career. It’s possible they didn’t want to overpopulate the world.

Or, it’s possible Blunt got snipped all those years ago when he stopped having biological children with Roseann.

Again, all of this should be none of our business. But Blunt made it our business when he insisted that no Catholics should have to pay for birth control that violates the mandate–but not the practice–of their religion.

For over half of his working life, 20% of Blunt’s employers were Catholics. And yet he appears to have had no compunctions–no “conscience clause,” if you will–about making them pay for his birth control.

Update: Thanks to steve w for correcting my math on Blunt’s age when he got to Congress.

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.

28 replies
  1. xpostfactoid says:

    Perhaps you should set up a “Savage” website to launch a neologism: “Blunt – v. to obtain a vasectomy or otherwise find means to stop procreating at taxpayer expense.”

  2. Brian Silver says:

    Now that’s a snippy little essay that addresses a pregnant question. A pregnant question demands an answer.

    But this brings me to a different observation. Maybe Geo. W. Bush, another believer, acted in better faith than Blunt when he decided to wage a war without raising our taxes or forcing anybody to serve, and when he tortured prisoners without wasting taxpayer money on trials. A real man of conscience.

  3. emptywheel says:

    @Jim White: Hey, if he wants to explain how he managed to stop fathering children while still in his 20s, I’m okay with that.
    Cause most 26-year old men are still interested enough in sex I doubt it was abstinence.

  4. Chris Darling says:

    Please, please, please launch a campaign to out the Republican hypocrites so we can find out who paid for their use of birth control. In a civil world that valued women and where it was understood that basic coverage of contraception is a no-brainer such a campaign would be seen as crazy and inappropriate. But we do not live in that world, at least not here in the USA, the “greatest country” in the world.

    Since Rush Limbaugh has decided that a woman calling for basic coverage of contraception is a slut and the bulk of Republican officials have not said anything to distance themselves, a campaign to out their hypocrisy is the most appropriate thing we can do.

    Please go for it.

  5. Bay State Librul says:

    What a great article.
    My vote is that he had the V.
    Can we subpoena his medical records?
    For that matter, can we get TMZ to release his mental and motel records?

  6. bmaz says:

    Well. I came to complain about the title to this post, and then – GASP – I saw the first sentence/paragraph.

    Clearly it is now beer thirty again, even if it is only 11:30 am here. Need a palate cleanser now, I do.

  7. Ben Franklin says:

    Part of Congressional blowback on ACA is that they will lose their exclusive Club privileges.

    The Rolls Royce Healthcare is goin’ away.

  8. BeccaM says:

    Let’s also be clear here: There is no valid, compassionate “morality” in denying women access to birth control medication.

    We already know there are a number of non-pregnancy related conditions that require hormone-based contraceptive medicines for effective treatment, including cysts, PMS, extreme cramping, irregular cycles, overly heavy cycles, and anemia.

    There’s also a long list of conditions a woman may have where getting pregnant is a threat to her health and life. These include: Breast cancer, any cancer currently undergoing chemo or radiation, complicated valvular heart disease, diabetes, endometrial or ovarian cancer, epilepsy, hypertension, recent bariatric surgery, HIV/AIDS, heart disease, trophoblastic disease, a history of ectopic implantations, history of placental ruptures, history of preclampsia, malignant liver tumors, paripartum cardiomyopathy, schistosomiassis, cirrhosis, sickle cell disease, clotting disorders, recent organ transplantation, stroke or embolism, lupus, thrombogenic mutations, and tuberculosis. Just to name a few (source, the gov’t CDC website).

    These medicines save lives. There is no morality in withholding them, simply because one thinks that in doing so, it will force a woman to try not to have sex with anybody, not even her husband, unless the expressed purpose is to have a baby. For some women, getting pregnant, whether on purpose or by accident, will kill them.

    We have long since established that sexual activity between two consenting adults is a private matter. Moreover, even Catholics do not practice what their leaders tell them they are supposed to do — the overwhelming majority of them also use contraception for the purpose of family planning and/or medical necessity.

    The men — and they are led 100% by men — have no damned business inserting their religion into what should be a matter between a woman and her doctor, allowing her own beliefs and faith to guide her. And it’s the doctor’s job, actually, to inform that woman if she appears to be letting her religious beliefs put her life in jeopardy.

    At no point in this relationship is there a moral place for someone else to say, “Well, it’s not important whether that medication will preserve your health or life. It doesn’t matter if you cannot afford to buy it. I object paying for health insurance that covers it.” This is not morality. It is callous disregard for other people’s lives just so a person doesn’t have to feel uncomfortable with how others may be living theirs.

    Or as I want to scream at these people, “If you object to contraceptive medicines, don’t take them! But in the name of the God you profess to believe in and the supposedly life-nurturing ideals you claim to hold, don’t you dare try to deny these life-saving medications from women and try to call it ‘moral.'”

  9. Bay State Librul says:

    @bmaz:

    You think the Ryan Braun case will help out the Rusty and Roger duo?

    April 17th: Taxes are due and Clemens is through?

    10-cr-0223: USA v. CLEMENS Judge Walton 09:30AM Courtroom 16 – 6th Floor Jury Selection

  10. Styve says:

    How about this explanation…Blunt came out to his first wife, they stopped having sex/babies…she dumped him, he married wife #2 as a “beard”, even adopting a child, to make the typical happy heterosexual (2nd) family??

  11. JTMinIA says:

    When it comes to connecting dots that aren’t exactly next to each other, I have easier time getting from “thou shall not kill” to “thou shall not own a gun” than from “be fruitful and multiply” to “don’t use birth-control.” Maybe I have a different way of connecting dots than most people, but this still makes me wonder why some people (e.g., Catholic bishops) are more worked up about being asked to include birth-control in their insurance plans than they are about being forced (by, e.g., the 2nd Amendment) to allow people to carry guns into their buildings.

    (I’ve been thinking about this particular parallel, since the Republicans in Iowa have been pushing for a constitutional amendment in Iowa to block all restrictions and controls on guns, including those that ban guns in state-owned buildings.)

  12. steve w says:

    in 1997 he was turning 47. i was turning 37.

    i hardly ever find your mistakes. just couldn’t resist.

  13. pdaly says:

    I’ve been doing some family history sleuthing lately. In the 1800s, distant relatives were having a baby every 2 years, so regularly in fact that a 4 year gap in the ages of kids living in the household during a US census predicted a childhood death–and sure enough I’d find a death certificate for a child who would have filled the age gap.
    Average family sizes were 8 births. Unfortunately many childhood deaths.

    Unless Roseann Ray had a hysterectomy to stop life threatening post-partum bleeding or catastrophic pregnancy, then that does leave elective tubal ligation, vasectomy, progesterone/estrogen pills, or condoms on the table.
    Or decades of abstinence. Or maybe a shortage of storks?

    Then again, STDs can cause scarring. Tubal ligations not necessary. Do we want to go there?

  14. emptywheel says:

    @pdaly: Well, and they seemed to have a 3-year cycle (though one wonders why they got married at 17 in the first place, 3 years before Matt’s birth).

  15. P J Evans says:

    @emptywheel:
    Caught during heavy necking by her parents, maybe?

    That three-year gap after marriage does indicate either some kind of contraception or a really long period of abstinence by people who should have been very active.

  16. pdaly says:

    Speaking of families, Rob Reiner is directing a play tonight that will be streamed live.

    It is the play titled “8” based on the trial transcripts of Judge Walker’s courtroom re: Prop 8.
    It will start at 7:30pm Pacific Time tonight.

    Here’s the link to RSVP for the Free “8” L.A. Premiere Livestream sponsored by http://www.afer.org

    Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Martin Sheen join an all-star cast for a one-night-only benefit reading of Dustin Lance Black’s play “8,” based on the court transcripts of the federal trial for marriage equality.
    Saturday, March 3
    Pre-Show: 7:30 p.m. PT
    Curtain: 7:45 p.m. PT
    RSVP today for the free live stream and be sure to invite your friends.

    Other readers include Jamie Lee Curtis, Christine Lahti, Jane Lynch
    I’ll cross post at FDL

    edit: Looks like Teddy Partridge already posted about it on FDL.

  17. craig says:

    where is anonymous when we need them? They should be able to spare a couple of hackers to dredge up old medical records!

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