Mitchell Reports | February 21, 2012
>> ten which funds family planning for the poor passed unanimously and richard nixon was signed into law, ultd n -- you would not know it from the rhetoric to campaign trail now.
>> i cannot tell you the number of times i've heard folks of difference faiths saying we are all now catholics in the fight.
>> a president that can order a religion to break its beliefs it can do it to any religion. and i'll repeal any anti-religious act of the obama administration.
>> i want to defund planned parent hood . the question is religious liberty .
>> ann is a politics features writing for the washington post and susan davis is chief congressional reporter for usa today , you wrote about this today. what strikes you as remarkable about this campaign and this issue buying brought back right now?
>> i think a lot of women and a lot of men frankly had felt that this was settled social behavior to use birth control , it has been accepted for years. 1965 , through a battle of activists, the court struck down any law in connecticut that made it illegal to use contraception in a married couple relationship and women are saying what is going on? the fight was on abortion and politically in many ways that was settled and the new affordable care act has no provision for payment of abortions, and there's no provision to pay for abortions with employees of the federal government , we thought it was over and done with, what is it with birth control ? that is confusing to people, the catholic, u.s. conference of catholic bishops said it's an infringement on their liberty to order them to pay for coverage and they have been joined by other religious institutions and they are saying it's about freedom and women are saying no it's about birth control . so you have a gap in thinking what it is about.
>> we heard of the issa hearing, this was the frustration over the all-male panel. is there a divide? it's not a gender divide i'm told because senator boxer corrected me on friday that it's really democratic republican or is there divisions among the republicans as well, as whether it's an appropriate issue or political issue?
>> i think ann made a point, republicans want to make it about religious freedom and a pattern of the federal government telling you how to live your life .
>> the mandate
>> and the long running disapproval of the obama health care plan. if the republicans can keep it about religious liberty they will win. but they can't. from a democratic standpoint if you want to make this election about a woman's access to health care , they are happy to have that debate every day between now and november.
>> bush 41 was one of the strong strongest supporters of this. how is the republican party devolved where we are now relitigating all of this?
>> it was interesting to go back and read the congressional testimony from 1970 . i was struck by how frank it was. people testified in congress and the frankest possible terms about the families having a right to know how many children they could have. women being able to plan for their pregnancies, and you know, we now have a sort of coded debate in many ways which gets into principals of right to access, personal freedom versus group freedom, individual conscious versus institutional conscious, i think at the time, the republican party was a far different party than it is, as we have been hearing for years. the senate at the time was a 35-65% split. 65% on democrats but there was common cause as to what was best for everyone and interestingly the big fight over birth control at that time, was that elites were going try to use it as a way to force poor people to limit the size of their families and that was why, you know, the congressman from texas who became the president, the 41st president said this is a voluntarily te volunteer program. when birth control is there, people accept it. so you know, i think that it struck a lot of people and i received a lot of comments from young women who had no idea whatsoever --
>> this is shock for that generation. it was a civil rights issue back then. jessie jackson got into it, because there was concern, especially after we first discovered the horrible sterilization experiments that were done on african americans in the south, that this was a renewed attempt to get into that. bottom line, is is this going to become legislation?
>> the house committee will have another hearing. i think it's reasonable to expect that they will have women on this panel. in the senate, they will vote, roy blunt , senator from missouri has an amendment that will work around the obama rule, but it will put senators on the record on this issue. and it would not be as fueled if santorum was not such a leading candidate for the nomination. he has extreme views of contraception. so i think it's fuelling a lot of what you are hearing on capitol hill .
>> thank you both very much.