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Bench Memos

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NYT’s Ill-Conceived Delusions



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In an op-ed in the New York Times, law professor Louise Trubek falsely asserts that Rick Santorum “indicat[ed] that Griswold [v. Connecticut] should be overturned so that states could ban contraception altogether” and that “Presidential candidates can get away with saying that all contraception should be outlawed.”

It is one thing to recognize, as Senator Santorum (my former colleague at the Ethics and Public Policy Center) has, that Griswold—which invalidated an anti-contraception law that had never been enforced (Griswold itself was a contrived case)—was wrongly decided. It’s another thing to call for its overturning. And it’s yet quite another thing to call for its overturning “so that states could ban contraception altogether”—i.e., with that farfetched purpose in mind. So far as I’m aware, Santorum does not take either of these other positions. Indeed, he has made clear that he supports a legal right to contraception.

Apart from her gross misrepresentation of Santorum’s position, I don’t see what might possibly support Trubek’s assertion that there are any presidential candidates “saying that all contraception should be outlawed” (much less “get[ting] away” with saying so).

Meanwhile, a house editorial in today’s NYT claims that the Blunt amendment, which was tabled by a 51-48 vote in the Senate yesterday, was a “truly horrible measure” that “showed once again how far from the mainstream Republicans have strayed in their relentless efforts to undermine the separation of church and state, deny women access to essential health services and tear apart President Obama’s health care reform law.”

But as a sober Wall Street Journal house editorial points out, the Blunt amendment “would merely have restored the status quo ante of one month ago.” Further, the fact that Democratic senators Bob Casey, Joe Manchin, and Ben Nelson voted with Senate Republicans—a fact that NYT of course doesn’t mention—shows how extremist and irresponsible NYT’s rhetoric is.



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