Mike Huckabee: Republicans are fighting a war for women!

The former Arkansas governor thinks denying women birth control coverage is actually very empowering

Published January 23, 2014 8:28PM (EST)

  (AP/Rogelio V. Solis)
(AP/Rogelio V. Solis)

Mike Huckabee on Thursday attempted to issue a corrective to the prevailing narrative around GOP policy in recent years: Republicans aren't waging a war on women, they are waging a war for women!

“I think it’s time Republicans no longer accept listening to the Democrats talk about a 'war on women,'" Huckabee said during a speech at the Republican National Committee's winter meeting. "The fact is the Republicans don’t have a war on women, they have a war for women, to empower them to be something other than victims of their gender.”

Huckabee then denounced politicians who support reproductive rights for treating women as though they are "helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing them for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of government.”

Plenty of women use birth control to regulate their fertility and take control of their sex lives, while others use it for reasons that have nothing to do with unplanned pregnancy or casual sex. This seems to trouble very few people who are not elected Republican officials or daytime radio personalities

Beyond that, to argue that denying women comprehensive health coverage -- that they pay for -- is somehow empowering to women is, of course, complete nonsense. (As is the mirror conservative talking point that gutting social safety net programs like unemployment insurance and food assistance programs "helps" people who are struggling.) It is also especially rich for a deeply anti-choice Republican like Huckabee to pay lip service to the idea that the government should stay out of women's reproductive health decisions. It's also especially especially rich to make these remarks at a meeting that was reschedule in order to accommodate member attendance at an annual march against abortion rights.

But Huckabee's "war for women" is certainly the punchiest bit of branding the party has come up with since its latest effort to convince women voters that Republicans think they are people.

By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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Aca Birth Control Contraception Mike Huckabee Mike Huckabee's War For Women Women At Work Women's Health