The Right’s ‘Busybody State’

by Dan Quinn

At the end of the day, what they really want is control. Far-right groups complain loudly about intrusive government, of course, but don’t believe it. Those same groups are often fine with “big government” — especially when they want to control the private lives of other people. As the contraceptive pill marks its 50-year anniversary, yesterday’s press release from the Pro-Life Action League offers another clear example of our point.

In the release the group doesn’t call just for opposition to abortion. No, it also wants to bar access to contraception. That’s right — this group of busybodies wants government to insert itself into the intimate decisions that couples make in private or in consultation with their doctors. See what Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, says in the press release:

“Contraception has radically altered sexual behavior in our culture and ultimately leads to more abortion, not less. We want to empower pro-life activists to confidently articulate to the case against contraception, especially as we remember the day it was first approved for use in America. . . . When the FDA approved the pill for contraceptive use in 1960, a chain of events was set in motion that led straight to the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that struck down laws protecting unborn babies in all fifty states. History has proved that — far from reducing the need for abortion — contraception only increases abortion. We hope to educate more people about birth control and all forms of contraception and help them communicate this opposition more clearly.”

Right-wingers often gripe about what they call the “nanny state”  and “cradle to grave” government. But what many of them offer instead is the “busybody state” — one in which the government interferes with the most private and intimate decisions individuals and couples make, including their choices when it come to reproductive health. And why? Because people like Scheidler don’t approve of some of those choices.