The Clock’s Still Ticking: No Answer Yet If President Opposes Contraception
WASHINGTON, DC - Today, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan again refused to answer the question of whether or not President Bush opposes contraception. Reporter Les Kinsolving initially asked the question at a May 26 press briefing - McClellan replied that he would not dignify such a question with a response (see transcript below). Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14) and 18 other Members of Congress have since sent the president a letter asking the very same question (text of letter: https://maloney.house.gov/sites/maloney.house.gov/files/documents/olddocs/choice/071205PresidentContraception.pdf), so Kinsolving again raised the same question today - and McClellan again refused to directly answer the question (transcript also below).
The fact that McClellan cannot or will not respond to this question leaves the right of access to birth control unclear at a time when the President is set to nominate a Supreme Court Justice to replace women’s rights supporter Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Recently, the right of access to contraception has also been compromised - an increasing number of pharmacists have refused to fill prescriptions for birth control pills based on their personal beliefs. 95% of American women use contraception at some point in their lives.
“Apparently, the White House finds answering a simple question about contraception as difficult as answering questions about Karl Rove,” said Maloney. “It’s been almost two months, and we still have no response. Why can’t Scott McClellan answer such a simple question - a question to which American women deserve an answer? Is contraception somehow related to Karl Rove? Are birth control pills related to an ongoing criminal investigation? These questions might seem absurd, but not as absurd as Scott McClellan’s refusal to answer a simple question about whether the president is opposed to contraception.”
Excerpt from today’s Press Briefing:
Q I have one follow up. Nineteen members of Congress from seven states have written a letter to the President saying that they are still waiting for an answer to a May 26th question: Is the President opposed to contraception. And my question is, could they now have an answer to my question? Or do you regard them, too, as not to be dignified with a response?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I think we've talked about these issues before and these issues when it comes to the federal government and programs aimed at promoting abstinence and how those ought to be funded on at least equal footing with other programs, so I think we've addressed the President's views in that context.
The entire transcript of the briefing is available at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/07/20050718-2.html.
Excerpt from the May 26, 2005 Press Briefing:
Q There are news reports this morning that parents and children who were guests of the President, when they visited Congress, wore stickers with the wording, "I was an embryo." And my question is, since all of us were once embryos, and all of us were once part sperm and egg, is the President also opposed to contraception, which stops this union and kills both sperm and egg?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think the President has made his views known on these issues, and his views known -
Q You know, but what I asked, is he opposed -- he's not opposed to contraception, is he?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, and you've made your views known, as well. The President --
Q No, no, but is he opposed to contraception, Scott? Could you just tell us yes or no?
MR. McCLELLAN: Les, I think that this question is -
Q Well, is he? Does he oppose contraception?
MR. McCLELLAN: Les, I think the President's views are very clear when it comes to building a culture of life --
Q If they were clear, I wouldn't have asked.
MR. McCLELLAN: -- and if you want to ask those questions, that's fine. I'm just not going to dignify them with a response.
The entire transcript of the briefing is available at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/05/20050526-1.html.