Dodging the Birth Control Question
WASHINGTON, DC - Yesterday, for the third time, White House spokesman Scott McClellan was directly asked if President Bush supports birth control, and for the third time, he could not give a direct answer (transcript below). A day after Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and 31 of her colleagues sent a letter to the president asking again if he opposes birth control, White House correspondent Les Kinsolving raised the question with McClellan. Kinsolving also has asked the question the two previous times.
“The White House still refuses to answer a insimple question about birth control - it’s now five months and counting,” said Maloney. “I guess we’ll have to wait for them to leak the answer. It’s truly amazing that in the 21st century, the Leader of the Free World will not affirm his support for birth control.”
On Monday, a group of 32 Members of Congress asked the president whether or not he opposes birth control (https://maloney.house.gov/sites/maloney.house.gov/files/documents/olddocs/choice/102405ltrPresidentContraception.pdf). Maloney and a group of colleagues have twice before asked the president to clarify his position, but the White House has not answered.
Excerpt from October 25, 2005 White House Press Briefing:
Q Sure. New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and 31 other members of the House issued this statement yesterday: "We have a Supreme Court nominee who won't even say if she supports a 40-year-old Supreme Court decision affirming women's right to access birth control, and it is important the President tells the nation whether or not he opposes birth control, too." And my question: Can you clarify whether or not he opposes birth control, too? Yes or no?
MR. McCLELLAN: Les, I think the President has made his views known on this issue.
Q Why don't you just clarify, yes or no?
MR. McCLELLAN: And what the focus has been from this administration is on promoting abstinence programs, that that ought to be on the same level as the education funding for teen contraception programs. And that's what the President's position has been, and I've stated to that previously. You've asked this question before. I disagree with the statement that was made regarding Harriet Miers. She is going to be going before the Senate Judiciary Committee in less than two weeks. She looks forward to answering their questions. And I think that people should not try to rush to judgment on it.
The entire transcript of this briefing is available at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/10/20051025-1.html.
Excerpt from July 18, 2005 White House 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 this briefing is available at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/07/20050718-2.html.
Excerpt from May 26, 2005 White House 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 this briefing is available at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/05/20050526-1.html.