The most important question candidates are never asked

Cristina Page | 8/20/2008, 4:04 a.m.

The questions being posed to candidates on all other critical issues facing the nation today demand cogent and solution-oriented answers. A candidate isn’t considered serious about the economy without answers on how to create new jobs. Who would be labeled pro-environment without a position on fighting noxious emissions? No discussion of escalating gas prices is complete without a candidate explaining his or her position on energy alternatives.

But, oddly, no anti-abortion candidates are ever asked about their position on contraception, despite the fact that their views on the matter often differ dramatically from what the public wants and what works. As we teeter on the precipice of reversing Roe v. Wade, candidates’ positions on contraception and pregnancy prevention are more important than ever.

What’s most frightening in light of the precariousness of the right to choose, is how closely tethered it is to the right to contraception. A candidate’s position and, whenever possible, legislative record on ensuring contraceptive access should be closely examined in elections at every level.

Candidates should be asked plainly, “Do you support contraception?” And if so, “What have you done and what will you do to ensure access to it?”

In 2006, soon after South Dakota passed a near total ban on abortion, I was scheduled to debate Jim Sedlak, vice president of the American Life League.

Before we took the stage, I asked if he was disappointed by how “limited” the near-total abortion ban was. He replied without irony, “Was it the perfect law? No. Would we have liked it to ban contraception? Yes.”

It’s not that those opposed to contraception are unwilling to answer the question, it’s simply that no one ever thinks to ask.

Cristina Page is the author of “How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America: Freedom, Politics and the War on Sex” and a spokesperson for BirthControlWatch.org.