THE DEATH OF CASUAL SEX
Many people presume that Romney, epic flip-flopper that he is, didn’t mean anything he said during the GOP primary to swat down the wild-eyed fanatics like Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum. They’re trusting that the candidate who once swore to Massachusetts voters that he was pro-choice and pro–gay rights is the real McCoy.
That’s a comforting fairy tale but a dangerous one.
The evidence from Romney’s years as governor—a subject he religiously avoids talking about—shows him to be anything but moderate. Governor Romney reneged on just about every campaign promise he had made to women and gays about sexual rights, personal freedom and privacy. Romney wouldn’t even protect a rape victim from having to bear the child of her rapist; he vetoed a bill requiring hospitals to give emergency contraception to rape victims.
Romney may not present himself as a religious zealot, but the passion-challenged multimillionaire from Bain Capital has sealed himself for eternity to the GOP’s sex police. So what could America look like after a few years of a Romney presidency?
To get a preview of what might be in store for you, sexually speaking, take a tour of today’s Republican-ruled lands. Start in our nation’s capital, where the House spent one out of every seven days focused on America’s lady parts, where Senator Rand Paul tried to attach a “life begins at conception” rider to the National Flood Insurance Program while Florida was bailing out from Tropical Storm Debby. Head north to Wisconsin, home of Paul Ryan, where recall survivor Governor Scott Walker and the GOP legislature defunded Planned Parenthood, ended the state family-planning program and, for good measure, repealed the state’s equal-pay-for-women law. Travel through the heartland and over the Rockies into Salt Lake City, where in the shadow of the Mormon Tabernacle a Utah lawmaker defended censorship because saying the word condom to students was like encouraging them to “mainline” heroin. End your journey in Texas, where the Republican Party officially declared the separation of church and state to be a “myth” and called for outlawing no-fault divorce.
Flash forward a few years. The Romney-Roberts Supreme Court has overturned Roe and Griswold. Abortion is illegal in most of the country and the morning-after pill is no longer an approved FDA drug. When the Defense of Marriage Act came before the Court in 2014, Justice Scalia used the occasion to restore the government’s power to outlaw sex acts deemed immoral by overturning Lawrence and Garner v. Texas, the landmark 2003 decision that tossed out antisodomy laws. The Affordable Care Act has been repealed by the Republican Congress on the rationale that Obamacare’s mandate to buy insurance was a tyrannical intrusion on American liberty. Meanwhile, a national law requiring women seeking abortions to undergo compulsory transvaginal ultrasounds has gone into effect. The records of their abortions, their sexual partners and the names of their doctors are being stored in a national database.
With the constitutional rights to privacy and abortion wiped out, absolutely nothing stands in the way of the antisex crusaders. Birth control has become less like Viagra and more like medical marijuana: expensive and a bit complicated to procure. Few health insurers cover contraception, tube tying or vasectomies anymore; the government paperwork and personhood protests in front of their corporate offices make it too politically costly to attempt. Condoms have disappeared from store shelves in states where laws prohibiting sex outside of marriage have been enacted.
Perhaps President Romney has delivered on an under-the-radar pledge to the Republican base that he made on his first trip down the presidential campaign trail. “We all gotta clean up the water that our kids are swimming in,” Romney told a conclave of so-called values voters. “By that I mean the pornography, the drug culture, the violence, the sex, the perversion that bombards them day in and day out. I want to make sure that every new computer sold in this country after I’m president has installed on it a filter to block all pornography and that parents can flick that filter to make sure kids don’t see that kind of stuff coming in on their computer.” To prove his zeal, he said he wanted “to enforce our obscenity laws.” The Republican Party granted Romney’s wish, stating in its 2012 national platform, “Current laws on all forms of pornography and obscenity need to be vigorously enforced.”
Now it’s 2016. As Americans ready themselves for another presidential election and watch the Rio Olympics, most of the old porn-friendly computers have been sent off to the scrap heap of history. In half the nation abortion is illegal and birth control is rare. The average age of marriage has plummeted to 20. The notion of casual sex is a fantasy, the sexual revolution history. The sexual counterrevolutionaries have won.
Welcome to the future of your sex life. Welcome back to 1950.