Haley's Birth Control Comments Puzzle Women's Advocates
Hosts of 'The View' challenged Haley after she said women don't care about contraception.
The tense exchange between Gov. Nikki Haley and hosts of "The View" has bristled some Palmetto state voters.
"Women don't care about contraception," Haley said Tuesday after one of the hosts asked about her stance on women's rights. "They care about jobs and the economy and raising their families."
Host Joy Behar quickly interrupted Haley.
"We should care about contraception too," Behar said.
“But that’s not the only thing we care about,” Haley said. “The media wants to talk about contraception.”
Behar responded again — this time to audience applause: “But when someone like Rick Santorum says he’s gonna take it away, we care.”
Drucilla Barker, director of the women's and gender studies program at the University of South Carolina, said Haley's remarks were contradictory.
"My follow-up question to her would have been, 'Isn't contraception and the right to control when you're going to get pregnant essential to getting a good job?'" Barker said. "If women can't control their births or can only control them in a very difficult way, they're not going to achieve equality in the workforce."
Haley's comment raised eyebrows at the women's studies program at College of Charleston, too.
"That is a rather idiotic statement, and it's an example of how out of touch she is with women of South Carolina and the nation. I — and a lot of other women — care about contraceptives and definitely care what happens to our bodies and our reproductive rights," women's studies major Lindsey Breitwieser said.
Shannon Staley of the South Carolina Access Initiative said that contraception is important to women because it affects how they make other choices.
"If women do not have control over their reproductive destinies, all of their other decision-making is moot," Staley said. "Every time you have intercourse, you have to face being a parent."
"Men are never faced with the choice that women are. The ultimate responsibility and ramifications of being intimate fall on women," Staley said.
Haley ended the conversation by trying to clarify her comments.
“While we care about contraception," Haley said, "let’s be clear, all we’re saying is we don’t want government to mandate when we have to have it and when we don’t. We want to be able to make that decision. We don’t need government making that decision for us."
Barker said the governor's response didn't make any sense.
"If she wants government out of people's bodies, then why isn't she fighting these bills at the State House," Barker said, referring to the "personhood" bill - which states that life begins at conception — and other bills related to women's health.
For Breitwieser, Haley's clarification and the fact that Haley is the first female governor of the state didn't negate her statement.
"It doesnt make it any better for me. She's taking away a fundamental right to give credence to a fundamentalist thought," Breitwieser said. "It's a problem that she's a politician and she went on a national show and represented the women of South Carolina."
She added that while Haley is free to believe whatever she wants, she shouldn't be imposing her ideology on the women of her state.
Haley was on the show to pitch her book Can't Is Not an Option, which was released Tuesday.