One day after a Rick Santorum backer joked that back in his day, "the gals" just put aspirin between their knees for birth control (sluts just oughta keep their legs closed if they don't want a baby, amirite?), and one day after House Republicans refused to let a single woman testify in favor of birth control coverage, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) just testified on the Senate floor that he would "fight to my death for the rights of Catholic" institutions to deny health care coverage for birth control for women.

"And my whole faith" (he's Mormon) "feels the way I do."

(Congressional Republicans are pushing for legislation that would allow any employer, regardless of whether they are affiliated with a religious institution, to refuse to provide birth control coverage on "moral" grounds.)

Hatch continued, "We have seen major countries go down the drain to totalitarian injustice because they didn't stand up for religious liberty.. Women can get contraceptive pills [already]. Nobody's denying that. And they're not even all that expensive, either."

Well, I realize that Hatch and I are at different pay grades. And I realize that some people truly believe that giving women the ability to prevent pregnancy will lead to totalitarian overthrow of the United States. I can't argue with nonsense. But I did find it pretty hard to believe that contraception is "not even all that expensive" without health insurance.

So I called my pharmacist and asked how much it would cost to pay for Levlen, a popular birth control pill, out of pocket. The answer: $36 a month.

That works out to $432 a year, or about $13,000 over 30 years of taking the pill. An IUD, in comparison, costs about $1,500 out of pocket for five years of coverage, or about $9,000 for replacements over 30 years. I don't consider that an insubstantial cost. Neither do the millions of American women who use birth control and would like for insurers to see it as what it is---preventative health care, not a violation of a few Christian conservatives' "religious liberty."

In a floor speech this morning, US Sen Patty Murray (D-WA) responded to both the Santorum backer and the house committee (whose panel ended up consisting exclusively of anti-contraception religious leaders), who called the Santorum backer's statement, in particular, "appalling" and "an insult to women everywhere."

"Both of these stories are enough to make any woman – regardless of their own politics – very angry," Murray said. "They’re enough to make you believe that after years of progress nothing has changed.

Watch Murray's floor speech here:

Watch Murrays speech here:
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