, , , , , ,

Todd Akin’s got some celebrity support lined up. The Duggar family of the TLC reality based show,”19 Kids & Counting,” are lending their “fame” to bolster his campaign. If, like me you aren’t familiar with the Duggars, they are proponents of the Quiverfull movement which, according to Wikipedia:

… is a movement among some conservative evangelical Christian couples […]. It promotes procreation, and sees children as a blessing from God,eschewing all forms of birth control, including natural family planning and sterilization. Adherents are known as “quiver full”, “full quiver”, “quiverfull-minded”, or simply “QF” Christians.

And they’ve got nineteen kids and want more. It makes sense that they would support Todd Akin who has just barely stopped short of endorsing an end to the use of all contraceptives, and whose anti-abortion fanaticism is, unlike many pandering GOPers, absolutely sincere.

I’m sure that the Duggars choices are fine for the Duggars. They have voluntarily chosen to center their life on producing ever more offspring and seem to find it fulfilling. Further, they have the wherewithal to support their continually expanding tribe, although many of their living amenities – such as a 7000 sq. ft. home – represent the fruits of their reality TV stint.

Not everybody, though, has similar inclinations or means. For this reason, the Duggars’ support might end up biting Akin in the backside. The majority of voters, who, surveys tell us, value the option to regulate fertility with contraceptives, might be a little shy about voting for a congressman supported by Quiverfull adherents, and who seems to have no qualms about imposing his fundamentalist, Christian-based views of sexuality and reproduction on Americans who do not share them.

Big families like the Duggar’s used to be common in Irish and Irish-American families like mine before folks decided that the Church’s anti-birth control strictures were best ignored. My own grandmother was the firstborn of  her mother’s six surviving children. Surviving is the key word here. After my grandmother’s birth, her mother endured nine miscarriages and still births before giving birth to my Grandmother’s first living sibling. My Grandmother was sixteen years old when he was born. Not one of her seven children had more than three children and most stopped at two. Things have changed for the better.

Stories like this were not uncommon in the bad old days when birth control was largely inaccessible and, for Catholics, carried the risk of fire and brimstone. There were also, as one might expect, lots of huge, poverty-stricken families barely managing to scrape by, lots of women dying in childbirth. Indeed, it was not uncommon in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries for living parents to drop children off in orphanages because they couldn’t feed or educate them.

So take the Duggars’ example to heart. If this is the type of world you want to return to, don’t just vote for Todd Akin this fall, vote a straight GOP ticket. “Personhood” legislation, which not only Todd Akin, but Paul Ryan and even Mitt Romney is on the record as supporting, could absolutely be interpreted in ways that would preclude the use of birth-control. If, on the other hand, you want the full range of reproductive options for yourself and  your daughters, you know what to do.

*Photo from Wikimedia Commons