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Previously:

Funding contraception and freedom of conscience: Another manufactured controversy (February 8, 2012)

A win for women, and for Obama (February 10, 2012)

Shell game (February 10, 2012)

It’s all in the timing – a bill by Senator Scott Rupp (r) was introduced on Tuesday, February 7th:

SJR 49 Prohibits laws interfering with religious beliefs

Sponsor: Rupp

LR Number: 5676S.02I Fiscal Note not available

Committee: General Laws

Last Action: 2/9/2012 – Second Read and Referred S General Laws Committee Journal Page: S236

Title: Calendar Position:

Effective Date: Upon voter approval

Current Bill Summary

SJR 49 – Upon voter approval, this constitutional amendment provides that no law, regulation or rule shall compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, health care provider, or entity to provide coverage for any of the following medical services, if such medical services are contrary to the moral, ethical or religious beliefs or tenets of such person, employer, health care provider, or entity:

(1) Abortion;

(2) Contraceptives, including but not limited to all contraceptives approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration, emergency contraceptives;

(3) Abortion-inducing drugs; and

(4) Sterilization procedures.

Uh, yep.

@BuzzFeedBen Ben Smith

So did the Bishops just invite the GOP out onto a limb with them, then saw it off? 6 hours ago

This has been another edition of simple answers to simple questions.

From Public Policy Polling (PPP):

February 10, 2012

Our polling on the birth control issue

We’ve had a lot of people asking us this week if we’ve done any polling about the birth control issue.  We did a national survey for Planned Parenthood last weekend. Here are the key things we found [pdf]:

-56% of voters generally support the birth control benefit, while 37% are opposed. Independents strongly favor it, 55/36, and a lot more Republicans (36%) support it than Democrats (20%) oppose it. Women are for it by a 63/29 margin.

-Only 39% of voters support an exemption for Catholic hospitals and universities from providing the benefit, while 57% are opposed to one.

– There is a major disconnect between the leadership of the Catholic Church and rank and file Catholic voters on this issue. We did an over sample of almost 400 Catholics and found that they support the benefit overall, 53-44, and oppose an exception for Catholic hospitals and universities, 53-45. The Bishops really are not speaking for Catholics as a whole on this issue.

-Republican agitating on this issue could cause themselves trouble at the polls this year. 40% of voters say Mitt Romney’s stance makes them less likely to vote for him, while only 23% consider it a positive.  With the Catholic oversample it’s 46% less likely and 28% more likely. And Congressional Republicans are imperiling themselves as well. 58% of voters oppose them trying to take the benefit away, while only 33% are supportive.

Republicans will win this fall if they can convince voters that the economy stinks and it’s Barack Obama’s fault and putting them in power will fix the problem. If they want to make it about social issues and making it easy and affordable for women to access birth control, Democrats win.

They can’t help themselves, can they?