Ron Johnson, contraception, and the power of the Internet

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I’ve long been concerned about whether Ron Johnson, elected to the Senate in 2010, is really up to the job. After all, the Wisconsin Republican has argued that snow in Greenland is evidence of global cooling; he thinks “sunspot activity” is responsible for global warming; and at the height of the BP oil spill disaster, he said he’d sell his BP stock, just as soon as it was more profitable for him to do so.

This week, however, Johnson broke new ground, sharing his unique perspective on contraception access. Scott Keyes asked the far-right senator about the issue, and posted this startling clip.



For those who can’t watch clips online, Keyes asked Johnson about the millions of American women who can’t afford access to birth control. The Republican replied, “My wife actually went online here in Wisconsin and typed in, ‘what if I can’t afford birth control?’ Came up, bam. If you can’t afford it, you can get birth control in this country.”

When Keyes asked what that meant, Johnson added, “You can get it. Go online, type it in. It’s easy to get.”

I can appreciate the power of the Internet as much as the next guy, but if Ron Johnson believes low-income Americans can simply go online and – “bam” – easily find cheap contraception, he seems to have a comically exaggerated sense of the efficacy of online services.

Indeed, ThinkProgress put the senator’s advice to the test.

ThinkProgress went online and Googled “what if I can’t afford birth control?” The very first link explained that the entire process, from the initial exam to a follow-up to the pills themselves, can cost upwards of $210 the first month. The rest of the first-page results included two sites informing women that if they can’t afford contraceptives, “don’t have sex,” four sites attacking Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke, and one site explaining how birth control is a lot more expensive than many believe.

Bam?

Ron Johnson

Ron Johnson, contraception, and the power of the Internet

Updated