Fox News' Greg Gutfeld advanced the bogus right-wing talking point that Americans are responsible for paying for women's contraceptives. Gutfeld was distorting an Obama administration health care ruling, which will require most employers' insurance plans to cover preventive health services for women, including contraceptives. The ruling exempts religious-affiliated institutions.
During a segment in which he derided actress Scarlett Johansson for her speech at the Democratic National Convention, Gutfeld said to her: “You're worth millions, why don't you help them [pay for contraceptives] instead of asking me?” He added: “I don't want Hollywood to reproduce, but I'm not going to pay for that option.”
In her speech, Johansson talked about how her “girlfriends from high school” depend on Planned Parenthood and Medicaid for “important health services” and said:
JOHANSSON: Over the last two days, we've been reminded of something that perhaps we forgot: what has been accomplished and what is at stake -- whether we can get health care, afford college, be guaranteed equal pay. All of these things are at great, great risk.
Indeed, a spate of Republican-sponsored bills introduced within the past year have specifically targeted women's reproductive rights.
Contrary to Gutfeld's suggestion that taxpayers are responsible for paying for women's contraceptives needs, the Obama administration's regulation guarantees that health insurance policies that women are already paying for cover women's preventive health care services, just as they already cover other medical expenses. As the journalist Jonathan Cohn noted:
In a single-payer system, you pay for your insurance through taxes. In an employer-based system, like the one the Affordable Care Act reinforces, you pay for your insurance through wages that your employers withholds and dumps into a health insurance fund on your behalf. Either way, though, it's really your money that's paying for your health insurance, not your company's. The only objection that ought to matter is yours.
Gutfeld ended his attack on Johansson by saying: “If you'd like to discuss this further, I'm free for dinner, and I'll pay. I know how helpless women can be.” Co-host Dana Perino responded: “I'm so glad you'll be picking up the check.”
Gutfeld's shot at Johansson comes on the heels of his attack on actress Eva Longoria, in which he said, “I would take the brain of Clint Eastwood at 81 over the vacuousness of Eva Longoria any day.”
Gutfeld previously dismissed the struggles of millions of women who can't afford contraceptives. He is not the first Fox figure to push the free contraception falsehood. Bill O'Reilly, correspondent Ed Henry, and most recently Megyn Kelly have also done so.