I WAS GOING to begin this column as a plea to Rick Santorum to shut the hell up already.
Stop, I was going to beg Sen. McSweaterVest, with the nonsense that contraception is evil "because it's a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be."
Which he believes to be sex for procreation only. So, will Santorum move to the sofa after wife Karen is menopausal and her dusty ovaries have coughed out their last eggs?
Enough, I was going to add, with the lunacy that public education is "anachronistic." Karen Santorum home-schools the kids (using at least $100,000 in public funds to do it), so all families should, too, because "it's [parents'] responsibility to educate their children."
Since it's also a parent's responsibility to feed their kids, should we all be farmers, too?
Please, I planned to implore Santorum, stuff a sock in your pie hole before decrying the evils of prenatal testing, especially when a prenatal ultrasound diagnosed a heart abnormality in a fetus Karen once carried.
Karen underwent in-utero surgery to treat the defect (the fetus died anyway). Shouldn't every woman have access to the kind of testing Karen took advantage of?
But the more I thought about asking Santorum to shut up, the more I realized that we need him to keep blathering.
Because the more he talks, the more he reminds us that the personal liberties enjoyed by Americans - particularly female Americans - are always at threat from primitive minds that want to rescind rights we thought had already been won.
You know, the right to control our bodies, including whether and when to have sex. The right to decide whether to become parents. The right to decide how to educate our children.
In Santorumville, Ma is whelping and educating an ever-expanding brood on the prairie while Pa brings home the lobbyist's bacon to pay for it all.
Good for Santorum for creating the life he wants. But how dare he presume that it's the only life worth living, the only one - if he becomes president - that's worth government support.
See, that's the problem with a primitive mind: It sees anything other than itself as a threat.
Serial skirt-chaser and thrice-married Newt Gingrich, for example, never respected the sanctity of marriage until gays wanted to wed. Then he was all about "protecting" the institution he trampled with impunity.
Up in New Hampshire, Republican lawmakers want to roll back their state's contraception-coverage mandate, which is similar to the new federal rule requiring it, even though their law has been on the books for a long time.
As state House Speaker and chief lizard-brain William O'Brien told the Nashua Telegraph last week, "We didn't know it was there."
Why? Because they themselves never needed it. Ergo, it must not be needed by anyone.
And then there's Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. He wants to force pregnant women to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound (graphic description alert: a "probe" is moved around inside the vagina) before undergoing an abortion.
How can it be that McDonnell, who criticizes ObamaCare as an unnecessary intrusion by government into personal lives, is just fine with the government inserting itself into a woman's vagina?
But when it comes to women's bodies, the primitive male mind believes it knows best. Just ask the all-male House Oversight Committee, which met last week to discuss contraception access and refused to let any women testify to the opening panel.
And, gosh, why would they? It's not like men have to carry a fetus for nine months.
The only possible silver lining to this toxic cloud of misogyny is that the loonier the rhetoric gets, the more that reasonable people can see it for what it is: a cry to haul us back to the prefeminist Dark Ages, a time when men decided what was best for women.
So let it rip, Rick, and same to your primitive-brained brethren. The louder you get, the more you'll shake complacent Americans into remembering that this is 2012, not 1912.
God willing, they'll vote accordingly.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Call 215-854-2217. Recent columns: philly.com/Ronnie. Twitter: @RonniePhilly. Blog: philly.com/RonnieBlog.