This topic is never out of date and continues to surface during this election cycle as an issue between Republicans who have drunk their own Kool-aid and Democrats who are appalled at the craven behavior of their opposite numbers not only in the Congress, but in state legislatures across the country controlled by Republicans. Why are they so terrified with women that they feel compelled to control their reproductive choices, their bodies and their hard-earned rights.
Earlier this year we all learned how the backward thinking legislature of Virginia and its highly ambitious Republican governor dealt with the law allowing abortions. Bob McDonnell and his compliant legislature floated a bill that would require a physician to perform an invasive procedure known as trans-vaginal insertion of an ultrasound probe into a woman’s reproductive system before the abortion could be performed. Every obstetrician and gynecologist not quacking said this procedure was absolutely not necessary.
The “defense” for this requirement from the Republican delegation included statements that suggested that this penetration was as good as the next one that would produce the abortion and that most abortions are performed for lifestyle convenience. The media finally exposed these “keep-government-out-of-our-lives” hypocrites and the bill was shelved until 2013. Say, isn’t that AFTER the Presidential election?
Then there were the “hearings” held by the California hatchet, Darrell Issa “discussing” the free contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act. Not only did this theater of the absurd use the separation of church and state as its basis, the first panel of witnesses did not include a female. When Sharon Fluke was allowed to speak, her testimony was sordidly derided by the sewer Rush Limbaugh calls a mouth. The only thing worth mentioning from this exercise in political disgrace was the disgrace of the Republican brand.
The recent media flap perpetrated by the nearly brain-dead Senatorial candidate from Missouri, Todd Akin, is the latest example of the callous and ignorant understanding of women, their rights and the law. I taught human anatomy for three years in college and medical school and was astounded to learn new things about the female reproductive system and its physiology from Mr. Akin. This guy is now raking in more donation money and insists he is in the race to stay. God help the women of Missouri if he wins.
A little research turned up a 1996 report from the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology that noted there were over 32,000 pregnancies per year as a result of rape. It represented 5% of the victims raped between the ages of 12-45. This extrapolates to over 640,000 reported rapes. We are 16 years later with a more courageous female population that reports rapes more often rather than hides them. These simple data refute Akin’s assumptions about female reproduction systems and rape in particular.
From what I read, the rate of violence against women is about the same today as in 1996, yet the GOP has recently voted against the Violence Against Women Act proposed by the Obama administration. They want to eliminate abortion altogether – as stated in their recently defined party platform – no matter the cause. They want to limit or eliminate contraception for women. From the lips of Romney himself: “We want to get rid of Planned Parenthood”.
For those who don’t pay attention, Planned Parenthood provides free screenings for breast cancer, uterine cancer and other female reproductive issues NOT involving abortions. In fact the percent of Planned Parenthood work that is proactive for women is over 95% (I'm sure our intrepid fact checkers will identify the actual percent). Why, then, do Republicans want to end this program for women, especially poor women? Their theme seems to be: “You must have that baby, but once you do, you and it are on your own: No welfare, no food stamps, no Medicaid.” That sounds a lot like assault to me.
The syndicated columnist Maureen Dowd says it best when addressing the assault on women and who leads that charge.
She points out what the RNC is doing about it: “…by reiterating language in their platform calling for a no-exceptions Constitutional amendment outlawing abortion, even in cases of rape, incest and threat to the life of the mother.
Paul Ryan, who teamed up with Akin in the House to sponsor harsh anti-abortion bills, may look young and hip and new generation, with his iPod full of heavy metal jams and his cute kids. But he’s just a fresh face on a Taliban creed — the evermore antediluvian, anti-women, anti-immigrant, anti-gay conservative core.”
This assault on women is fueled by extremists from evangelical churches to mainstream Republican males of every stripe. There must be some inherent insecurity in these men that they feel so compelled to control women’s reproductive rights. Perhaps they should look into themselves for answers to their fears before emulating the attitudes of Saudi Arabia regarding women.
Eliminating rape and violence against women is a good starting place for the debate. Rape is a violent act of power by males against the physically weaker female. If we accede to this barbarity, we are admitting we are barbarians. If we allow full-term pregnancies from rape and/or incest, we are admitting that these crimes against women are O.K. They are not. Any first year genetics student can explain why.
I don’t like the concept of abortion; I prefer prevention of pregnancy. Our current laws allow some legally sanctioned abortions. Roe v. Wade was not approved by the Supreme Court on a whim or a message from God. It was made to allow women freedom over their bodies. Men don’t get pregnant nor give birth. They should not be involved with making laws that prevent women from expressing that personal freedom.
A recent poll shows that Caucasian males in the U.S. favor Mitt Romney by about 29% (What is the latest number, fact checkers?). In view of the subject of this essay, I wonder what percentage of voting age females favor anything Republican. With the other GOP attacks and fear mongering against people not in their base, it follows that all women and those who are not in a “favored” group will be compelled to vote out and against those who are working against their best interests. The GOP is now the party of exclusion.
My questions are: How could anyone with any respect for women and their hard-earned rights even consider voting for an agenda that condones rescinding those rights as well as rejecting a law intended to squelch violence against women? Do these people want to return to the pre-1920 era when women couldn’t vote?
Well, too bad. Women DO have the right to vote, and if they have any self-respect and dignity they will vote against the Republican’s anti-woman agenda.