This is it, ladies and friends of ladies and sluts and caterpillars and Vagina-Americans and "other people." This is the last weekend, the final big push, before Election Day. I've asked nicely, I've cajoled, I've pleaded—now I'm just going to outright beg. Because we have a war to win and no time to waste.
A war is coming.That was the warning I gave on Jan. 2, 2011, as the Republicans took control of the House. Some of their plans were known to us: fetal pain laws, personhood laws, defunding Planned Parenthood. We knew that they would be focused on their singular obsession. Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA), as the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, boasted that he had "made the protection of the sanctity of innocent human life the cornerstone of his service in the House," and promised to further pursue that agenda.
Congressional Republicans have already made clear that their top priority, once they take control of Congress in the next session, is to make sure President Obama is a one-term president.
But there is a second priority that many Republicans in Congress, and in state legislatures around the country, have promised to pursue: the further restriction of women's reproductive rights.
But even for those of us who are well-versed in the war waged on women since long before 2011, the Republicans' full-blown assault was far worse than we could have imagined. The following is but a sample of the 67 abortion bills introduced this session:
It wasn't just an assault on reproductive rights, though. Oh, no. They also fought against the Paycheck Fairness Act, because while Republicans will give lip service to the idea of equal pay, they don't really support it. Mitt Romney has said, during this election season, that women's real concern is having more flex time so they can rush home to cook dinner for their families. Equal pay? Nah.
- H.R. 212: Sanctity of Human Life Act: "To provide that human life shall be deemed to begin with fertilization."
- H.R. 1096: Sanctity of Life Act of 2011: "To provide that human life shall be deemed to exist from conception, and for other purposes."
- S. 91: Life at Conception Act: "A bill to implement equal protection under the 14th article of amendment to the Constitution for the right to life of each born and unborn human person."
- H.R. 374: Life at Conception Act: "To implement equal protection under the 14th article of amendment to the Constitution for the right to life of each born and preborn human person."
- S. 314: Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act of 2011: "A bill to ensure that women seeking an abortion are fully informed regarding the pain experienced by their unborn child."
- S. 2103: District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act: "A bill to amend title 18, United States Code, to protect pain-capable unborn children in the District of Columbia, and for other purposes."
- H.R. 3805: Ultrasound Informed Consent Act: "To ensure that women seeking an abortion receive an ultrasound and the opportunity to review the ultrasound before giving informed consent to receive an abortion."
- H.R. 3130: Heartbeat Informed Consent Act: "To ensure that women seeking an abortion receive an ultrasound and an opportunity to review the ultrasound before giving informed consent to receive an abortion."
- H.R. 3802: National Pro-Life Waiting Period Act of 2012: "To require an abortion provider, before performing an abortion, to wait for a period of at least 24 hours."
- S. 3290: Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) of 2012: "A bill to prohibit discrimination against the unborn on the basis of sex or gender, and for other purposes."
- H.R. 5646: Homeland Security Respect for Life Act: "To prohibit funds appropriated for the Department of Homeland Security from being used to pay for an abortion, and for other purposes."
- H.R. 6173: PRO-LIFE Act: "To amend the General Education Provisions Act to prohibit Federal education funding for elementary schools and secondary schools that provide on-campus access to abortion providers."
- H.R. 3: No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act: "To prohibit taxpayer funded abortions and to provide for conscience protections, and for other purposes."
Republicans fought against renewal of the Violence Against Women Act too. Why? Because they don't believe violence against immigrants, lesbians and Native American women is a problem. Those women don't deserve protection, according to Republicans. As with their shifting definitions of rape, some victims of domestic violence aren't really victims, so screw 'em.
And let's not even get started on the conversation about rape—forcible rape, legitimate rape, easy rape, honest rape, emergency rape, rape thing rape, gift-from-God rape. Who knows what kind of some-rape-is-not-really-that-bad rape they'll think up next?
So what do Republicans have in store for us if they are victorious on Election Day? Romney has already promised he will get rid of Planned Parenthood. His running mate is devoted to cutting basic assistance to poor women and their children because he thinks that's what the Bible says. And congressional Republicans are only too eager to continue their War on Women.
Are we going to let them? That's the question we face just days before the election. Are we going to let them continue their war or are we going to say no—hell, no!—and put a stop to it?
For two years, this series has tracked the weekly offenses and assaults by Republicans against women—also known by some Republicans as "other people" or "caterpillars" or "sluts."
This is our time to stop them. This is our chance to send a message that their war has consequences. We will take them out of power, we will send more of us to Washington to fight back, and though we still have many battles ahead, we are awake, we are watching, we are mad as hell, we are fighting back, and we will win.