There has been a lot said about the War on Women. I’ve even discussed it in a few recent debates. Of course, conservatives keep insisting that it doesn’t exist. What’s even more interesting is that I keep getting told that it doesn’t exist by women. I thought I’d go through the issues that have led to the description of Republicans’ actions as a War on Women.
We’ll start with the restrictions that Republicans have tried to put on contraception. I will start with I don’t care what your views are on contraception. This isn’t about whether contraceptives are good or bad. The fact is that, even though you may have a moral objection, contraceptives are legal and there is no scientific reason to restrict women’s rights to them. They are used both to prevent pregnancy and for various health concerns. While I’ll debate anything, I would prefer not to get into a debate about contraception itself because it generally goes nowhere.
The problems I have are bills that Republicans have proposed such as the Arizona House Bill 2625. This bill has a provision that allows employers to restrict the use of contraceptives for their female employees. If women need these contraceptives for medical purposes, they must pay for them and request reimbursement by the company. Here’s the kicker – the women must submit “evidence” that the contraceptives are not being used to prevent pregnancy or cause an abortion. Take that word evidence to mean medical records. Yes, a woman must give her employer her intimate medical records in order to receive the medication she needs. Oh, and don’t forget that the law also states that the company can charge an “administrative fee” for handling the claims. So, if they can’t legally stop them, they can charge an outrageous fee to make them pay for it. When did it become okay for my employer to dictate anyone’s medical care? They can have whatever beliefs they choose. They don’t need to force those beliefs on their employees. But, according to Republicans, the medical rights of women are subordinate to the beliefs of their male masters running the company. How dare those women take contraceptives without a man’s approval?!?!
I thought about leaving it at that, but I wanted to head off the only argument conservatives have with this issue. Your argument will be, “why should companies have to pay for something they find morally objectionable?” The answer is, unless you are working for a religious organization, a company has no right to enforce the moral opinions of management on the employees. They definitely don’t have the right to tell them that they can’t have a form of medical care without giving the company their private medical records. Executives are not the employees’ moral guides in life. They are simply their bosses. If they can force their beliefs on employees, where will it stop? Beliefs about contraceptives are religious in nature. If they are allowed to impose their religious beliefs on their employees, what other beliefs can they impose? Religious attire? Required prayer times? Adherence to a specific religious denomination? Oh, wait! You won’t stand for that! But that’s the bottom of the slippery slope that Republicans are trying to send us down.
Violence Against Women
Another group of attacks has been in the realm of violence against women. First, Republicans launched an attack on the Violence Against Women Act. This act was originally passed in 1994 and has been easily extended twice. However, this year, House Republicans caused a major issue by trying to block the act. They wanted to remove protections for gay and transgender Americans, Native Americans, and illegal immigrants. Basically, they said that these people don’t need, or deserve, protection against violence. So if you are gay, transgender, Native American, or undocumented, you can be beat and raped. Republicans don’t care. Republicans will tell you that they don’t need these extra protections. But, if you are gay or transgender, a bigoted police officer might decide that your claim doesn’t deserve any attention. If you’re Native American and you are abused, you can’t get protection from your own tribal legal system. If you are undocumented, you can’t come forward against an abuser because you are just going to be deported. According to Republicans, these people don’t deserve the protection of our laws. Forgive me, but I was sure that our own Declaration of Independence said that all people are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Doesn’t this extend to the right to protection against violence? I almost forgot, the Declaration said, “all men are created equal.” I just mistakenly applied these ideas to women, children, people of different ethnic backgrounds, and people who choose a different lifestyle than my own. Silly me.
Another attack on violence against women occurred when Republicans attempted to pass H.R. 3, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.” The original text of this act stated that the provisions didn’t apply “if the pregnancy occurred because the pregnant female was the subject of an act of forcible rape or, if a minor, an act of incest.” A quick scan of this wording makes it appear that they are protecting women. A closer look is a little scarier. The wording of our laws is very specific, and important. This provision only allows exclusions in the case of “forcible” rape. According to an old concept, for forcible rape to occur, there has to be utmost resistance. The definition of utmost resistance is that there cannot be any consent, no matter how reluctant. So if a woman gives up her struggle during rape, the act may not be considered forcible and would not be covered. A woman who was given a drug that inhibited her ability to resist may also not be covered under this provision.
Another disturbing provision of this bill is that it only includes protection for minors who are the victims of incest. What about a child who has grown up as a victim of incest and is still living under that threat. She may be 18, and a legal adult, but a victim of incest that gets her pregnant. She would not be covered under this law because she is not legally a minor. What sick person would force this woman to bear a child?
Yet another attack by Republicans on rape involved another use of language. A Republican in Georgia proposed a bill that would change the term used in rape, stalking, and domestic violence cases. Instead of referring to the victims of these cases as “victim”, Representative Bobby Franklin proposed that they be referred to as “accuser.” So, according to this Republican, until the victim proves that she has been raped, stalked, or abused, she is not a victim. She is simply someone accusing some man of violence.
Women’s Reproductive Organs
The fun goes on with Republican’s attacks against women’s rights to control their own bodies. First, two Michigan lawmakers were banned from speaking on the Michigan House floor because they were arrogant enough to use the word “vagina” or upset because they were refused the opportunity to speak about a bill concerning abortion. So the man controlling the House thinks it’s okay to pass legislation limiting what a woman can do with her own body, but thinks its “out of order” to hear her opinions on the subject. I won’t go too in depth on here, but you can read more about this story on my previous post Regulating the VAGINA! And other nonsense…
In South Dakota, a Republican lawmaker proposed a change to the definition of justifiable homicide that allowed the murder of a doctor providing abortions. Basically, this law would have made it legal for a man who didn’t want an abortion to kill the doctor attempting to perform the abortion. This would apply even if the woman who was having the child wanted the abortion. So think about this…a man rapes a woman. She chooses not to carry the result of that rape and decides to have an abortion. The man then kills the doctor who attempts to perform the abortion. The man gets away with the murder because it is his child that the woman is carrying. This is the kind of lunacy that this law will enable.
I’m not even done yet! A Republican in Georgia proposed that women be forced to carry a stillborn fetus or a fetus that is not viable to term. This guy even compared delivering a stillborn fetus to delivering a dead calf or pig! Are you freaking kidding me! He even finished by using his religion as a justification for the insanity. This guy embodies the problem. He believes that women are no better than livestock to be used and told what to do with their bodies. He also believes that his religious beliefs should be the foundation of the laws that we all have to follow. It’s rare that I’m rendered speechless, but this guy’s arrogance leaves me without words. I can’t even believe that this is the kind of person anyone would want representing them in our government.
I could go on and on and on…
The list of attacks is incredibly long. It includes a bill that would allow hospitals to let a woman die instead of performing a life saving abortion, cuts to low-income children’s programs because women should be at home with their children, and cuts to low-income health care for women through federal family planning programs and Planned Parenthood.
These attacks are real. They are verifiable. I have linked articles and actual bills to this post so that you can all see this for yourselves. Allow me to give you a little insight into the Republican cry that they are not engaged in a War on Women…IT’S A LIE!
However, if you are interested in men controlling your life and your body, please continue to vote Republican. Conversely, if you enjoy the freedom to make your own decisions, control your own life, and control your own body, then you might want to take a look at some other candidates for office.
So with all of this evidence in hand….can you still tell me that the GOP is not waging a War on Women?