Republicans are waging a war on women on multiple fronts all over the country. It’s happening in Congress, it’s happening in state legislatures all over the nation, and it’s happening in conservative media. Yes, there are some liberals who are chauvinistic in their comments. But on the left, there isn’t the concerted war on women the way there is on the right.
Let’s start with the legislative war. This takes the form of defunding Planned Parenthood in the name of reducing or eliminating abortions. This is happening in Congress, and in several of the states. And it happened by a major charity. It’s an open attack on abortion rights, and a woman’s right to choose. It also takes the form of truly horrid and regressive laws, like the one Virginia tried to pass earlier this year. It doesn’t matter that some of these laws aren’t passing. It’s like fighting a forest fire — attacks are coming from all over the place.
It doesn’t seem to matter that the laws defunding Planned Parenthood are counterintuitive, or that the laws will actually do a lot of harm. Planned Parenthood provides quite a lot of women’s health services, such as routine pap smears or breast exams. (They also provide contraception.) No, they provide abortions, so they’re bad. All bad.
Look, if you really want to reduce or eliminate abortions, educate people (especially teenagers and preteens) on what sex really is, and the possible consequences of not doing it safely. People are going to have sex, no matter how much Republicans try to deny that fact. So why not give them the tools to do it safely, and to prevent the pregnancies from happening in the first place?
Today in Michigan, two female Democratic legislators were silenced on the House floor for daring to oppose the heinous abortion bill that passed there today. They wanted to apply the same law to vasectomies. Turn about is fair play, after all.
Probably worst of all, Republicans are seeking to redefine the definition of rape. And then they want to prevent the use of any tax money to pay for abortion. Yesterday, a story was published about House Republicans blocking abortion access for soldiers who have been raped.
These policies are misogynistic and misguided. Actually, misguided isn’t strong enough. They’re simply wrong. The New York Times editorialized about this on May 19. (It’s too long to post here, but I recommend reading it all.) Frank Rich also wrote a long New York Magazine piece on this that points out what’s happening.
The question, really, is what do we do about it? There have been some suggestions about having a sex strike. That’s not really a bad idea. But it’s not all that practical. The only way to get their attention is to have people flood their phones and email boxes and snail mail boxes. And then to start making their approval ratings go down by answering polls when called.
Ultimately, women and people who actually like women have to vote this fall.These ultra-religious right-wing Republicans need to lose their seats this fall. That means that people will have to actually vote their interests, unlike what many red state residents do.
Conservative women absolutely need to stand up and remind these legislators that they all have mothers and wives and daughters and sisters and maybe mistresses. Republicans have to be loudly reminded that their women are not going to stand for this. They need to be reminded that if they want to pursue these misogynistic policies, there will be consequences. Maybe those won’t come today, but they will come. Women make up more than 50% of the population. Women will become more and more alienated. Republicans will not continue to win elections except in the most extreme places without the support of women. Without the support of women, the Republican Party — the Grand Old Party — will die.