GOP war on women


Students at Wesleyan University in Connecticut have sex and they want Congress, those members ready to throw Planned Parenthood under the budget bus, to know it.

Do you have sex? Congress, the GOP and the religious right appear to think you shouldn’t – especially if you are a woman – and if you do, you should suffer Job-like travails for your audacity.

The truth about Planned Parenthood is that they spend more time providing access to healthcare to young women, underprivileged women and women without health insurance than they do providing access to abortion, which by the way is legal and nobody’s business but a woman’s and her doctor.

Planned Parenthood, at any rate, is not the problem in the debate about abortion. The problem is that some people believe that life begins at conception and some don’t. Just like some people believe in God and some don’t. And just like all things theological, Americans in particular have a really hard time respecting other people’s right to believe or not and to act upon those beliefs where their lives are concerned.

Americans practice the idea of freedom in a random manner. They believe in it for themselves personally and for other people only when it suits them.

It’s also a matter of not understanding the difference between life and existence.

And it is, sadly, yet another example of the fact that women are not valued, being reduced again and again to little more than a sex object with incubator potential.

If you believe that life begins at conception fine. Live it. Be a good example. God would approve.

What he wouldn’t approve of is forcing your will and views on those who don’t hold the same views. Aside from his tantrum in the temple, not once does Jesus ever impose his will on anyone he interacts with throughout the Gospels.

Jesus, it would seem, was a “choice” kind of guy.

If only his followers could have established such an enlightened attitude once he wasn’t around to physically keep an eye on them anymore. Perhaps the history of the world would have played out differently and perhaps people who have sex would be allowed to take responsibility in a manner that fits with their beliefs.

I don’t believe that life begins at conception. I do believe that Planned Parenthood’s services are important for women who don’t have the money or the access to gynecological services otherwise. I do think that the assault on reproductive health services in the United States is part of a widespread disrespect for female independence and civil rights and an attempt to force us further into second class status.

Oh, and I have sex. So I support your right to have sex also, if you choose, and to make decisions about your body for yourself alone. And I support Planned Parenthood.


Suffragettes on way to Boston (LOC)

Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

A record number of anti-abortion bills emerged this legislative season at the state level with South Dakota, predictably, leading the vindictive pack with a bill that essentially made it legal to murder doctors who performed abortion or women seeking them under the guise of a “self-defense” law.

And while I am still waiting for the inevitable day when right leaning legislatures seek to impose a dress code and assign us seats at the back of all public transit, the Florida State Legislature takes top prize for the sheer number of assaults on female reproductive autonomy with a record 18 bills struggling to meander the process and land on the new GOP governor’s desk.

While some could claim that this is not about women’s rights at all but protecting human life, the proof against this tired clichéd defense is a bit too overwhelming because it’s not just our plumbing that concerns the GOP. Reducing women to 1950’s standards at every level appears to be the goal.

Wisconsin’s union busting tactics are aimed point-blank at female dominated professions, and the dismantling of higher education largely affects young women who are now the majority of students and are graduating in greater numbers than their male peers.

While the feministing 20 and 30 somethings were angsting over non-issues like whether to change their name or not when they married or how to ensure that men carried their share of the household and child-rearing chores, those who prefer women barefoot and pregnant have been making steady progress in their hamstringing of Roe V.Wade and limiting women’s access to birth control, emergency contraception and even basic reproductive health care.

We fiddled and Rome caught fire. The question is – will it burn down around us or can we roll back the lash the right is using to back slap us?

Let’s make a few things clear. This is not about the right to life or babies.

The people so intent on forcing women to carry children to term have no interest in those children once they are born. They are the same people who flushed Headstart down the toilet and are defunding state health care plans for children at every opportunity. They are crippling public education through budget cuts and unrealistic measuring standards. The goal is – and always has been – about using children as a means to cripple women and tie them to home and hearth, ensuring their dependence and subservience.

What is going on is no less an attempt to prevent equality than forcing women to bind their feet, be circumcised or swaddle themselves when out in public.

Whenever God or sanctity or family values are invoked, the end result is never good for women.

American men hate women just as much as their counterparts in the Third World and just as much as Muslim fundamentalists and just as much as those who tried to smother the early suffragettes by jailing and force feeding them did.

Every man who professes a “right to life” is proclaiming his belief that women are chattel to be possessed, ordered about and controlled.

And women take it.

Do we hate ourselves as much as we are hated?

We dress like whores and desperately maintain weights that damage our health while flocking to every beauty product and medical intervention that promise to freeze-frame us in a manner acceptable to men and societal standards set by men.

We work at the expense of our sanity, health and children because men expect us to pull half their load and all of ours too. Women have known since the get-go that “having it all” is a myth but it’s one that men still whole-heartedly support and push down our throats – with our help.

I have daughters. There are wonderful – witty and smart – but their lives will never be as easy as the boys they grew up with because it is still an XY world and with males now the making up more than half the population, how can things get better?

Margaret Wente at The Globe and Mail wrote an idiotic diatribe for International Women’s Day that stated the misguided opinion of too many women in the industrialized world. She wrote that we (women) have won the fight for inequality so shut up about it already.

It’s that attitude that has allowed the legal assault on women to ratchet up this year. Complacency and a preoccupation with crap that is distraction more than substance.

Men have been the dominant race since the beginning of time. They have no reason to share power and have done so only when forced and only reluctantly.

Wake the fuck up, Ladies.