This has been a crazy week when it comes to the abortion debate. And by crazy, I mean that a handful of Republican politicians, have shoved their foot into their mouth…at least to the knee.
Let me get this little disclaimer out of the way first,
- – I am a fiscal conservative.
- – I have never had an abortion.
- – I have never been in a situation that would lead me to consider having an abortion.
BUT abortion is currently legal & perhaps most importantly, statistics show that the vast majority of women who consider abortion as an option do so because they do not believe that they can financially care for a child on their own.
The far right narrative of “recreational birth control,” where women run around getting pregnant and then popping down to the local clinic for an abortion and a manicure is a vile, misogynistic, fantasy that portrays women as both immoral and self absorbed.
It is also a plays right into the hand of the liberals who drag this issue out during every tough election.
Here is how the scenario works:
- – Worried about jobs, gas, and finances, moderate democrats and independent voting women lean towards the economy as their main election issue and consider Republican candidates as viable options.
- – Fearful of losing their female voters, the left drags out the ‘partial term” abortion acts, birth control subsidies, and gay marriage issues to get the religious right to publically react.
- – The religious right politicians do react, often with completely condescending, chauvinistic, misogynistic, Victorian ideology, which subjugates women.
- – The result….same result every time…..moderate democrats, moderate republicans, libertarian, and independent voting women freak out and vote the “devil they know” incumbent or don’t vote at all, rather then face the possibility that they will be forced to get permission from a man to make personal, grown up decisions.
And where, you may ask, do women get the idea that under a Republican run government, their rights may be reduced to that of a primary school child? From the mouths of the politicians themselves.
Alan Dick, Republican from Alaska would have “a little more peace” about a woman having an abortion if she got….seriously….a permission slip from her impregnator. In fact, he advocates criminalizing women who, without the signature of the impregnator, has an abortion.
Like some Lifetime TV movie, Rep Dick’s fantasy is that of wonderful husband and all around man of the year, desperately yearning for a family. He is then betrayed by the evil, immoral, scheming woman who runs off, unbeknownst to him and aborts their child. A permission slip, in Dick’s mind, would prevent the plethora of lying, scheming, and women out there from robbing good men of their unborn children.
Of course life isn’t a Lifetime TV movie. The fact is, 1 in 5 women in America will be raped or sexually assaulted in their lifetime. 1 in 4 women are raped and abused by their spouse while in a marriage (though some still believe that raping your wife is spousal privilege). So, under Dick’s plan, a rape victim will face criminalization unless she either carries her rapist’s child or finds him and gets his signature. Since only 50% of rapes are investigated by the police and less than 20% are ever convicted, a rape victim would have to be a veritable Ms Marple or Jessica Fletcher, better at catching the rapist, than the police with all of their resources. How practical.
Of course Dick’s plan also opens the door to all sorts of pregnancy terrorism. Many states will not allow a pregnant woman to divorce or even separate from her husband. So when Earl says “you will never leave me,” to the wife he has been beating on, if he can just manage to knock her up, he has to force of the courts on his side. Gee! That almost sounds like a Sharia Law concept…why? Because it is.
Idaho Republican Senator Chuck Winder stated as closing arguments for a bill that would require women to see an ultrasound scan prior to an abortion, “I would hope that when a woman goes into a physician, with a rape issue, that that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage, or was it truly caused by a rape.”
Where to even begin? Winder says “when a woman goes into a physician with a rape issue” with the same flippancy as if she was headed down to the salon on a bad hair day. “Rape issue?” Is that really a phrase? How about “when a woman is the victim of the horrendous, felonious, crime of rape?” Then there is “truly caused by rape” in other words….”were you really raped? Really?? Really Really???” Ok girls line up; on one side the girls who lie about being raped so that they can add humiliation to what is already a painful decision and on the other side, girls too stupid to know the difference between rape and “normal relations.” That’s your choice ladies, you are liars or idiots.
Of course, the whole idea that women should be forced to watch either an abortion, as Arizona Republican Teri Proud suggests or an ultrasound or heartbeat from their own body as the new law in Texas requires, plainly shows that law makers feel women are too rash, emotional, and intellectually challenged to make decisions about their medical care without it all being spelled out, in big letters, and graphic detail.
Where are the corresponding responsibilities for men? Are men forced to watch computerized projections of what their future children may look like if only they would “just say no” to a vasectomy? They can’t get permission slips from future partners who may want children, so who signs for them? Their mothers? Or maybe all men who have a vasectomy should be forced to freeze their sperm in case some woman decides in the future that she may want children with the fellow.
Birth control, pregnancy, birth, and child rearing all continue to fall on the shoulders of women, even in this “enlightened” society. And while the stigma of single mother may have lessened, the financial realities have changed little from Victorian times. The US Census states that only 46% of single parent households receive child support. Of the remaining 54 % nearly 25% refuse to pay because they simply don’t want to be a parent or they deny paternity.
While there are deadbeat Moms, the vast majority of single parent homes are headed by mothers who teeter on the brink of poverty because the absent father either can’t or won’t financially care for his children. The homeless shelters are full of single parent families. When a woman, especially a young or poor woman is faced with a greater than 50% shot of having to raise children on her own, with over 80% of those single parent homes falling below the poverty line, it certainly bears out results of study after study concluding that lack of financial ability to care for a child on her own, is the single largest factor in the decision to have a pregnancy terminated.
But of course, the pregnancy is all her fault. Right? Presidential contender Rick Santorum announced at a town hall event, “We are seeing the fabric of this country fall apart, and it’s falling apart because of single moms.”
Really Rick? A woman is called a “single” mom when one half of the paternal equation is gone. Rick and his ilk gloss over the fact that while it takes two to tango, in our society, so often only one pays the band. So a woman who becomes pregnant can’t get an abortion because it’s morally wrong, but she shouldn’t have the baby either because she will land on welfare and that’s morally wrong too? I guess in Rick’s World, it sucks to be a woman
As conservatives we talk a lot about smaller government, personal responsibility, and less intrusion by the government into our personal lives. We talk about equal chance to succeed and achieve the American Dream. Yet, every aspect of the abortion debate flies in the very face of conservative, Constitutional values.
Creating an entire layer of government to monitor, indoctrinate, and shame women for a situation for which they (in the cases of rape, pedophilia, and incest) are completely blameless or in consensual, adult sex, at best share equal responsibility, is completely counter to conservative political values. Didn’t we rally against “death panels” and the government intrusion into the private, personal, medical decisions of seniors? Didn’t we demand that seniors and their families be allowed to make decisions about their own lives, doctors, and treatments without having government mandated hoops through which to jump and impersonal boards sitting in judgment?
All you need to do is swap the focus of all of the abortion hate from one side to the other and it’s easy to see how ridiculous it is for politicians to involve themselves.
What politician would sponsor a bill requiring all men’s public toilets or even pharmacies to play abortion footage on continual loop with a friendly reminder to pick up condoms?
What politician would sponsor a bill requiring men to have a signed permission slip before masturbating because that might be robbing the wife of a chance to become pregnant?
Perhaps politicians could sponsor a bill requiring counseling for infertile couples, questioning whether the man “truly” ejaculated or was he just lying in order to have non-procreation sex.
Ridiculous? Yeah, well the “female as bad guy” version of each of those bills is currently being debated….or has already passed.
Now you may believe that abortion is wrong. You may even believe that even in the instance of pedophilia, incest, or rape, abortion is wrong. You may even go so far as to believe that even if pregnancy will likely kill the mother, abortion is wrong. But the fact, the incontrovertible fact is that right now, today, abortion is legal. That means that it is a right. If you want to change that right, you lobby to have the issue voted upon by the citizens of your state.
Politicians who sponsor these back door bills and then pat themselves on the back for infantilizing women think that they are playing to the conservative vote. But in recent surveys of Republican voters, 70% said that while they wouldn’t consider having an abortion personally, they wouldn’t restrict the rights of others to do so.
Instead of playing to the conservative base, politicians who make abortion a main focus of their campaign play right into the hands of liberals who have now changed the entire campaign focus from the economy and gas and jobs to the far right’s attack on women.
And guess what…it’s working.