Barefoot, pregnant and staying home. That’s where Republican men apparently want to see women of the 21st Century. They have begun their endgame by chipping away at women’s reproductive rights. Predominantly white male-dominated legislatures in 20 states have enacted onerous restrictions on women’s health, including Texas, which now forces women, who want an abortion, to submit to ultrasound probes of their vaginas. Cruel and unusual punishment for getting pregnant? I think so.
Didn’t we take care of all this in the 1960’s and ‘70’s? The birth control pill—approved for use in 1960—gave a woman, for the first time ever, the ability to control when she wanted to have a baby. It brought about major social change.
In the 1970’s, didn’t the Women’s Liberation Movement protest in streets across the nation calling for equal rights and reproductive freedom? In 1973, didn’t the Supreme Court rule in Roe v. Wade, that a woman’s right to privacy make the near nationwide ban on abortions unconstitutional? Didn’t Anita Hill put a human face on the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace, which led to new laws protecting women from being called “sluts” or “prostitutes?”
“It’s déjà vu all over again.” Yogi Berra’s famous line comes to mind as I watch this absurd drama, over a woman’s right to control her body, unfold on the national stage. Are the Republicans crazy? Do they believe they can win a presidential election by alienating the majority of voters inAmerica? That’s right. Women go to the polls in larger numbers than men. And they vote differently, too. A study byGallupshowed that 41 percent of voting age women say they are Democrats while only 32 percent of men say they are.
President Obama can thank women voters for his 2008 victory. While 49 percent of men cast ballots for him, 56 percent of women voted for Obama.
I can imagine the President and his staff chortling in the Oval Office about the Republicans’ stumbling efforts to wage a “war on women.” They are already working on a strategy for the fall campaign targeting women. As the President said in his first press conference of the year, “The Democrats have a better story to tell.”
You can bet that women will remember Rush Limbaugh’s hateful radio speak about Sandra Fluke, and the tepid responses from the Republican candidates. Mitt Romney brushed off Rush’s remarks as “inappropriate” instead of denouncing them in the strongest language, such as “gross and unacceptable.”
Women aren’t going to forget the Senators who voted in favor of the Blunt amendment, which would allow employers to opt out of providing certain health care benefits for their employees if they have religious objections. Viagra, yes. Contraceptives, no.
The amendment failed, but barely, 51 to 48, pretty much along party lines. The only Republican voting against it was Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, who a short time later announced her decision not to seek reelection. She couldn’t stand it anymore.
The Republican Party and its puppet master Rush Limbaugh have picked the wrong fight.
“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”