Critique and illustration by: Chris Talbot-Heindl
“And if the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it, let’s take that discussion all across America because women are far more than Democrats have made them to be. And women across America have to stand up and say, enough of that nonsense.” – Mike Huckabee, Republican Presidential Candidate
“[Abortion] ends a beating heart, it leaves emotional wounds with women that they carry for life and it robs men of the privilege of fatherhood. That’s why we must do everything in our power to end this devastating practice.” – Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO)
“God is angry. We are provoking him with abortions and same-sex marriage and civil union. Same-sex activity is going to increase AIDS. If it’s in our military it will weaken our military. We need to respect God.” – Susanne Atanus (R-IL Rep. Candidate)
In the last week, the Republican party has been rife with gaffes as it pertains to women’s rights. Just as well, as their ideas are quite laughable and antiquated as it is.
And yet, some are still saying – these people are the exception, they don’t represent the larger party, blah, blah, blah.
While Atanus did go on to say that God was punishing the Earth with tornados, dementia, and autism for accepting gays and abortion, and of course, the party had to discredit her to save face of their oh-so-impressive-and-effectual rebranding, this kind of ideology is exactly what the modern Grand Old Party is all about.
Let us not forget that as a party, in the last year or two, the GOP has done the following:
- They attempted to redefine rape (and yes, while it started with a few nutjobs, the GOP’s candidate for Vice President, Paul Ryan, took up the banner and fought for this as well)
- A state legislator in Georgia attempted to change the legal term for victims of rape who charge their assailants as “accuser” while victims of other crimes not having to do with women would remain “victims”
- Countless bills introduced that would force women to undergo transvaginal ultrasounds, a procedure that all doctors have claimed is unnecessary, before getting an abortion. In many of the bills this would include women who had become pregnant because of rape, unless they petitioned the state to waive it based on their trauma. In Kentucky, cases of rape or incest are not exempted from the requirement at all. Doctors face fines as high as $250,000 for disobeying the law.
- In South Dakota, a bill was proposed to make it legal to murder a doctor who provides abortions. It would change the legal definition of justifiable homicide by claiming it would be allowed if committed by a person “while resisting an attempt to harm” that person’s unborn child or the unborn child of that person’s spouse, partner, parent, or child.
- Republicans cut programs that provide food to low-income pregnant women and mothers, over and over and over and over again in order to “balance the budget”
- A bill, the Protect Life Act ridiculously named enough, was proposed that would allow hospitals to choose whether or not they would provide an abortion necessary to save a woman’s life or let her die based on their paradigm
- A group of Maryland Republicans ended county money for a low-income preschool program citing that there was no need for the program as their mothers should be able to take care of them
- Congress voted for a Republican amendment to cut all federal funding from Planned Parenthood health centers and many GOP run states have already done so, reducing access to health care for many women
The party’s ideology has not changed. As Chairman Reince Priebus said in response to Huckabee’s statement, he would not have used the same phrasing. Which, implies he does believe the same thing; he would have worded it differently.
Of course this is like a silver platter, breakfast in bed, with a cherry on top situation for Democrats.
But Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said this morning that Democrats are failing in their attempts to “frame” the GOP by pointing out their history and statements. He claims that women are winning the war on women. In his state of the union address, he said that women have made huge steps. “And I think some of the victimology [sic] and all of this other stuff is trumped up. We don’t get to any good policy by playing some sort of charade that somehow one party doesn’t care about women or one party is not in favor or women advancing.”
In this one instance, I’d have to agree. Both parties seem to see women as “the other” or as a pawn in the political game of chess they seem to be playing. Republicans want to control women’s actions in order to provide an ever-increasing populace and Democrats want to wave women around like a banner that is meant to show their accomplishments so we can all adore and thank them.
The underlying truth is that neither party is doing women any favors. What has been “won” has been done by activists in the feminist community, by tooth and nail. I can’t wait for a time when women are no longer baby making machines that have no autonomy or philanthropic causes to be tended to and then flouted. We need a party that sees women as what they really are – people.