The War on Women

Angela Clague

The War on Women

By A C

“My friends, this supposed ‘War on Women’ or the use of similar outlandish rhetoric by partisan operatives has two purposes, and both are purely political in their purpose and effect: The first is to distract citizens from real issues that really matter and the second is to give talking heads something to sputter about when they appear on cable television. Neither purpose does anything to advance the well-being of every American.” – Senator John McCain (R-Arizona)

Republicans have taken a new, direct approach to their already existing traditional and religious viewpoints on women’s issues. While the Republican platform has consistently affirmed that government should not be involved in “health care, buying car companies, bailing out banks,” and as former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney describes, “giving half of the White House staff the title of czar,” it seems that Republicans do support the idea that the government should have a firm hand in women’s issues. So, female voters ought to always be diligent in staying informed on exactly what that entails.

In March of 2012, the Senate vetoed an amendment sponsored by Republican Senator of Missouri Roy Blunt to override the Obama Administration’s contraception coverage rule to allow all employers the option to refuse to cover any form of health care on the grounds of moral reasons. Three Democrats voted in support of the bill. All but one Republican voted against it. Obama’s contraception rule exempts faith-based employers, but Senate Republicans argued that mandating non-religious organizations to cover health care benefits they oppose is an attack on religious freedom.

Also in March, Republican Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett reiterated his support for the “Women’s Right to Know Act” – where the government requires doctors to perform an ultrasound, give the woman two printed copies of the image, both play and describe the fetal heartbeat, and then have the woman wait 24 hours (presumably to rethink her decision) before she is allowed to have an abortion. When asked if the bill goes too far, Corbett replied stating, “You can’t make anybody watch, okay? Because you just have to close your eyes. As long as it’s on the exterior and not the interior.” But unlike Virginia’s revised ultrasound bill, Pennsylvania’s does not specify the type of ultrasound. So, doctors will have to use “interior” procedures – or vaginal probes – for most first-trimester abortions.

During Sexual Assault Awareness month in April 2012, Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott vetoed $1.5 million in funding for 30 rape crisis centers. A spokesperson for Scott explained that he already funds sexual violence programs. Jennifer Dritt, the executive director of the Florida Council stated, “Survivors are having to wait weeks, sometimes six weeks, in some programs three months to be seen. We included quotes from the programs about the waiting lists and what services they weren’t able to offer because of a lack of money. There is clearly an unmet need.” 

Also in April 2012, Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker repealed the 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act, which was designed to discourage employers from discrimination by granting workers more avenues to press charges and allows for cases to be held in less expensive and more accessible state court systems. Women earn 77 cents for every dollar men make in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health estimates that families “lose more than $4,000 per year due to unequal pay.” In other news, in the same month, Republican former White House press secretary Dana Perino expressed on Fox and Friends that discussion over the Paycheck Fairness Act for women is just a “distraction.” In the same vein, a spokesperson for former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said he would not have voted for the Lilly Ledbetter Act, but he would not repeal it if elected.

In August 2012, Republican former Senate candidate of Missouri, Todd Akin justified his position on opposing abortion in instances of rape by stating, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Akin also opposes abortion in cases of incest. Akin and Republican former vice presidential candidate co-sponsored the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” which narrows down the definition of rape to “forcible rape,” so that federal Medicaid funds would not go towards abortions for victims of statutory rape, victims of incest who are over 18 years old, and victims who were drugged or have limited mental capacity. Republican former Senate candidate of Pennsylvania compared a pregnancy caused by rape to “having a baby out of wedlock.” When asked to clarify his position, he added, “Put yourself in a father’s position. Yes, it is similar.”

 In October 2012, Katherine Fenton asked both presidential candidates in a public forum, “In what new ways do you intend to rectify inequalities in the workplace? Specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn.”  In response, conservative author Matthew Vadum tweeted: “Katherine Fenton, questioner, brings up the feminazi leftist lie that women don’t get paid equally.” Jim Geraghty of National Review also tweeted: “Oh bulsh** Katherine Fenton is an uncommitted voter.”

Later in October, Republican former congressional candidate of Washington John Koster stated that “the rape thing” is not a good enough reason for a woman to have an abortion.  Republican former Senate candidate Richard Mourdock of Indiana stated he opposed abortion in instances of rape because “it is something that God intended to happen.” Both politicians support abortion when the life of the mother is at stake.

Congress is currently divided over the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. The Senate-passed version would add provisions for the protection of victims who are undocumented immigrants, among the LGBT community and within Native American tribes. House Republicans are blocking its passage over provisions designed to protect victims of sexual violence who are members of the LGBT community and undocumented immigrants.

This only covers recent news. I believe that women spoke when 64% of unmarried women voted for president Barack Obama over the mere 28% who voted for presidential nominee Mitt Romney, aiding in his victory. As a young woman, it is frightening to live in a country where so many politicians who wish to gain power not only do not understand women’s issues, but wish to control women, promote inequality among the sexes and deprive women of what I believe should be inherent rights. It puzzles me that Mitt Romney succeeded in a 3% lead over Obama in votes among married women. I can only hope that they just weren’t informed. 

 In response to Senator John McCain’s speech: 

“Anybody who says that women’s health care, access to contraception, and equal pay for equal work aren’t real issues that really matter may not be accounting for the views of over half of our population.” -Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington) 

Note From Editor: Angela was on the right track when using John McCain as an example of the Republicans’ disregard for the existence of women in society. I  don’t personally  hold John McCain and his friends as mental giants even if he spent time as a prisoner of war, but when they made a big public blunder of opposing Susan Rice as a possible Secretary of State he joined the rest of his party in their War on Women!     


3 responses to “The War on Women

  1. Don, Glad to see a new post in your column. Your really think republicans are waging a war on women?

  2. Great article. Times have changed. The majority recognizes each other as equal citizens with equal rights (race, creed, sex, etc…). The old guard always wants to turn the clock back to the days where inequality was the accepted norm. The momentum seems to be there but more needs to change to bring about genuine equality. I think equality can be achieved in many areas. We’ll see if equality in influence and power can be balanced between the 1%er’s and the rest of us. I agree with President Obama when he said of his girls that he wanted them to have all of the same possibilities and opportunities that everyone should have.

  3. Vicki Sue McKinnis

    It’s always good to hear from you, Angela! Thanks for giving me new a perspective on this topic.

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