Have They No Decency?

Women across the US, even the world have reacted to the steady Republican assault on women’s reproductive rights.  There’s no end to the craziness. For the GOP’s ‘official’ stance?  They categorically deny a ‘War on Women.’  Rush Limbaugh went so far to say that the ‘feminazi’s’ don’t really care about his comments on Sandra Fluke.  They merely want to make a stink and attack him and his wildly successful radio show.

A conspiracy against the Premier Ditto Head.  Poor baby.

Strangely enough, I agree with the GOP argument.  This is not a War.  It’s a Holy Crusade to chip away, dismantle and destroy all vestiges of gains made by women since the Griswold and subsequent Row v Wade decisions.  Glenn Beck’s vicious attacks on Margaret Sanger make perfect sense now.  Defame and kill the root, the mother of Planned Parenthood, and you bring down the whole tree, destroying the fruits of Sanger’s effort: universal birth control, sexual education [the earlier the better] and freedom for women to control their own lives and destinies.

Make no mistake, this Crusade has been making headway, which has emboldened the zealots in making increasingly outlandish suggestions and demands.

Terri Proud, an Arizona state representative is a fine example.

Most of us have read about Arizona’s proposed HB2625, a bill that would give employers ‘of conscience’ the right to insist a woman obtain a written doctor’s note, proving she’s using birth control for non-sexual reasons. Otherwise, she could be fired.  But wait!  There’s more.  Arizona’s HB2036 would make sweeping changes to abortion, outlawing abortion after 20 weeks based on . . . fetal pain.  Representative Proud, obviously caught up in self-righteous fever, answered a constituent’s request that she vote down HB2036 thusly:

Personally I’d like to make a law that mandates a woman watch an abortion being performed prior to having a “surgical procedure”. If it’s not a life it shouldn’t matter, if it doesn’t harm a woman then she shouldn’t care, and don’t we want more transparency and education in the medical profession anyway? We demand it everywhere else. Until the dead child can tell me that she/he does not feel any pain – I have no intentions of clearing the conscience of the living – I will be voting YES.

So, in addition to requesting that note from your doctor, if you do get pregnant [you wanton slut] and want an abortion– only before the 20-week deadline, of course–Representative Proud would, in her withered zealot’s heart, demand you watch someone else’s abortion.  How perfectly twisted.  And I so-o-o love the arrogance of this reply.  Representative Proud has no intentions of clearing the conscience of the living.  La-de-dah. God is on the premises!

Who are these people?  More importantly, who do these people think they are?

Well, for one thing they’re cowards.  Because when Proud was called out on this response, she claimed it was a Democratic Gotcha Game.

Remember, these were her words, her email but somehow this is a ‘gotcha’ moment.  Sound familiar?  Poor old Rush smells a set up, too, even though it was his three-day, on-air excoriation of Sandra Fluke that initiated the media firestorm and subsequent advertising retreat.

The Grand Inquisitors morph into sniveling crybabies once exposed to the light.

The list of offensive anti-women assaults just keep coming.  Alan Dick [appropriate surname], a state representative of Alaska has suggested ‘paternal permission’ for abortion approval.  Reportedly, he has stated:

If I thought that the man’s signature was required … in order for a woman to have an abortion, I’d have a little more peace about it.

Obviously a woman cannot make this decision on her own.  She needs the signature of the impregnator to make it official so Representative Dick can have peace of mind. Might get a bit dicey if said impregnation was the result of rape or incest.  A similar bill was proposed [and shot down] in Ohio in 2009. A paternal permission rule would make non-permission abortions a crime.

Pennsylvania entered the fray recently.  Governor Tom Corbett signed an abortion ultrasound mandate and said as long as it was on the ‘exterior’ as opposed to the ‘interior,’ he was right as rain with the bill.  As for insisting that women watch?  “You just have to close your eyes,” he quipped with a smile.   Pennsylvania’s bill requires doctors to perform the ultrasound, offer patients two copies of the image and describe the fetal heartbeat in detail before performing a requested abortion.  Which is still legal, btw.

As maddening as these particular examples are, the far more serious overview comes from the Guttmacher Institute:

Over the course of 2011, legislators in all 50 states introduced more than 1,100 provisions related to reproductive health and rights. At the end of it all, states had adopted 135 new reproductive health provisions—a dramatic increase from the 89 enacted in 2010 and the 77 enacted in 2009.1 Fully 92 of the enacted provisions seek to restrict abortion, shattering the previous record of 34 abortion restrictions enacted in 2005. A striking 68% of the reproductive health provisions from 2011 are abortion restrictions, compared with only 26% the year before.

Several states adopted relatively new types of abortion restrictions in 2011. Five states (Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas and Oklahoma) followed Nebraska’s lead from the year before and enacted legislation banning abortion at 20 weeks from fertilization (which is equivalent to 22 weeks from the woman’s last menstrual period), based on the spurious assertion that a fetus can feel pain at that point in gestation. And for the first time, seven states (Arizona, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Tennessee)—all largely rural states with large, scarcely populated areas—prohibited the use of telemedicine for medication abortion, requiring instead that the physician prescribing the medication be in the same room as the patient. Telemedicine is increasingly looked to as a way to provide access to health care, especially in underserved rural areas.

The chart below gives you a chilling visual on what’s been going on:

Despite the evidence, there are conservative writers insisting that the War/Crusade Against Women has been hatched by nefarious Democrats.  Another devious conspiracy!

Sabrina Schaeffer for instance wrote that the ‘war on women’ narrative is risky business for the Democrats because Republicans managed to close the gender gap in 2010, the first time in 20 years.  Ms. Schaeffer might take another look.  The most recent recent polls indicate Democrats opening a 15-point lead with likely female voters.  Schaeffer wrote:

But the effort by the White House to position Republicans as openly hostile to women is not only absurd, but also doomed to be a failed strategy. President Obama and Democrats have tried to create a caricature of conservatives in which opposition to the Health and Human Services “contraception mandate” means Republicans are trying to take away women’s birth control and reverse gender roles 50 years.

While this may play to their feminist base, it’s destined to fail with female voters at large. Contrary to what groups like NOW suggest, women today are not interested in playing identity politics; . . .

I agree on one point.  Women are not interested in playing identity politics on issues we thought resolved two generations ago. However, unless Rick Santorum is secretly a Democrat, I see neither evidence that he was forced into his rigid Morality Police posture [that would be on your knees] nor that he was set up for a gotcha moment.  Nor do I see any proof that the other ‘go along to get along’ candidates had a gun at their heads while taking equally outrageous positions. Only Ron Paul has deferred [for the moment] on the major communal female bashing.

Then there were those grand, unforgettable moments: Congressman Issa’s panel convened to discuss contraception, a panel devoid of women; the Blunt Amendment; the witch hunts on Planned Parenthood.

Sorry, these wounds were self-inflicted, clear cannon blasts to the foot.

That’s not ignoring how the Democrats have happily, even giddily taken full advantage of the GOP’s gender tone deafness.  It’s been a gift since the Administration was, in fact, losing support among women [the Stupak Amendment, weaseling on Plan B availability for young girls, tossing Elizabeth Warren under the bus, etc.].  Women have ‘suddenly’ become attractive entities with an election looming. Quelle surprise!  Yet the Republicans are doing the heavy lifting for the WH, voluntarily hemorrhaging female votes with their nonstop fixation on our sexual parts and what we do with them.

The ‘why’ of this furor remains a mystery.  Yes, the GOP seems to be pandering to the religious right in all their insane glory.  Some commenters have suggested [and this has absolutely crossed my mind], the GOP wants to blow the election.  Or perhaps, they’re inciting the attacks to appeal to those men who resent autonomous women, who dream of the good ole days, the sepia-tinged era of Leave It To Beaver, where Mother dusted the house in high heels, pearls and matching sweater sets.  And Dad, of course, was the font of undisputed wisdom.  One blogger suggested this might be the Republicans’ idea of a jobs program—put women back in the kitchen, thereby opening the job market to unemployed men.

Whatever the Republican reasoning, it appears to be backfiring.  But the election season is young [it just seems pointless and endless].  Still, if I hear one more story on transvaginal probing, zygote personhood or paternal permission slips, I might take out a full-page ad in the NYT, reading:

Have you no decency, Gentleman.  At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

Or anything remotely resembling sanity!

15 Comments on “Have They No Decency?”

  1. peggysue22 says:

    I read this earlier today. In fact, I bookmarked the page because I think it might be a foundation for an interesting flash fiction piece–The Seekers.

    In any case, this reminds me the craziness is a spreading infection this year. It’s not only the War on Women and the endless, lame, infuriating excuses–it’s also about awaiting aliens for rescue. Yikes!


  2. peggysue22 says:

    Another link I picked up unrelated to this post but linked to the one I ran on the Israeli outreach to Iran. This one from William Stafford’s son, Kim Stafford: An Open Letter to An Unknown Friend in Iran.

    As an extra treat–a short but poignant poem by William Stafford. Check it out at Common Dreams here:


  3. bostonboomer says:

    Thank you for another brilliant post, Peggy Sue.

    When will this attack on women end? I read that story about the Rep. Proud in Ariz. a couple of days ago, and I could not believe it. The woman who got the e-mail said she actually felt frightened by the response, and I don’t blame her. The woman sounds mentally ill.

    These people are completely lacking in empathy or compassion for women who are in terrible situations. It’s hard for me to understand how anyone can be that angry and vindictive. And yet these are the same politicians who are always screaming about “individual freedom” and “too much government.”

    • RalphB says:

      Libertarian liberty is the quickest way to achieve complete tyranny! Give these cretins their way and we’ll look like a theocratic Somalia.

    • Pilgrim says:

      Have your read “The Handmaid’s Tale”?

      • peggysue22 says:

        Yes, Pilgrim. I read Atwood’s novel when it first came out and thought–well, that’s kind of ‘out there.’ Btw, I love Atwood’s work. Little did I know that Margaret Atwood would prove to be such a prophet.

        Pretty damn scary!

    • peggysue22 says:

      The lack of empathy really sticks in my craw, BB. But I remember Beck [when he was still on Fox] doing a whole schtick on how ’empathy’ is an evil word. It was right around the time of an incident involving a rural Tennessee family. Their house caught fire, and as it turns out, the out of work husband had fallen behind on the premiums. The private fire company responded to the call but the fire chief instructed his men to stand down and watch this man’s house burn to the ground, even after a neighbor offered cash to pay the deliquent premium.

      Libertarians cheered the police chief’s decision. On principle. Everything this man and his family owned was in that house.

      Yet empathy rather than ideology is the evil word. Makes my head spin.

  4. RalphB says:

    Great post. These people are all nuts.

    I only have one small nit to pick “tossing Elizabeth Warren under the bus”? When did they do that? She’s in his campaign video and in a second video just floated. I trust you’re talking about for the head of the Consumer Protection agency?

    • peggysue22 says:

      Yup, that’s what I’m talking about, ralph. It would have been nice for the WH to fight for the woman who actually midwifed the agency into being. This is one of my major complaints with Obama–he doesn’t seem willing to fight for much. Other than his own reelection, that is.

  5. RalphB says:

    There are clues in here as to where the absurdity on the Right originates. Maybe?

    The Outsourced Party


  6. Minkoff Minx says:

    That graph is sooooo telling. This is great Peggy.

    • peggysue22 says:

      Scary isn’t it? The figures can slide by but the graph really gets your attention. I probably should have made it larger. Or maybe I should have my glasses on :0).

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        It is such a visual depiction of the war on women. Thank you for posting it.

      • quixote says:

        Excellent post, Peggy! If they weren’t already blind, I’d say you blinded them with facts. Very useful to have the facts of the War assembled in one place!

        And, no, they have no shame or decency. They wouldn’t so much as be fazed by the question.