Who hates women?
The war on women isn't just a foul-mouthed boor like Rush Limbaugh calling a college student a slut and a prostitute for telling Congress that birth control pills have important medical uses.
It isn't just Rick Santorum the Catholic ranting about the evils of birth control, or Mitt Romney the Mormon declaring that "we'll get rid of Planned Parenthood" or Sarah Palin thinking rape victims should pay for the rape kit used to collect evidence after a rape, or Georgia state representative Terry England comparing women to cows and sows (who, he says, have no problem delivering dead calves and piglets, so why shouldn't women wait until their dead fetus comes out on its own.)
It's a nationwide attack on women's rights as citizens by all levels of the Republican Party. One of the inalienable rights mentioned in the Declaration of Independence is that of "life"...(along with liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but I'll deal with those in another post.) "Inalienable" means that it cannot be dismissed or curtailed by law.Yet Republicans approve denying female citizens the right of choice in reproductive decisions, demeaning women's citizenship to the level of serfdom or even livestock. Republicans have advanced the proposition that the embryo, from conception, is a "person" and thus a citizen with more rights than its mother. I consider their motives suspect at best. Several states have passed laws allowing doctors to lie to women about the health of their fetus and about the risk to themselves if they continue the pregnancy. Most Republicans seem to feel that even if a woman's life is clearly endangered, and the fetus has died (thus there's no life to be saved but hers) the woman has no right to save herself. They believe a citizen--an American citizen who happens to be a woman--has no right to choose life for herself. She can be compelled to risk her life or die...for someone else's religious belief.
A citizen's right to life--to choose to maintain her/his own life, to choose the level of risk--has been fundamental to our conception of citizenship. One of the long-standing arguments against conscription for military service was that it forced men to risk their lives involuntarily. For much of our history we have had an all-volunteer military, as we do now. No citizen can be forced to risk her/his life for another. Some may choose to do so (braving a burning car to save someone trapped inside, diving into a river to save a drowning person, becoming live donors of a kidney or bone marrow) but the law cannot compel it. Where medical procedures are concerned, the citizen must be informed of the risks and the choice must not be coerced.
So far, Republicans have not suggested that male citizens should be compelled by law to rush into fires, jump into rivers, or give up a kidney or bone marrow to save someone's life. They do not question whether a male seeking treatment for erectile dysfunction just wants a hard-on so he can have fun with sex, or suggest that he have himself videotaped having sex with prostitutes and put it on YouTube. In fact, a male's inability to get it up is treated as a serious medical problem in itself even though a limp dick is not in itself life-threatening. (Yes, it may be a symptom of another serious condition, and those should be treated. Not with Viagra.)
A few examples of the lengths to which Republicans will go to control women and risk their lives by denying them both the knowledge to make informed choices about their reproductive health and the choices that might save their lives, health, and future.
In Kansas, the Republican-dominated legislature wrote a low that allows doctors to lie to women patients and thereby endanger their health. Doctors are allowed to lie to pregnant women about the health of their fetus and any danger the pregnancy might pose to her health as well. The Republican governor, Sam Brownback, approved it. This law places women at unequal risk of death without their consent.
In Oklahoma, the Republican-dominated legislature wrote a similar law that allows doctors to lie to women patients and thereby endanger their health; the Republican governor Mary Fallin approved it. This law places women at unequal risk of death without their consent.
In Arizona, the Republican-dominated legislature wrote a similar law that allows doctors to lie to women patients and thereby endanger their health. The Republican governor, Jan Brewer approved it. This law places women at unequal risk of death without their consent.
Nationwide, Republican-dominated state legislatures proposed--and often passed--legislation affecting women's health by seeking to eliminate or curtail women's access to birth control and pregnancy termination, and defunding clinics run by organizations that sometimes provide abortions. Planned Parenthood is the primary target of these attacks, but not the only one.
For instance, In Texas, the Republican-dominated legislature wrote a law that requires women seeking an abortion to have a medically unnecessary, intrusive, embarrassing, and painful procedure and listen to a lecture serving no medical, but a religious, purpose. The Republican governor, Rick Perry, approved it. The same governor has defunded Planned Parenthood, refusing federal funds for its clinics in Texas. Planned Parenthood has provided many medical services (including cancer screening) for poor woman in Texas and the state has no plans to replace it with equal levels of care for women who have no other source of medical care. This puts their lives at risk from more than complications of pregnancy. (Rick Perry and the Republican-dominated Texas legislature have a long history of either refusing funding for programs that improve the health of women and children, or diverting such funds to other uses--typically giving "incentives" to those they approve.)
In Virginia, the Republican-dominated legislature also requires women seeking an abortion to have a medically unnecessary, intrusive, embarrassing, and painful procedure and listen to religiously-dominated claptrap before they can have one. The Republican governor, Bob McDonnell, approved it.
Arizona's Republican legislature has proposed a bill that would allow any employer--religious or secular--to deny birth control coverage in their insurance plan, and even fire an employee who used birth control obtained outside that insurance. (It may passed by now, and their Republican governor may have signed it.)
Wisconsin's Republican-dominated legislature passed a law repealing the "Healthy Youth Act" (requiring that only abstinence-only programs be taught in Wisconsin schools--despite the demonstrated lack of efficacy of such programs) and making it illegal for women to buy private abortion coverage.
These laws, proposed and adopted, and others not listed here, deny women equal citizenship rights, and specifically limit a woman citizen's right to life--requiring women to risk their life or lose it to satisfy someone else's religious beliefs. That is a direct attack not only on women's rights, but on religious freedom--since the laws are applied to women of all beliefs. Religious freedom is the freedom to belief what you want...not the freedom to force other people to adhere to your beliefs. (The later is theocracy--rule by a specific religious group, and exactly comparable to Sharia law in Muslim countries. It doesn't matter what religion--if it makes the laws for a country, it's a theocracy.)