We've had to deal with the repulsive language of Rush Limbaugh in describing a woman with whom he disagreed. The disdain for women in the fallout from that, in the views of his supporters, is palpable. They really see us as nothing but sexual receptacles.
And then, if it is not bad enough that the Republicans want all employers to be able to deny insurance coverage for contraception (see "Blunt Amendment"), now in Arizona, lawmakers propose a rule where a woman can be fired if she wants to buy contraception unless she exposes her medical history to her employer.
Arizona legislators know that whether or not her insurance covers it, a woman may get the prescription she needs to prevent an unintended pregnancy. They want to give her boss the right to control that too. The bill they are pushing would not only allow employers to take the insurance coverage away, but it would also make it easier for an employer who finds out that his employee uses birth control to fire her. You heard me right . . . to fire her.This is a breathtaking invasion of privacy and personal dignity. It is not my employer's business how I comport myself in my personal life--except, apparently, in Arizona.
But why are we surprised? Laws proposing mandated ultrasounds for women seeking abortion exist (and are being proposed) in many states, including transvaginal ultrasound in some cases. That's right, before seeking a legal medical procedure, these states demand that a woman undergo an invasive procedure in which a hard plastic wand is thrust inside her, whether she wants it or not. We have a word for that: it's rape, and its intention is to inform women that their uterus belongs to the state, not to her, and to shame her. As one editorial wrote,
This isn't about whether abortion is right or wrong.
This is about the scope of government. Even those opposed to abortion should have qualms about the government mandating medical procedures and waiting periods.
Under any other circumstances, forcing an unwilling person to submit to a vaginal probing would be a violation beyond imagining. Requiring a doctor to commit such an act, especially when medically unnecessary, and to submit to an arbitrary waiting period, is to demand an abrogation of medical ethics, if not common decency.
Never mind that data show women given ultrasounds prior to abortion do not change their minds. As with the discredited myth that abortion is linked to breast cancer, opponents have no problem ignoring actual data. The outcry has even reached the Doonesbury cartoon.
In Kansas, a law is proposed to protect doctors if they lie to a woman about the health status of her fetus. In otherwords, don't tell her if she has a severely disabled child. Don't give her any reason to consider a legal medical procedure to terminate a pregnancy. But there's nothing in the bill to provide support to a family who discover their child has a devastating permanent disability. Hey, those are the breaks, right?
But as a Georgia lawmaker points out, women are like cows and pigs. So what if her fetus is dead? She should still carry it to term, just like happens out on the farm. Yup, even if she knows her body is harboring a corpse, she can't do anything about it. No matter that
recommending continuing a non-viable pregnancy is a violation of the standard of care, meaning the Georgia Representative would like to legislate medical malpractice standardsThen there's the constant battle against Planned Parenthood, an organization that is the primary caregiver for many women in this country, providing cancer screenings and contraception in addition to birth control. The Komen fiasco was a wakeup call, but "defunding Planned Parenthood" remains a Republican litmus test and rallying cry (which would-be nominee Mitt Romney just joined).
But it's not enough we should be barefoot and in the kitchen, pregnant. The Republicans are also opposing renewal of the Violence Against Women Act because they don't think women, immigrants or same sex couples should be protected from domestic violence.
At a closed-door Senate Republican lunch on Tuesday, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska sternly warned her colleagues that the party was at risk of being successfully painted as antiwoman — with potentially grievous political consequences in the fall, several Republican senators said Wednesday.Gee, ya think?
The party that opposes government involvement in nearly anything actually endorses government intrusion into the lives of women. Because, after all, we're only women. The outrageous efforts continue to add up. And the deep misogyny all this expresses is also supported by paternalistic conservative Christian denominations. It's all very Handmaid's Tale, isn't it?
Heck, they even brought out SWAT teams in Virginia to deal with a non-violent protest against the attack on women's rights. Funny, no SWAT teams when the Tea Party shows up with guns threatening violence against the president.
I'd like to see powerful women on both sides of the aisle, as well as men and women of faith, speak out vocally against these attacks on the dignity and self-determination of women.
Women have had the franchise to vote for less than100 years in this country. Let's make sure we exercise it before they take that away as well.
Update: It keeps going on. Texas (land of Rick Perry) refuses to allow funding to go to Planned Parenthood. Since they are not allowed to discriminate between providers, this means that TX will lose its entire medicaid funding for family planning. But hey, they're women, right?
[T]he state broke federal Medicaid rules by discriminating against qualified family planning providers and thus would be losing the entire program, which provides cancer screenings, contraceptives and basic health care to 130,000 low-income women each year....
According to Medicaid law, Mann said, a state cannot restrict women's ability to choose a provider simply because that provider offers separate services -- in this case, abortion -- that aren’t even paid for by the Medicaid program.
(Cartoon from here)