The Women are WatchingJanuary 14th, 2012 © by Susan Swartz
Planned Parenthood has come up with a big pink sign that it plants next to Republican campaign placards. It says, “Women are Watching.”
There’s been plenty for women to keep an eye on. The Republican chant to take this country back apparently includes taking back some basic reproductive rights for women.
We’ve heard it before from the Republican front. They don’t trust a woman to choose what’s best for herself and her family when it comes to baby-making. They seem to think that that family planning should be practiced only by God.
If you are a woman and you are watching you might wonder what century does this backward brotherhood come from? What country are we living in? If you are a woman living in a so-called backward country that looks to America as a model of freedom, you might be asking, what’s going on, sisters?
Of course the abortion debate is standard Republican rhetoric. One candidate brings it up and they all follow like a chorus of neighborhood dogs barking at the garbage truck. And enjoying it as much.
Oh good, here comes abortion, let’s all get crazy.
But this time around they added in this unbelievably dumb idea that birth control is a bad thing. Rick Santorum was clearly the alpha dog on this one, declaring that contraception is “a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”
Wait a minute, Rick. Think back to your sex ed years, although maybe you had parental permission to skip class. Doing things in a sexual realm without contraception is a license to cause unwanted pregnancies and invite terrible diseases including AIDS.
Santorum says it should be okay for states to make birth control illegal. And how would he do this? With diaphragm detectives, pill police, a raid on the rubber aisle at Rite-Aid?
It’s tempting to turn it into a bad joke except that being the champion of non recreational sex plays well with the Christian Conservative extremist vote. And yes, I know that bloc includes women. But for women who believe in keeping the government out of the bedroom and ob-gyn clinics, this patriarchal playlist is disturbing.
After the New Hampshire primary Cecile Richards, head of Planned Parenthood, told Rachel Maddow the Republican primary is “absolutely a race to the bottom for women, where they are trying to outdo themselves on who would be the worst president for women.”
The Republicans have long tried to paint Planned Parenthood as abortion central, ignoring that its services include safe sex counseling, cancer screenings and preparation for pregnancy. They would eliminate Title X, the federal program that gives low income women access to family planning programs. They would prohibit American health agencies operating in foreign countries from even mentioning abortion. Rick Perry is crowing over Texas forcing doctors to show a sonogram to any pregnant woman before she gets an abortion.
Maybe when the pack of GOP hopefuls thins down to a couple of real candidates they’ll have to talk about issues more crucial than who’s toughest on women bodies.
Like what jobs the job creators are ready to offer. What to do for people without health insurance. How to protect the country from more ruin by banks and big business. What’s better than Social Security and Medicare. How to give all children, including poor kids, an equal chance.
On this, women will definitely be watching. With the same eye on Democrats and President Obama, too.