In Bureaucracy, History, Politics on March 12, 2012 at 1:00 am

According to right-wing talk-show host Rush Limbaugh: “This whole notion of a war on women, it’s so contrived. It’s so forced. It feels so unnatural.  ‘Cause there is no war on women.”

No doubt that’s what the Republican party wants female voters to believe.

But if bureaucracies are judged on their actions instead of on their propagandistic claims, women may well decide otherwise.


In the Kansas legislature, Republicans have sponsored a sweeping anti-abortion bill that:

  • would levy a sales tax on women seeking abortions, including rape victims;
  • would exempt doctors from malpractice suits if they withheld medical information to prevent an abortion;
  • would take away tax credits for abortion providers;
  • remove tax deductions for the purchase of abortion-related insurance coverage; and
  • require women to hear the fetal heartbeat.

In Congress, Republicans are sponsoring the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, which

  • would make it illegal for anyone but a parent to accompany a young woman across state lines to seek an abortion–even if her parents are absent or abusive.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin state senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) said:

  • “unwanted or mistimed” pregnancies are the “choice of the women”
  • who should learn “that this is a mistake.”

Grothman recently introduced Senate Bill 507, which would

  • formally consider single parenthood a contributing factor to child abuse if passed into law.

Glenn Grothman 117th Congress portrait.jpg

Glenn Grothman

March 8–International Women’s Day–Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) marked the occasion by asking his Twitter followers to join him in celebrating National Agriculture Day.

Blunt had sponsored an amendment that would have

  • allowed employers to refuse health care coverage of any kind for “moral reasons.”

It was voted down in the Senate on March 1.

Many Republicans are still trying to revive the Blunt amendment.  House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has promised to continue the fight in the House.

Republicans spent much of 2011 challenging women’s reproductive rights.  At the state level:

  • State legislators introduced more than 1,100 anti-abortion provisions and had enacted 135 of them by year’s end.
  • Seven states either fully defunded or tried to defund Planned Parenthood, which provides basic health care, contraception, breast cancer and STD screenings to millions of low-income women each year.

At the Congressional level:

  • Republicans used abortion and Planned Parenthood funding to extort Democratic concessions during budget negotiations and threatened to shut down the government.
  • Republicans introduced mandatory ultrasound bills.
  • Republicans tried to narrow the definition of rape to include only “forcible rape.”  Under this change, a woman who was coerced, drugged or otherwise incapacitated by a rapist, would not be legally counted as a rape victim.
  • Republicans barred the District of Columbia from using its own locally raised funds to help low-income women pay for abortions.

During the first two months of 2012:

  • Virginia Republicans introduced a bill whose original language required women to undergo an invasive trans-vaginal ultrasound procedure 24 hours before having an abortion.
  • A modified version of the bill–requiring women to receive trans-abdominal ultrasounds, was signed into law instead.
  • With the connivance of House Republicans, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the nation’s largest breast cancer charity, tried to pull cancer-screening grants from Planned Parenthood because some of its clinics provide abortions.
  • The House Oversight Committee convened a hearing to deny contraceptive insurance coverage under the guise of “protecting religious liberty.” The Democrats’ one female witness, Sandra Fluke, was forbidden to speak at it.
  • Right-wing broadcaster Rush Limbaugh and Foster Friess–Rick Santorum’s chief financial backer–publicly equated birth control use to sexual promiscuity.

According to Niccolo Machiavelli, the father of political science, this does not bode well for Republican prospects in November–at the Presidential, House or Senate level.

Niccolo Machiavelli

The reason, says Machiavelli, is this:

“…The quickest way of opening the eyes of the people is to find the means of making them descend to particulars, seeing that to look at things only in a general way deceives them…

“I believe also that…no wise man should ever disregard the popular judgment upon particular matters, such as the distribution of honors and dignities, for in these things the people never deceive themselves….”

Republicans have repeatedly asserted that “job creation” is their “Number One priority.”  Yet wherever they have been elected, they have sought, first and foremost, to place highly restrictive laws on women.

And these laws have been aimed at the most intimate of all aspects of a woman’s life: Her freedom to decide whether–or when–to become a mother.

While Republicans claim their mission is to “get government off the backs of people,” they are relentlessly trying to insert controls on the vaginas of women.

If American women remain alert to this, they can retain–or regain–control over their own bodies.  And put at least a temporary end to the reign of the American Taliban.

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