A bit hyperbolic for sure, but it seems that we always say everything is a “war on….” something (drugs, Christmas, Christianity, etc.). But given recent events and discussion, if you are a woman I wouldn’t blame you for wondering what the hell is going on lately. It seems like we are going backwards, debating issues that should be settled by now. Is this really America in 2012?
- We have a serious contender for the Republican nomination who is just flat-out against birth control pills. Period. End of story. Further, he is against prenatal testing. (Even given this, he is somehow GAINING support among GOP women, if the polling data is to be believed.)
- We have the major financial supporter of this same candidate making a “joke” on national television that sounded like it came out of a 1900’s joke book. Seriously, it’s one thing to tell a bad joke. But the damning thing here is it is just hard to see how anyone could find that particular joke funny AND have respect for women. The fact that not only he thought that joke would be funny but he was also comfortable enough to tell it on television says a lot not only about this man himself, but also about the company he keeps.
- Concerns out of an announcement from the Pentagon that rules would be relaxed that would allow women to further serve on the front lines. They are too emotional, blah, blah, blah. Or the men folk would feel like they would have to protect the poor things. Or something.
- We have leaders from a religious organization holding onto antiquated views regarding women’s health care balking at the idea that insurance coverage should be provided for contraception. Even though the requirement would only apply to organizations that they are affiliated with, not the actual church itself. And even though the majority of women of this faith do not follow the church’s teaching on this matter.
- Congress has a hearing to discuss this contraception rule. Testifying before Congress? 100% men. Because really what does this have to women? And even if it does, what do women have to add to the conversation? Why do we allow them to vote again? I mean, is this really the mentality here?
- We have the states getting in on the action as well. Right here in Alabama, they are in the process of passing a law that would require physicians to perform an ultrasound, either an external ultrasound or one produced by inserting a wand vaginally, whichever would produce the clearest picture (from my understanding as a practical matter that would mean the vaginal method usually), before a patient can consent to having an abortion. Really this is just about throwing obstacles in the way of letting a woman make her own choices. Why are women being forced to go through a procedure that they do not want or need by the government? Who pays for this extra procedure? But here in Alabama, there may be an even more clever motive behind this law. In Alabama, it is illegal to perform an abortion 20 weeks after a pregnancy. The ultrasound that would be required by this new law would generally be performed 18-22 weeks into the pregnancy. So you can see the kind of squeeze play on abortion logistics the combination of these two laws would create.*
So I get it, some people are against abortion. But what is amazing is that on the one hand, government wants to force everyone to carry births to term regardless of their viewpoints and ability to provide for a child. But then on the flip side, when it comes to provide funding for programs that would help the poor (among others) to be able to provide care and support for newborns, the view is that we can not do that because THAT’S big government intrusion. So okay, you must have this baby, but no we aren’t going to give you any help. How is this not a total recipe for failure?
Why not trust that people in general and women in particular are very capable of making these decisions on their own without government interference? That seems a lot better to me than setting a one-size-fits-all policy dictated by government that doesn’t appear all that well thought out in the first place (and yes, frankly, generally created by men).
*While I would like to say that I am the most enlightened man in the universe and was able to arrive at these conclusions on my own, that’s not true. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I am a complete Neanderthal. But many of these viewpoints and conclusions (particularly, but not exclusively, regarding Alabama’s proposed law) arose from a discussion I had during a run with my running partner this morning. It makes sense though, because my running partner is an intelligent women who also happens to be a mom. She offered insights that simply had not occurred to me, and part of that is as a guy I am not going to have the same experiences and perspectives that a woman will have. We NEED these viewpoints in these discussions (ahem..CONGRESS!).