Women Under Siege by the G.O.P

By Olivia Kittel
Elm Columnist

It seems a bit ironic to me that with last Tuesday marking 100 years of International Women’s Day, the GOP has apparently declared war on women’s rights and freedoms. If you have read any of my recent articles, you may already be aware of the many attacks against women.

For starters, the attempt to redefine rape as “forcible rape,” and eliminating funding for the “Head Start” program. But don’t forget Mike Pence’s bill to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood, or Joseph Pitts’ bill to allow federal-funded hospitals to refuse to perform emergency abortions on women in life-threatening situations. Even more, South Dakota’s legislature has considered a bill that would, in effect, legalize the murder of abortion providers, by justifying homicide in the case of imminent threat to a fetus. Another bill being considered in South Dakota would force women seeking abortions to attend an anti-abortion crisis center, and then contemplate their message for 72 hours before receiving the abortion. In Georgia, a state legislator is seeking to criminalize miscarriages. These are just to name a very select few.

It appears as though members of the GOP are attempting to force women back into the home to fulfill only the roles of mother and wife. This may seem like a giant leap from strictly limiting abortion rights to forcing women to be compulsory mothers. However, by harshly restraining abortion rights and cutting funding to family planning services, women will have less control over their fertility. This means that they will be unable to compete with men for degrees and jobs. Also, by cutting funding for affordable childcare to low-income families, women will be less likely and unable to work to support themselves and their families. Thus, the republicans are, in effect, encouraging women to marry younger, have children (because they cannot control their fertility), and then stay in difficult marriages because they cannot financially support themselves or their children on their own.

The repeated assaults against women’s rights have been so shocking that some of them are almost laughable. Can anyone seriously justify the murder of an abortion provider because they are posing a threat to a fetus? Really, let’s consider this. It’s so immoral to kill an unborn fetus that is merits the murder of an already living human being? I don’t think so. As for criminalizing miscarriages, this is also absurd. Hardly enough is known about how or why most miscarriages occur. Also, a mother who miscarries typically experiences enough grief and guilt on their own, without being punished by law.

What to do about all of this discrimination? Well, Katha Pollitt, a writer for The Nation, suggests a donation to Planned Parenthood, in honor of Mike Pence and Joseph Pitts. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to send them a letter and let them know you’ve made a donation in their honor. Perhaps Pollitt is simply making a joke but I just might take her advice.

March 11, 2011
Volume LXXXI Issue 18

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