by Guest Blogger Lauren Beth Gash
Like all wars, the Republican War on Women is about power and control, and a woman’s body is the battlefield.
By blocking women’s access to healthcare, Republicans are, to an unprecedented extent, suppressing a woman’s freedom to be the architect of her own destiny.
For decades, women exercised more control over their own bodies than their grandmothers were allowed. But the Republicans want to change all that, little lady. While mouthing platitudes about freedom, Republicans want women to know who’s really the boss.
These attacks come on an astounding number of fronts.
Republicans attack abortion rights: Having not yet overturned Roe v Wade, Republicans want to make abortion as difficult as possible. Republicans have proposed laws 1) restricting private insurers from receiving tax subsidies if they cover abortion, 2) requiring women to pay for unnecessary and invasive transvaginal ultrasounds and to view pregnancy ultrasound images, and 3) shortening the window in which a woman can have an abortion. The Center for Reproductive Rights monitored over 600 anti-choice bills in 2011 alone.
Republicans attack women’s health care: Besides repeated attempts to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act which provides women with free preventive care, the Republican leadership is striving to defund Planned Parenthood, a program that offers critical health services to low-income women.
Republicans victimize women who dare miscarry: As Kafkaesque as it may sound, women who suffer miscarriages for reasons that Republicans do not approve are being charged with murder. One Indiana woman was charged because she miscarried after ingesting poison in a suicide attempt after her boyfriend abandoned her. Another woman in Mississippi was charged with murder because authorities believe her cocaine habit might have led to her miscarriage. These women are not alone. A proposed Georgia law would even impose the death penalty on women like this.
Republicans want to be your daddy: Like a kid going to the principal’s office, a proposed Arizona law requires a woman who wants birth control coverage to prove to her employer that she needs her prescription for medical reasons. According to the ACLU, this opens the way for employers to fire women they find morally offensive. Kansas and Oklahoma laws allow doctors to lie to women if the doctor thinks information such as the results of a prenatal test might cause a woman to opt for abortion.
Unfortunately, Illinois has its share of Republicans ready to restrict women’s right to protect her own life. Illinois Republicans such as the 8th’s Joe Walsh and the 10th’s Robert Dold voted for the euphemistically named “Protect Life Act,” more truthfully known as the “Let Women Die Act.” Critics say this Act would shield emergency medical providers from the consequences of denying life-saving care to a pregnant woman even if her life is in danger. Every male member of the Republican Illinois delegation voted for this bill.
As women in Illinois, we must be ready to fight this onslaught against us. We need to show Republicans that we will keep that power and control over our own lives and bodies, thank you very much. And that means getting out there and working to elect pro-women Democrats this November.
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