Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Republican War on Women

The Republicans seem to be waging a war on women.

First they tried to cut the federal contribution to Planned Parenthood, the largest health care provider to poor women. Then they attacked the Obama administration for requiring employers to provide health insurance which includes contraception for women. They have introduced legislation in the house which would permit any company to deny access to no cost birth control regardless of religious affiliation.

The Republicans in Virginia have introduced a bill that will require a women to have inter vaginal ultrasound before having an abortion and a bill which would provide that life begins at conception (more on this story later)

Arizona is in the process of passing a law requiring women to advise their employer why she needs contraception (which must be for something other than preventing pregnancy) before their health insurance will provide it.

Pa. has passed a law requiring not only an ultrasound but also requiring her Dr to explain what it shows while keeping it in her sight lines The Republican governor said it didn’t compel her to see it because “she could always shut her eyes”. 

Now they are trying to stop Congress from passing the Violence against Women Act. This is basically the same bill that was approved with bipartisan support in 1995 and was reauthorized in 2000 and 2005. In 2005 it passed the Senate unanimously. Why did they like it then but not now?

The act passed in the Senate Judiciary Committee but by a vote along party lines. Not one Republican voted in favor of it. It also sounds like it will be difficult if not impossible to get the 60 votes it will need to pass in the Senate. 

I spent a large part of my working life as a prosecutor and judge in the lower courts. One of the major problems we dealt with was domestic violence. I don’t know how many phone calls I received at 1:00 or 2:00 o’clock in the morning, which seemed to be the time that drunken husbands arrived home to beat up their wife or girl friend. The calls were to determine whether a restraining order should be issued and what the terms of that order should be. This act, in part, provides some support for a battered woman’s struggle to free herself from her violent spouse.

Domestic violence is only one of the issues the Act addresses. It also deals with the problems of rape and sexual assault. The Act provides funding for victim assistance programs like rape crisis centers and hotlines. It also provides legal assistance for victims of violence and provides funding for community violence protection programs.

The Republicans seem to be concerned because the Act extends its protection to gays and lesbians. These people make up 10% of our population and they also deserve protection from violence.

It also grants immunity from deportation to illegal immigrants who report domestic violence. They will not complain if it means that they will be deported.  Do the Republicans believe that these women don’t need and deserve protection?

What has happened to our society? Women in any culture are particularly vulnerable to violence. At one time all men and women recognized the need to protect them.

What has happened to the Republicans?

1 comment:

  1. What has happened is that they have become slaves to their ideology, leaving common sense and fairness behind in their attempt to retake the White House and Congress. What is really unbelievable though, is how many woman blindly subscribe to their attempts to disempower them.