The Real Agenda: Women as Second Class Citizens

As the politics of 2011 unfold, the Republican Party elected to focus on building jobs and growing the economy has, like stage magician waving their wand to distract the audience, instead focused on attacking women’s rights. Clearly, this is not a new agenda for socially conservative advocates but why this intensity? Why now when our economic recovery is fragile and unemployment is still very high? Then it struck me–18,000,000 cracks.  Those 18 million cracks that Hillary Clinton punched in the political ceiling hardened the resolve of a certain type of man to mend the ceiling and put women back in the kitchen. What better way to dominate and preserve the man-centered world then take away a woman’s reproductive choice? This playbook is being enacted on a state and federal level with legislation that is so restrictive that soon women will not strike anything other then a stove match.
The concepts that are repeating themselves in state legislatures center around the non-scientific theory that life begins at conception and that fetuses feel pain at 20 weeks. The first is based on religious theology not scientific fact, while the second is based on a notion of reflex. It does not seem to matter that the legislature’s own religious code is being introduced or that the majority of Americans do not subscribe to either belief.  In Montana a survey showed that 56% of the people would not support a constitutional amendment that life begins at conception. In Idaho and Iowa  legislatures passed fetal pain laws and restricted abortions after 20 weeks thereby joining the other states that have passed this law. These laws were passed despite the heart-wrenching video release of testimony by Danielle Devera in Nebraska about medically needing an abortion after 20 weeks and being unable to obtain one.

The other attack is turning the Affordable Health Care Act around to prevent women from reproductive freedoms.  In H.R. 3, “The No Tax Payer Funding of Abortion Bill,” Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ) has inserted language that will make it impossible for women to use health insurance to pay for abortions even if they pay for their own health insurance plan. In the fine print, this law also instructs the IRS when doing an audit to delve into a woman’s private medical records and finances to make sure no funds were used to pay for an abortion. And the Tea Party worries about government in a private citizen’s life? And Sarah Palin talks about death panels? And Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) wants to take back the government? Another Republican who is using health care against women is Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin who wants to prevent contraceptives from being covered by health insurance. Do these people not understand that this is not the way to reduce the number of abortions?

The award for anti-woman regulations goes to the august South Dakota legislators. Week after week new ways of controlling women are introduced by this assembly.  The latest draconian law has two parts. They have now instituted a 72-hour waiting period for an abortion and require 2 visits to a physician and a screening for risk factors. The claim is that adult women need men to “protect them” as they might understand their own physical, mental and real-world needs. The other part of the law requires that women undergo counseling at pregnancy crisis centers. These centers which are springing up across the country are run by volunteers and religious groups. There are generally no medical people involved and the only service is to sway women from having abortions. Often medically inaccurate information is given out. The purpose of the clinics is to discourage women from having abortions. There is a deep religious component with proselytizing about Christianity.

Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro have been pioneers and trail blazers for women. They dented but did not break through the barriers that women face in the workplace and in the political arena. It took almost 30 years after Ferraro’s historic campaign for women to gain any real recognition. How long after Clinton’s 18 million votes in 2008 will it take for women to control their own bodies? How long will we sit on our sofas and let others fight for our rights?  


I am going to DC on April 7 to stand alongside women who are speaking out against the repression that is occurring. I ask you to join me and other JAC women as we puncture through the hypocrisy and the rhetoric. I ask you to change your plans for the day and board a train, a bus or a plane and come to DC. We are women hear us roar. 

Gail Yamner

President, JACPAC

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

For more information or to schedule an interview with contact

Follow JAC on twitter: @JointActionComm

  • elburto

    I’m British, so bear with me and help me out here. I’ve asked plenty of Americans just what is so bad about taxpayer’s money being used toward terminating an unwanted pregnancy. I get two stock answers “Abortion is evil!” or “Mah tax dollars!”. Funnily enough these are usually people who are also against state welfare, yet abortion would cut the welfare budget by allowing women to time their own pregnancies. So why is it perceived to be so bad, after all, women pay tax too! I’m happy that my taxes go toward abortions, that my tax and national insurance contributions mean that most abortions can be obtained for free, and before 8 weeks. I think that’s a great thing, and that it helps society out. Fewer unwanted kids, women able to stay in their jobs and feed their existing kids. So why is the thought of tax money helping women seen as evil by so many in America, so much so that there are specific laws against it?

  • forced-birth-rape

    Thanks for helping out British girls sweetie, England Rocks!

    Now to answer your question and never let the Christians, Catholics, or republicans tell you otherwise, they are lying.

    Women and girls are not allowed to evade gods punishment on them for being born female.

    Bible verses that explain everything.

    Genesis 3:16
    I will greatly multiply your grief and your suffering in pregnancy and the pangs of childbearing; with spasms of distress you will bring forth children. Yet your desire and cravings will be for your husband, and he will rule over you. ~

    1 Peter 3:1
    In like manner, you married women, be submissive to your husbands [subordinate yourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them]

    I grew up with these people, they abhor any women who does not answer to a man, her husband. Every female was born to be pregnant and submissive to a man.

    They may say their god is pro-life, well NO! He is pro-female submission, and pro-female punishment by way of pregnancy and birth.

    Here is their pro-life god. A bible verse.

    Hosea 13: 16
    “Samaria shall bear her guilt and become desolate, for she rebelled against her God; they shall fall by the sword, their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their pregnant women shall be ripped up.”

    Maybe one has to grow up in American fundamentalist christianity to see what chronic liars they are.

    Your best weapon against fundamentalist Christians is the weapon they use against you, their very own bible.

  • colleen

    So why is the thought of tax money helping women seen as evil by so many in America, so much so that there are specific laws against it?

    ‘Pro-life’ is a smoke screen and nowhere is this more true than in the States. The ‘pro-life’ movement is fueled not by concern for ‘life’ but, rather, a desire to subjugate women.

  • beenthere72

    Because Fox News and Teapartiers got them all riled up about it.


    I just googled “your tax dollars are killing babies” and so many blogs popped up complaining about that very thing.    I can’t even open most of them here at work, but I’m sure there’s some interesting (ei, laughable) reading there.

  • gyamner

    Hi, Elburto,

    I read your comments to my blog and agree with your reasoning.  While  not using taxer payer dollars is the excuse, the underlying reasons are quite different.  There are some whose religious beliefs are against abortion and they continue to think of ways of undercuting the law of the land, Roe vs Wade.  “No Tax payer dollars” is an argument that they feel others will embrace. Of course, no one polls many of us tax payers who would not object to helping women who cannot afford to have a child or to pay for an abortion.  You are correct there are already amendments and laws which prevent the funds from being used but the conservative law makers act as if they are not enforced.  Unfortunately,  as I concluded in my blog, I think there is another group whose agenda is  to take away women’s gains in the work place and the world.  We still live in a world where many men do not believe in equality of the sexes. My own nonscientific thought is that they still resent mommy being the boss when they were growing up and they are asserting their perceived male dominance.

    Until women and men speak out against these forces that would deny health care, contraception, nutrition for pregnant women and children and abortions, the more conservative, louder voices will restrict women. In a growing number of states, it is virtually impossible to have an abortion then once there is a child there is no social services help for the child. We need to speak out, to try to reason with other and to look out for each other.In America we must go to Washington and show our support for prochoice and we must keep in constant contact with our legislators.

    Thank you for your comments and for letting us know how England handles the issue.