Conservatives Double Down on the War on Women


With all the moaning and wailing at Fox News and other right-wing media outlets about the supposed unfairness about the phrase “war on women,” you’d think conservative politicians would try to avoid the charge by, you know, not waging it. Or at least laying off it a little. Instead, the opposite is happening. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) fears this will be the worst year on record for reproductive rights, possibly worse than the previous two worst years, 2011 and 2012. The group has a map of the legislation offered and passed on the state level. Click through to see the interactive version:

This is not a matter of politicians cleaning up leftover business or trying to finish what they started before moving on to other issues that are much less likely to get them accused of waging a war on women. These pretty much all indicate new legislation that politicians are introducing, despite their strongly stated desire not to be accused of waging a war on women. Apparently, people are just supposed to look the other way and pretend the war on women isn’t happening.

Not only is the war intensifying in terms of number of bills, but the bills themselves are getting worse. Ohio and Texas are good examples of how ugly things are getting, and how rapidly. Ohio Republicans have introduced an omnibus anti-abortion bill that would require forced ultrasounds, a 48-hour waiting period, a mandatory script full of lies, detailed instructions for doctors on exactly how they’re supposed to deliver the mandated shaming, and, bizarrely, a requirement that doctors tell patients how much they’re getting paid per abortion, as if doctors are salesmen working on commission. The myth that abortions are the result of profiteering instead of patient demand remains one of the primary examples of how the anti-choice movement never lets logic or sense factor into things; your average childbirth costs about 17 times as much as your average abortion. Just on that stat alone, we can safely assume doctors provide abortion because it’s the right thing to do, not because it’s some kind of awesome money-maker beyond all others.

Texas has its own omnibus bill, and Rick Perry’s misogyny is so completely out of control that he called a special session to try to get it passed. The bill’s requirements of hospital admitting privileges and making every abortion clinic an ambulatory surgical center are designed to shut down all but five clinics in the entire state, which is over 800 miles wide. While Texas anti-choicers have it out for all women, they apparently especially want to punish women in rural or suburban areas by forcing them to make long, expensive journeys to get abortions. (Or to buy black market abortion pills, an increasingly popular, if iffy on the safety front, option.) This is after, as Andrea Grimes reports for RH Reality Check, Texas voters were promised that Republicans would hang up the religious extremism for a while. Their religion supposedly forbids abortion, but apparently not dishonesty.

Needless to say, this kind of politically unpopular woman-hating garbage can no longer be seen as an attempt by politicians to get votes. On the contrary, these politicians are doing this despite the fact that voters don’t like it. At the end of the day, we have to accept that the rash of anti-choice legislation is due mostly to the fact that state offices have been positively filled up with men (and a handful of women) whose intense dislike of female autonomy and desire to strip women of their basic human rights overrides other concerns, such as maintaining their popularity. In some cases, they are hoping the voters aren’t paying attention enough to throw them out over it. In other cases, like Texas, they know that voters will hold their noses and re-elect a Republican even if he eats a live puppy on TV. Either way, they are determined to get this business of ending women’s basic human rights done.

A new report from the Census showing that the number of white people who died exceeded the number of white people who were born for the first time last year will only make things worse. The only thing that freaks out the conservatives who are pushing anti-choice legislation more than female autonomy is the possibility that white people won’t have a death grip on power for the rest of time in this country. That’s why, along with all this anti-choice legislation, Republicans are pushing for stringent voter ID laws, the only purpose of which is to harass and deny the vote to eligible voters who tend to lean left, to target people of color to prevent them from voting.

The perception, rightly or wrongly, on the right is that the decline in the white birth rate is because white women are too busy getting educated and leaning in to bother with babies. Of course, most of the decline is due to contraception more than abortion, but that’s OK from the anti-choice perspective, because they’re opening up the war on women to attack contraception too. Not that this is simply about trying to get white women to breed more (an attempt that’s probably doomed anyway). Restricting contraception and abortion access makes it harder for women to lift themselves out of poverty, and women of color are disproportionately harmed by such policies. Forcing women in poverty to pay hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars they don’t have just to get an abortion is a nifty way to set these women back financially, sometimes so much so that they never really recover. For conservatives who are trying to preserve white privilege, then, attacking reproductive rights is a twofer.

That’s why this isn’t going away, and even though it’s incredibly exhausting, pro-choicers have to settle in and realize the war on women is going to be a long, protracted fight. Conservatives, probably correctly, believe that if they don’t stomp out women’s hopes and dreams for better, more just, more liberated lives now, then they will probably never have another chance. That’s what we’re up against, and at least by knowing it, we will have a better chance of defeating them.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001019572831 Kalar Walters

    Unfreakinbelievable, those folks! I’ve been shoutin’ from the rooftops to pay attention to State legislation!!

  • Cristina Lemoing

    this is just unbelievable!!! glad im canadian

  • Chris Ranmore

    Yet people still vote Republican…
    This is baffling to us over in Europe.

    Great summary Amanda – sometimes the bigger picture is more revealing and shocking than all the individual affronts.

    • Shug

      Gerrymandering doesn’t help, either. This is why Republicans hold a majority in the House despite more votes being cast for Democrats.

    • Educatedpeasant

      Help us Europe.

      • Jonathan Kuperberg

        Help us, red state America… before we lose all traces of the holy Faith which once prevailed in Europe and our religious liberty (freedom of RELIGION, not “worship” or privatized practice, Christians often have that even in Islamic theocracies and communistic nations) and I end up going as a refugee to a third world country somewhere around 2040 because they are the only ones Christians have freedom in.

        -From a pro-Family voice in the wilderness over here

        • mjhoop

          Holy faith? the Europeans are outgrowing that. Uganda might suit you. The american congressthugs have persuaded uganda’s govt to make homosexuality a hanging crime.

          Funny, isn’t it…. life after death is Roman Empire fluff. Only the monarch could offer it to his favorites. How great it was when the new religion taught that the most menial slave could have life after death. Oh, wait, life after death, Egyptian. For those who could afford mummification. Royals again. Handy that the Muslims get to have a huge number of virgins in the afterlife. Now that’s a more realistic offer than angels wings and harps on streets of gold. Lotsa muslims in Egypt.

          The think you don’t have freedom of religion? Holy Hannah, the U.S. churches are some of the biggest tax free businesses going. You can take your pick of religion. It’s in those third world countries that you won’t likely get to practice your choice of ‘holy faith.’
          But i understand the problem. I was pretty put out when i left the farm and was greeted by great backsides tightly packed in to too small jeans. And the sex talk! What a shock. But it helped me learn to chose my companions carefully.

          Yessiree, the world changed and I didn’t like it, but i got used to it, in a way i won’t be able to get used to a country based on religion.

          I’m pro-family, which is why i’m in favor of affordable childcare, treating pregnant women with care, assuring that the children are fed decent food, even if the taxpayers have to foot the bill.

          Such a mish-mash of likes and cares I have….hard to understand myself some days….but i sure as aitch don’t want the rightwingnuts running the country……they are too dangerous to liberty……

          • Jonathan Kuperberg

            Another load of godless nonsense, just great. I am a 19-year-old European who is born-again Christian and I have opted against the atheo-naturalist worldview; there is no such thing as “outgrowing” faith in God, this is just an anti-Christian oxymoron put forward by those who reject supernaturalism.

            Life after death is *real*, NOT mythological- Jesus was witnessed bodily Resurrected and that is plenty good enough for me. I will spend eternity with Him in a spiritual body. Whether the rest of society joins me in faith in Christ is up to them. But I will NOT join them in their Dawkinsian “no-god delusion”.

          • mjhoop

            You get to write your godly nonsense and i get to write my godless nonsense. Great country we live in here. Over there, I don’t know.
            My problem with the life after death stuff is that no one comes back and tells us about it. When I put my honey’s ashes in the ground, it pretty well put the end to my thinking there is such a thing as life after death. Does it matter to me much? Nope. You can have your belief and I can have mine. How ’bout that, Jon? Never mind. You have your belief and I have mine and never the twain shall meet.

          • sd_woodturner

            good luck to you. Another brainwashed christian. First, NO ONE saw Jesus resurrected. The authors of the bible thought that would be cool story when they found the cave empty. If you are born again truly, try reading the stuff you believe in. Second, NO ONE has come back to prove to the rest of us that there is an afterlife. Good luck on that one too. Unfortunately, we christians ARE the MOST gullible on the planet. I hope you won’t spend too much time in the gene pool. Too much ignorance already.

    • JA

      People still vote republican because we are becoming a more and more uninformed populace, and a lot of republican policy and rhetoric relies on the public being uninformed (and to some extent, less educated).

    • Jonathan Kuperberg

      From your fellow Brit: there’s nothing baffling about the fact that some people oppose abortion, homosexual sex, explicit sex ed in schools, no-fault divorce, pornography or schools without prayer and Bible reading. Not only can I fully understand them but I’m one of them.

      If you’re a spiritually dead godless PFLAG type who moans about the Catholic Church explaining that homosexuality falls short of perfection (though homosexual persons MUST be treated with respect, compassion… *and sensitivity*) in Europe, America or anywhere else… THEN it’ll be baffling to you.

    • mjhoop

      With electronic vote counting machines–made and sold by companies owned by Republicans—- that can be rigged, we can’t be sure that so many people still vote Republican. No one seems to be paying much attention to this aspect anymore. The whole country is going insane, but everyone thinks it’s his neighbor who’s the crazy one…….meanwhile, I’m old, and hoping to die before the feathers really hit the fan….As a nation, this one is too depressing for words.

  • MichaelLoBurgio

    Pretty soon using a condom will be considered kidnapping!

  • Educatedpeasant

    State rape. America is the home of the fascists. I wonder if Europe will invade us and free the women?

  • erbmon

    They want to ban abortions but..I don’t hear anyone trying to repeal rapists rights to visitation and custody of their lil monsters. If you aren’t going to infringe on my attackers’ rights, don’t infringe on mine. Only rapists do that.

  • Guest

    Protecting the humanity of an unborn child is not a ‘war on women’. Stop being selfish!

    • Jennifer Starr

      It is absolutely a war on women. And what exactly is ‘selfish’? Not martyring yourself to the all-precious fetus?

    • Jonathan Kuperberg

      Amen! Praying for the recovery of certain persons from their delusions…

    • sd_woodturner

      everything you right wing religious zealot christian Taliban do is a war on women. Period
      If republican would only work so hard to help create jobs or DO something for everyday Americans instead of being one position fascist mercenaries. Maybe if the religious right would keep to themselves, Americas would be a better place where single minded dogma is not RAMMED down the throat of the rest of us.
      Secede please. Take Kansas, North Carolina and rest of the Republican police states with you.