Democrats are in full cry against what they call a “war on women” waged by Republicans. At first blush, it comes across as gross exaggeration, Democrats pulling out all the stops in a highly charged election year.Of course, the GOP is aware that women vote. And the fact is there are women voters who oppose abortion and health insurance coverage of contraception. These women would gouge their own eyes than give a dime to Planned Parenthood of America.
And the GOP will do anything to get these women to the polls come November. Even if it means ratcheting up the rhetoric on the campaign trail.But here’s the frightening thing: There’s genuine substance behind the rhetoric. Federal laws have accommodated religious beliefs of doctors and nurses at the expense of individual legal rights to abortion, for example. And while that may be understandable in a society that respects religious differences, state legislatures have acted as if this were a matter of an official state religion, too. Suddenly, it’s not just about abortion
A woman’s ability to obtain birth control pills, breast cancer screenings and pap smears is at risk. Barefoot and pregnant? That’s not even the half of it. There are women who will die in this war.It’s a nationwide phenomenon: States are proposing and passing laws that make ideological points at the expense of women’s health. The Guttmacher Institute, a nonpartisan health think tank, estimates 430 abortion restrictions have been introduced by state legislatures this year. The barrage of artillery coming from the right is hitting its mark and changing the way we talk about women’s health issues.
Who would have thought that, in 2012, a women’s right to contraception would be up for discussion? Or that a woman expressing her views on the topic would be taunted as a “prostitute” and “slut”?
Up in Atlanta last week, female legislators, all Democrats, walked out of their chamber after the Republican majority voted to prohibit state employees from using state health benefits to pay for abortions and to deny employees of private religious institutions the right to demand insurance policies pay for contraceptives.“They never had a problem with it, but here come the right-wing shock troops, marching, marching, marching,” Nan Orrock, one of the Georgia lawmakers who walked out, told her local TV station. “And women are on the bull’s-eye target.
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