Over the past five years as I’ve gotten more observant of politics than I ever was before and with the current controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood, one of the questions that keeps bugging me is: Why doesn’t anyone make the Republicans say outright what they think of women? It would be hard, they are politicians after all, well-schooled in evasion and diversion, but it shouldn’t be that hard, either. They tell us subliminally all the time.
Based on their “concern” about women’s health, it’s pretty clear that they think women are either morons or psychopaths.
This is never clearer than when the subject of abortion arises. Religious conservatives accuse liberals of trivializing abortion, but they make it almost comical.
Every time I hear the term “abortion on demand” I’m struck by the casualness that this implies, as if women who end pregnancies do so with all the consideration the use when buying a milkshake at a McDonald’s drive-thru. Worse, it brings to my mind pictures of rabid women forcing doctors to do the deed at gunpoint. “Abortion on demand” is another one of the pithy phrases conservatives are so good at coining up with and which liberals have almost no talent for despite their “elitist” educations. It’s catchy, incendiary and almost completely untrue.
Sure, if you searched hard enough, you could find a woman or two who would be happy to get rid of a baby on the way to a manicure. You can find one or two examples of any extreme behavior no matter what it is. I’ll bet you could find a middle-aged white guy who washes his hair with macaroni and cheese and wears plastic trash bags as underwear, but I doubt Jeb Bush or Ted Cruz would want you to consider him the poster child for white men everywhere. Conservative arguments always depend on one concept. If they can find or manufacture one exception to your stance, it shoots you down completely; if they can find or manufacture one example of theirs, they’ve proven their case beyond question.
Then let’s address the “helping women get the information they need because we care about them” canard. This one assumes that the women who aren’t so heartless they’ll schedule their weekly trip to the abortion clinic on the way to a manicure are too mentally challenged to understand what abortion is and what the implications of having one will be. We see bills being introduced at various levels of government to require transvaginal probes, to force pregnant women to watch ultrasounds of the fetuses they want to abort and to require or allow doctors to give women misinformation in order to prevent them from having abortions.
This is “caring about women.” This is caring about women because they are infantile and can’t be trusted to make a sound decision about any pregnancies they may have. (“Sound decision” would, by definition, be to carry the pregnancy to term, by the way.)
I have news. Women get it. They know it’s a big and onerous decision. You don’t need statistics or studies to figure this out. This is basic. Not believing this is part of what the “war on women” is about – men (and some women) deciding that most women (and all poor women) aren’t up to the task of understanding what they’re doing or are so jaded that they don’t care. I don’t need a study to know that that’s wrong. No one should. And no one should make the assumption that women don’t understand or don’t care what a momentous decision this is.
This morning I watched the Donald Trump interview with Chuck Todd in which he swore he was pro-life and I wondered for whom. Clearly if his daughter Ivanka or anyone in her set got pregnant and didn’t want to keep the baby, it would be a breeze for her to fly off somewhere abortion was legal and safe and come back baby free. So The Donald and the rest of the well-to-do GOP are only interested in preventing poor women from having abortions or getting assistance with birth control. Yet they complain about the “welfare moms” who keep having babies.
Once again, we’re faced with a conservative argument that’s both insulting and inconsistent.
And since big money and the evangelical right are running the GOP, I have to ask one more time: Why does anyone vote for these people?