Friday, May 24, 2013

Pro-life GOP is working hard to ensure that women have the same cattle

Now you might recall that the GOP has repeatedly taken brave stands against all manner of measures beneficial to women and the furtherance of gender equality in our nation. Equal pay for equal work is a shining example of their diligence and courage. In my own home state of Wisconsin we learned that women simply don't want money as much as men do, and our illustrious governor obligingly repealed our equal pay enforcement laws. Across the nation, Republicans had plenty to say on the issue, enlightening us time and again as to how terrible an idea it was (or, at least, why, though admirable in principle, in practice it was simply unthinkable, impractical, and likely to doom industry/humanity/the planet/the galaxy). On the national level, Republicans bravely voted to protect our great nation from the dreaded specter of equal pay for equal efforts – bravely, as such continual opposition to women's rights, on this issue and others, arguably came at a very steep cost for Republicans (we know it as Mitt Romney's thorough paddling at the polls by women voters).

But who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks? These old dogs have indeed learned the importance of equality for women, and are hard at work trying to ensure that women have the same rights as...well, livestock.

It's not the first time that pro-lifers have attempted to (and sometimes succeeded in) reducing women's rights to those of cattle. But they were at it again yesterday, arguing for a 20 week abortion ban with no exception for fetal abnormalities, even those leading to infant death. In Georgia, when the issue came up that many of these later term abortions happen in non-viable pregnancies, State Representative Terry England had the gumption to say what we were all thinking: that if it's good enough for pigs and cows to birth dead offspring, damn it, it's good enough for women! His temerity paid off, as the bill passed – with the added exception that a fetus diagnosed with “an irreversible chromosomal or congenital anomaly that is 'incompatible with sustaining life after birth'” may be aborted if it is extracted alive (it being felony, complete with 10 years in prison, for a doctor who messes this piece up). A similar measure was passed in Arizona. Sadly for Arizona Republicans, the measure was eventually struck down by a federal court, but not before the state made the stirring argument that fetuses that are “basically born into hell and then die” are simply “the woman’s problem”; somehow, such compelling legalese didn't sway the judge. Perhaps noting the PR difficulties of such straight talk, Texas' own Louie Gohmert took a more measured tone during this week's hearings on a national 20 week abortion ban – the talks dominated, curiously enough, by Republican men.

In an inspired response to Christy Zinks, a woman testifying in opposition to the measure, citing the necessity of her own abortion of a fetus that showed no brain activity, Representative Gohmert declared that, while Ms. Zinks had his “great sympathy and empathy both,” he couldn't help but wonder “shouldn't we wait” to “see if the child can survive before we decide to rip him apart?” Now that might not seem like a terribly sympathetic thing to say, but at least he didn't imply that she was the equivalent of a pig, yeah? Granted, he wants to strip her rights down to those of farm animals, who have no say in whether or not they go through with doomed pregnancies, but he was tactful-ish about it. Other than that whole "rip him apart" line. Ok, not tactful at all. Still, even though he more or less called her Mom the Ripper, he didn't mention animals, not once; and that's some progress. And he did it in such an empathetic way!

Speaking of empathy...Right to Life of Michigan president Barbara Listing is all empathy as she discusses her ballot signature drive to ban abortion coverage as part of regular health insurance plans, requiring an additional plan if coverage is desired (a similar measure was vetoed by Governor Snyder last year when passed by the legislature; but, if Listing's required 258,088 signatures are collected and the legislature passes the measure again, it would become law without the possibility of being vetoed).

Discussing the fact that no exemption is offered even in rape cases, she explains that if you can plan to get in a car accident, you should plan to get raped:

Stirring rationale, of course, to say nothing of compassionate. While Jessica Tramontana of the baby killing squad of Progress Michigan points out that it's not comparable because “rape is not an accident,” I say bah humbug. Yes, it might seem odd that we're singling women out, asking them to anticipate being the victim of a violent crime (and insure themselves accordingly!) while not asking the same of victims of other sorts of crimes (“sorry, bud, but you should have anticipated getting attacked, and taken out a policy that covered 'violent muggers''re on your own!”). It might seem like pregnancy and related matters, being undeniably related to a woman's health, would be covered by, you know, health insurance, and therefore not necessitate a separate policy. It might seem particularly strange that Ms. Lister isn't suggesting that women anticipate the “accident” of rape in the form of separate maternity and child coverage rape policies, since this is absolutely, certainly, without a doubt not a measure to punish women who want to terminate their pregnancies, even their rape-baby pregnancies, and just a matter of fairness and personal responsible. You might ask, if a woman would abort a rape pregnancy, and so has to “plan ahead” for that, why shouldn't she have to “plan ahead” for a rape pregnancy, and the resulting child? It might seem like this logic begins to really disintegrate the more you look at it, and become more and more blatantly an attack on a woman's right to decide when and if she'll have a child. But that, of course, is simply not the case. It has nothing to do with punishing and controlling livestock, I mean, women, and everything to do with protecting the sacred fetuses. Even the ones who are “born into hell and then die”. And, by protect, I mean, “force women carrying them to bring to term, whatever the consequences.”

Which, really, no smart farmer would do.

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