I need to make a confession: I was originally going to bypass any LadyMo commentary on this War on Women, but comments made by my mother and Rush Limbaugh compel me to say something. I assure you, this is probably the only time that I will ever be able to write “my mother” and “Rush Limbaugh” in the same sentence.
First, I need to address my momma. Being raised in a supremely liberal family in the supremely liberal northeast, moving to Kansas and joining the Mormons raised some eyebrows. In recent conversations, it seems as if my mom believes I would no longer support Elizabeth Warren. “LadyMo, I want you to be like Elizabeth Warren, but I’m worried you’re not.” So, before I continue, and if it isn’t abundantly evident in the rest of this post, Mom, I’m still your curly headed liberal. I promise.
Okay, so let’s do a quick over view of what’s going on in the War Against Women and acquaint ourselves with the major events and those involved.
1. The Congressional Hearing About Contraceptives That Wasn’t About Contraceptives: In February, Darrell Issa chaired a congressional hearing on religious liberty and Obama’s birth control rule in which he barred anyone with a vagina from testifying. Because this hearing about contraceptives wasn’t about contraceptives, female witnesses were irrelevant to the discussion. Instead, the panel of witnesses included only male conservative religious leaders.
These guys, these men of God, were called to make decisions about my access to health care.
These men were called to make decisions for women, but far be it from Issa to let women testify. In fact, Issa deemed women so unnecessary in this hearing, that he barred Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University student, from testifying at the hearing because she was not qualified to discuss women’s access to health care on the same panel as these men. The irony, humiliation, and blatant disregard for an entire half of the population is not lost. Oh, that’s right. Because this wasn’t about birth control. (Except that it was.)
If this birth control hearing wasn’t about birth control, then what the heck were they discussing, you might ask? Masked under the guise of religious liberty, these men discussed a bill that would exempt religious groups and any employer from providing contraception or any other health care service to which they have moral objections. Any coverage of women’s health care, for example.
2. The Blunt Amendment: So named after it’s sponsor, Sen. Roy Blunt, this amendment was a birth control bill that “wasn’t about birth control.” The bill, which was killed by a 51-48 vote almost entirely on party lines (that’s getting old, by the way), would extend Obama’s exemption of faith-based institutions from having to pay for birth control to any employer and to any health service. Oy.
3. Virginia’s Personhood Bill and State Mandated Rape: Readers, I want it to be known that as a pro-choice democrat, I am not pro-abortion. I am pro-access to care. I am pro-“you make the decisions for your body.” I speak for many when I say that those who are pro-choice defend the right of the woman to make choices about her body without the intrusion of state mandates or vaginal probes. Continuing with the theme of this post, “things that actually are what they aren’t,” Virginia lawmakers have voted for rape. According to these policy makers, the personhood bill isn’t about transvaginal ultrasounds or women’s health, this is about the sanctity of life. In the War Against Women, these are politicians who are on the side of rape. Two weeks ago, Virginia Senate killed the personhood bill that would require a medically unnecessary, invasive, transvaginal ultrasound of any women seeking an abortion. For many, this would mean another experience through which she must endure being penetrated against her will and without her consent. Supporter of the bill, Senator Gilbert, justified what is nothing more than state sanctioned rape by arguing that women already made the decision to be “vaginally penetrated when they got pregnant.” With all due respect, Senator, if you do not have a vagina, you do not have the right to legislate how or when mine will or will not be penetrated.
4. Rush Limbaugh: There are many colorful words I’d like to use to comment on the character of this human being, but instead, I will just discuss the facts (aside from the fact that he is a colossal moron). Remember Sandra Fluke? She was called to testify on the need for access to life saving health services at the congressional hearing that wasn’t about birth control. That she was barred from the hearing caught the attention of many on both sides of the issue, but the most arrogantly and ignorantly vocal was Rush. In his unimaginable ignorance, he made it widely known what he thinks of Fluke (and any woman, for that matter), and also that he is not actually aware of how birth control works. Like, even a little bit.
What does it say about the college co-ed Sandra Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex, what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex.
So, Ms. Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it, and I’ll tell you what it is. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.
In the style of Chandler Bing, could he BE any more ignorant? This, dear readers, is what women in this country are up against when we speak up to defend our rights and access to care. Our sexuality is called into question and our oppressors tear us down and publicly humiliate us so that no one else dare step up to speak for ourselves. Seriously, who wants to be violently paraded in the national arena as an over-sexed prostitute? I surely don’t. He is exercising his access to national media in an effort to silence women. For more evidence of this “using women’s sexuality as a reason to not consider the words that are coming out of her mouth,” see here, here, and especially here.
(As an aside, Don Imus was fired from CBS for referring to Rutgers basketball players as “nappy-headed hos.” Where is the cry for Limbaugh’s termination?)
5. Brittany Molina and BYU modesty: Before I continue, please read this article. Okay, so why does this matter? Considering the current political climate and the fact that women’s bodies seem to be our cultural and political playground, it shouldn’t surprise us to think that anonymous men feel compelled to tell random women what they can and can’t do with their bodies. It should piss us off, but it shouldn’t surprise us.
Here’s why all of this is important: this political season is entirely focused on legislating and silencing women’s bodies. Our politicians (and Limbaugh, ugh) have made it abundantly clear that our voices don’t matter and our bodies are not ours to control. It seems as if they don’t care that half of their voters are women, and it’s as if they aren’t aware of the fact that women are human beings.
As you participate in what has become the land mines of this election season, please consider the ways in which these candidates are planning to hack away at our rights, one body part at a time.
In other words, tell them to stay OUT of my uterus.