The GOP War on Women: 5 Fronts
Sarah Seltzer details five areas in which the GOP has negatively affected women’s freedoms in recent years:
1-Women are losing ground—fast—on abortion rights in states that were previously neutral.
2-The assault on birth control isn’t over, and some want to deny women the right to use it at all.
3-The Violence Against Women Act is under threat in the Senate.
4-Abortion doctors and pregnant women are being targeted.
5-We’re defending ground we shouldn’t be defending.
On Thursday morning, the Guttmacher Institute released some shocking data—although it’s less shocking for those of us who have been following the war on women. What it revealed? The record number of abortion restrictions passed in 2011 has meant a massive shift for women in terms of which states were supportive of reproductive rights and which were overtly “hostile:
As a result, the number of both supportive and middle-ground states shrank considerably, while the number of hostile states ballooned. In 2000, 19 states were middle-ground and only 13 were hostile. By 2011, when states enacted a record-breaking number of new abortion restrictions (see box), that picture had shifted dramatically: 26 states were hostile to abortion rights, and the number of middle-ground states had cut in half, to nine.
As Guttmacher notes:
The implications of this shift are enormous. In 2000, the country was almost evenly divided, with nearly a third of American women of reproductive age living in states solidly hostile to abortion rights, slightly more than a third in states supportive of abortion rights and close to a third in middle-ground states. By 2011, however, more than half of women of reproductive age lived in hostile states. This growth came largely at the expense of the states in the middle, and the women who live in them; in 2011, only one in 10 American women of reproductive age lived in a middle-ground state.
Now some of this shifting ground has to do with the fact that in these now-hostile states, Tea-Party and conservative legislatures have taken over. In other words, the sharp political divide in our country has actually had a dire effect on women’s health access on the ground. And they just keep coming. Some of the proposed laws don’t even fit into the Guttmacher categories due to their extreme absurdity, such as Utah’s “don’t say sex” bill—which would forbid mentioning sex-related topics in schools—and Kansas’s “let doctors lie” bill which would protect doctors who don’t tell pregnant women information that might lead to an abortion.
As Gloria Feldt told Irin Carmon at Salon this week, advocates for reproductive rights need to talk freedom, too, by advancing the “Freedom of Choice” act, a bill that would forbid discrimination against women based on their “reproductive status.” Instead of just reacting to the volley of misogyny, we need to keep advancing our own agenda of equality. The pushback against Komen, against Limbaugh, against the Blunt Amendment should just be the beginning.
Read it all here: truth-out.org