A Full-Bore Attack on Women’s Rights
You can’t say women are being ignored in the U.S. Republican nomination battle, exactly.
If any one of the Republican candidates for the presidential nomination were to win power, the consequences for women could include an end to Planned Parenthood’s affordable cervical-cancer screenings, breast exams and contraceptive services; power handed over to employers in some states to deny, on personal-moral grounds, their female employees coverage for contraception; and some states simply outlawing most forms of birth control.
Happily, the prospect of a Republican winning the November presidential election is slim and getting slimmer by the day. A recent poll that stunned Republican candidates and their strategists found that female voters had turned sharply away from the party.
Women were finally reacting to the Republicans’ increasingly aggressive campaigning against contraception and abortion. A recent analysis of states’ attitudes toward abortion by the New York-based Guttmacher Institute - which promotes sexual and reproductive health through research, policy analysis and public education - found that states had enacted a “record-breaking number of new abortion restrictions” by 2011.
Two states in particular, Arizona and Kansas, had gone from being supportive of abortion rights to outright hostile in very short order. In case anyone was wondering whether it matters that women are elected to public office, the reason behind the abrupt change was the departure of two powerful female politicians.
Until she finished her term as Arizona governor in 2009, Janet Napolitano “repeatedly vetoed provisions to limit abortion access,” the report stated. It was the same thing in Kansas, where Kathleen Sebelius, who also left the governorship in 2009 (to become the national health and human-services secretary in President Barack Obama’s cabinet), had long stood “as a bulwark” (as the Guttmacher report put it) against antiabortion forces.