Of course, now that the Republican leadership has seen the poll numbers with women under fifty in swing states overwhelmingly favoring Democrats, there are some isolated and feeble attempts at backtracking but how can anyone walk back the assaults that Republican-led state legislatures have recently made on women’s reproductive rights?
Ann Romney, whose husband has shoved her into the spotlight to help with the women’s vote, has recently had her twenty minutes of fame when a Democratic strategist, Hilary Rosen, said on CNN’s AC360) that Ann Romney couldn’t help her husband’s campaign too much with women’s economic issues because she “hadn’t worked a day in her life.” [Here] Well!!! The response was extraordinary. Even the President got into it by mumbling something about his wife’s hard work and his own mother’s work raising his half-sister and him. (He never mentioned that his mother was doing a few other things as well, such as earning her doctorate and pioneering microfinancing in Indonesia.)
We all know what Hilary Rosen was trying to say. She was pointing to the fact that Ann Romney’s life, raising five boys with domestic help and a husband with a millionaire’s checkbook, was far different from most single women’s lives, raising children alone with the responsibility of paying all the bills.
But why does anyone have to explain this? Doesn’t even President Obama get it?
I’m certain that the Republican strategists are jumping for joy to have the media spotlight turned away from what has been happening in Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country where a staggering number of anti-abortion bills have been introduced and passed. Rachel Maddow claims that over 4oo such bills have been introduced in state houses across the country. [Here] Many of those bills involve extremely intrusive physical tests and examinations of the women who are seeking to end unwanted pregnancies.
My nomination for the most bizarre of the cruelly-intended group of anti-abortion bills that various state capitals have churned out is the recently-passed Arizona law that is based on a wild theory that life begins two-weeks before conception. (I am not making this up.) [Here] Let me repeat: the Arizona law posits that life begins before sperm meets egg. (In some cases, it would mean that a new life would begin before mother even met the father, before either knew each other’s names or, most particularly, shared the same bed.)
The bill was one part of a three-bill group of anti-abortion measures that were considered by the Arizona legislature. One bill protects doctors from future lawsuits if the doctor intentionally withholds medical information from a mother about a pregnancy if the information (in the doctor’s opinion) might lead her to abort the fetus. A second bill involves mandating Arizona’s school curriculum to state that birth and adoption are the “most acceptable outcomes for an unwanted pregnancy.” [Here]
The third bill, mentioned above, prohibits all abortions after 18 weeks of pregnancy and provides little leeway to protect a woman’s health. By asserting that conception occurs at least two weeks earlier than it would be possible for sperm to meet egg (at the beginning of a woman’s last menstrual period), the Arizona pro-life forces have given their state the earliest cut-off date for late-term abortions in the country. (Most states use 20-weeks as a limit which meets the Supreme Court-ordered standard of fetal viability.)
As expected, Governor Jan Brewer signed the bills into law last Thursday. [Here]
I suppose the pro-life folks are counting this as another victory. But who is the winner? Is it the child who is born into poverty in a situation in which his/her birth was neither planned nor welcomed? Or was it a mother whose own doctor did not tell her that her fetus was deformed until it was too late in the pregnancy for her to make a decision about the quality of her baby’s life or her own life? No, the winner is the state legislator who is simply picking up GOP Brownie points for his/her next election.
And we all know who the losers are in Arizona, don’t we?