EASTON, Md. — March 28, 2011 — For those women who actually believe “You’ve come a long way, baby,” and that they can safely reap the rewards of the feminist revolution, sorry.
You’ve got it all wrong.
While you were juggling home and career, raising great kids, cracking glass ceilings, heading up companies, playing some amazing NCAA basketball, dominating law and medical schools, and graduating at the top of your class, Republicans have been on the warpath against women.
Both on the state and federal level, the newly tea-infused GOP seems to think it has a mandate to corral women, and it is doing just that through legislation that is basically an assault on women’s health and freedom.
The Right’s agenda is simple: turn back the clock and keep women in their place.
Or as Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) put it: “It is an anti-woman, anti-child agenda.”
Using budget reduction as an excuse to target women, the GOP House has taken a meat cleaver to programs that would result in keeping women barefoot and pregnant. You think that’s hyperbole?
Then take a look at what the Republicans are up to at the federal level.
In their slice and dice budget proposal, they slashed $758 million from WIC (Women, Infants, and Children), a program first put in place by President Nixon, a Republican, need I remind you.
Those are dollars that put food on the tables of 9.6 million low-income women, new moms, and their children. WIC has also been linked to better birth weights and fewer infant deaths.
The Republican bill also eliminated $50 million from programs that provide prenatal health care to 2.5 million poor women and health care for 31 million children each year.
Where’s the GOP’s Moral Compass?
Equally egregious are cuts that would ax support for Title X. That’s the program that offers family planning for low-income women, including birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and exams for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
In the long run, these are cuts we can’t afford. More women will die for lack of early screening. More pregnancies will result with more lower-weight babies at risk. The burden on social services will increase even further. And yes, more abortions will be performed.
As former Congresswoman Connie Morella (R-Md) recently said:
“I cannot stand with my party leadership in their dual attempts to undermine women’s health by eliminating the Title X national family planning program and prohibiting federal funding for Planned Parenthood. These efforts are bad policy and bad politics. Not only are they based on shortsighted political posturing, but they would also have a devastating impact on women’s health.”
If only more of her colleagues had the guts to stand up against the reactionaries who have hijacked the Republican Party.
Instead we have the likes of Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) who tried to get rape redefined as “forcible rape.” This would have meant that a rape victim, who had been unconscious, threatened or drugged and thus showed no physical signs of a struggle, would be deemed not to have been raped. Fortunately, the uproar forced the Republicans to back off on that one.
GOP’s Attack on Women Penetrates the States
Georgia Republican Representative Bobby Franklin (the same guy who wants you to pay your taxes in gold and silver) has introduced a bill that would change the state’s criminal code so that victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence could only be referred to as “accusers” until the defendant is convicted.
However, if you have been robbed, assaulted, or even defrauded, you can still be labeled a victim since you are a real victim of a real crime.
The real crime is that so many men (and they are mainly men, sad to say) of Representative Franklin’s ilk are elected to state office where they can push their anti-woman agenda.
What’s going on here? you have to ask yourself. What’s this really about?
Look no further than Frederick County, Maryland where the local Republican commissioners, following the lead of Congressional Republicans, who plan to cut Head Start by $1 billion, have also zeroed in on Head Start by ending the county’s $2.3 million contribution to the program.
Unlike their more sophisticated brethren on the Hill, the commissioners unwittingly explained their heartlessness in a way that reveals just what the Tea-addicted GOP is really about.
Two of the Republican commissioners justified their decision by saying that women really should be married and at home with the kids, thus making Head Start unnecessary. After all, that’s what their wives did.
The fact that they and the GOP have an antiquated vision of today’s family doesn’t deter them from trying to impose that delusion on the rest of us.
As Senior Economist for Center for American Progress Heather Boushey has found, life in 2011 is far from June Cleaver and the Beaver:
* nearly 4 in 10 mothers are the primary breadwinners
* nearly 2/3 are breadwinners or co-breadwinners
* in fact, only 1 in 5 families (20%) with children are labeled traditional with the man as the breadwinner and the woman as the homemaker.
No One Is Spared the Rampage
You’d think elderly women might escape the GOP onslaught. Not so. In fact, women who are senior citizens might want to think twice the next time they head to the polls.
Elimination of services for them is planned as well. The GOP House bill would zap funding for employment services, meals, and housing for senior citizens. And keep in mind that 2/3 of the elderly poor are women.
Notice that I have yet to touch on abortion, the Right’s favorite bête noire. The GOP knives are sharpened and the cuts have started.
States are already stampeding to be the first to ring the death knell on abortion. However, that is another topic for another time.
It is important, though, to recognize that it is all part of a pattern. Republicans ran on creating jobs. Yet not one job bill has been introduced by them.
Instead, Republicans are hell-bent on launching a full-scale assault on women.
If Americans don’t realize that this is the beginning of a war on women, they need to wake up and drink something stronger than the tea they have been swilling for the last year.
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