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Donaldsonville Chief
  • Amy Gehrt: GOP’s ‘war on women’ is very real

  • The Republican Party is feverishly trying to dismiss its "war on women" as a mere myth — a ploy concocted by Democrats to win votes from a key demographic.


     

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  • The Republican Party is feverishly trying to dismiss its "war on women" as a mere myth — a ploy concocted by Democrats to win votes from a key demographic.
    “Now we are going to have a fight over women’s health,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Friday. “Give me a break. This is the latest plank in the so-called war on women entirely created — entirely created — by my colleagues across the aisle for political gain. To accuse us of wanting to gut women’s health is absolutely not true.”
    Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney took it a step further recently, claiming on Fox News that “women, in particular, have been hurt by this president.”
    Spin aside, however, it is hard to dispute the facts. The reality is that women’s rights are under fire, and the attempts to erode more than a century of progress carries real-world consequences that could affect millions of us. And if the “war on women” marches held around the country this past weekend are any indication, women simply aren’t buying into conservative claims to the contrary.
    In the past two years alone, there have been nearly 2,000 anti-choice provisions introduced in legislation. Among other things, Republican lawmakers have attempted to redefine rape, supported a bill that would let hospitals watch a woman die rather than perform a needed abortion and tried to take away all federal funding for Planned Parenthood. South Dakota GOP members even attempted to make it legal to murder doctors who provide abortion care.
    Republican senators also nearly derailed the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Thirty-one of them voted against it because protection was expanded to include gays and American Indians.
    And then there is the Blunt Amendment. Introduced as an amendment to a highway spending bill, the proposal by Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., sought to give employers who provide health insurance and insurance companies the right to deny coverage for contraceptives or procedures they find morally objectionable. While it was defeated, all but one Republican voted in favor of it.
    “It’s appalling. It’s offensive. It’s out of touch. And when it comes to what’s going on out there, you’re not going to close your eyes,” President Barack Obama said during a recent campaign event. “Women across America aren’t closing their eyes. As long as I’m president, I won’t either.”
    Obama said that being a husband, and a father of two girls, gives him a “vested interest” in ensuring women’s rights are advanced, not regressed back “to the ’50s or the ’40s or the ’30s, or maybe further than that.”
    That type of pledge isn’t mere campaign rhetoric, either. The very first bill Obama signed into law after taking office was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Romney’s camp recently revealed they couldn’t say whether the former Massachusetts governor would have signed that bill, which ensures women can demand equal pay for equal work.
    Page 2 of 2 - The compensation gap issue again heated up on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, when guests Rachel Maddow and Republican strategist Alex Castellanos clashed over the widely acknowledged fact that women earn just 77 cents for every dollar men make.
    Maddow said that if Romney wants to turn attention to women and the economy, he needs to focus on policy — starting with the pay disparity. At that point, Castellanos began a series of interruptions — each increasingly misogynistic in nature, prompting Maddow at one point to retort, “This is not a ‘math is hard’ conversation,” to which Castellanos replied, “Yes, it is actually.”
    Perhaps the most telling part of the exchange was when Castellanos told Maddow, “I love how passionate you are. I wish you were as right about what you’re saying as you are passionate about it. I really do.”
    “That’s really condescending,” Maddow responded. “This is a stylistic issue. My passion on this issue is actually me making a factual argument.”
    Yet while Maddow was easily able to see through Castellanos’ patronizing pat on the head, there will sadly be some who bought into the thinly veiled attempt to paint Maddow as the stereotypical “irrational woman led by her emotions.”
    That type of male chauvinistic mentality is thriving in today’s GOP, and it is precisely why so many women’s rights advocates — men and women alike — are up in arms. But as protesters of the war on women have been succinctly pointing out in signs and buttons, “Women bring all politicians into the world. In 2012, women can also take them out.”
    Contact Amy Gehrt at agehrt@pekintimes.com. The views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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