War on Women

“And now we’ve got governors and legislatures across the river in Virginia, up the road in Pennsylvania and all across the country saying that women can’t be trusted to make your own decisions.  They’re pushing and passing bills forcing women to get ultrasounds, even if they don’t want one.  And if you don’t like it, the governor of Pennsylvania said you can ‘close your eyes.’” –President Obama remarks at Women’s Leadership Conference

 Senator John McCain recently took to the floor of the United States Senate and made the following remarks:

“My friends, this supposed ‘War on Women’ or the use of similarly outlandish rhetoric by partisan operatives has two purposes, and both are purely political in their purpose and effect: The first is to distract citizens from real issues that really matter and the second is to give talking heads something to sputter about when they appear on cable television.

While some oppose to the term “war” being used to describe the recent assault on women health issues, it is plain to see that over the last couple of years Republican led legislators have led an all-out assault on the rights and choices regarding women health issues. Case in point, House Resolution 1 (H.R.1), the very first bill proposed and passed by the G.O.P led house eliminated financing for Planned Parenthood. The bill would have cut the entire $317 million program of aid for family planning and barred Planned Parenthood from receiving any federal funds for any purposes. Planned Parenthood provides millions of women with health screenings, STD tests, contraception, and Cancer Screening and Prevention each year.

No federal funds received by Planned Parenthood are used to provide abortions, so do not fall for that argument, in 1976 the Hyde Amendment was approved and is a legislative provision barring the use of certain federal funds to pay for abortions.

H.R. 1 also eliminated President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, under the provisions in the Affordable Care Act; women’s preventive health care – such as mammograms, screenings for cervical cancer, prenatal care, and other services – is covered with no cost sharing for new health plans.

It also doesn’t help that a majority of the Republican Caucus recently voted against the re-authorization of the Violence against Women Act.

If that’s not enough evidence for you sit back and observe some of the radical legislation proposed and passed by Republican legislators across the country. A state legislator in Georgia proposed changing the legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence to “accuser.” But victims of other less gendered crimes, like burglary, would remain “victims.” Six states adopted provisions mandating that a woman obtain an ultrasound prior to having an abortion. Virginia had required trans-vaginal ultra sounds for women seeking abortions, but instead opted for an abdominal ultra sound. Provisions in AZ, FL and KS, require the abortion provider to offer the woman the opportunity to view the image or listen to a verbal description of it. Four states enacted provisions directing the state department of health to issue regulations governing facilities and physicians’ offices that provide abortion services. A new provision in Virginia requires a facility providing at least five abortions per month to meet the requirements for a hospital in the state.

The goal here is to discourage/ tell a woman what kind of services she should be allowed to have when it comes to her health care. Issues related to reproductive health and rights at the state level received unprecedented attention in 2011. In the 50 states combined, legislators introduced more than 1,100 reproductive health and rights-related provisions, a sharp increase from 2010. By year’s end, 135 of these provisions had been enacted in 36 states.

If Senator McCain would like the media to stop talking about the recent health restrictions being imposed on women then he and his colleagues need to stop promoting and enacting them.

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