19th Amendment: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
So there it is. The dilemma. How do you take away my rights when I have a say in the matter?
Perhaps it’s appropriate that Missouri Representative Todd Akin’s need to placate the far right wing accidentally expressed itself publically a few days before Women’s Equality Day. If he were capable of embarrassment, the timing of his rape victim shaming might prompt him to blush. I’m quite sure, however, that he and his cohorts who’ve spent the better part of their legislative careers attempting to scale back my rights and impose their ideals and values on me cannot be shamed.
Hyperbole? Nope. History.
According to the Republican National Coalition for Life, the official Republican Party platform has consistently affirmed their anti-abortion stance since the first presidential year following Roe, 1976: “The text [of the party platform] has remained remarkably constant…and offers the voters a clear difference from the Democratic Platform.”
A clear difference. That’s a declaration as honest as you’re likely to get from a right-wing super PAC. In fact, that’s a sound bit of truth-telling – which may be the GOP’s undoing this November.
These are not new positions. Criminalizing abortion in all cases is not a radical, sudden shift in the Republican Party. It’s been wedged in the platform between “American exceptionalism” and “lower taxes” for decades. Swing voters just didn’t realize it was there because most mainstream politicians had the sense not to bring it up, or to at least exempt victims of rape and incest from prosecution. In public, they tended to sound rational. Even if voters didn’t agree completely on the issue of choice, they could support a candidate on other issues as long as he or she didn’t veer off into crazy land.
Todd Akin has changed that. He said it out loud. And he co-sponsored a bill – the third bill out of the House last year, HR3 – with the Republican vice Presidential nominee, Paul Ryan, to give personhood to embryos. Now everyone is paying attention to the eight anti-choice bills the two men co-sponsored. The voting record that should have taken a back seat to foreign policy (ahem, we’re at war in Afghanistan!) and the economy (anybody you know job hunting?) is suddenly front and center. And women are in the line of fire.
I could suggest several equal rights type reasons why serving up women’s healthcare as a primary campaign issue was not a smart move. I could take them to task for their heinous statements and ludicrous assumptions about female sexuality – like that fact that they wish it didn’t exist at all. But the amazing women at sites like Feministing and RH Reality Check pummel politicians and community “leaders” on those issues every day.
My message to the GOP, their candidates, their big money backers and their supporters is less nuanced: You’re going to lose.
Women vote. A lot. Way more than men. Also, we make up a higher percentage of the population. You can’t win the presidency without us. And just as the campaign was heading into prime-time your Missouri candidate for Senate told us rape victims can’t get pregnant. Your vice presidential nominee told us that rape is just one method God uses to create life. Your candidate for president supports personhood legislation that gives sperm more rights than live, adult women.
Between now and November 6 there will be massive efforts to demonize pro-choice organizations and activists. Frankly, that’s the only option available. Voters are going to pay attention to the extremist language in the platform because the GOP candidates have propelled culture issues to the forefront of the campaign. There will be no revisions to their official position. Now, they must go all in to make their position the clearly moral stance.
My pre-response to the ads, slogans and parade of political nonsense:
I’m ready for the attacks. I get that I’m inconvenient. I get that you have worked very hard to re-categorize words like “feminist” and “independent” into some theoretical man-hating, solitary, single-minded subset of what you wish was the softer gender.
Except I’m not soft. Soft is having to make up biological fairy tales about rape victims because your position is untenable and indefensible.
I am strong. You cannot control my body or my life. You do not have dominion here.
Ladies, the outcome in November is ours to decide. Are you in?
For more on the Republican Party platform, CNN has obtained the leaked version and Think Progress has broken down the most conservative platform in modern history.
Just make sure you’re sitting down.
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Categories: Finding My Voice