Friday, November 11, 2016

MsBehaving – Defining the War on Women

The “War on Women” is described as “the expression is used to describe Republican policies in areas such as access to reproductive health services, particularly birth control and abortion services; the prosecution of criminal violence against women; the definition of rape for the purpose of the public funding of abortion; and workplace discrimination against women” (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 2014)

But it is much, much more than that. It is a question of whether or not women have the capacity to make the correct choices for themselves in the economic, healthcare, and public realms.

The harsh reality is that one in three women live at or near the poverty line.  And with women, children are along for the ride, since most often, children live exclusively with their mothers only. Statistics tell us that this equals to 42 million women and 28 million children. (The Shriver Report 2014)

Most minimum wage workers are women, and minimum wage is has been stagnant for years. Most minimum wage jobs are in the service industry where tips supplement income and the minimum is $2.13 an hour and hasn’t been raised in over twenty years or in retail.

Most of these jobs have no paid time off, offer no health benefits, and give advice on how to apply for food stamps and supplemental governmental income.
All of this goes beyond minimum wage jobs. A white woman will make $.70 on the dollar to a man for the same job. A black woman will make $.65, a Latina will make $.60 and an Asian woman will make $.55. A woman coming out of the military will take an automatic 30% pay cut.

The Republicans are fighting to maintain the status quo and keep wages stagnant and fight things like paid time off, claiming that by raising the minimum wage prices will go up. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by raising the minimum wage, you will raise the GDP; increase consumer spending and decrease dependence on governmental resources.

And now, we have elected a man who believes that there is no reason for the minimum wage, and a Congress that wants to “repeal and replace” the ACA… although they have no plan to with which to replace it with. Which means that more than twenty million could lose their health insurance. But more on that in a moment.

The Republican Party has tried to redefine rape, tell women that pregnancy from rape is an “act of God” (Richard Mourdock, R-Indiana), that the “body has a way to shut that thing down” if it’s a “legitimate rape” (Todd Akin, R-Missouri) and compare pregnancy from rape to out of wedlock pregnancy (Tom Smith, R-Pennsylvania). While these men lost the races that they were in, they don’t seem to be aberrations in the party. The words “forcible rape” had to be stricken from the 2011 “No Tax Payer Funding for Abortion” bill (H.R. 3), which would make sure that Medicaid funds would pay abortion only in the case of child sex abuse and “forcible rape”. Apparently the life of the mother isn’t a good enough reason, any more.

Military rape is another problem that the Republican Party seems to be having, blaming it on “hormones”. Our new vice president elect would like to have women have a funeral for miscarriages, if that isn’t violence against women, I’m not sure what is.

Domestic violence seems to be something that the Republican Party wants to turn a blind eye to as well. Up until 2013, when there was a huge ground swell of support, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saw the way the wind was blowing, the Violence Against Women Act was gaining no traction with the Republicans in the Senate. Senate Republicans kept trying to water down the Act, trying to leave out the LGBTQ community, immigrant women and American Indian women, cut funding to safe houses and other safety measures. The Act finally passed in its original form.

However, now we have a resident elect who seems to think that it’s ok to sexually asslaut women, to “grab them by the pussy” because he’s a “star” and they let hm do as he pleases. And then pass that off as “loclerroom talk”. It goes back to boys being boys. No, sir, that is not “boys being boys”. If we continue to allow this kind of behavior, then no woman is safe, and this is NOT the kind of wolrd that we want for our daughters OR our sons.

Women’s Health
Here’s where things get ugly. For what ever reason, the Republican Party seem to be convinced that women are too ill informed to make good decisions about their health care, whether it’s about reproductive health, contraception, sexual maintenance, or abortion, they insist on empaneling groups of white men to discuss what women want or need.

When it comes to contraception, no matter what kind it is, whether it’s the Pill, the Depo shot, an IUD or any other type of female contraception, most require a doctor’s prescription. Why, you ask? Well, because every woman is different, with different needs, different body chemistry and different lifestyles, not to mention the cost. Each form of contraception requires a certain amount of doctor’s visits per year. Every form of contraception requires PAP smears be performed every year, and every one carries with it side effects.

Abortion is not something that women do without deep consideration. Yet to hear the Republican narrative it is something that women schedule in between their mani, pedi, shopping and lunch with the girls, on a weekly basis.

Closing down clinics that provide women’s health services, whether or not they provide abortion services are not how you help women. How you help women is allow them to make the choices and decisions for themselves. To trust them to make the decisions for themselves, like the adult human beings that they are, it seems to be that the Republican party wants to go back to the Victorian era, where women are treated as children, who need a male guardian.

The War on Women is being waged. The question is who is winning and are we, as women and our allied men going to stand toe to toe to fight it. Or are we going to let them win, because we think that they have all the power. Or are we going to take our power back and go to the polls and do what we need to do and stand up for ourselves?

Works Cited

The Shriver Report. The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink: Facts and Figures. January 12, 2014. (accessed February 2, 2014).
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. War on Women From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. January 31, 2014. (accessed February 1, 2014).

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