That feeling of Dread: The Republican War on Women

Paulie Brading

Back in March of this year the Republicans in Congress wouldn't back the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. A law that easily passed through the renewal process in 2000 and 2005 but not this year. I have believed for a long time that all victims of domestic violence, no matter the gender, ought to be protected. In 2010 the Justice Department issued a memo clarifying the provisions in the Violence Against Women Act apply regardless of gender or sexuality. We've got to stick together because Republicans are denying they are waging a war on women. Really? Republicans are passing anti-women legislation taking money from women's health programs, voting against Equal Pay for Equal Work and refusing to back the key anti-violence act VAWA.

Mitt Romney's choice for vice-president Paul Ryan is risky. Ryan, who sponsored the "Sanicity of Human Life Act" would like to give states the right to ban abortions without exception. Ryan also voted for the elimination of Planned Parenthood's provision of reproductive health services. A political landmine has gone off thanks to radical Todd Akin desperately trying to slavage his Senate campaign. Romney decided to lead the charge on the war on women by choosing Paul Ryan.

Women and men should be exasperated that years of advocacy for reproductive rights, LGBT rights, and the Violence Against Women Act are ensnared in Republican political maneuvering.

I read a recent edition of The Economist that the Romney campaign is talking about putting "Mr. Obama on the defensive in Oregon, which is normally solidly Democratic." Hey Oregon women and men, are we ready?

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    Thank you Paulie.

    As a man, the War on Women is also the War on My Family and Friends Whom I Love.

    In addition to removing protections against domestic violence, the Republican effort to de-legitimize rape that supposedly is "not forcible" as a form of violence needs to be called out. This is not just Todd Akin's wacky ideas about pregnancy but Paul Ryan's anti-abortion legislation.

    We also need to pay attention to the Rs' relentless efforts (along with some religious partners in civil society) to reclassify the most widely used forms of birth control as abortion, which expands the scope of efforts to control women's bodies and choices about reproduction and reproductive health.

    We also need to understand that R attacks on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are disproportionately attacks on women. Cuts to programs for seniors affect women more because women live longer on average so that the senior population is more heavily female than the general population.

    Cuts to programs for low income individuals and families affect women more, because continuing pay disparities mean that low income is found disproportionately among women, and relatedly single parent families are overwhelmingly headed by women, exacerbating pay disparity issues while probably contributing to them, and meaning that single mothers must deal with low income effects on their kids.

    This circles around to Medicare and Social Security again because fewer women as a class have less access to alternative resources due to life-histories of pay disparities in sex-typed jobs, and intermittent and part-time paid employment due to unwaged family work, so that cuts to the programs hurt women who rely on them more.

    While deliberate ignoring of these facts and patterns speaks ill of the ethics of so-called free market economics and R policies, we also live interdependently. On the self-interest side, as a man, I have a stake in the well-being of the women among whom I live and on whom I rely and from whom my life is enriched by so much, from birth to my eventual old age. More importantly, I want decent prospects for the women in my life because I love them, and in my community and society because I value community and society.

    Ultimately, a society that undermines and attacks its female members is not a decent society. I want to live in a decent society.

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    Thank you, Paulie, for highlighting this struggle to keep the forces of ignorance and misogyny from prevailing against women, against all of us Thank you, Chris, for pointing out how the war on Soc. Sec., Medicare, and Medicaid is against the most vulnerable women and the most vulnerable human beings in addition to the broad middle class of both genders.

    It's unfortunate that there aren't more posters on this thread and that somehow Jefferson Smith's driving record engages more interest than the very real threat the GOP presents to the rights of women and their access to resources they need to have a good life.

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