The War on Women Rages On

You decide who gets to control your body

Much of the reason why Republicans lost the Senate, and arguably, the presidency, in this year’s election cycle has to do with several of the party’s more controversial members making several sexist and asinine statements about rape, abortion, and other matters related to female sexuality ("legitimate rape" will do down in infamy forever.)

Instead of learning from this important lesson---i.e. stop pissing off women---the Grand Old Party appears to continue what’s been deemed all year in the press as a “war on women.” Much of the push appears to be fueled by anti-abortion groups, though the math of 2012’s election results has yet to convince Republicans in states like Ohio that perhaps they’re outnumbered. So far the state has joined Texas in defunding Planned Parenthood, a move which Sen. Nina Turner, D-Cleveland, called “absolutely immoral and unconscionable.”

If that weren’t troubling enough, now Republican state legislators in Ohio are contemplating pushing what’s been described as the most restrictive abortion bill in the country. Yes, HB 125 would ban abortions in any case where a heartbeat is detected — which may occur as early as six weeks into a woman’s pregnancy. Moreover, this “heartbeat bill” would ban abortions in cases where women may not even realize they’re pregnant yet.

Of course, this back-and-forth is coming at the expense of more feasible legislation. Laws that if enacted, would probably do more to curtail unwanted pregnancies than painfully limited abortion laws that violate the rights of women to do as they please with their bodies. Only treated to what’s been described as a “complimentary hearing,” H. B. No. 338, which has been pegged the Prevention First Act, is a comprehensive sexual health and education bill that would establish standards for treatment of sexual assault victims. It would also require HIV/AIDS education, create a state teen pregnancy task force, and form a sex education program for schools that deemphasizes abstinence. Say, because abstinence-only teaching hasn’t exactly done wonders with respect to wadding off teenage pregnancy stats.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood, told The Daily Dayton News: “Women want more tools to ensure women will be safe and healthy.”

Plus, this year has provided more than enough examples as to why it’s important that people learn more about human sexuality. For a party full of men who go on and on about the problem with homosexuality, you’d think they’d want more people – including themselves – to learn more about the way a vagina works.

And while this goes on in the state of Ohio, nationally Sen. John McCain (R-Az) is being called on his critiques of the U.N. ambassador Susan Rice – specifically whether or not his threats of blocking her potential nomination as Secretary of State will further suggest that Republicans have an anti-woman bias.

If such threats don’t seal the deal, surely the lingering push for austerity will. A study entitled "Impact of the Global Economic Crisis and Austerity Measures on Women," recently concluded that austerity measures of the degree suggested by Republicans in Congress adversely affect women's employment in both public and private-sector jobs. Likewise, continuing to include a call to ban abortion in nearly all cases in the party platform will merely revisit the narrative set this year in future elections.

But hey, GOP, if you want to continue telling women that they have no say on their own bodies, that sexual education beyond “close your legs for Jesus” is icky, and allow blowhards like Bill O’Reilly dismiss women (and other minorities) as people who don’t believe in self-reliance, see where that gets you.

So sayeth the liberal.

Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer and blogger. You can read more of his work on his site, The Cynical Ones. Follow him on Twitter: @youngsinick